Epidemiological and genetic features of anti-3‑hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase necrotizing myopathy: Single-center experience and literature review

Published:April 26, 2022DOI:


      • In northern Spain, anti-HMGCR IMNM usually affects people over 50 years with exposure to statins.
      • We confirm that HLA-DRB1×11 is associated with an increased risk of anti-HMGCR IMNM in Spain.
      • The SLCO1B1 gene does not seem to play a role in the anti-HMGCR IMNM genetic network.
      • Vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism might be predisposing factors for anti-HMGCR IMNM.



      To characterize the demographic, genetic, clinical, and serological features of patients with anti-3‑hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR) immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) in a region of northern Spain.


      Study of all patients diagnosed with anti-HMGCR IMNM during a 5-year period at a reference hospital in northern Spain. Besides clinical and laboratory data, we analyzed the genetic influence of HLA genes and the rs4149056 (c.521T>C) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the SLCO1B1 gene.


      8 patients (5 women, 3 men) with a mean ± SD age of 64.9 ± 7.3 years, fulfilled the criteria for anti-HMGCR IMNM. The incidence rate was 0.6 per 100.000 person-years and the prevalence 3 per 100.000 population. All patients had been exposed to statins. All of them had predominant lower limb proximal and symmetric muscle weakness that was severe in 2 and had elevated serum CK levels with a median [IQR] of 4488 [2538–9194] IU/L. Serum 25‑hydroxy vitamin D levels were decreased in all patients in whom it was determined. The 3 patients with a previous diagnosis of hypothyroidism had abnormal levels of TSH at the time of diagnosis. All patients experienced improvement with different schemes of immunosuppressive therapy. Noteworthy, 7 of 8 patients carried the HLA-DRB1*11 allele. The frequency of the rs4149056 C allele in the SLCO1B1 gene (12.5%) was similar to that of the general population.


      In northern Spain, anti-HMGCR IMNM preferentially affects people over 50 years of age who are carriers of the HLA-DRB1*11 allele and take statins. Both low vitamin D levels and hypothyroidism may play a potential predisposing role in the development of this disease.


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