The changes of insulin responsiveness of white adipose tissue during the suckling-weaning transition in the rat were investigated in vitro on isolated adipocytes. Insulin binding, glucose transport and glucose metabolism in adipocytes from suckling rats and from rats weaned on to a high-carbohydrate (HC) or a high-fat (HF) diet were compared. Despite similar insulin binding, insulin-stimulated glucose transport rate is lower in adipocytes from suckling rats and HF-weaned rats than in adipocytes from HC-weaned rats. Moreover, whereas insulin markedly stimulates glucose metabolism in adipocytes from HC-weaned rats, glucose metabolism is totally unresponsive to insulin in adipocytes from suckling and HF-weaned rats. This insulin resistance is associated with a very low rate of lipogenesis and low activities of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, fatty acid synthase and pyruvate dehydrogenase.

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