The effects of insulin on the level and activity of the GLUT4 present in human adipose cells

Diabetologia. 1995 Jun;38(6):661-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00401836.


Human adipose cells are much less responsive to insulin stimulation of glucose transport activity than are rat adipocytes. To assess and characterize this difference, we have determined the rates of 3-O-methyl-D-glucose transport in human adipose cells and have compared these with the levels of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) assessed by using the bis-mannose photolabel, 2-N-4-(1-azi-2,2,2-trifluoroethyl)benzoyl-1,3-bis-(D-mannos- 4-yloxy)-2-propyl-amine, ATB-BMPA. The rates of 3-O-methyl-D-glucose transport and the cell-surface level of GLUT4 are very similar in the human and rat adipocyte in the basal state. The Vmax for 3-O-methyl-D-glucose transport in fully insulin-stimulated human adipose cells is 15-fold lower than in rat adipose cells. Photolabelling of GLUT4 suggests that this low transport activity is associated with a low GLUT4 abundance (39 x 10(4) sites/cell; 19.9 x 10(4) sites at the cell surface). The turnover number for human adipose cell GLUT4 (5.8 x 10(4) min-1) is similar to that observed for GLUT4 in rat adipose cells and the mouse cell line, 3T3L1. Since 50% of the GLUT4 is at the cell surface of both human and rat adipose cells in the fully insulin-stimulated state, an inefficient GLUT4 exocytosis process cannot account for the low transport activity. The intracellular retention process appears to have adapted to release, in the basal state, a greater proportion of the total-cellular pool of GLUT4 to the cell surface of the larger human adipocytes. These cell-surface transporters are presumably necessary to provide the basal metabolic needs of the adipocyte.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-O-Methylglucose
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Affinity Labels
  • Animals
  • Azides / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Glycosides
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Methylglucosides / metabolism
  • Methylglucosides / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Propylamines*
  • Rats


  • Affinity Labels
  • Azides
  • Disaccharides
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Glycosides
  • Insulin
  • Methylglucosides
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Propylamines
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • Slc2a4 protein, rat
  • 2-N-(4-(1-azitrifluoroethyl)benzoyl)-1,3-bis-(mannos-4-yloxy)-2-propylamine
  • 3-O-Methylglucose
  • Glucose