Acute selective glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibition enhances insulin signaling in prediabetic insulin-resistant rat skeletal muscle

Betsy B. Dokken, Julie A. Sloniger, Erik J. Henriksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) has been implicated in the multifactorial etiology of skeletal muscle insulin resistance in animal models and in human type 2 diabetic subjects. However, the potential molecular mechanisms involved are not yet fully understood. Therefore, we determined if selective GSK3 inhibition in vitro leads to an improvement in insulin action on glucose transport activity in isolated skeletal muscle of insulin-resistant, prediabetic obese Zucker rats and if these effects of GSK3 inhibition are associated with enhanced insulin signaling. Type I soleus and type IIb epitrochlearis muscles from female obese Zucker rats were incubated in the absence or presence of a selective, small organic GSK3 inhibitor (1 μM CT118637, Ki, < 10 nM for GSK3α and GSK3β). Maximal insulin stimulation (5 mU/ml) of glucose transport activity, glycogen synthase activity, and selected insulin-signaling factors [tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR) and IRS-1, IRS-1 associated with p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and serine phosphorylation of Akt and GSK3] were assessed. GSK3 inhibition enhanced (P <0.05) basal glycogen synthase activity and insulin-stimulated glucose transport in obese epitrochlearis (81 and 24%) and soleus (108 and 20%) muscles. GSK3 inhibition did not modify insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of IR β-subunit in either muscle type. However, in obese soleus, GSK3 inhibition enhanced (all P < 0.05) insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation (45%), IRS-1-associated p85 (72%), Akt1/2 serine phosphorylation (30%), and GSK3β serine phosphorylation (39%). Substantially smaller GSK3 inhibitor-mediated enhancements of insulin action on these insulin signaling factors were observed in obese epitrochlearis. These results indicate that selective GSK3 inhibition enhances insulin action in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle of the prediabetic obese Zucker rat, at least in part by relieving the deleterious effects of GSK3 action on post-IR insulin signaling. These effects of GSK3 inhibition on insulin action are greater in type I muscle than in type lib muscle from these insulin-resistant animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1188-E1194
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 51-6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Insulin receptor
  • Insulin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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