First published July 1, 1987 - More info
We examined the insulin dose-response characteristics of human muscle glycogen synthase and phosphorylase activation. We also determined whether increasing the rate of glucose disposal by hyperglycemia at a fixed insulin concentration activates glycogen synthase. Physiological increments in plasma insulin but not glucose increased the fractional activity of glycogen synthase. The ED50: s for insulin stimulation of whole body and forearm glucose disposal were similar and unaffected by glycemia. Glycogen synthase activation was exponentially related to the insulin-mediated component of whole body and forearm glucose disposal at each glucose concentration. Neither insulin nor glucose changed glycogen phosphorylase activity. These results suggest that insulin but not the rate of glucose disposal per se regulates glycogen synthesis by a mechanism that involves dephosphorylation of glycogen synthase but not phosphorylase. This implies that the low glycogen synthase activities found in insulin-resistant states are a consequence of impaired insulin action rather than reduced glucose disposal.