Effects of simvastatin gels on murine calvarial bone

Michael R. Thylin, Jay C. McConnell, Marian J. Schmid, Ryon R. Reckling, Junu Ojha, Indraneel Bhattaharyya, David B. Marx, Richard A. Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Background: The cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin has been shown to stimulate murine calvarial bone growth after multiple injections. The purpose of this study was to test if similar bone stimulation could be induced by 2 single-dose drug delivery systems appropriate to periodontal therapy. Methods: ICR Swiss mice were treated with the following protocols: 1) injection of methylcellulose gel alone, subcutaneously over the calvarium (INJ-GEL; n = 8); 2) injection of gel with simvastatin (INJ-SIM; 2.2 mg, n = 16); 3) polylactide membrane (PLA) containing gel alone implanted over calvarium (MEM-GEL; n = 10); 4) implanted PLA membrane containing gel and simvastatin (MEM-SIM; n = 10); and 5) untreated mice (n = 12). Animals were sacrificed after 22 or 44 days, calvaria decalcified and stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and images digitized and measured for bone thickness and area. Data were compared using analysis of variance. Results: INJ-SIM stimulated a 53% (P= 0.02) increase at the thickest point of calvarial bone, while MEM-SIM caused a highly significant (P ≤0.0005) increase in bone thickness (159% to 172%) and bone area (144% to 180%) compared to gel controls. Simvastatin gels caused soft tissue inflammation, which appeared to be related to bone increases. If INJ-SIM animals showing leakage of gel and/or no inflammation were excluded from analysis, INJ-SIM resulted in more bone (58% to 83%) than gel controls. An insignificant amount of SIM-stimulated bone was lost over the long term (44 days). Conclusions: A single, high dose of simvastatin gel can stimulate murine cranial bone apposition, particularly when delivered under an occlusive membrane. Both approaches should be investigated further for possible development for periodontal therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1148
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002


  • Animal studies
  • Bone regeneration
  • Bone, craniofacial
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Murine
  • Simvastatin/therapeutic use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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