Regulation of glucose transport and GLUT-1 expression by iron chelators in muscle cells in culture

R. Potashnik, N. Kozlovsky, S. Ben-Ezra, A. Rudich, N. Bashan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Possible association between the degree of iron load and glucose metabolism has been postulated by both in vivo and in vitro studies. Because skeletal muscle plays a major role in whole body glucose utilization, we evaluated the effect of iron chelators deferoxamine (DFO) and bipyridyl (Bip) on glucose metabolism and transport in cultured L6 muscle cells. Bip (0.1 mM) or DFO (0.5 mM) added for 24 h to the culture medium increased glucose consumption, lactate production, and [14C]glucose incorporation into glycogen by approximately twofold. 2-Deoxy-glucose uptake by L6 myotubes increased time dependently, reaching a 5-fold and 2.5-fold increase after 12 h for Bip and DFO, respectively. Insulin induced a 2.5-fold increase in glucose uptake in untreated cells, which was additive to the chelator's effect. Iron chelator-induced glucose transport stimulation was inhibited by cycloheximide (2.5 μg/ml), indicating dependence on de novo protein synthesis. Increases in GLUT-1 protein and mRNA concentration, without changes in GLUT-4, were found to be responsible for iron chelator effects. We conclude that L6 cells adapt to reduction in iron availability by increasing glucose utilization through an enhanced expression of GLUT-1, without losing their physiological response to insulin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1052-E1058
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 32-6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • glucose transporters
  • glucose uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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