Statins aggravate the risk of insulin resistance in human muscle


  • S.A. Grunwald
  • S. Haafke
  • U. Grieben
  • U. Kassner
  • E. Steinhagen-Thiessen
  • S. Spuler


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences


  • Int J Mol Sci 23 (4): 2398


  • Beside their beneficial effects on cardiovascular events, statins are thought to contribute to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. It is not known whether these effects are long-term events from statin-treatment or already triggered with the first statin-intake. Skeletal muscle is considered the main site for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and therefore, a primary target for insulin resistance in the human body. We analyzed localization and expression of proteins related to GLUT4 mediated glucose uptake via AMPKα or AKT in human skeletal muscle tissue from patients with statin-intake >6 months and in primary human myotubes after 96 h statin treatment. The ratio for AMPKα activity significantly increased in human skeletal muscle cells treated with statins for long- and short-term. Furthermore, the insulin-stimulated counterpart, AKT, significantly decreased in activity and protein level, while GSK3ß and mTOR protein expression reduced in statin-treated primary human myotubes, only. However, GLUT4 was normally distributed whereas CAV3 was internalized from plasma membrane around the nucleus in statin-treated primary human myotubes. Statin-treatment activates AMPKα-dependent glucose uptake and remains active after long-term statin treatment. Permanent blocking of its insulin-dependent counterpart AKT activation may lead to metabolic inflexibility and insulin resistance in the long run and may be a direct consequence of statin-treatment.