Vanadate has been shown to have a number of insulin-like effects in various cells, including isolated rat adipocytes. In the present study we compared the activities of vanadate and insulin in isolated fat cells using a number of different assays of insulin-like activity. Both insulin and vanadate stimulated [2-3H]glucose incorporation into fat cell lipid in a dosedependent manner, but the maximal effect of vanadate was markedly greater than that of insulin. At 10-2 M vanadate the effect was 3–4 times as great as the maximal effect of insulin. This effect was dependent on specific glucose transport. Combinations of insulin and vanadate were not more effective than vanadate alone. Vanadate also produced antilipolysis with an effect somewhat greater than that of insulin. Using [U-14C] glucose both vanadate and insulin stimulated 14CO2 production and [14C]glucose incorporation into lipid, and again the effect of vanadate was greater than that of insulin. Vanadate had a greater effect on 14CO2 production than on [14C]glucose incorporation into lipid. When [l-14C]glucose was used vanadate again had a significantly greater effect on 14CO2 production than did insulin, but when [6-14C]glucose was used the effects of vanadate and insulin were equal. These results demonstrate that vanadate has insulin-like effects in isolated fat cells, but it selectively stimulates certain pathways to a greater extent than does insulin. The greater effect of vanadate than insulin appears to be primarily on the pentose phosphate shunt, suggesting that this agent may be useful for examination of this intracellular pathway in fat cells.
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