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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Feb;96(2):621-7. Epub 2003 Oct 10.

Role of insulin on exercise-induced GLUT-4 protein expression and glycogen supercompensation in rat skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of insulin on skeletal muscle GLUT-4 protein expression and glycogen storage after postexercise carbohydrate supplementation. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to one of six treatment groups: sedentary control (Con), Con with streptozocin (Stz/C), immediately postexercise (Ex0), Ex0 with Stz (Stz/Ex0), 5-h postexercise (Ex5), and Ex5 with Stz (Stz/Ex5). Rats were exercised by swimming (2 bouts of 3 h) and carbohydrate supplemented immediately after each exercise session by glucose intubation (1 ml of a 50% wt/vol). Stz was administered 72-h before exercise, which resulted in hyperglycemia and elimination of the insulin response to the carbohydrate supplement. GLUT-4 protein of Ex0 rats was 30% above Con in fast-twitch (FT) red and 21% above Con in FT white muscle. In Ex5, GLUT-4 protein was 52% above Con in FT red and 47% above Con in FT white muscle. Muscle glycogen in FT red and white muscle was also increased above Con in Ex5 rats. Neither GLUT-4 protein nor muscle glycogen was increased above Con in Stz/Ex0 or Stz/Ex5 rats. GLUT-4 mRNA in FT red muscle of Ex0 rats was 61% above Con but only 33% above Con in Ex5 rats. GLUT-4 mRNA in FT red muscle of Stz/C and Stz/Ex0 rats was similar but significantly elevated in Ex5/Stz rats. These results suggest that insulin is essential for the increase in GLUT-4 protein expression following postexercise carbohydrate supplementation.

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