Glucosamine-induced insulin resistance in L6 muscle cells

C.J. Bailey*, S.L. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Glucosamine increases flux through the hexosamine pathway, causing insulin resistance and disturbances similar to diabetic glucose toxicity. Aim: This study examines the effect of glucosamine on glucose uptake by cultured L6 muscle cells as a model of insulin resistance. Methods: Glucose uptake by L6 myotubes was measured using the non-metabolized glucose analogue 2-deoxy-D-glucose after incubation with glucosamine for 4 and 24 h, with and without insulin and several other agents (metformin, peroxovanadium and D-pinitol) that improve glucose uptake in diabetic states. Results: After 4 h, high concentrations of glucosamine (5 × 10-3 and 10-2 M) reduced basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by up to 50%. After 24 h, the effect of insulin was completely abolished by 10-2 M glucosamine and reduced over 50% by 5 × 10-3 M glucosamine. Lower concentrations of glucosamine did not significantly alter glucose uptake. The effect of glucosamine could not be attributed to cytotoxicity assessed by the Trypan Blue test. Metformin, peroxovanadium and D-pinitol, each of which increased glucose uptake by L6 cells, did not prevent the decrease in glucose uptake with glucosamine. Conclusion: Glucosamine decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by L6 muscle cells, providing a potential model of insulin resistance with similarities to glucose toxicity. Insulin resistance induced by glucosamine was not reversed by three agents (metformin, peroxovanadium and D-pinitol) known to enhance or partially mimic the effects of insulin. © 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number4
Early online date26 May 2004
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • glucosamine
  • glucose toxicity
  • insulin resistance
  • metformin
  • muscle cells
  • peroxovanadium
  • pinitol


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