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J Neurochem. 1999 Feb;72(2):576-84.

Insulin transiently increases tau phosphorylation: involvement of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and Fyn tyrosine kinase.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0017, USA.


The modulation of tau phosphorylation in response to insulin was examined in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Insulin treatment resulted in a transient increase in tau phosphorylation followed by a decrease in tau phosphorylation that correlated directly with a sequential activation and deactivation of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta). The insulin-induced increase in tau phosphorylation and concurrent activation of GSK-3beta was rapid (<2 min) and transient, and was associated with increased tyrosine phosphorylation of GSK-3beta. The increase in GSK-3beta tyrosine phosphorylation corresponded directly to an increase in the association of Fyn tyrosine kinase with GSK-3beta, and Fyn immunoprecipitated from cells treated with insulin for 1 min phosphorylated GSK-3beta to a significantly greater extent than Fyn immunoprecipitated from control cells. Subsequent to the increase in GSK-3beta activation and tau phosphorylation, treatment of cells with insulin for 60 min resulted in a dephosphorylation of tau and a decrease in GSK-3beta activity. Thus, insulin rapidly and transiently activated GSK-3beta and modulated tau phosphorylation, alterations that may contribute to neuronal plasticity.

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