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J Biol Chem. 1995 Feb 17;270(7):3442-6.

Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase is not sufficient for the hormonal stimulation of glucose uptake, lipogenesis, or glycogen synthesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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Department of Signal Transduction, Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research, Division of Warner-Lambert Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105.


The precise mechanism by which insulin regulates glucose metabolism is not fully understood. However, it is known that insulin activates two enzymes, phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase (PI 3'-K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which may be involved in stimulating the metabolic effects of insulin. The role of these enzymes in glucose metabolism was examined by comparing the effects of insulin, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Treatment of the cells with PDGF or EGF for 5 min increased the MAPK activity 3-5-fold, while insulin treatment produced a 2.5-fold increase. The MAPK activity remained elevated for 1 h after either PDGF or insulin treatment. PDGF and insulin, but not EGF, caused a transient increase in the amount PI 3'-K activity coprecipitated with tyrosine phosphorylated proteins. Although PDGF and insulin caused a similar increase in the activities of these two enzymes, only insulin caused substantial increases in glucose utilization. Insulin increased the transport of glucose and the synthesis of lipid 4- and 17-fold, respectively, while PDGF did not affect these processes significantly. Glycogen synthesis was increased 15-fold in response to insulin and only 3-fold in response to PDGF. Thus, the activation of MAPK and PI 3'-K are not sufficient for the complete stimulation of glucose transport, lipid synthesis, or glycogen synthesis by hormones in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, suggesting a requirement for other signaling mechanisms that may be uniquely responsive to insulin.

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