Sex difference in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in rat and human adipocytes

Am J Physiol. 1984 Mar;246(3 Pt 1):E211-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1984.246.3.E211.


In an effort to determine whether differences in basal and maximum insulin-stimulated glucose transport by isolated adipocytes are a function of donor sex, we measured glucose transport rates in the absence and presence of 8 nM insulin in adipocytes isolated from the abdominal subcutaneous fat tissue of nine male and ten female subjects with varying degrees of obesity and in adipocytes isolated from the abdominal subcutaneous and retroperitoneal fat tissue of (180-220 g) male and female rats. Because maximal insulin-stimulated glucose transport rate per cell of adipocytes isolated from subcutaneous abdominal tissue of male and female subjects was constant in each sex, the data have been normalized on the basis of transport per cell. The results demonstrated that basal and maximal insulin-stimulated glucose transport per cell was 53-75% higher per cell in the females versus males in adipocytes from human subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (P less than 0.01). A similar difference in glucose transport rate between males and females (P less than 0.001) was also found in rat abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. Adipocytes isolated from rat retroperitoneal adipose tissue had higher transport rates (approximately three-fold) and smaller sex differences (35% higher in females) than found in adipocytes from rat and human subcutaneous tissue. These results indicate that basal and maximum insulin-stimulated glucose transport is higher by adipocytes isolated from females and that this difference is independent of adipose cell size and species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Body Surface Area
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats / metabolism*
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Insulin
  • Glucose