Aims/hypothesis: p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) is generally thought to facilitate signal transduction to genomic, rather than metabolic responses. However, recent evidence implicates a role for p38 MAPK in the regulation of glucose transport; a site of insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes. Thus we determined p38 MAPK protein expression and phosphorylation in skeletal muscle from Type 2 diabetic patients and non-diabetic subjects.
Methods: In vitro effects of insulin (120 nmol/l) or AICAR (1 mmol/l) on p38 MAPK expression and phosphorylation were determined in skeletal muscle from non-diabetic (n=6) and Type 2 diabetic (n=9) subjects.
Results: p38 MAPK protein expression was similar between Type 2 diabetic patients and non-diabetic subjects. Insulin exposure increased p38 MAPK phosphorylation in non-diabetic, but not in Type 2 diabetic patients. In contrast, basal phosphorylation of p38 MAPK was increased in skeletal muscle from Type 2 diabetic patients.
Conclusion/interpretation: Insulin increases p38 MAPK phosphorylation in skeletal muscle from non-diabetic subjects, but not in Type 2 diabetic patients. However, basal p38 MAPK phosphorylation is increased in skeletal muscle from Type 2 diabetic patients. Thus, aberrant p38 MAPK signalling might contribute to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance.