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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Insulin generates free radicals in human fibroblasts ex vivo by a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism, which is inhibited by pravastatin.

Insulin can generate oxygen free radicals. Statins, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, exert a powerful antioxidant effect. The present study aimed to clarify the mechanisms through which insulin generates free radicals and to assess whether pravastatin modulates such effects. In cultured skin fibroblasts from human volunteers exposed to high insulin concentration, either in the presence or in the absence of pravastatin, insulin induced translocation of the p47(phox) subunit of NAD(P)H oxidase from the cytosol to the membrane and generation of radical oxygen species through a PKC delta-dependent mechanism. The insulin-induced translocation of p47(phox) was PKC delta dependent and attenuated by pravastatin, but independent of the activation of Akt and Rac1. Insulin-induced Akt phosphorylation was increased by pravastatin and ERK1/2 phosphorylation attenuated. The present study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which insulin stimulates the generation of free radicals in human fibroblasts, ex vivo. It involves phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, PKC delta, and p47(phox) translocation and promotes ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Pravastatin inhibited radical oxygen species production by inhibiting PKC delta. These observations offer a robust explanation for the positive effects of pravastatin treatment in patients with insulin resistance syndrome.[1]


  1. Insulin generates free radicals in human fibroblasts ex vivo by a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism, which is inhibited by pravastatin. Ceolotto, G., Papparella, I., Lenzini, L., Sartori, M., Mazzoni, M., Iori, E., Franco, L., Gallo, A., de Kreutzenberg, S.V., Tiengo, A., Pessina, A.C., Avogaro, A., Semplicini, A. Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2006) [Pubmed]
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