CELL BIOLOGY SYMPOSIUM: Practical application of the basic aspects of GLUT4 membrane trafficking and insulin signaling on issues related to animal agriculture. Academic Article uri icon


  • Because of the relatively short lifespans of beef cattle, membrane trafficking in relation to inflammation is not considered important unless it overtly affects productivity. However, glucose uptake and utilization is important for adipose tissue development in beef cattle, and increasing glucose utilization in intramuscular adipose tissue can increase carcass quality. Research from the 1980s demonstrated a lack of insulin sensitivity in isolated bovine adipocytes and adipose tissue explants incubated in vitro. Insulin did not stimulate glucose or acetate incorporation into fatty acids, nor did it increase concentrations of glycolytic intermediates in bovine adipose tissue incubated with exogenous glucose. Specific binding of [I] iodoinsulin and insulin degradation in bovine isolated adipocytes was low to non-detectable. These early studies indicated that insulin-dependent receptor-mediated signaling was less important in bovine adipose tissue than in adipose tissues of humans, swine, or laboratory species. More recent research demonstrated that glucose transporter protein 4 (GLUT4) expression in muscle and adipose tissue declines markedly after birth in calves, indicating the development of insulin resistance as cattle transition from suckling to functional ruminants. Insulin resistance is important in dairy cattle, causing ketosis and fatty liver. Consistent with this, subcutaneous adipose tissue expression decreases 50% following parturition in dairy cattle, although expression of genes associated with insulin responsiveness (, , and ) is up-regulated by 21 d postpartum. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of insulin resistance in beef and dairy cattle would increase animal health and thereby improve productivity.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, S. B.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Smith, SB

publication date

  • May 2017