Time course of the response of carbohydrate metabolism to unloading of the soleus

Erik J. Henriksen, Marc E. Tischler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The time course of the response of carbohydrate metabolism to unloading was studied in the soleus muscle of rats subjected to tail-cast suspension. In the fresh soleus, just 12 hours of unloading led to higher concentrations of glycogen and lower activity ratios of both glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase. These changes were still evident on day 3. This initial accumulation of glycogen was likely due to its decreased degradation in response to muscle disuse. Thereafter, the increased glycogen concentration apparently diminished the activity ratio of glycogen synthase, leading to a subsequent fall in the total glycogen content after day 1. After 24 hours of unloading, when no significant atrophy was detectable, there was no differential response to insulin for in vitro glucose metabolism. As reported for day 6 (reference 6), on day 3 the soleus atrophied significantly and displayed a greater sensitivity to insulin for most of these parameters compared to the weight-bearing control muscle. However, insulin sensitivity for glycogen synthesis was unchanged. These results showed that the increased sensitivity of insulin of the unloaded soleus is associated with the degree of muscle atrophy, likely due to an increased insulin binding capacity relative to muscle mass. This study also showed that insulin regulation of glucose uptake and of glycogen synthesis is affected differentially in the unloaded soleus muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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