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Am J Physiol. 1979 May;236(5):E519-23.

Insulin sensitivity of rat skeletal muscle: effects of starvation and aging.


The effects of starvation and of aging on the sensitivity of skeletal muscle to insulin were studied in the isolated perfused rat hindquarter preparation. As we have shown previously, starvation for 48 h had no effect on glucose uptake in hindquarters perfused with high levels of insulin (5 and 20 mU/ml). On the other hand, in the presence of physiological concentrations of insulin (50--200 muU/ml), glucose utilization was substantially greater in starved rats. Low concentrations of insulin had a greater effect on glucose uptake in fed young (100-g) than in fed older (350-g) rats. Starvation for 48 h enhanced glucose uptake in both young and older rats; however, the relative differences persisted. Starvation had similar effects on glucose utilization by the incubated soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscle. In addition, it augmented the stimulation by insulin of alpha-aminoisobutyric acid transport into the incubated extensor digitorum longus muscle. These results suggest that the in vitro sensitivity of skeletal muscle to physiological concentrations of insulin is enhanced during starvation. The basis for these findings and their physiological implications remain to be determined.

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