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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 10;279(37):38353-9. Epub 2004 Jul 7.

Abrogation of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and insulin action by mevalonic acid depletion: synergy between protein prenylation and receptor glycosylation pathways.

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Diabetes and Endocrinology, Hope Hospital, Salford, M6 8HD and Endocrine Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PT, United Kingdom.


The vasculoprotective effects of hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) correlate with cholesterol lowering. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors also disrupt cellular processes by the depletion of isoprenoids and dolichol. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling appear particularly prone to such disruption as intracellular receptor processing requires dolichol for correct N-glycosylation, whereas downstream signaling through Ras requires the appropriate prenylation (farnesol). We determined how HMG-CoA reductase inhibition affected the mitogenic effects of IGF-I and metabolic actions of insulin in 3T3-L1 cells and examined the respective roles of receptor glycosylation and Ras prenylation. IGF-I- and insulin-induced proliferation was significantly reduced by all statins tested, although cerivastatin (10 nm) had the greatest effect (p < 0.005). Although inhibitors of Ras prenylation induced similar results (10 microm FTI-277 89% +/- 7.4%, p < 0.01), the effect of HMG-CoA reductase inhibition could only be partially reversed by farnesyl pyrophosphate refeeding. Treatment with statins resulted in decreased membrane expression of receptors and accumulation of proreceptors, suggesting disruption of glycosylation-dependent cleavage. Glycosylation inhibitors inhibited IGF-I-induced proliferation (tunicamycin p < 0.005, castanospermine p < 0.01, deoxymannojirimycin p < 0.01). High concentrations of statin were necessary to impair insulin-mediated glucose uptake (300 nm = 33% +/- 12% p < 0.05), and this process was not effected by farnesyl transferase inhibition. Gycosylation inhibitors mimicked the effect of statin treatment (tunicamycin p < 0.001, castanospermine p < 0.05, deoxymannojirimycin p < 0.05), and there was insulin proreceptor accumulation. These data imply that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors disrupt IGF-I signaling by combined effects on Ras prenylation and IGF receptor glycosylation, whereas insulin signaling is only affected by disrupted receptor glycosylation.

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