GLUT4 but not GLUT1 expression decreases early in the development of feline obesity

C. L. Brennan, M. Hoenig, D. C. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increase in obesity in people and pets has been phenomenal. As in man, obesity in pets is a risk factor for many diseases including diabetes mellitus. Recently, tissue-specific regulation of glucose metabolism in fat and muscle tissue has been identified as an important factor for insulin sensitivity and it has been hypothesized that glucose uptake into tissues is altered in obesity causing insulin resistance. The purpose of this study was to determine the expression of the glucose transporter proteins GLUT4 and GLUT1 in muscle and fat from lean and obese cats. Seventeen domestic felines were tested in the lean state and again after a 6-month period of ad libitum food intake which led to a significant increase in weight (P<0.0001). Obese cats showed a significantly higher area under the curve (AUC) for glucose, AUC for insulin and a significant decrease in glucose percentage disappearance per min (K-value) (P=0.013, 0.018 and 0.017, respectively) during an intravenous glucose tolerance test, but no change in baseline glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations. GLUT4 expression was decreased in biopsies of both muscle (P=0.002) and fat (P=0.001) in the obese animals. GLUT4 in muscle and fat significantly and negatively correlated with the insulin AUC (r 2=0.36, P=0.004 and r2=0.18, P=0.040, respectively). GLUT1 expression showed no significant change in the obese cats in either tissue. It is concluded that the changes in GLUT4 are early derangements in obesity and occur before glucose intolerance is clinically evident.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue
  • Insulin
  • Muscle
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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