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Contractile activity increases glucose uptake by muscle in severely diabetic rats.


Muscle contractile activity is associated with an acceleration of glucose transport into muscle. It has been reported that the acceleration of glucose uptake by contractile activity in perfused rat muscles requires the presence of insulin in the perfusate. This claim was investigated using the perfused rat hindlimb preparation in the present study. Rats were made diabetic by injection of 125 mg/kg of streptozotocin and either studied 72 h later or maintained on insulin for 2 wk and then studied 3 days after cessation of insulin therapy. Only rats with plasma insulin levels too low to measure were used. The hindlimbs were washed out with 630 ml of medium over 75 min using a single flow-through washout before muscle stimulation. Despite the absence of insulin in the perfusion medium, stimulation of muscle contraction resulted in large increases in glucose uptake in both the diabetic and control rats. These findings do not support the claim that the stimulatory effect of muscle contraction on glucose uptake by perfused rat muscles requires the presence of insulin.

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