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Insulin binding and insulin action in rat fat cells after adrenalectomy

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Insulin binding and the effect of insulin on the transport of 3-O-methylglucose, lipogenesis from glucose, glucose oxidation and lipolysis was studied in fat cells of adrenalectomised rats and of a control group of sham-operated rats. The serum insulin level of the adrenalectomised rats (0.7 ng/ml) was lower than that of the controls (1.6 ng/ml). In adrenalectomised rats as compared to sham-operated rats the insulin concentrations causing half-maximal effect were reduced by 50% in lipogenesis and antilipolysis and by 30% in glucose transport. The increase in sensitivity to submaximal insulin concentrations was not observed in glucose oxidation. The maximal responsiveness was unchanged in all test systems. The increase in sensitivity in three of the four studied insulin effects may be related to the 37% increase in the binding capacity of fat cells from adrenalectomised compared with sham-operated rats. The unchanged sensitivity with respect to glucose oxidation indicates possible post-receptor modulation. When adrenalectomised rats were substituted with either insulin or cortisol serum insulin levels were elevated above normal; however, the changes in the receptor were prevented in the cortisol supplemented rats and only partially in the insulin supplemented rats. The observation suggests, that the insulin receptor is regulated not only by the serum insulin level but also by cortisol.


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Häring, H., Calle, C., Bug, A. et al. Insulin binding and insulin action in rat fat cells after adrenalectomy. Diabetologia 19, 379–385 (1980).

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Key words

  • Adrenalectomy
  • insulin receptor
  • cortisol
  • insulin effect
  • glucose transport
  • glucose oxidation
  • lipogenesis
  • antilipolysis