Prolonged Moderate-Intensity Exercise Does Not Increase Muscle Injury Markers in Symptomatic or Asymptomatic Statin Users

Statin use may exacerbate exercise-induced skeletal muscle injury caused by reduced coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels, which are postulated to produce mitochondrial dysfunction.
We determined the effect of prolonged moderate-intensity exercise on markers of muscle injury in statin users with and without statin-associated muscle symptoms. We also examined the association between leukocyte CoQ10 levels and muscle markers, muscle performance, and reported muscle symptoms.
Symptomatic (n = 35; age 62 ± 7 years) and asymptomatic statin users (n = 34; age 66 ± 7 years) and control subjects (n = 31; age 66 ± 5 years) walked 30, 40, or 50 km/d for 4 consecutive days. Muscle injury markers (lactate dehydrogenase, creatine kinase, myoglobin, cardiac troponin I, and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide), muscle performance, and reported muscle symptoms were assessed at baseline and after exercise. Leukocyte CoQ10 was measured at baseline.

All muscle injury markers were comparable at baseline (P > 0.05) and increased following exercise (P < 0.001), with no differences in the magnitude of exercise-induced elevations among groups (P > 0.05). Muscle pain scores were higher at baseline in symptomatic statin users (P < 0.001) and increased similarly in all groups following exercise (P < 0.001). Muscle relaxation time increased more in symptomatic statin users than in control subjects following exercise (P = 0.035). CoQ10 levels did not differ among symptomatic (2.3 nmol/U; IQR: 1.8-2.9 nmol/U), asymptomatic statin users (2.1 nmol/U; IQR: 1.8-2.5 nmol/U), and control subjects (2.1 nmol/U; IQR: 1.8-2.3 nmol/U; P = 0.20), and did not relate to muscle injury markers, fatigue resistance, or reported muscle symptoms.

Statin use and the presence of statin-associated muscle symptoms does not exacerbate exercise-induced muscle injury after moderate exercise. Muscle injury markers were not related to leukocyte CoQ10 levels. (Exercise-induced Muscle Damage in Statin Users; NCT05011643)