PloS one

Effect of testosterone on insulin stimulated IRS1 Ser phosphorylation in primary rat myotubes--a potential model for PCOS-related insulin resistance.

PMID 19169352


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by a hyperandrogenic state and frequently develops skeletal muscle insulin resistance. We determined whether testosterone adversely affects insulin action by increasing serine phosphorylation of IRS-1(636/639) in differentiated rat skeletal muscle myotubes. The phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and S6K, downstream targets of the PI3-kinase-IRS-1 complex were also studied. Primary differentiated rat skeletal muscle myotubes were subjected to insulin for 30 min after 16-hour pre-exposure to either low (20 ng/ml) or high (200 ng/ml) doses of testosterone. Protein phosphorylation of IRS-1 Ser(636/639), Akt Ser(473), mTOR-Ser(2448), and S6K-Thr(389) were measured by Western blot with signal intensity measured by immunofluorescence. Cells exposed to 100 nM of insulin had increased IRS-1 Ser(636/639) and Akt Ser(473) phosphorylation. Cells pre-exposed to low-dose testosterone had significantly increased insulin-induced mTOR-Ser(2448) and S6K-Thr(389) phosphorylation (p<0.05), and further increased insulin-induced IRS-1 Ser(636/639) phosphorylation (p = 0.042) compared to control cells. High-dose testosterone pre-exposure attenuated the insulin-induced mTOR-Ser(2448) and S6K-Thr(389) phosphorylation. The data demonstrated an interaction between testosterone and insulin on phosphorylation of intracellular signaling proteins, and suggests a link between a hyperandrogenic, hyperinsulinemic environment and the development of insulin resistance involving serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 Ser(636/639). These results may guide further investigations of potential mechanisms of PCOS-related insulin resistance.