Deakin University
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Changes in the kinase activity of the insulin receptor account for an increased insulin sensitivity of mammary gland in late pregnancy

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journal contribution
posted on 1998-02-01, 00:00 authored by J M Carrascosa, P Ramos, Juan Molero Navajas, E Herrera
Mammary gland is an organ that undergoes cycles of growth, differentiation, and function during pregnancy and lactation. Although it is known that the gland enhances its sensitivity to insulin during lactation, it remains to be investigated whether this increased sensitivity develops during pregnancy and which are the molecular mechanisms underlying such a change. To address this issue, virgin and late-pregnant rats were subjected to a continuous infusion with 50% glucose for 72 h to produce a prolonged hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic condition. Insulin sensitivity in mammary gland was determined as the glucose utilization index by using 2-[3H]-deoxyglucose. Furthermore, binding characteristics and kinase activity were studied by means of both [125I]insulin binding and in vitro phosphorylation studies with insulin receptors partially purified from mammary gland. Whereas the glucose utilization index in mammary gland from nonpregnant rats remained unaffected by hyperinsulinemia, glands from pregnant rats displayed a high insulin-dependent glucose uptake. This effect was not paralleled by changes in the binding characteristics of insulin to the high-affinity receptor, suggesting that the high insulin sensitivity of mammary gland in pregnancy is not accounted for by changes at the level of hormone-receptor interaction. Autophosphorylation studies showed that insulin-stimulated kinase activity of insulin receptors from mammary gland was 6- and 20-fold higher in pregnant than in virgin animals under normo- and hyperinsulinemic conditions, respectively. Moreover, insulin dose-response curves revealed that the efficacy of insulin to stimulate kinase activity of the insulin receptor was markedly higher in pregnant than in virgin rats, whereas its potency (ED50 approximately 15 nM) was not changed. These data, therefore, show that mammary glands develop increased insulin sensitivity during late pregnancy, caused by an augmented kinase activity of the insulin receptor.









520 - 526


Oxford Academic


London, Eng.





Publication classification

CN.1 Other journal article