HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, i.e. statins, are effective in reducing cardiovascular disease events but also in cardiac-related and overall mortality. Statins are in general well-tolerated, but currently the concerns are raised if statins may increase the risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus (NOD). In this review, the possible effects of statins on organs/tissues being involved in glucose metabolism, i.e. liver, pancreas, adipose tissue, and muscles, had been discussed. The net outcome seems to be inconsistent and often contradictory, which may be largely affected by in vitro experimental settings or/and in vivo animal conditions. The majority of studies point out statin-induced changes of regulations of isoprenoid metabolites and cell-associated cholesterol contents as predisposing factors related to the statin-induced NOD. On the other hand, it should be considered that dysfunctions of isoprenoid pathway and mitochondrial ATP production and the cholesterol homeostasis are already developed under (pre)diabetic and hypercholesterolemic conditions. In order to connect the basic findings with the clinical manifestation more clearly, further research efforts are needed.
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