Insulin binding and basal and insulin-stimulated uptake of α-aminoisobutyric acid were measured in isolated hepatocytes from young control rats as well as from older spontaneously obese, 72h-starved, and nonketotic streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Isolated hepatocytes from older spontaneously obese rats are similar to those from younger smaller rats in size, maximal insulin responsiveness, the dose–response relationship for insulin-stimulated aminoisobutyrate uptake, and the number and affinity of insulin receptors. Hepatocytes from 72h-fasted rats have similar numbers of insulin receptors per cell as cells from young control animals, but are significantly smaller, have an enhanced basal rate of aminoisobutyrate uptake, and are insulin resistant with regard to maximal insulin-stimulated uptake of aminoisobutyrate at 0.1mm-aminoisobutyrate. Because of the decreased maximal response to insulin, the concentration of insulin that elicits a half-maximal response of aminoisobutyrate uptake is decreased. Hepatocytes from diabetic animals, like those from starved rats, have significantly greater basal rates of aminoisobutyrate uptake; whereas the maximal absolute insulin response is the same as control cells, the percentage response is smaller. These cells bind significantly more insulin than do control cells. The increase in insulin binding is reflected in a shift to the left of the dose–response curve for insulin-stimulated uptake of aminoisobutyrate. These studies indicate that there is no insulin resistance with regard to uptake of aminoisobutyrate in hepatocytes from older obese rats. Furthermore, the insulin resistance observed in hepatocytes from starved rats occurs despite an increase in the number of receptors per unit surface area and cannot be explained by alterations in the interaction between insulin and its receptor. The enhanced insulin binding per unit surface area, however, is reflected in the shift to the left of the dose–response curve for insulin. This is also true for hepatocytes from diabetic animals, in which insulin binding per cell is increased.
- © 1980 London: The Biochemical Society