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Insulin unexpectedly increases the glucose 6-phosphate Ka of skeletal muscle glycogen synthase in calorie-restricted monkeys.

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Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


In skeletal muscle of normal subjects, the concentration of glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) at which the activity of glycogen synthase (GS) is half maximal (Ka) is decreased by in vivo insulin, and the fractional activity is increased without a change in GS maximal activity (Vmax). We have shown that moderate chronic calorie restriction, previously shown in rodents to be effective in slowing aging, resulted in the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes in primates (rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta). However, unexpectedly, in a subgroup of calorie-restricted monkeys, insulin during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp caused an unanticipated decrease in skeletal muscle GS fractional activity. These same monkeys had the lowest whole-body glucose disposal rate (M), the greatest increase in skeletal muscle G6P content and the greatest increase in skeletal muscle glycogen phosphorylase activity during the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp compared to the remaining calorie-restricted monkeys with normal insulin action. To determine whether this highly unusual insulin-mediated decrease in GS fractional activity was due to increased phosphorylation (increased Ka), we measured the activity of skeletal muscle GS at 9 different G6P concentrations before and during the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp in 6 calorie-restricted monkeys. G6P Ka increased (n = 4) and Vmax decreased (n = 5) during the clamp. Basal G6P Ka was inversely related to basal GSfv (r = -0.94, p < 0.002). G6P Ka and skeletal muscle G6P content were positively related under insulin-stimulated conditions (r = 0.93, p < 0.005). The change in G6P Ka (insulin-stimulated minus basal) was inversely related to M (r = -0.94, p < 0.002) and positively related to the change in skeletal muscle G6P content (r = 0.93, p < 0.005). We conclude that moderate calorie restriction results in a reversal of normal insulin action at the skeletal muscle with inactivation of glycogen synthase which is likely to be due to an increase in phosphorylation of GS together with a decrease in Vmax of GS during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp in most of the calorie-restricted monkeys. These alterations are likely to be involved in the anti-diabetogenic effects of calorie restriction.

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