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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 20;276(16):12928-31. Epub 2001 Jan 29.

Glyceroneogenesis and the source of glycerol for hepatic triacylglycerol synthesis in humans.

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  • 1Robert Schwartz M.D. Center for Metabolism and Nutrition, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, USA. sck@po.cwru.edu


Glyceroneogenesis, i.e. the synthesis of the glycerol moiety of triacylglycerol from pyruvate, has been suggested to be quantitatively important in both the liver and adipose tissue during fasting. However, the actual contribution of glyceroneogenesis to triacylglycerol synthesis has not been quantified in vivo in human studies. In the present study we have measured the contribution of glycerol and pyruvate to in vivo synthesis of hepatic triacylglycerol in nonpregnant and pregnant women after an overnight fast. Five nonpregnant women were administered [(13)C(3)]glycerol tracer as prime constant rate infusion, and the appearance of tracer in plasma glucose and triacylglycerol was quantified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The contribution of pyruvate to hepatic triacylglycerol was quantified in nonpregnant and pregnant women using the deuterium labeling of body water method. The appearance of [(2)H] in hydrogens on C(1) and C(3) of triacylglycerol was measured following periodate oxidation of the glycerol isolated from hydrolyzed triacylglycerol. After a 16-h fast, approximately 6.1% of the plasma triacylglycerol pool was derived from plasma glycerol, whereas 10 to 60% was derived from pyruvate in nonpregnant women and pregnant women early in gestation. Our data suggest that glyceroneogenesis from pyruvate is quantitatively a major contributor to plasma triacylglycerol synthesis and may be important for the regulation of very low density lipoprotein triacylglycerol production. Our data also suggest that 3-glycerol phosphate is in rapid equilibrium with the triosephosphate pool, resulting in rapid labeling of the triose pool by the administered tracer glycerol. Because the rate of flux of triosephosphate to glucose during fasting far exceeds that to triacylglycerol, more glycerol ends up in glucose than in triacylglycerol. Alternatively, there may be two distinct pools of 3-glycerol phosphate in the liver, one involved in generating triosephosphate from glycerol and the other involved in glyceride-glycerol synthesis.

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