Glucose-induced insulin secretion is impaired and insulin-induced phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and insulin receptor substrate-1 are increased in protein-deficient rats
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Malnutrition is related to diabetes in tropical countries. In experimental animals, protein deficiency may affect insulin secretion. However, the effect of malnutrition on insulin receptor phosphorylation and further intracellular signaling events is not known. Therefore, we decided to evaluate the rate of insulin secretion and the early molecular steps of insulin action in insulin-sensitive tissues of an animal model of protein deficiency. Pancreatic islets isolated from rats fed a standard (17%) or a low (6%) protein diet were studied for their secretory response to increasing concentrations of glucose in the culture medium. Basal as well as maximal rates of insulin secretion were significantly lower in the islets isolated from rats fed a low protein diet. Moreover, the dose-response curve to glucose was significantly shifted to the right in the islets from malnourished rats compared with islets from control rats. During an oral glucose tolerance test, there were significantly lower circulating concentrations of insulin in the serum of rats fed a low protein diet in spite of no difference in serum glucose concentration between the groups, suggesting an increased peripheral insulin sensitivity. Immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation were used to study the phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and the insulin receptor substrate-1 as well as the insulin receptor substrate-1-p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase association in response to insulin. Values were greater in hind-limb muscle from rats fed a low protein diet compared with controls. No differences were detected in the total amount of protein corresponding to the insulin receptor or insulin receptor substrate-1 between muscle from rats fed the two diets. Therefore, we conclude that a decreased glucose-induced insulin secretion in pancreatic islets from protein-malnourished rats is responsible, at least in part, for an increased phosphorylation of the insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate-1 and its association with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. These might represent some of the factors influencing the equilibrium in glucose concentrations observed in animal models of malnutrition and undernourished subjects.
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