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Am J Physiol. 1991 Sep;261(3 Pt 1):E337-47.

In vivo location of the rate-limiting step of hexose uptake in muscle and brain tissue of rats.

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Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


The uptake of glucose proceeds via facilitated transport from the plasma followed by phosphorylation of intracellular glucose. We have quantified the relative contribution of transport and phosphorylation to the overall rate of hexose utilization into the quadriceps muscle (red and white) and cerebellum of rats anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium. The method employed simultaneous infusions of radiolabeled 3-O-methyl-D-glucose and 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Results were expressed in terms of a parameter ft*, which has theoretical limits of 0 and 1 corresponding to phosphorylation and transport limitation, respectively. In cerebellum, basal rates of transport and phosphorylation were comparable (ft* = 0.32 +/- 0.02). Under conditions of hyperglycemia plus maximum insulin stimulation, phosphorylation limited glucose utilization to a greater extent (ft* = 0.12 +/- 0.02). No effect of hyperinsulinemia alone was observed. In red muscle, transport determined overall glucose utilization in the basal (ft* = 0.96 +/- 0.05) and euglycemic insulin-stimulated states (ft* = 0.90 +/- 0.02). A shift of the rate-limiting step from transport toward phosphorylation was observed in insulin-stimulated red muscle when blood glucose (ft* = 0.64 +/- 0.05) or epinephrine levels (ft* = 0.66 +/- 0.07) were elevated. Neither effect was seen in white muscle. We conclude that the transport step dominates but is not the only determinant of muscle hexose utilization under all conditions.

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