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D Dardevet, C Sornet, and J Grizard

This study was designed to evaluate the role of p70 S6 kinase (p70(S6K) ), p90 S6 kinase (p90(RSK)) and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathways in the insulin resistance of muscle protein synthesis observed during glucocorticoid treatment. Dexamethasone treatment decreased the effect of insulin on protein synthesis (-35. 2%) in epitrochlearis muscle incubated in vitro. This resistance is associated with a total blockage of the stimulation of p70(S6K) by insulin without any significant decrease in the amount of the kinase. However, the effect of rapamycin (inhibitor of several intracellular pathways including p70(S6K) pathways) on muscle protein synthesis was not modified by dexamethasone in rat muscles. This suggested that 'rapamycin-sensitive pathways' associated with the insulin stimulation of protein synthesis were not altered by glucocorticoids and thus are not responsible for the insulin resistance observed. As incubation of muscles with a MAP kinase inhibitor (PD98059) did not modify the stimulation of protein synthesis by insulin and as glucocorticoids did not alter the effect of insulin on p90(RSK )activity, our results provide evidence that glucocorticoid-induced alterations in muscle protein synthesis regulation by insulin do not involve factors or kinases that are dependent on MAP kinase and/or p90(RSK).

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D Dardevet, C Sornet, I Savary, E Debras, P Patureau-Mirand, and J Grizard

This study was performed to assess the effect of glucocorticoids (dexamethasone) on insulin- and IGF-I-regulated muscle protein metabolism in adult and old rats. Muscle atrophy occurred more rapidly in old rats, and recovery of muscle mass was impaired when compared with adults. Muscle wasting resulted mainly from increased protein breakdown in adult rat but from depressed protein synthesis in the aged animal. Glucocorticoid treatment significantly decreased the stimulatory effect of insulin and IGF-I on muscle protein synthesis in adult rats by 25.9 and 58.1% respectively. In old rats, this effect was even greater, being 49.3 and 100% respectively. With regard to muscle proteolysis, glucocorticoids blunted the anti-proteolytic action of insulin and IGF-I in both age groups. During the recovery period, adult rats reversed the glucocorticoid-induced resistance of muscle protein metabolism within 3 days, at which time old rats still exhibited the decrease in insulin-regulated proteolysis. In conclusion, the higher sensitivity of old rat muscle to glucocorticoids may in part result from the greater modification of the effects of insulin and IGF-I on muscle protein metabolism. These responses to glucocorticoids in old rats may be associated with the emergence of muscle atrophy with advancing age.