The insulin resistance of aging has been attributed to a postreceptor defect in skeletal muscle. The present study examined whether a reduction in the concentration of the insulin-stimulated glucose transporter (GLUT4) in skeletal muscle was associated with advancing age in men (n = 55) and women (n = 29). Insulin sensitivity (minimal model) was negatively associated (P > 0.001) with age (range, 18–80 years) in men (r = −0.44) and women (r = −0.58). GLUT4 protein concentration in the vastus lateralis was also negatively associated (P < 0.05) with age (men, r = −0.28; women, r = −0.51). There was no relation (P > 0.15) between GLUT4 content in the gastrocnemius and age. GLUT4 concentration in the vastus lateralis was positively associated (P < 0.01) with insulin sensitivity in both sexes (r = 0.42); this relationship persisted in the men after adjusting for overall adiposity, regional adiposity, and cardiorespiratory fitness. These findings suggest that a decrement in GLUT4 protein concentration in skeletal muscle may at least partially contribute to the insulin resistance of aging in humans.

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