Decreased insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity and plasma cell membrane glycoprotein-1 overexpression in skeletal muscle from obese women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): evidence for increased serine/threonine phosphorylation in pregnancy and GDM.
The cellular mechanisms for the insulin resistance of pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are unknown. The membrane protein plasma cell membrane glycoprotein-1 (PC-1) has been identified as an inhibitor of insulin receptor tyrosine kinase (IRTK) activity. We investigated insulin receptor function and PC-1 levels in muscle from three groups of obese subjects: women with GDM, pregnant women with normal glucose tolerance, and nonpregnant control subjects. Subjects (n = 6 for each group) were similar in age and degree of obesity (body fat >30%). IRTK activity, insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, and protein levels of membrane glycoprotein PC-1 were determined in rectus abdominus muscle biopsies obtained at the time of either elective cesarean section or gynecological surgery. No significant differences were evident in basal insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation or IRTK activity in the three groups. After maximal insulin (10(-7) mol/l) stimulation, IRTK activity measured with the artificial substrate poly(Glu,Tyr) increased in all subjects but was lower in women with GDM by 25% (P < 0.05) and 39% (P < 0.001) compared with pregnant and nonpregnant control subjects, respectively. Similarly, insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation was significantly decreased in subjects with GDM (P < 0.05) compared with pregnant and nonpregnant control subjects. Treatment of the insulin receptors with alkaline phosphatase to dephosphorylate serine/threonine residues increased insulin-stimulated IRTK activity significantly in pregnant control and GDM subjects (P < 0.05), but these rates were still lower compared with nonpregnant control subjects (P < 0.05). PC-1 content in muscle from GDM subjects was increased by 63% compared with pregnant control subjects (P < 0.05) and by 206% compared with nonpregnant control subjects (P < 0.001). PC-1 content was negatively correlated with insulin receptor phosphorylation (r = -0.55, P < 0.05) and IRTK activity (r = -0.66, P < 0.05). These results indicate that pregnant control and GDM subjects had increased PC-1 content and suggest excessive phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues in muscle insulin receptors and that both may contribute to decreased IRTK activity. These changes worsen in women with GDM when controlling for obesity. These postreceptor defects in insulin signaling may contribute to the pathogenesis of GDM and the increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.