The effects of catecholamines on glucose transport were studied in noncontracting isolated rat cardiomyocytes. alpha-Adrenergic treatment (phenylephrine, or norepinephrine + propranolol) led to an approximately fourfold stimulation of glucose transport in basal cells (no insulin). The effect of phenylephrine was suppressed by the alpha 2-antagonist yohimbine or the beta-antagonist propranolol. The beta-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol partially counteracted the action of phenylephrine (but not that of insulin). Phenylephrine increased glucose transport in two phases with apparent half times of 3.2 and 13.0 min, respectively. Correspondingly, different EC50 values were found after 10 and 45 min on phenylephrine addition (5.0 +/- 1.9 vs. 31.6 +/- 9.6 microM, respectively). Maximal stimulation by phenylephrine was at least partially additive to that of insulin and of other stimulators of glucose transport (e.g., H2O2, vanadate, lithium). Phenylephrine significantly increased the level of cell surface glucose carriers GLUT-1 (1.54-fold) and GLUT-4 (1.78-fold), as assessed by using the specific photolabel 2-N-[4-(1-azi-2,2,2-trifluoroethyl)benzoyl]- 1,3-bis(D-mannos-4-yloxy)propyl-2-amine. In conclusion, catecholamines stimulate cardiomyocyte glucose transport through alpha 1-adrenergic receptors independently or downstream of a contraction-evoked stimulus. This effect is at least partially explained by a recruitment of glucose transporters to the cell surface. The mechanism(s) and/or signals involved differ from those triggered by insulin and insulinomimetic agents.
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