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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 May;284(5):E892-900. Epub 2003 Jan 7.

Modulation of muscle insulin resistance by selective inhibition of GSK-3 in Zucker diabetic fatty rats.

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Muscle Metabolism Laboratory, Department of Physiology, Ina E. Gittings Building #93, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


A role for elevated glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) activity in the multifactorial etiology of insulin resistance is now emerging. However, the utility of specific GSK-3 inhibition in modulating insulin resistance of skeletal muscle glucose transport is not yet fully understood. Therefore, we assessed the effects of novel, selective organic inhibitors of GSK-3 (CT-98014 and CT-98023) on glucose transport in insulin-resistant muscles of Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. Incubation of type IIb epitrochlearis and type I soleus muscles from ZDF rats with CT-98014 increased glycogen synthase activity (49 and 50%, respectively, P < 0.05) but did not alter basal glucose transport (2-deoxyglucose uptake). In contrast, CT-98014 significantly increased the stimulatory effects of both submaximal and maximal insulin concentrations in epitrochlearis (37 and 24%) and soleus (43 and 26%), and these effects were associated with increased cell-surface GLUT4 protein. Lithium enhanced glycogen synthase activity and both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscles from ZDF rats. Acute oral administration (2 x 30 mg/kg) of CT-98023 to ZDF rats caused elevations in GSK-3 inhibitor concentrations in plasma and muscle. The glucose and insulin responses during a subsequent oral glucose tolerance test were reduced by 26 and 34%, respectively, in the GSK-3 inhibitor-treated animals. Thirty minutes after the final GSK-3 inhibitor treatment, insulin-stimulated glucose transport was significantly enhanced in epitrochlearis (57%) and soleus (43%). Two hours after the final treatment, insulin-mediated glucose transport was still significantly elevated (26%) only in the soleus. These results indicate that specific inhibition of GSK-3 enhances insulin action on glucose transport in skeletal muscle of the insulin-resistant ZDF rat. This unique approach may hold promise as a pharmacological treatment against insulin resistance of skeletal muscle glucose disposal.

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