It has recently been shown that insulin sensitivity of skeletal muscle glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis is increased after a single exercise session. The present study was designed to determine whether insulin is necessary during exercise for development of these changes found after exercise. Diabetic rats and controls ran on a treadmill and their isolated hindquarters were subsequently perfused at insulin concentrations of 0, 100, and 20,000 μU/ml. Exercise increased insulin sensitivity of glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis equally in diabetic and control rats, but insulin responsiveness of glucose uptake was noted only in controls. Analysis of intracellular glucose-6-phosphate, glucose, glycogen synthesis, and glucose transport suggested that the exercise effect on responsiveness might be due to enhancement of glucose disposal. After electrical stimulation of diabetic hindquarters in the presence of insulin antiserum, insulin sensitivity of 3-O-methylglucose transport was increased to the same extent as in muscle from healthy rats stimulated in the presence of insulin at 50 μU/ml. Furthermore, in muscle depleted of glycogen by contractions, transport of 3-O-methylglucose was increased in the presence of insulin antiserum and in the absence of increased regional perfusate flow. It is concluded that after exercise, increased sensitivity of muscle glucose metabolism to insulin can be found in the absence of insulin during exercise, but still involves increased membrane transport of glucose. At maximal insulin concentrations, the enhancing effect of exercise on glucose uptake may involve enhancement of glucose disposal, an effect that is probably less in muscle from diabetic rats. Finally, after exercise, increased glucose transport in glycogen-depleted muscle does not require increased muscle blood flow and, therefore, involves increased membrane permeability for glucose. The presence of insulin is not necessary for this effect of exercise.

This content is only available via PDF.