Insulin plays a major role in the control of pancreatic amylase biosynthesis. In this study we determined glucose metabolism by pancreatic acini as well as the pancreatic content of both amylase protein and amylase mRNA during development of insulin resistance in the obese Zucker rat. At age 4 weeks there were no abnormalities detected in the above parameters, although the obese animals were already hyperinsulinaemic. At 6 weeks glucose metabolism was decreased by 50% in acini from obese rats, whereas pancreatic amylase-gene expression was only slightly impaired. At 22 weeks glucose metabolism was decreased by 50%, amylase content by 55% and amylase mRNA by 60% in acinar tissue of obese rats. As expected, hyperinsulinaemia increased markedly with age. Thus development of severe insulin resistance was associated with impairment of amylase-gene expression. To decrease insulin resistance, one group of adult obese rats was treated with Ciglitazone for 4 weeks. A lowered plasma insulin concentration without alteration of food intake was taken as evidence of decreased insulin resistance. This was associated with normalization of glucose metabolism and a marked increase of both amylase content of pancreatic tissue and amylase mRNA. In conclusion, both the increase of insulin resistance with age and its partial reversal by Ciglitazone treatment appear to modulate pancreatic amylase-gene expression in the obese Zucker rat.

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