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Functional insulin receptors are selectively expressed on cns astrocytes

Functional insulin receptors are selectively expressed on cns astrocytes

Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer & Itinerary Planner : Abstract No 581 12

We sought to determine if functional insulin receptors are present on CNS astrocytes. Although CNS glycogen is located exclusively in astrocytes, the role of insulin in CNS glycogen metabolism has yet to be studied. We used a combination of immunocytochemical techniques to localize insulin receptors to astrocytes, and glycogen assay to determine if insulin receptors were functional. Transgenic mice expressing GFP in GFAP-expressing astrocytes allowed positive astrocytic identification. Insulin receptors were found to be present on astrocytes in two CNS areas; hippocampus and corpus callosum, but were not present on optic nerve astrocytes. A punctate pattern of staining was found suggesting localized expression of the receptor. We also stained for the insulin-sensitive glucose transporter, Glut-4. We found that Glut-4 transporter expression mirrored that of the insulin receptor, being present on astrocytes in the hippocampus, corpus callosum but not in the optic nerve. The function of the insulin receptor was studied by assaying whether incubation with insulin increased glycogen content. We found that in hippocampus and corpus callosum incubation in 1 muM insulin significantly increased glycogen content above control, but that in optic nerve there was no significant effect of insulin on glycogen content. We conclude that functional insulin receptors are selectively expressed on astrocytes in both gray and white matter CNS areas.

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