Vanadate and rapamycin synergistically enhance insulin-stimulated glucose uptake

Jason C. O'Connor, Gregory G. Freund

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Tyrosine dephosphorylation, serine phosphorylation, and proteasomal degradation of insulin receptor substrates (IRSs) are implicated in the negative regulation of insulin action. Here we show that simultaneous inhibition of IRS-1 tyrosine dephosphorylation and proteasomal degradation synergistically augments insulin-responsive glucose uptake. L6 skeletal muscle cells (L6 cells) were treated with inhibitors of protein-tyrosine phosphatases, proteasomal degradation, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and the effects of insulin on glucose uptake, IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation, phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase activity, and IRS-1 mass were examined. Pretreatment of L6 cells with sodium orthovanadate (Na3VO4) plus the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin caused a 5-fold increase in insulin-responsive glucose uptake at 2 hours when compared to insulin alone. Evaluation of IRS-1 associated PI 3-kinase activity, IRS-1-associated p85 mass, and IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation showed that 2 hours after insulin addition they were reduced by 70% from maximal activity. Likewise, IRS-1 mass was reduced by 50%. When L6 cells were pretreated with Na3VO4 plus the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 or the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin prior to insulin addition, IRS-1 mass loss as well as IRS-1/PI-3 kinase complex decay was blocked at 2 hours and PI 3-kinase activity was increased 2.5-fold and 4-fold, respectively, over insulin alone. Finally, treatment of L6 cells with subtherapeutic amounts of vanadyl sulfate and rapamycin induced a synergistic 3-fold increase in insulin-induced glucose uptake at 2 hours. These findings indicate that vanadium and rapamycin synergize to enhance glucose uptake by preventing IRS-1 mass loss and IRS-1/PI 3-kinase complex decay and may offer a new approach to enhance glucose transport in diabetes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)666-674
    Number of pages9
    JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Endocrinology


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