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During the life span, phenotypic and structural modifications on skeletal muscle contribute to a reduction on glucose uptake either in basal state or triggered by insulin, but the underlying mechanisms for this decline are not entirely identified. A reduction in the expression of skeletal muscle glucose transporters (GLUTs), glucose transporter type 1 (GLUT1) and glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), has been associated to such phenomena, but unlike the case of insulin, only few studies have addressed the effect of age on muscle-contraction-induced glucose uptake. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of age on GLUT1 and GLUT4 expression in skeletal muscle and its relation to the glucose uptake induced by muscle contraction. For this purpose, soleus muscle from Wistar rats aged 4, 10, 22 and 42 weeks were isolated and electrically stimulated (30 min, 10 Hz, 20 V, 0.2 ms). After stimulation, glucose uptake and GLUT1 and GLUT4 expression and localisation were evaluated. Muscle contraction caused an increase in glucose uptake in all studied groups. In addition, the absolute rates of glucose uptake were negatively correlated with age. The expression of GLUT4 was lower in older animals, whereas no relation between age and GLUT1 expression was found. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the ontogenic effect on GLUT4 expression and suggested an age-related modification on GLUT1 distribution within the muscle fibres; for instance, this protein seems to be present mainly out of the sarcoplasm. The present findings demonstrate that the ability of muscle contraction to increase glucose uptake is not influenced by age, whereas glucose uptake under basal conditions decreases with age. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


J M dos Santos, S A Benite-Ribeiro, G Queiroz, J A Duarte. The effect of age on glucose uptake and GLUT1 and GLUT4 expression in rat skeletal muscle. Cell biochemistry and function. 2012 Apr;30(3):191-7

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PMID: 22125125

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