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Life Sci. 1996;59(23):1989-2000.

Insulin-like vs. non-insulin-like stimulation of glucose metabolism by vanadium, tungsten, and selenium compounds in rat muscle.

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Department of Medicine III, University of Vienna, Austria.


The direct impact of vanadate, tungstate, selenate, and selenite on glucose metabolism of isolated rat soleus muscle was investigated. All compounds stimulated glucose transport, but only vanadate exerted an insulin-like effect on glycogen synthesis (mumol glucose into glycogen*g-1*h-1: control 1.43 +/- 0.11 vs. 1 mmol/l vanadate, 2.08 +/- 0.11, p < 0.0001), which was more distinct in the presence of 1 mmol/l H2O2 (control, 1.44 +/- 0.13 vs. 1 mmol/l vanadate, 3.49 +/- 0.12, p < 0.001). Glucose handling of muscles exposed to tungstate, selenate, or selenite resembled that of hypoxic muscle, i.e. the induced rise in glucose uptake was inhibited by dantrolene and associated with high rates of glycolysis and rapid glycogen depletion (glycogen content after incubation, mumol glucosyl units/g: control, 16.2 +/- 0.7 vs. hypoxia, 2.7 +/- 0.5, p < 0.0001; control, 17.0 +/- 0.5 vs. 100 mmol/l tungstate, 5.5 +/- 0.4, p < 0.001; control, 16.2 +/- 0.7 vs. 100 mmol/l selenate, 1.5 +/- 0.3, and vs. 300 mumol/l selenite, 1.7 +/- 0.3, p < 0.0001 each). The results suggest that vanadate (and more pronounced it's peroxides) exerts true insulin-like action on isolated muscle glucose metabolism, whereas tungsten and selenium salts trigger glucose transport in association with a catabolic response, which may represent an unspecific response to toxic/osmotic stress.

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