The aim of our work was to investigate a possible role of protein kinase C (PKC) in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in mouse skeletal muscle, and to search for a defect in PKC activation in insulin resistance found in obesity. In isolated soleus muscle of lean mice, insulin (100 nM) and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) (1 microM) acutely stimulated glucose uptake 3- and 2-fold respectively. The effects of insulin and TPA were not additive. When PKC activity was down-regulated by long-term (24 h) TPA pretreatment, before measurement of glucose transport, the TPA effect was abolished, but in addition insulin-stimulated glucose transport returned to basal values. Furthermore, polymyxin B, which inhibits PKC in muscle extracts, prevented insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in muscle. In muscle of obese insulin-resistant mice, glucose uptake evoked by insulin was decreased, whereas the TPA effect, expressed as a fold increase, was unaltered. Thus both agents stimulated glucose transport to the same extent. Furthermore, no difference was observed when PKC activation by TPA was measured in muscle from lean and obese mice. These results suggest that: (1) PKC is involved in the insulin effect on glucose transport in muscle; (2) PKC activation explains only part of the insulin stimulation of glucose transport; (3) the defect in insulin response in obese mice does not appear to be due to an alteration in the PKC-dependent component of glucose transport. We propose that insulin stimulation of glucose uptake occurs by a sequential two-step mechanism, with first translocation of transporters to the plasma membrane, which is PKC dependent, and second, activation of the glucose transporters. In obesity only the activation step was decreased, whereas the translocation step was unaltered.

This content is only available as a PDF.