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Metabolism. 2000 Sep;49(9):1211-4.

A probing dose of phenylacetate does not affect glucose production and gluconeogenesis in humans.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Phenylacetate ingestion has been used to probe Krebs cycle metabolism and to augment waste nitrogen excretion in urea cycle disorders. Phenylalkanoic acids, including phenylacetate, have been proposed as potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of diabetes. They inhibit gluconeogenesis in the liver in vitro and reduce the blood glucose concentration in diabetic rats. The effect of sodium phenylacetate ingestion on blood glucose and the contribution of gluconeogenesis to glucose production have now been studied in 7 type 2 diabetic patients. The study was not designed to test whether the changes in glucose metabolism observed in the rat could be reproduced in humans. After an overnight fast, over a period of 1 hour, 4.8 g phenylacetate was ingested, which is the highest dose used to probe Krebs cycle metabolism. Glucose production was measured by tracer kinetics using [6,6-(2)H2]glucose and gluconeogenesis by the labeling of the hydrogens of blood glucose on (2)H20 ingestion. The concentration of phenylacetate in plasma peaked by 2 hours after its ingestion, and about 40% of the dose was excreted in 5 hours. The plasma glucose concentration and production, and the contribution of gluconeogenesis to glucose production, were unaffected by phenylacetate ingestion at the highest dose used to probe Krebs cycle metabolism.

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