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Effects of dexamethasone administration on insulin resistance and components of insulin signaling and glucose metabolism in equine skeletal muscle

Heather A. TileyDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Raymond J. GeorDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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L. Jill McCutcheonDepartment of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of dexamethasone treatment on selected components of insulin signaling and glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle obtained from horses before and after administration of a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp (EHC).

Animals—6 adult Standardbreds.

Procedures—In a balanced crossover study, horses received either dexamethasone (0.08 mg/kg, IV, q 48 h) or an equivalent volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution, IV, for 21 days. A 2-hour EHC was administered for measurement of insulin sensitivity 1 day after treatment. Muscle biopsy specimens obtained before and after the EHC were analyzed for glucose transporter 4, protein kinase B (PKB), glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3α/β protein abundance and phosphorylation state (PKB Ser473 and GSK-3α/β Ser21/9), glycogen synthase and hexokinase enzyme activities, and muscle glycogen concentration.

Results—Dexamethasone treatment resulted in resting hyperinsulinemia and a significant decrease (70%) in glucose infusion rate during the EHC. In the dexamethasone group, increased hexokinase activity, abrogation of the insulin-stimulated increase in glycogen synthase fractional velocity, and decreased phosphorylation of GSK-3α Ser21 and GSK-3B Ser9 were detected, but there was no effect of dexamethasone treatment on glucose transporter 4 content and glycogen concentration or on PKB abundance and phosphorylation state.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, 21 days of dexamethasone treatment resulted in substantial insulin resistance and impaired GSK-3 phosphorylation in skeletal muscle, which may have contributed to the decreased glycogen synthase activity seen after insulin stimulation.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of dexamethasone treatment on selected components of insulin signaling and glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle obtained from horses before and after administration of a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp (EHC).

Animals—6 adult Standardbreds.

Procedures—In a balanced crossover study, horses received either dexamethasone (0.08 mg/kg, IV, q 48 h) or an equivalent volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution, IV, for 21 days. A 2-hour EHC was administered for measurement of insulin sensitivity 1 day after treatment. Muscle biopsy specimens obtained before and after the EHC were analyzed for glucose transporter 4, protein kinase B (PKB), glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3α/β protein abundance and phosphorylation state (PKB Ser473 and GSK-3α/β Ser21/9), glycogen synthase and hexokinase enzyme activities, and muscle glycogen concentration.

Results—Dexamethasone treatment resulted in resting hyperinsulinemia and a significant decrease (70%) in glucose infusion rate during the EHC. In the dexamethasone group, increased hexokinase activity, abrogation of the insulin-stimulated increase in glycogen synthase fractional velocity, and decreased phosphorylation of GSK-3α Ser21 and GSK-3B Ser9 were detected, but there was no effect of dexamethasone treatment on glucose transporter 4 content and glycogen concentration or on PKB abundance and phosphorylation state.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, 21 days of dexamethasone treatment resulted in substantial insulin resistance and impaired GSK-3 phosphorylation in skeletal muscle, which may have contributed to the decreased glycogen synthase activity seen after insulin stimulation.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Geor's present address is Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Tech, 5527 Sullivan's Mill Rd, Middleburg, VA 20117. Dr. McCutcheon's present address is Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Leesburg, VA 20177.

Supported by the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association; the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs; and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council.

Address correspondence to Dr. Geor.