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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1978 Sep 28;530(3):333-46.

Development of glycogen and phospholipid metabolism in fetal and newborn rat lung.


Glucose, a major metabolic substrate for the mammalian fetus, probably makes significant contributions to surface active phospholipid synthesis in adult lung. We examined the developmental patterns of glycogen content, glycogen synthase activity, glycogen phosphorylase activity and glucose oxidation in fetal and newborn rat lung. These patterns were correlated with the development of phosphatidylcholine synthesis, content and the activities of enzymes involved in phosphatidylcholine synthesis. Fetal lung glycogen concentration increased until day 20 of gestation (term is 22 days) after which it declined to low levels. Activity of both glycogen synthase I and total glycogen synthase (I + D) in fetal lung increased late in gestation. Increased lung glycogen concentration preceded changes in enzyme activity. Glycogen phosphorylase a and total glycogen phosphorylase (a + b) activity in fetal lung increased during the period of prenatal glycogen depletion. The activity of the pentose phosphate pathway, as measured by the ratio of CO2 derived from oxidation of C1 and C6 of glucose, declined after birth. Fetal lung total phospholipid, phosphatidycholine and disaturated phosphatidylcholine content increased by 60, 90 and 180%, respectively, between day 19 of gestation and the first postnatal day. Incorporation of choline into phosphatidylcholine and disaturated phosphatidylcholine increased 10-fold during this time. No changes in phosphatidylcholine enzyme activities were noted during gestation, but both choline phosphate cytidylyltransferase and phosphatidate phosphatase activity increased after birth. The possible contributions of carbohydrate derived from fetal lung glycogen to phospholipid synthesis are discussed.

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