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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of insulin in development of cancer cachexia in nongrowing sarcoma-bearing mice: special reference to muscle wasting.

This study evaluated whether altered insulin metabolism is a key factor behind weight loss during sarcoma growth in nongrowing mice (C57BL/6J). Fasted sarcoma-bearing mice had decreased blood glucose concentrations but unchanged levels of insulin, compared with those in pair-weighed and freely fed controls. During refeeding, insulin levels were inappropriately low for the degree of glycemia in sarcoma-bearing mice compared with those of pair-weighed and freely fed controls. Injections ip of glucose to tumor-bearing animals resulted in insulin levels comparable to postabsorptive values in healthy control animals, indicating that hypoinsulinemia in freely eating tumor-bearing animals was due to a reduced glycemic sensitivity for pancreatic insulin release. Insulin supplementation at doses [4 IU/100 g (body wt)] that increase body fat in normal animals could not protect the tumor-bearing host from progressive loss of body fat or lean tissues. Exogenous insulin in excess of endogenous insulin production did not stimulate tumor growth. Nitrogen and RNA-DNA content were significantly decreased in the quadriceps muscle of tumor-bearing mice. This reduction was independent of altered insulin levels and could not be prevented by exogenous insulin. The depressed capacity of protein synthesis in extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle could be entirely attributed to the state of malnutrition in tumor-bearing animals. The sensitivity and responsiveness of protein synthesis in EDL muscles to insulin were normal in tumor-bearing mice, regardless of whether exogenous insulin exerted its effect in vivo or in vitro. This study confirms insulin resistance for glucose metabolism in an experimental sarcoma animal model. Such changes are concluded to be secondary to anorexia and necessary to counteract hypoglycemia. In non-growing sarcoma-bearing mice, malnutrition and anorexia account entirely for depressed muscle protein synthesis, which is not explained by insulin resistance at the translational level. Insulin metabolism is not a key factor behind progression of wasting in sarcoma-bearing mice, but anorexia is.[1]


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