It has been shown that the combination of benzylamine or tyramine and low concentrations of vanadate markedly stimulates glucose transport in rat adipocytes by a mechanism that requires semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO) activity and H2O2 formation. Here we have further analysed the insulin-like effects of the combination of SSAO substrates and vanadate and we have studied the signal-transduction pathway activated in rat adipocytes. We found that several SSAO substrates (benzylamine, tyramine, methylamine, n-decylamine, histamine, tryptamine or β-phenylethylamine), in combination with low concentrations of vanadate, stimulate glucose transport in isolated rat adipocytes. Furthermore, SSAO substrates together with vanadate stimulated the recruitment of GLUT4 to the cell surface in isolated rat adipocytes. Benzylamine plus vanadate also stimulated glucose transport and GLUT4 translocation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Benzylamine or tyramine in combination with vanadate potently stimulated the tyrosine phosphorylation of both insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 and IRS-3. In contrast, benzylamine and vanadate caused only a weak stimulation of insulin receptor kinase. Benzylamine or tyramine in combination with vanadate also stimulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity; wortmannin abolished the stimulatory effect of benzylamine and vanadate on glucose transport in adipose cells. Furthermore, the administration of benzylamine and vanadate in vivo caused a rapid lowering of plasma glucose levels, which took place in the absence of alterations in plasma insulin. On the basis of these results we propose that SSAO activity regulates glucose transport in adipocytes. SSAO oxidative activity stimulates glucose transport via the translocation of GLUT4 carriers to the cell surface, resulting from a potent tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and IRS-3 and phosphoinositide 3-kinase activation. Our results also indicate that substrates of SSAO might regulate glucose disposal in vivo.

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