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GLUT4 expression in human muscle fibres is not correlated with intracellular triglyceride (TG) content. Is TG a maker or a marker of insulin resistance?

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Gaster M, Ottosen PD, Vach W, Christiansen H, Beck-Nielsen H, Schrøder HD. GLUT4 expression in human muscle fibres is not correlated with intracellular triglyceride (TG) content. Is TG a maker or a marker of insulin resistance?. APMIS 2003;111:338–48.

We have recently reported a progressive decline in the expression of glucose transporter isoform 4 (GLUT4) from control subjects through obese non-diabetics to obese type 2 diabetic subjects, indicating that the reduced GLUT4 in slow twitch fibres could be secondary to obesity. In this study we investigate the association of GLUT4 expression with the intracellular triglyceride (TG) content in the same muscle fibres and with plasma lipid parameters. We used histochemistry and stereology to study the relationship between TG content and GLUT4 expression in muscle fibres from obese, obese type 2 diabetic subjects, and young lean controls. TG density was significantly higher in slow compared to fast fibres in all studied subjects (p<0.05). We found an increased TG density in slow twitch fibres of obese diabetic subjects compared to obese (p<0.05) and lean controls (p<0.008). Intracellular TG densities in slow and fast fibres did not correlate with the corresponding GLUT4 density in the same fibres in our study groups (p>0.05). Plasma TG and FFA did not correlate with GLUT4 expression in slow or fast fibres (p>0.05). In conclusion, TG content was increased in diabetic slow fibres with a reduced GLUT4 expression. The GLUT4 expression was not associated with an increased intracellular triglyceride content or with increased plasma FFA levels. Thus, intracellular TG content and circulating FFA may not influence glucose transport directly through GLUT4 expression.
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Keywords: Cholesterol; GLUT4; NIDDM; fast fibres; histochemistry; obesity; slow fibres; stereology; triglyceride

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Pathology, 2: Department of Statistics and Demography, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark 3: Dept. of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital.

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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