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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2004 Jan;84(1):1-27.

Effect of insulin and contraction up on glucose transport in skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Biochemistry Department, Biology Institute, Campinas State University, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.


The major glucose transporter protein expressed in skeletal muscle is GLUT4. Both muscle contraction and insulin induce translocation of GLUT4 from the intracellular pool to the plasma membrane. The intracellular pathways that lead to contraction- and insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation seem to be different, allowing the attainment of a maximal effect when acting together. Insulin utilizes a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent mechanism, whereas the exercise signal may be initiated by calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum or from autocrine- or paracrine-mediated activation of glucose transport. During exercise skeletal muscle utilizes more glucose than when at rest. However, endurance training leads to decreased glucose utilization during sub-maximal exercise, in spite of a large increase in the total GLUT4 content associated with training. The mechanisms involved in this reduction have not been totally elucidated, but appear to cause the decrease of the amount of GLUT4 translocated to the plasma membrane by altering the exercise-induced enhancement of glucose transport capacity. On the other hand, the effect of resistance training is controversial. Recent studies, however, demonstrated the improvement in insulin sensitivity correlated with increasing muscle mass. New studies should be designed to define the molecular basis for these important adaptations to skeletal muscle. Since during exercise the muscle may utilize insulin-independent mechanisms to increase glucose uptake, the mechanisms involved should provide important knowledge to the understanding and managing peripheral insulin resistance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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