Atorvastatin impaired glucose metabolism in C2C12 cells partly via inhibiting cholesterol-dependent glucose transporter 4 translocation

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Abstract

Skeletal muscle accounts for approximately 75% of glucose disposal in body and statins impair glucose metabolism. We aimed to investigate the effect of atorvastatin on glucose metabolism in C2C12 cells. Glucose metabolism and expression of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and hexokinase II (HXKII) were measured following incubation with atorvastatin or pravastatin. Roles of cholesterol in atorvastatin-induced glucose metabolism impairment were investigated via adding cholesterol or mevalonic acid and confirmed by cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin. Hypercholesterolemia mice induced by high fat diet (HFD) feeding, orally received atorvastatin (6 and 12 mg/kg) or pravastatin (12 mg/kg) for 22 days. Results showed that atorvastatin not pravastatin concentration-dependently impaired glucose consumption, glucose uptake and GLUT4 membrane translocation in C2C12 cells without affecting expression of HXKII or total GLUT4 protein. The atorvastatin-induced alterations were reversed by cholesterol or mevalonic acid. Cholesterol depletion exerted similar impact to atorvastatin, which could be alleviated by cholesterol supplement. Glucose consumption or GLUT4 translocation was positively associated with cellular cholesterol levels. In HFD mice, atorvastatin not pravastatin significantly increased blood glucose levels following glucose or insulin dose and decreased expression of membrane not total GLUT4 protein in muscle. Glucose exposure following glucose or insulin dose was negatively correlated to muscular free cholesterol concentration. Expression of membrane GLUT4 protein was positively related to free cholesterol in muscle. In conclusion, atorvastatin impaired glucose utilization in muscle cells partly via inhibiting GLUT4 membrane translocation due to inhibition of cholesterol synthesis by atorvastatin, at least, partly contributing to glucose intolerance in HFD mice.

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