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Autophagy

Chronic HMGCR/HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor treatment contributes to dysglycemia by upregulating hepatic gluconeogenesis through autophagy induction.


PMID 26389569

Abstract

Statins (HMGCR/HMG-CoA reductase [3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase] inhibitors) are widely used to lower blood cholesterol levels but have been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the molecular mechanism underlying diabetogenic effects remains to be elucidated. Here we show that statins significantly increase the expression of key gluconeogenic enzymes (such as G6PC [glucose-6-phosphatase] and PCK1 (phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 [soluble]) in vitro and in vivo and promote hepatic glucose output. Statin treatment activates autophagic flux in HepG2 cells. Acute suppression of autophagy with lysosome inhibitors in statin treated HepG2 cells reduced gluconeogenic enzymes expression and glucose output. Importantly, the ability of statins to increase gluconeogenesis was impaired when ATG7 was deficient and BECN1 was absent, suggesting that autophagy plays a critical role in the diabetogenic effects of statins. Moreover autophagic vacuoles and gluconeogenic genes expression in the liver of diet-induced obese mice were increased by statins, ultimately leading to elevated hepatic glucose production, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance. Together, these data demonstrate that chronic statin therapy results in insulin resistance through the activation of hepatic gluconeogenesis, which is tightly coupled to hepatic autophagy. These data further contribute to a better understanding of the diabetogenic effects of stains in the context of insulin resistance.