Impairment of skeletal muscle insulin action with aging in Wistar rats: role of leptin and caloric restriction.
ABSTRACT Insulin resistance develops with aging in rats in parallel to fat mass accretion, central leptin resistance and hyperleptinemia. Previous studies demonstrated that insulin resistance appears earlier in adipose tissue than in muscle during aging and pointed to a role of hyperleptinemia in the impairment of insulin action. Here we explored the evolution along aging of insulin sensitivity in soleus and EDL muscles by analyzing insulin signaling in vivo and insulin-dependent glucose transport ex vivo. A decrease in insulin action was observed in both muscles. Caloric restriction improves insulin sensitivity at early aging but not in older animals. We also tested the role of leptin on insulin action in skeletal muscle. Short-term pretreatment with leptin inhibits in vivo muscle insulin signaling and insulin-dependent glucose transport in isolated muscle strips. This effect is mediated by its action on early insulin signaling as well as by the inhibition of p38. In contrast, chronic central administration of leptin elicits an insulin sensitizing effect on soleus. These data suggest that leptin can act as muscle insulin sensitizer, when acting at central level, and as insulin antagonistic when interacting directly with soleus muscle. This effect may be relevant in situations of hyperleptinemia such as aging.