Antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid and protein turnover in insulin-resistant rat muscle

Randi B. Weinstein, Hans J. Tritschler, Erik J. Henriksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We have shown previously that the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate glucose transport and can enhance the stimulation of this process by insulin in skeletal muscle from insulin-resistant obese Zucker rats. As insulin can also acutely activate general protein synthesis and inhibit net protein degradation in skeletal muscle, we hypothesized that ALA could directly affect protein turnover and also increase the effect of insulin on protein turnover in isolated skeletal muscle from developing obese Zucker rats. In epitrochlearis muscles isolated from obese Zucker rats, insulin (2 mU/ml) significantly (p < 0.05) increased in vitro protein synthesis (phenylalanine incorporation into protein) and decreased net protein degradation (tyrosine release), whereas a racemic mixture of ALA (2 mM) had no effect on either process. Interestingly, rates of protein synthesis in muscle from obese Zucker rats were substantially lower compared to those values observed in age-matched insulin-sensitive Wistar rats, whereas rates of protein degradation were comparable. Obese Zucker rats were also treated chronically with either vehicle or ALA (50 mg/kg/d for 10 d). Again, insulin significantly increased net protein synthesis and decreased net protein degradation in epitrochlearis muscles isolated from vehicle-treated obese Zucker rats; however, this stimulatory effect of insulin was not improved by prior in vivo ALA treatment. These results indicate that the previously described effect of the antioxidant ALA to increase insulin-stimulated glucose transport in skeletal muscle of obese, insulin-resistant rats does not apply to another important insulin-regulatable process, protein turnover. These findings imply that the cellular mode of action for ALA is restricted to signaling factors unique to the activation of glucose transport, and does not involve the pathway of stimulation of general protein synthesis and net protein degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2001


  • Antioxidant
  • Free radicals
  • Insulin resistance
  • Protein degradation
  • Protein synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid and protein turnover in insulin-resistant rat muscle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this