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Endocrine. 2007 Feb;31(1):5-17.

The effect of insulin on expression of genes and biochemical pathways in human skeletal muscle.

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Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1675 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294-3360, USA.

Erratum in

  • Endocrine. 2007 Dec;32(3):356.


To study the insulin effects on gene expression in skeletal muscle, muscle biopsies were obtained from 20 insulin sensitive individuals before and after euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamps. Using microarray analysis, we identified 779 insulin-responsive genes. Particularly noteworthy were effects on 70 transcription factors, and an extensive influence on genes involved in both protein synthesis and degradation. The genetic program in skeletal muscle also included effects on signal transduction, vesicular traffic and cytoskeletal function, and fuel metabolic pathways. Unexpected observations were the pervasive effects of insulin on genes involved in interacting pathways for polyamine and S-adenoslymethionine metabolism and genes involved in muscle development. We further confirmed that four insulin-responsive genes, RRAD, IGFBP5, INSIG1, and NGFI-B (NR4A1), were significantly up-regulated by insulin in cultured L6 skeletal muscle cells. Interestingly, insulin caused an accumulation of NGFI-B (NR4A1) protein in the nucleus where it functions as a transcription factor, without translocation to the cytoplasm to promote apoptosis. The role of NGFI-B (NR4A1) as a new potential mediator of insulin action highlights the need for greater understanding of nuclear transcription factors in insulin action.

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