Eric A. Berg

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Susan R. Stapleton

Second Advisor

Dr. Leonard Ginsberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Gyula Ficsor

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Fatty acid biosynthesis, an insulin regulated pathway, is the process of producing fatty acid chains from 2 and 3 carbon units. Two enzymes in this pathway that insulin affects are glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Sodium vanadate and sodium selenate have demonstrated insulin-like effects in several tissue and cell types. These mimetic effects include increasing glucose transport, regulating glycolytic enzymes, normalizing plasma glucose levels and activities of insulin regulated enzymes in diabetic rats. Our goal was to examine effects of sodium vanadate and sodium selenate on fatty acid biosynthesis in two insulin responsive systems: Isolated rat hepatocytes and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. We wanted to determine if these agents acted in an insulin-like manner with respect to inducing the enzyme activity of G6PDH and FAS.

In isolated rat hepatocytes incubated in a chemically defined medium. addition of sodium vanadate (10μM) or sodium selenate (20μM) showed maximal increases in the activity of both G6PDH and FAS which were comparable to the induction by insulin that we obtained. In stretozotocin-induced diabetic rats, sodium vanadate and sodium selenate increased weight gain, lowered food and water consumption, lowered plasma glucose levels and increased G6PDH and FAS activity in the liver. These results again were comparable to those of insulin. Therefore, these results show that sodium vanadate and sodium selenate mimic insulin with respect to regulation of metabolic parameters and enzyme activities of G6PDH and FAS in diabetic rats.

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