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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Oct;289(4):E551-61. Epub 2005 May 31.

Adipose-specific overexpression of GLUT4 reverses insulin resistance and diabetes in mice lacking GLUT4 selectively in muscle.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Adipose tissue plays an important role in glucose homeostasis and affects insulin sensitivity in other tissues. In obesity and type 2 diabetes, glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) is downregulated in adipose tissue, and glucose transport is also impaired in muscle. To determine whether overexpression of GLUT4 selectively in adipose tissue could prevent insulin resistance when glucose transport is impaired in muscle, we bred muscle GLUT4 knockout (MG4KO) mice to mice overexpressing GLUT4 in adipose tissue (AG4Tg). Overexpression of GLUT4 in fat not only normalized the fasting hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance in MG4KO mice, but it reduced these parameters to below normal levels. Glucose infusion rate during a euglycemic clamp study was reduced 46% in MG4KO compared with controls and was restored to control levels in AG4Tg-MG4KO. Similarly, insulin action to suppress hepatic glucose production was impaired in MG4KO mice and was restored to control levels in AG4Tg-MG4KO. 2-deoxyglucose uptake during the clamp was increased approximately twofold in white adipose tissue but remained reduced in skeletal muscle of AG4Tg-MG4KO mice. AG4Tg and AG4Tg-MG4KO mice have a slight increase in fat mass, a twofold elevation in serum free fatty acids, an approximately 50% increase in serum leptin, and a 50% decrease in serum adiponectin. In MG4KO mice, serum resistin is increased 34% and GLUT4 overexpression in fat reverses this. Overexpression of GLUT4 in fat also reverses the enhanced clearance of an oral lipid load in MG4KO mice. Thus overexpression of GLUT4 in fat reverses whole body insulin resistance in MG4KO mice without restoring glucose transport in muscle. This effect occurs even though AG4Tg-MG4KO mice have increased fat mass and low adiponectin and is associated with normalization of elevated resistin levels.

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