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Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Mar 15;168(4):543-8. doi: 10.1530/EJE-12-0844. Print 2013 Apr.

Atorvastatin administration is associated with dose-related changes in IGF bioavailability.

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  • 1Salford Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Manchester, Salford, UK.



IGF levels, their binding proteins (IGFBPs) and high-dose statin therapy have been linked to the development of diabetes. We aimed to identify whether atorvastatin caused dose-related changes in IGF proteins.


We measured IGF1, IGF2, IGFBP1 and IGFBP3 concentrations at baseline, 6 and 12 months in Protection Against Nephropathy in Diabetes with Atorvastatin trial participants with type 2 diabetes randomised to 10 mg (n=59) vs 80 mg (n=60) of atorvastatin (n=119; mean (S.D.): age 64 (10) years; 83% male; HbA1c 61 (10) mmol/mol; blood pressure 131/73 mmHg).


Atorvastatin was associated with overall reductions in circulating IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 concentrations (P<0.05 for all changes). The adjusted mean (95% CI) between-group differences that indicate dose-related changes in IGF proteins were not significant for IGF1: -3 (-21 to 14) ng/ml; IGF2: -23 (-65 to 18) ng/ml and IGFBP3: -0.34 (-0.71 to 0.03) μg/ml, negative values indicating numerically greater lowering with high dose. The IGFBP1 concentration did not change with atorvastatin therapy overall but the adjusted mean (95% CI) between-group difference indicating a dose-related change in log IGFBP1 was highly significant -0.41 (-0.69 to 0.13, P=0.004).


IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 concentrations decreased following atorvastatin therapy. A differential effect of low- vs high-dose atorvastatin on IGFBP1 concentrations was observed with likely implications for IGF bioavailability. The dose-related differential impact of atorvastatin treatment on concentration of IGF proteins merits investigation as a mechanism to explain the worsening of glucose tolerance with statin therapy.

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