Glucose transporters and glucose transport in skeletal muscles of 1- to 25-mo-old rats

E. A. Gulve, E. J. Henriksen, K. J. Rodnick, J. H. Youn, J. O. Holloszy

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61 Scopus citations


It is widely thought that aging results in development of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. In this study, we examined the effects of growth and aging on the concentration of the GLUT-4 glucose transporter and on glucose transport activity in skeletal muscles of female Long-Evans rats. Relative amounts of immunoreactive GLUT-4 protein were measured in muscle homogenates of 1-, 10-, and 25-mo-old rats by immunoblotting with a polyclonal antibody directed against GLUT-4. In the epitrochlearis, plantaris, and the red and white regions of the quadriceps muscles, GLUT-4 immunoreactivity decreased by 14-33% between 1 and 10 mo of age and thereafter remained constant. In flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) and soleus muscles, GLUT-4 concentration was similar at all three ages studied. Glucose transport activity was assessed in epitrochlearis and FDB muscles by incubation with 2-deoxyglucose under the following conditions: basal, submaximal insulin, and either maximal insulin or maximal insulin combined with contractile activity. Glucose transport in the epitrochlearis muscle decreased by ~60% between 1 and 4 mo of age and then did not decline further between 4 and 25 mo of age. Transport activity in the FDB assessed with a maximally effective insulin concentration decreased only slightly (<20%) between 1 and 7 mo of age. Aging, i.e., the transition from young adulthood to old age, was not associated with a decrease in glucose transport activity in either the epitrochlearis or the FDB. In summary, GLUT-4 immunoreactivity decreased during the growth phase, between 1 and 10 mo, in most but not all muscles examined, and the reduction in total GLUT-4 protein can account for at least some of the decreases in glucose transport activity during this period. GLUT-4 immunoreactivity and glucose transport activity in skeletal muscle were not affected by the aging process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E319-E327
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3 27-3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-deoxyglucose
  • GLUT-4 glucose transporter
  • aging
  • development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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