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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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K Grzelkowska, D Dardevet, M Balage, and J Grizard

Insulin resistance in 3-day streptozotocin (STZ)-treated rats was manifested by the lack of antiproteolytic action of insulin as well as by a reduction of its stimulatory effect on protein synthesis (-60% compared with the control group) in epitrochlearis muscle incubated in vitro. In the present study, we have investigated the diabetes-associated alterations in the insulin signalling cascade, especially the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3 kinase)/p70 S6 kinase (p70(S6K)) pathway, in rat skeletal muscle. LY 294002, a specific inhibitor of PI-3 kinase, markedly decreased the basal rate of protein synthesis and completely prevented insulin-mediated stimulation of this process both in control and diabetic rats. Thus, PI-3 kinase is required for insulin-stimulated muscle protein synthesis in diabetic rats as in the controls. Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), had no effect on the basal rate of protein synthesis in either of the experimental groups. In control rats, the stimulatory action of insulin on muscle protein synthesis was diminished by 36% in the presence of rapamycin, whereas in diabetic muscles this reduction amounted to 68%. The rapamycin-sensitive pathway makes a relatively greater contribution to the stimulatory effect of insulin on muscle protein synthesis in diabetic rats compared with the controls, due presumably to the preferential decrease in the rapamycin-insensitive component of protein synthesis. Neither basal nor insulin-stimulated p70(S6K) activity, a signalling element lying downstream of mTOR, were modified by STZ-diabetes.

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T Vary, D Dardevet, J Grizard, L Voisin, C Buffiere, P Denis, D Breuille, and C Obled

We investigated the ability of pentoxifylline (PTX) to modulate protein synthesis and degradation in the presence and absence of insulin during incubation of epitrochlearis muscle, 2 or 6 days after injection of Escherichia coli. On days 2 and 6 after infection, protein synthesis was inhibited by 25%, whereas proteolysis was enhanced by 75%. Insulin (2 nM) in vitro stimulated protein synthesis in muscles from infected rats to the same extent as in controls. The ability of insulin to limit protein degradation was severely blunted 48 h after infection. On day 6 after infection, insulin inhibited proteolysis to a greater extent than on day 2. PTX suppressed the increase in plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor more than 600-fold after injection of bacteria, and partially prevented the inhibition of protein synthesis and stimulation of protein degradation during sepsis. Moreover, PTX administration maintained the responsiveness of protein degradation to insulin during sepsis. Thus cytokines may influence skeletal muscle protein metabolism during sepsis, both indirectly through inhibition of the effects of insulin on proteolysis, and directly on the protein synthesis and degradation machinery.

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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.