Domestic animal endocrinology

Insulin signaling in various equine tissues under basal conditions and acute stimulation by intravenously injected insulin.

PMID 28595108


The aim of the study was to analyze key proteins of the equine insulin signaling cascade and their extent of phosphorylation in biopsies from muscle tissue (MT), liver tissue (LT), and nuchal AT, subcutaneous AT, and retroperitoneal adipose tissues. This was investigated under unstimulated (B1) and intravenously insulin stimulated (B2) conditions, which were achieved by injection of insulin (0.1 IU/kg bodyweight) and glucose (150 mg/kg bodyweight). Twelve warmblood horses aged 15 ± 6.8 yr (yr), weighing 559 ± 79 kg, and with a mean body condition score of 4.7 ± 1.5 were included in the study. Key proteins of the insulin signaling cascade were semiquantitatively determined using Western blotting. Furthermore, modulation of the cascade was assessed. The basal expression of the proteins was only slightly influenced during the experimental period. Insulin induced a high extent of phosphorylation of insulin receptor in LT (P < 0.01) but not in MT. Protein kinase B and mechanistic target of rapamycin expressed a higher extent of phosphorylation in all tissues in B2 biopsies. Adenosine monophosphate protein kinase, as a component related to insulin signaling, expressed enhanced phosphorylation in MT (P < 0.05) and adipose tissues (nuchal AT P < 0.05; SCAT P < 0.01; retroperitoneal adipose tissue P < 0.05), but not in LT at B2. Tissue-specific variations in the acute response of insulin signaling to intravenously injected insulin were observed. In conclusion, insulin sensitivity in healthy horses is based on a complex concerted action of different tissues by their variations in the molecular response to insulin.