The dose-response characteristics of several glucoseutilizing tissues (brain, heart, white adipose tissue, brown adipose tissue, and quadriceps muscle) to a single injection of insulin have been compared in control mice and mice made obese with a single injection of gold thioglucose (GTG). Tissue content of [1−14C]2-deoxyglucose 6-phosphate and blood disappearance rate of [1−14C]2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) were measured at nine different insulin doses and used to calculate ratesof 2-DG uptake and phosphorylation in tissues from control and obese mice. The insulin sensitivity of tissues reflected in the ED50 of insulin response varied widely, and brown adipose tissue was the most insulin-sensitive tissue studied. In GTG-obese mice, heart, quadriceps, and brown adipose tissue were insulin resistant (demonstrated by increased ED50), whereas in white adipose tissue, 2-DG phosphorylation was more sensitive to insulin. Brain 2-DG phosphorylation was insulin independent in control and obese animals. The largest decrease in insulin sensitivity in GTG-obese mice was observed in brown adipose tissue. The loss of diet-induced thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue as a result of the hypothalamiclesion in GTG-obese mice could be a major cause of insulin resistance in brown adipose tissue. Because brown adipose tissue can make a major contribution to whole-body glucose utilization, insulin resistance in this tissue may have a significant effect on whole-animal glucose homeostasis in GTG-obese mice.

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