It has been demonstrated in in vivo and in vitro experiments that high-fat (HF) feeding causes insulin resistance. To elucidate the mechanism for this effect, we have measured the kinase activity of the insulin receptor purified from livers of HF-fed rats that showed impaired insulin action in isolated rat adipocytes. In adipocyte experiments, HF feeding led to a 65% decrease in the maximal response stimulated by insulin in a 2-deoxyglucose uptake study. Although insulin binding to adipocytes of HF-fed rats also decreased to 50% of control due to decreased binding affinity, the postbinding defect should be accounted for by decreased insulin action in view of the presence of spare receptor. In contrast to adipocytes, insulin binding to the lectin-purified insulin receptor from livers showed no difference in receptor-binding affinity between HF-fed and control rats. Insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of the β-subunit of the insulin receptor was decreased to almost 50% throughout the entire dose-response curve. The study of glutamine-tyrosine (4:1) phosphorylation by the insulin-receptor kinase showed results similar to those of the autophosphorylation study. These results suggest that an HF diet causes insulin resistance by affecting insulin-receptor kinase, which plays an important role in transmembrane signaling between insulin binding and insulin action.

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