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The nucleoside intermediate 5′-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide-ribonucleoside (AICAR) activates skeletal muscle AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and increases glucose uptake. The AMPK phosphorylates neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)μ in skeletal muscle fibres. There is evidence that both AMPK and nNOSμ may be involved in the regulation of contraction-stimulated glucose uptake.We examined whether both AICAR- and contraction-stimulated glucose uptake were mediated by NOS in rat skeletal muscle.Rat isolated epitrochlearis muscles were subjected in vitro to electrically stimulated contractions for 10 min and/or incubated in the presence or absence of AICAR (2 mmol/L) or the NOS inhibitor NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA; 100 μmol/L).Muscle contraction significantly (P < 0.05) altered the metabolic profile of the muscle. In contrast, AICAR and L-NMMA had no effect on the metabolic profile of the muscle, except that AICAR increased muscle 5′-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide-ribonucleotide (ZMP) and AICAR content. Nitric oxide synthase inhibition caused a small but significant (P < 0.05) reduction in basal 3-O-methylglucose transport, which was observed in all treatments. 5′-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide-ribonucleoside significantly increased (P < 0.05) glucose transport above basal, with NOS inhibition decreasing this slightly (increased by 209% above basal compared with 184% above basal with NOS inhibition). Contraction significantly increased glucose transport above basal, with NOS inhibition substantially reducing this (107% increase vs 31% increase). 5′-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide-ribonucleoside plus contraction in combination were not additive on glucose transport.These results suggest that NO plays a role in basal glucose uptake and may regulate contraction-stimulated glucose uptake. However, NOS/nitric oxide do not appear to be signalling intermediates in AICAR-stimulated skeletal muscle glucose uptake.