Until recently, few studies had been carried out on receptors for glucocorticoids in adipocytes, although the role of these steroids is considerable. In the present studies, we chose the pre-adipocyte line 3T3-F442A, which constitutes an excellent model for investigating the differentiation and function of adipocytes. Using a whole cell assay system, we showed the existence of a homogeneous class of sites with the characteristics of glucocorticoid receptors, that is, high-affinity binding which is reversible, specific and saturable. Whatever the state of cellular differentiation, the affinity of the receptor for dexamethasone did not vary, although we observed an increase in the number of sites during differentiation. When cells were differentiated in the presence of insulin, there was a further increase in the binding capacity; moreover, insulin deprivation of such adipocytes caused a decrease in the number of sites. Our results therefore suggest that factors other than the glucocorticoids themselves influence dexamethasone binding. It is suggested that insulin plays a role in the regulation of the number of glucocorticoid receptors. © 1987.
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