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Diabetologia. 1997 Apr;40(4):421-9.

Abnormal glucose transport and GLUT1 cell-surface content in fibroblasts and skeletal muscle from NIDDM and obese subjects.

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  • 1C.N.R. Center of Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology, Naples, Italy.


Glucose transport and GLUT1 expression were studied in fibroblasts from 7 lean and 5 obese non-insulin-dependent diabetic (NIDDM) subjects with at least 2 NIDDM first-degree relatives and from 12 lean and 5 obese non-diabetic subjects with no family history of diabetes. The obese individuals also had a strong family history of obesity. Fibroblasts from all of the subjects exhibited no difference in insulin receptor binding, autophosphorylation, and kinase and hexokinase activity. At variance, basal 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) uptake and 3H-cytochalasin B binding were 50% increased in cells from individuals with NIDDM (p < 0.001) and/or obesity (p < 0.01) as compared to the lean non-diabetic subjects. Insulin-dependent (maximally stimulated-basal) 2-DG uptake and cytochalasin B binding were decreased three-fold in cells from the diabetic and/or obese subjects (p < 0.01). GLUT1 mRNA and total protein levels were comparable in fibroblasts from all the groups. However, basal GLUT1 cell-surface content was 50% greater in fibroblasts from the NIDDM and/or obese subjects as compared to the lean non-diabetic individuals while insulin-dependent GLUT1 recruitment at the cell surface was diminished three-fold. Increased basal GLUT1 content in the plasma membrane was also observed in skeletal muscle of 4 NIDDM and 3 non-diabetic obese individuals (p < 0.05 vs the lean non diabetic subjects). Basal 2-DG uptake in fibroblasts from diabetic/obese individuals and lean control subjects strongly correlated with the in vivo fasting plasma insulin concentration of the donor. A negative correlation was demonstrated between the magnitude of insulin-dependent glucose uptake by the fibroblasts and plasma insulin levels in vivo. We conclude that a primary abnormality in glucose transport and GLUT1 cell-surface content is present in fibroblasts from NIDDM and obese individuals. The abnormal GLUT1 content is also present in skeletal muscle plasma membranes from NIDDM and obese individuals.

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