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Eur J Biochem. 1983 May 16;132(3):663-8.

Control of the activity of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and the level of its mRNA in livers of newborn rats. Effect of diabetes, glucose load and glucocorticoids.


Streptozotocin treatment produces a typical experimental diabetes in neonates exhibiting hyperglycemia, glucosuria, ketonemia and increased level of fatty acids in the blood. The liver is affected as well, with reduced activity of glycogen synthase and a corresponding decrease in the content of liver glycogen. In contrast, the activity of liver cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and the level of its mRNA are not affected. Using a cDNA containing P-pyruvate carboxykinase sequence, the relative abundance of the enzyme mRNA was estimated. The level of the mRNA was readily observed increasing by glucocorticoid treatment or decreasing in response to administered load of glucose. These parallel the changes observed in the activity of the enzyme under these treatments, indicating that the level of P-pyruvate carboxykinase mRNA actually determines that of the enzyme. The failure of diabetes to increase the level of enzyme mRNA and the limited response to glucose loading strongly suggest that the mechanisms controlling the level of P-pyruvate carboxykinase mRNA in neonates are relatively resistant to insulin. This is unique to neonates, since in both the adult and the fetal liver. P-pyruvate carboxykinase readily responds to insulin. The minimal levels of glucocorticoids characteristic of neonates may be associated with this phenomenon.

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