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Cell Metab. 2008 Nov;8(5):359-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2008.09.008.

The glucagon receptor is required for the adaptive metabolic response to fasting.

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Department of Medicine, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X5, Canada.


Glucagon receptor (Gcgr) signaling maintains hepatic glucose production during the fasting state; however, the importance of the Gcgr for lipid metabolism is unclear. We show here that fasted Gcgr-/- mice exhibit a significant increase in hepatic triglyceride secretion and fasting increases fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in wild-type (WT) but not in Gcgr-/- mice. Moreover fasting upregulated the expression of FAO-related hepatic mRNA transcripts in Gcgr+/+ but not in Gcgr-/- mice. Exogenous glucagon administration reduced plasma triglycerides in WT mice, inhibited TG synthesis and secretion, and stimulated FA beta oxidation in Gcgr+/+ hepatocytes. The actions of glucagon on TG synthesis and FAO were abolished in PPARalpha-/- hepatocytes. These findings demonstrate that the Gcgr receptor is required for control of lipid metabolism during the adaptive metabolic response to fasting.

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