The decrease of insulin binding to plasma membranes of liver, adipose, and muscle tissues observed in obese-hyperglycemic (ob/ob) mice was reversed towards normal by prolonged fasting or streptozotocin treatment. The extent of mis reversal was related to that of the decrease in hyperinsulinemia of the obese mice. In contrast, binding of glucagon to liver plasma membranes was little influenced by fasting or streptozotocin treatment of obese animals. The relationship between insulin binding and metabolic effects of the hormone did not appear to be identical in all tissues. In muscle, insulin binding and insulin effect on glucose uptake and metabolism changed in parallel—i.e., when binding increased, tissue sensitivity to the hormone increased. In the liver, the increase in insulin binding that followed fasting or streptozotocin treatment was not accompanied by any detectable metabolic effect of insulin on hepatic metabolism. A similar situation appeared to prevail in adipose tissue. The varying relationships observed between the state of insulin binding to membranes and the target tissue responsiveness to the hormone probably reflect the multiplicity of the factors operative hi these processes and help us to understand why the over-all obese-hyperglycemic syndrome of ob/ob mice cannot be improved simply by decreasing endogenous hyperinsulinemia.

This content is only available via PDF.