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Biochem J. 1987 Dec 1;248(2):429-37.

Stimulation of glycogen synthesis and lipogenesis by glutamine in isolated rat hepatocytes.

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Hormone and Metabolic Research Unit, Louvain University Medical School, Brussels, Belgium.


Glutamine stimulated glycogen synthesis and lactate production in hepatocytes from overnight-fasted normal and diabetic rats. The effect, which was half-maximal with about 3 mM-glutamine, depended on glucose concentration and was maximal below 10 mM-glucose. beta-2-Aminobicyclo[2.2.1.]heptane-2-carboxylic acid, an analogue of leucine, stimulated glutaminase flux, but inhibited the stimulation of glycogen synthesis by glutamine. Various purine analogues and inhibitors of purine synthesis were found to inhibit glycogen synthesis from glucose, but they did not abolish the stimulatory effect of glutamine on glycogen synthesis. The correlation between the rate of glycogen synthesis and synthase activity suggested that the stimulation of glycogen synthesis by glutamine depended solely on the activation of glycogen synthase. This activation of synthase was not due to a change in total synthase, nor was it caused by a faster inactivation of glycogen phosphorylase, as was the case after glucose. It could, however, result from a stimulation of synthase phosphatase, since, after the addition of 1 nM-glucagon or 10 nM-vasopressin, glutamine did not interfere with the inactivation of synthase, but did promote its subsequent re-activation. Glutamine was also found to inhibit ketone-body production and to stimulate lipogenesis.

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