The O-GlcNAc modification is proposed to be a nutrient sensor with studies suggesting that global increases in O-GlcNAc levels cause insulin resistance and impaired glucohomeostasis. We address this hypothesis by using a potent and selective inhibitor of O-GlcNAcase, known as NButGT, in a series of in vivo studies. Treatment of rats and mice with NButGT, for various time regimens and doses, dramatically increases O-GlcNAc levels throughout all tissues but does not perturb insulin sensitivity or alter glucohomeostasis. NButGT also does not affect the severity or onset of insulin resistance induced by a high-fat diet. These results suggest that pharmacological increases in global O-GlcNAc levels do not cause insulin resistance nor do they appear to disrupt glucohomeostasis. Therefore, the protective benefits of elevated O-GlcNAc levels may be achieved without deleteriously affecting glucohomeostasis.

Source: Macauley, M.S., Shan, X., Yuzwa, S.A., Gloster, T.M. & Vocadlo, D.J. Chem Biol 17, 949-58 (2010).