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Diabetologia. 2006 Apr;49(4):748-54. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Nutritional upregulation of p85alpha expression is an early molecular manifestation of insulin resistance.

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Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Denver, CO, USA.



We sought to define early molecular alterations associated with nutritionally induced insulin resistance in humans.


Insulin sensitivity was assessed using a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp in eight healthy women while on an isocaloric diet and after 3 days of overfeeding (50% above eucaloric diet). Expression of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase subunits p85alpha and p110 was assessed and measurements were made of IRS-1-associated PI 3-kinase activity, tyrosine and serine phosphorylation of IRS-1, and serine and threonine phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase. Measurements were made in skeletal muscle biopsies obtained before and after overfeeding.


Three days of overfeeding resulted in a reduction of insulin sensitivity accompanied by: (1) increased expression of skeletal muscle p85alpha; (2) an alteration in the ratio of p85alpha to p110; (3) a decrease in the amount of IRS-1-associated p110; and (4) a decrease in PI 3-kinase activity. Increases in expression of p85alpha and in the p85alpha:p110 ratio demonstrated a highly significant inverse correlation with insulin sensitivity, and changes in PI 3-kinase activity correlated with changes in insulin sensitivity. Tyrosine and serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and serine and threonine phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase were unaffected by 3 days of overfeeding.


We identified a novel mechanism of nutritionally induced insulin resistance in healthy women of normal weight. We conclude that increased expression of p85alpha may be one of the earliest molecular alterations in the mechanism of the insulin resistance associated with overfeeding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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