In this study we examined the relationship between GLUT4 expression at the plasma membrane and muscle fibre size in fibre-typed human muscle fibres by immunocytochemistry and morphometry in order to gain further insight into the regulation of GLUT4 expression. At the site of the plasma membrane, GLUT4 was more abundantly expressed in slow as compared to fast fibres at the same fibre diameter (p < 0.01) and the GLUT4 expression increased with increasing fibre radius independently of fibre type (p < 0.01). The GLUT4 density at the surface of slow fibres of both diabetic and obese was reduced compared to control subjects at the same diameter (p < 0.001). Fast fibres in obese and type 2 diabetic subjects expressed a fibre-volume-dependent GLUT4 expression (p < 0.001), while this did not reach significance in slow fibres (obese p = 0.18 and diabetic p = 0.06). Our results show that increasing fibre volume is associated with increasing GLUT4 expression in both slow and fast fibres. Based on the possible dependency of GLUT4 expression on volume, we hypothesize that the reduced GLUT4 expression in obesity and type 2 diabetes may partly be compensated for by physical activity.
Acta Pathologica Microbiologica Et Immunologica Scandinavica, 2002, Vol 110, Issue 9, p. 611-9