Muscle glucose uptake is effectively activated by ischemia in type 2 diabetic subjects.
It has previously been shown that Wortmannin, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, inhibits glucose transport activated by insulin but not by ischemia, suggesting the importance of an activating mechanism that bypasses the insulin signal. To evaluate the relevance of this insulin-independent pathway in insulin-resistant subjects, the ability of ischemia to stimulate glucose uptake was investigated in 9 patients with type 2 diabetes and in 9 healthy control subjects (fasting glucose level 9.4 +/- 0.8 vs. 5.1 +/- 0.1 mmol/l, P < 0.001, in type 2 diabetic patients and control subjects, respectively; fasting insulin level insulin 8.1 +/- 2.6 vs. 4.5 +/-0.7 mU/l, P < 0.05, respectively) matched for sex, age, and BMI. Arterial plasma and interstitial concentrations of glucose and lactate (measured by subcutaneous and muscle microdialysis) were recorded in the forearm before, during, and after ischemia induced locally for 20 min. During ischemia, the muscle interstitial glucose concentration decreased significantly from 7.7 +/- 0.6 to 5.4 +/- 0.4 mmol/l (P < 0.01) and from 4.4 +/- 0.3 to 3.6 +/- 0.3 mmol/l (P < 0.05) in type 2 diabetic patients and control subjects, respectively. The arterial-interstitial (A-I) glucose concentration difference was 1.7 +/- 0.6 and 0.7 +/- 0.3 mmol/ at basal, and it increased significantly to 3.5 +/- 0.7 (P < 0.01) and 1.4 +/-0.3 mmol/l (P < 0.05) during ischemia in each group, respectively. Interstitial lactate increased significantly during ischemia from 0.8 +/- 0.1 to 1.1 +/- 0.1 mmol/l (P < 0.05) and from 0.5 +/- 0.1 to 0.9 +/- 0.2 mmol/l (P < 0.05), respectively. The A-I glucose concentration difference was abolished immediately postischemia and regained after approximately 15 min, whereas high interstitial lactate levels remained elevated throughout the study. Subcutaneous interstitial glucose concentrations remained unchanged during ischemia and postischemia in both groups, whereas the interstitial lactate concentration in adipose tissue increased during ischemia from 1.4 +/- 0.2 to 2.0 +/- 0.2 mmol/l (P < 0.05) and from 1.1 +/- 0.1 to 1.8 +/- 0.3 mmol/l (P < 0.05) in type 2 diabetic patients and control subjects, respectively. Plasma glucose and lactate levels were unchanged in both groups during the study period. The results show that in muscle, but not in adipose tissue, glucose uptake is efficiently activated by ischemia in insulin-resistant type 2 diabetic subjects, suggesting the activation of a putative alternative pathway to the insulin signal in muscle cells.