09 December 2008
Insulin resistance in uremia has been attributed to impaired hormone-receptor binding or to postbinding defects. Oral glucose tolerance tests, insulin binding, and in vitro glycolytic activity were studied in purified red blood cells from normal control subjects (C) and from uremic patients belonging to three groups: nondialyzed (U), on chronic hemodialysis (HD), and on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). Glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia were demonstrated in all groups of patients. Maximal specific binding of <sup>125</sup>I-insulin to erythrocytes, kinetically derived receptor numbers per cell, and affinity constants for insulin binding did not differ between control and patient groups. No correlation was found between the degree of glucose intolerance and insulin binding parameters. Basal lactate production by erythrocytes incubated invitro was significantly higher in U and HD patients than in Cwhereas CAPD patients did not differ from C in this respect. Addition of 1 mI dibutiryl-cAMP and 0.5 mM isobutyl-methyl-xanthine during incubation of erythrocytes caused an increase in the rate of lactate production that was similar in magnitude in the U, HD and C groups, whereas cells from CAPD subjects showed a significantly larger absolute response to these compounds after 1 h of incubation. There was no evidence of impairment of glycolytic capacity in red blood cells from uremic patients. In addition, no correlation was found between the degree of glucose intolerance and basal or stimulated lactate production by erythrocytes. Our results obtained in human erythrocytes suggest that the insulin resistance observed in uremia does not involve a defect in hormone binding or in the intracellular capacity to utilize glucose through glycolysis.