Groups of young rats (100 g body wt.) were starved from 23:00 to 11:00 h. The animals were then infused intravenously with diluent or insulin at three different doses to achieve plasma insulin concentrations of 20, 50 and 150 microunits/ml. Before the start of the infusion, animals received a single intravenous injection of indomethacin (250 micrograms) or diluent. After 20 min of infusion, the rats were injected with a large amount of labelled phenylalanine and were killed 10 min later. Insulin produced a dose-dependent decrease in plasma glucose and a dose-dependent rise in protein synthesis in cardiac, gastrocnemius, plantaris and soleus muscles. Protein synthesis in the liver was unaffected by insulin. Indomethacin had no effect on plasma glucose concentrations, but blocked the insulin-induced rise in protein synthesis in cardiac, gastrocnemius and plantaris, but not in soleus muscle. The hormone also increased the plasma concentration of prostaglandin E2 and of prostaglandins F2 alpha and E2 in gastrocnemius and plantaris muscle. The results show close similarities to previous observations with isolated rabbit muscles in vitro and suggest that the involvement of arachidonic acid metabolism in the action of insulin on protein synthesis is of physiological significance.

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