Glucose uptake in rat skeletal muscles decreases with age and obesity, but increases with chronic exercise training. The purpose of our study was to determine whether the GLUT4 content in several skeletal muscles from 1-mo-old young, lean rats and 12-mo-old aged, obese rats alters with exercise training. For exercise, a treadmill run of ∼ 1 km/day was made for 4 wk by both groups of rats. The concentration of GLUT4 per protein in membrane fraction from several skeletal muscles was measured by immunoblotting. The amount of GLUT4 in the gastrocnemius and white quadriceps from aged rats slightly but significantly decreased to 73% and 78% of that from young rats, respectively. However, no significant difference in GLUT4 amount in the soleus, plantaris, and red quadriceps was observed between young and aged rats. The exercise training resulted in a larger increase in the amount of GLUT4 in each muscle from aged rats than in muscles from young rats. In aged rats, GLUT4 amount increased significantly with exercise training by 30, 33, 41, and 27% in the soleus, plantaris, gastrocnemius, and red quadriceps, respectively, compared with the sedentary controls. However, in young rats, exercise-induced increase of GLUT4 amount was significant only in the plantaris, and the increase was 17%. In exercised aged, obese rats, decreases of body weight, plasma triglyceride levels, and plasma free fatty acid were also observed. These findings suggest that the amount of GLUT4 in some skeletal muscles decreases slightly in aged, obese rats, exercise training increases the amount of GLUT4 more efficiently in aged rats than in young rats and ameliorates the GLUT4 decrease observed in aged rats, and lipid metabolism may be related to the regulation of GLUT4 protein content in muscles.

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