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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Glutamine Enhances the Hypoglycemic Effect of Insulin in L6 Cells via Phosphatidylinositol-3-Kinase (PI3K)/Protein Kinase B (AKT)/Glucose Transporter 4 (GLUT4) Signaling Pathway

Caijuan Wang, Yujiao Deng, Yenan Yue, Wenting Chen, Yu Zhang, Guifang Shi, Zhongming Wu

Tianjin Key Laboratory of Metabolic Diseases, Tianjin Metabolic Diseases Hospital and Tianjin Institute of Endocrinology, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: LBR1241-1250

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.909011

Available online: 2018-03-01

Published: 2018-03-01


BACKGROUND: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is characterized by a decreased blood level of glutamine (Gln), which may contribute to the disturbance in the effect of insulin on skeletal muscle. Therefore, it is crucial to study how to improve the effect of insulin on skeletal muscle by increasing Gln. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Gln on the hypoglycemic action of insulin in skeletal muscle L6 cells at high glucose levels through the insulin signaling pathway and glycogen synthesis pathway.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The L6 cells were cultured in and stimulated by Gln and insulin. The glutamine analogue, L-Gamma-Glutamyl-p-nitroanilide (GPNA), was used for verifying the effect of Gln. The expression of insulin signaling molecules, including phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (PDK1), protein kinase B (AKT), protein kinase C zeta (PKCz), and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), were detected by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis, GLUT4 translocation was observed by immunofluorescence staining, glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) was analyzed by Western blotting, and glucose uptake was measured by glucose oxidase method (GOD).
RESULTS: The results demonstrated that Gln combined with insulin remarkably up-regulated PI3K and PDK1 and also increased AKT and PKCz phosphorylation. The present study shows that Gln enhanced the impact of insulin on GLUT4 and its translocation. The results of glucose uptake and GSK phosphorylation further confirmed the hypoglycemic effect of Gln accompanied with insulin. The hypoglycemic effect of Gln was reversed by GPNA.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that Gln enhances the hypoglycemic role of insulin through the PI3K/AKT/GLUT4 signaling pathway and glycogen synthesis pathway.

Keywords: Glucose Metabolism Disorders, Glutamine, Insulin