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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 22;5:14076. doi: 10.1038/srep14076.

Statin-activated nuclear receptor PXR promotes SGK2 dephosphorylation by scaffolding PP2C to induce hepatic gluconeogenesis.

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Pharmacogenetics Section, Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Statin therapy is known to increase blood glucose levels in humans. Statins utilize pregnane X receptor (PXR) and serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 2 (SGK2) to activate phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (PEPCK1) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) genes, thereby increasing glucose production in human liver cells. Here, the novel statin/PXR/SGK2-mediated signaling pathway has now been characterized for hepatic gluconeogenesis. Statin-activated PXR scaffolds the protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) and SGK2 to stimulate PP2C to dephosphorylate SGK2 at threonine 193. Non-phosphorylated SGK2 co-activates PXR-mediated trans-activation of promoters of gluconeogenic genes in human liver cells, thereby enhancing gluconeogenesis. This gluconeogenic statin-PXR-SGK2 signal is not present in mice, in which statin treatment suppresses hepatic gluconeogenesis. These findings provide the basis for statin-associated side effects such as an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.

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