The insulin sensitivity of protein synthesis and glucose incorporation into glycogen by the soleus and epitrochlearis muscles from fed rats and 24 h-starved rats was determined in vitro during the first and second hours of incubation after isolation of the muscles. Rates of protein synthesis by both muscles from fed rats in the first hour of incubation were 2-fold higher than in the second hour and were not increased by insulin. Rates of protein synthesis during the first hour in the presence of 6000 microunits of insulin/ml were increased in soleus, but not in epitrochlearis, muscles from starved rats. Rates of protein synthesis in both muscles from fed and starved rats were increased significantly by insulin during the second hour. High concentrations of insulin caused a marked stimulation of the rates of glucose incorporation by both muscles from fed and starved rats in both the first and second hours of incubation. The insulin sensitivity of glucose incorporation during the second hour, defined as the concentration of insulin causing half-maximal stimulation, was increased 10-fold for both muscle types from starved rats (soleus, 65 microunits/ml; epitrochlearis, 45 microunits/ml) relative to muscles from fed rats (soleus, 600 microunits/ml; epitrochlearis, 500 microunits/m). The insulin sensitivity of protein synthesis in the second hour was greater for soleus muscles from starved rats (65 microunits/ml) than from fed rats (500 microunits/ml). In contrast, the insulin sensitivity of protein synthesis in epitrochlearis muscles from starved rats was significantly decreased (225 microunits/ml) compared with fed rats (25 microunits/ml Maximal rates achieved by high concentrations of insulin were not different from those in the same muscle from fed rats. It is suggested that protein synthesis, in distinction to glucose utilization, may be resistant to insulin stimulation during periods of acute starvation in muscles with fibre compositions similar to the epitrochlearis, but not in muscles with fibre compositions similar to the soleus. Partial reversal of the resistance observed in vitro for epitrochlearis muscles from starved rats may be due to the loss of factors which suppress the effect of insulin in vivo.

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