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Metabolism. 1990 Oct;39(10):1082-8.

Influence of long-term diabetes on liver glycogen metabolism in the rat.

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Metabolism Unit, C.N.R. Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy.


Diabetes acutely impairs the ability of the liver to synthesize glycogen. However, the effect of chronic diabetes on the glycogenic function of the liver is not known. We measured hepatic glycogen contents in streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats 3 weeks or 9 months after the induction of diabetes, in the fed state and following a 24-hour fast. In the fed state, liver glycogen levels were markedly decreased in short-term diabetic animals (5.8 +/- 2.0 v 33.9 +/- 2.3 mg/g, P less than .001), but not in long-term diabetic rats (18.3 +/- 4.4 v 20.7 +/- 1.3 mg/g, P = NS) as compared with age-matched nondiabetic animals, despite comparable hyperglycemia (portal plasma glucose levels of 424 +/- 21 and 449 +/- 24 mg/100 mL, short- and long-term diabetics, respectively). In the fasted state, on the other hand, liver glycogen was depleted in acute diabetes (4.5 +/- 2.2 mg/g v 1.9 +/- 0.5 of control rats), but significantly increased in chronic diabetes (10.1 +/- 3.1 v 0.2 +/- 0.03 mg/g, P less than .001). The latter finding was confirmed by electron-microscopical examination of liver cells. Furthermore, the percentage of hepatic glycogen synthase in the active form (synthase a) was lower than normal in short-term diabetic rats and in old nondiabetic rats. In long-term diabetic animals, on the other hand, synthase a was significantly higher than in old controls (P less than .01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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