Biology and You

You and Your Cells

How do statin drugs affect cell function?

Statins are a group of drugs that work to lower cholesterol levels, particularly the “bad cholesterol”, or the low-density lipoprotein known as LDL. The drugs work in two ways: they can block an enzyme that is needed for cholesterol production, and they can increase LDL membrane receptors in the liver. Cholesterol can only get into cells by binding to specific receptors that remove the LDL from blood. The extra receptors that statins create help decrease the cholesterol levels. As Americans are more aware that high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, statins have become increasingly popular.


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