The exposure of primary cultures of hepatocytes to insulin. 10−8 M, for 16 h results in a decrease in high affinity insulin binding with no alterations in lower affinity binding. This is reflected in a decrease in the sensitivity, but normal responsiveness, of cultured hepatocytes to the acute effect of insulin on the uptake of aminoisobutyric acid. The shift in sensitivity, however, can only be partially explained by the decrease in insulin binding. With regard to lipid synthesis, hepatocytes cultured in the presence of insulin, 10−8 M, are normally sensitive and hyperresponsive to the acute effects of insulin. These data indicate that the insensitivity or resistance of a given tissue to insulin may be specific for the biologic response being evaluated, that postbinding events may be more important than alterations in insulin binding in determining both the sensitivity and responsiveness of a tissue to insulin, and that generalizations concerning the sensitivity or responsiveness of a tissue to insulin based on binding data alone may be unwarranted.

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