Insulin can enhance GLUT4 gene expression in 3T3-F442A cells and this effect is mimicked by vanadate but counteracted by cAMP and high glucose--potential implications for insulin resistance

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Feb 14;1535(2):174-85. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4439(00)00097-1.


It is well-established that high levels of cAMP or glucose can produce insulin resistance. The aim of this study was to characterize the interaction between these agents and insulin with respect to adipose tissue/muscle glucose transporter isoform (glucose transporter 4, GLUT4) gene regulation in cultured 3T3-F442A adipocytes and to further elucidate the GLUT4-related mechanisms in insulin resistance. Insulin (10(4) microU/ml) treatment for 16 h clearly increased GLUT4 mRNA level in cells cultured in medium containing 5.6 mM glucose but not in cells cultured in medium with high glucose (25 mM). 8-Bromo-cAMP (1 or 4 mM) or N(6)-monobutyryl cAMP, a hydrolyzable and a non-hydrolyzable cAMP analog, respectively, markedly decreased the GLUT4 mRNA level irrespective of glucose concentrations. In addition, these cAMP analogs also inhibited the upregulating effect of insulin on GLUT4 mRNA level. Interestingly, the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor vanadate (1-50 microM) clearly increased GLUT4 mRNA level in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, cAMP-induced inhibition of the insulin effect was also prevented by vanadate. In parallel to the effects on GLUT4 gene expression, both insulin, vanadate and cAMP produced similar changes in cellular GLUT4 protein content and cAMP impaired the effect of insulin to stimulate (14)C-deoxyglucose uptake. In contrast, insulin, vanadate or cAMP did not alter insulin receptor (IR) mRNA or the cellular content of IR protein.

In conclusion: (1) Both insulin and vanadate elicit a stimulating effect on GLUT4 gene expression in 3T3-F442A cells, but a prerequisite is that the surrounding glucose concentration is low. (2) Cyclic AMP impairs the insulin effect on GLUT4 gene expression, but this is prevented by vanadate, probably by enhancing the tyrosine phosphorylation of signalling peptides and/or transcription factors. (3) IR gene and protein expression is not altered by insulin, vanadate or cAMP in this cell type. (4) The changes in GLUT4 gene expression produced by cAMP or vanadate are accompanied by similar alterations in GLUT4 protein expression and glucose uptake, suggesting a role of GLUT4 gene expression for the long-term regulation of cellular insulin action on glucose transport.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Culture Media
  • Cyclic AMP / pharmacology*
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Mice
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / analysis
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Vanadates / pharmacology


  • Culture Media
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Slc2a4 protein, mouse
  • Vanadates
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Glucose