1. The interaction of insulin and isometric exercise on glucose uptake by skeletal muscle was studied in the isolated perfused rat hindquarter. 2. Insulin, 10 m-i.u./ml, added to the perfusate, increased glucose uptake more than 10-fold, from 0.3-0.5 to 5.2-5.4 μmol/min per 30g of muscle in hindquarters of fed and 48h-starved rats respectively. In contrast, it did not stimulate glucose uptake in hindquarters from rats in diabetic ketoacidosis. 3. In the absence of added insulin, isometric exercise, induced by sciatic-nerve stimulation, increased glucose uptake to 4 and 3.4 μmol/min per 30g of muscle in fed and starved rats respectively. It had a similar effect in rats with moderately severe diabetes, but it did not increase glucose uptake in rats with diabetic ketoacidosis or in hindquarters of fed rats that had been “washed out” with an insulin-free perfusate. Insulin, at concentrations which did not stimulate glucose uptake in resting muscle, restored the stimulatory effect of exercise in these situations. 4. The stimulation of glucose uptake by exercise was independent of blood flow and the degree of tissue hypoxia; also it could not be reproduced by perfusing resting muscle with a medium previously used in an exercise experiment. 5. At rest glucose was not detectable in muscle cell water of fed and starved rats even when perfused with insulin. In the presence of insulin, a small accumulation of glucose, 0.25 mM, was noted in the muscle of ketoacidotic diabetic rats, suggesting inhibition of glucose phosphorylation, as well as of transport. 6. During exercise, the calculated intracellular concentration of glucose in the contracting muscle increased to 1.1-1.6mM in the fed, starved and moderately diabetic groups. Insulin significantly increased the already high rates of glucose uptake by the hindquarters of these animals but it did not alter the elevated intracellular concentration of glucose. 7. In severely diabetic rats, exercise did not cause glucose to accumulate in the cell in the absence of insulin. In the presence of insulin, it increased glucose uptake to 6.1 μmol/min per 30g of muscle and intracellular glucose to 0.72 mM. 8. The data indicate that the stimulatory effect of exercise on glucose uptake requires the presence of insulin. They suggest that in the absence of insulin, glucose uptake is not enhanced by exercise owing to inhibition of glucose transport into the cell.

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