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

Glucosamine-induced insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes is caused by depletion of intracellular ATP.

Glucosamine, which enters the hexosamine pathway downstream of the rate-limiting step, has been routinely used to mimic the insulin resistance caused by high glucose and insulin. We investigated the effect of glucosamine on insulin-stimulated glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The Delta-insulin (insulin- stimulated minus basal) value for 2-deoxyglucose uptake was dramatically inhibited with increasing concentrations of glucosamine with an ED50 of 1.95 mM. Subcellular fractionation experiments demonstrated that reduction in insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake by glucosamine was due to an inhibition of translocation of both Glut 1 and Glut 4 from the low density microsomes (LDM) to the plasma membrane. Analysis of the insulin signaling cascade revealed that glucosamine impaired insulin receptor autophosphorylation, insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) phosphorylation, IRS-1- associated PI 3-kinase activity in the LDM, and AKT-1 activation by insulin. Measurement of intracellular ATP demonstrated that the effects of glucosamine were highly correlated with its ability to reduce ATP levels. Reduction of intracellular ATP using azide inhibited Glut 1 and Glut 4 translocation from the LDM to the plasma membrane, insulin receptor autophosphorylation, and IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation. Additionally, both the reduction in intracellular ATP and the effects on insulin action caused by glucosamine could be prevented by the addition of inosine, which served as an alternative energy source in the medium. We conclude that direct administration of glucosamine can rapidly lower cellular ATP levels and affect insulin action in fat cells by mechanisms independent of increased intracellular UDP-N-acetylhexosamines and that increased metabolism of glucose via the hexosamine pathway may not represent the mechanism of glucose toxicity in fat cells.[1]


  1. Glucosamine-induced insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes is caused by depletion of intracellular ATP. Hresko, R.C., Heimberg, H., Chi, M.M., Mueckler, M. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
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