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J Dupont, M Derouet, J Simon and M Taouis

Chronic treatment with corticosterone evokes insulin resistance in chickens, a species which is already resistant to insulin compared with mammals. The in vivo effects of corticosterone on insulin signaling were investigated in chicken liver and thigh muscle in two nutritional states: basal (overnight fasted) and stimulated (30 min refeeding). Corticosterone significantly decreased specific insulin binding in liver and the amount of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and p85 (regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3'-kinase) in both tissues. Insulin receptor (IR) and IRS-1 mRNAs generally varied accordingly. Src homology and collagen protein (Shc) and messenger were not altered. In liver, in the basal state, the tyrosine phosphorylation of IR, IRS-1 and Shc, and the IR-associated PI 3'-kinase activity were largely decreased by corticosterone. Following refeeding the cascade was activated in control but totally inhibited in treated chickens. In muscle, as previously observed, IR and IRS-1 phosphorylation and PI 3'-kinase were not stimulated by refeeding in controls. Only the phosphorylation of Shc was increased. On this background, corticosterone decreased the basal PI 3'-kinase activity and prevented the phosphorylation of Shc in response to refeeding. In conclusion, corticosterone largely impaired insulin signaling in liver and to some extent in muscle. This should contribute to the large impairment of growth. In addition, the present studies further emphasize the peculiarities of insulin signaling in chicken muscle, which needs further investigation.

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M Taouis, M Derouet, J P Caffin and J Simon


Insulin receptor number and insulin responsiveness were compared in a chicken hepatoma cell line (LMH) and in normal chicken hepatocyte (cHep) cells cultured in the same conditions. LMH cells expressed two- to threefold more insulin receptors than cHep cells, without significant changes in affinity. The tyrosine kinase activity of solubilized and lectin (lentil+wheat germ agglutinin; WGA)-purified LMH receptors was higher than that of cHep receptors. The ATP hydrolytic activity previously observed in WGA-purified receptors from chicken liver membranes was also present in WGA-purified receptors from cultured cHep cells. This unidentified membrane-associated ATPase was absent from LMH membrane-solubilized material and therefore from WGA-purified LMH insulin receptors. Finally, LMH cells incorporated at least tenfold more amino isobutyric acid than cHep cells in the absence of insulin and were more responsive to insulin. The enhanced basal amino acid transport of LMH cells was most probably the consequence of their proliferative activity. The enhanced insulin responsiveness of LMH cells can be accounted for, at least in part, by one or several of the modifications presently demonstrated in LMH cells when compared with normal cultured hepatocytes: increased insulin receptor number and tyrosine kinase activity and possibly the loss of the membrane-associated ATPase.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 140, 119–124

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I. Guéritault, J. Simon, B. Chevalier, M. Derouet, M. Tixier-Boichard and P. Mérat


The effects of the recessive and sex-linked dw gene on insulin sensitivity and liver insulin receptors were compared in normal (Dw-dw) and dwarf (dw-dw) brother or half-brother chickens. At 3·5 weeks of age, following an overnight fast, exogenous insulin (0–6·9 nmol/kg body weight) was slightly but significantly more hypoglycaemic in dwarf chickens. At 4 weeks of age, following an oral glucose load (2 g/kg), glucose tolerance was the same in both genotypes, whereas plasma insulin levels were greatly decreased in dwarf chickens. At 5 weeks of age, plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin were the same in both genotypes in the fasting state and decreased in the fed state in dwarf chickens. In liver membranes prepared from fasted chickens, insulin binding was increased in dwarf chickens, while the affinity of insulin receptors and the insulin-degrading activity of the membranes were the same in both genotypes. Following solubilization with Triton X-100, liver receptors were successively purified on lentil then wheat germ lectins. Autophosphorylation of the β-subunit did not differ between either the genotype or the nutritional (fed or fasted) state. In the basal state (in the absence of insulin) the tyrosine kinase activity of the receptor towards artificial substrate poly(Glu,Tyr)4:1 was significantly decreased in dwarf chickens by fasting. However, the change in tyrosine kinase activity of the receptor in response to insulin was similar, irrespective of the genotype and the nutritional state. Therefore, the slight increase in insulin sensitivity observed in vivo in dwarf chickens is accounted for, at least partly, by a slight increase in liver insulin receptor number, but not by a change in the kinase activity of liver insulin receptors. In addition, post-insulin receptor kinase events and/or GH-dependent counter-regulatory mechanisms may superimpose and increase the insulin sensitivity of dwarf chickens.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 126, 67–74