Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-28-2022

Document Type



Pierce, S. 2022. The Positive Effect of Mechanical Stretch on pAKT and GLUT4 Expression in Adipocytes with Relation to Obesity and Diabetes. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Samantha Pierce 2022.


The purpose of this research is to determine if there is a significant change in total GLUT4 or pAKT expression after the addition of different levels of insulin and consistent mechanical stretch. Understanding the effect of stretch on adipocyte proteins that increase insulin sensitivity is important because of the increasing numbers of obesity and type II diabetes mellitus, which is a disease characterized by insulin insensitivity. 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells were cultured, differentiated, mechanically stretched, and collected. The samples were used in a western blot, and the blot was transferred to a membrane to be developed. ImageJ provided the relative expression of GLUT4 and pAKT. The results showed that stretch increased AKT phosphorylation and total GLUT4 expression. The increase in the two proteins increases glucose uptake, cell growth and differentiation, protein synthesis, glucose synthesis, and the inhibition of gluconeogenesis. Insulin sensitivity is therefore increased when adipocytes are mechanically stretched because of the increase in pAKT and GLUT4.