The aim of the present study was to investigate whether imatinib affects insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal in HF (high-fat)-fed rats. Sprague–Dawley rats were fed either a standard pelleted rat food (low-fat diet) or an HF diet (60% fat) for 8 weeks. During the last 10 days of the HF diet regime, rats received saline alone or imatinib (50 or 100 mg/kg of body weight) daily by gavage. The higher dose of imatinib resulted in a decreased psoas fat pad weight in the HF-treated rats. Under euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp conditions, HF-fed rats exhibited increased insulin concentrations and decreased glucose disposal. The lower (50 mg/kg of body weight), but not the higher (100 mg/kg of body weight), dose of imatinib normalized insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal without affecting glucose metabolism in low-fat-fed rats. Hepatic glucose production at both fasting and hyperinsulinaemic conditions was only weakly affected by imatinib. We conclude that a moderate dose of imatinib efficiently counteracts HF-induced peripheral insulin resistance, and that further studies on the mechanisms by which imatinib increases insulin action in muscle and fat tissues might generate novel strategies for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

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