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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1984 Jun;58(6):1125-32.

Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in cirrhosis. Evidence that hepatic uptake of gluconeogenic precursors and of free fatty acids depends on effective hepatic flow.


Splanchnic arteriovenous differences for several intermediary metabolites of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism were determined simultaneously with hepatic blood flow in seven normal subjects, eight patients with cirrhosis, and six patients with cirrhosis after surgical portosystemic shunt ( SPSS ) after an overnight fast. Arteriovenous differences in the legs were also determined together with flux measurement. The individual turnover rates of acetoacetate (AcAc) and 3 hydroxybutyrate (beta OHB) were also determined by means of isotopic techniques. Splanchnic gluconeogenic precursors and FFA uptakes were lower in cirrhotic patients with SPSS than in normal subjects (P less than 0.05 and P less than 0.01, respectively). Splanchnic triglyceride output was also lower in cirrhotic patients with SPSS than in normal subjects (P less than 0.01), whereas no significant differences were found for AcAc, beta OHB, and glucose release. In the group of cirrhotic patients without SPSS , those patients with negligible signs of portal systemic shunt and normal splanchnic blood flow had uptake of gluconeogenic precursors and of FFA normal or higher than that of normal subjects, whereas those patients with signs of spontaneous portal systemic shunt behaved like cirrhotic patients with SPSS . Alanine release from the leg was lower in both cirrhotic patient groups. Tracer determined hepatic output of AcAc and beta OHB was higher in cirrhotic patients with SPSS (P less than 0.05). Plasma clearance rates of AcAc and beta OHB were significantly elevated in both cirrhotic patient groups. Close agreement was found between tracer and catheterization techniques in the evaluation of ketone body production in cirrhotic patients with SPSS , whereas in cirrhotic patients without SPSS tracer determined hepatic output was slightly lower, possibly because of extrahepatic splanchnic tissue ketone body uptake. In conclusion, our data in patients with cirrhosis indicate that: 1) splanchnic uptake of gluconeogenic precursors and of FFA was related to the degree of portal systemic shunt, e.g. to the degree of effective hepatic blood flow; 2) liver triglyceride but not ketone body output was decreased by the impaired FFA (and glycerol) liver uptake; 3) the higher circulating levels of gluconeogenic precursors (except alanine) and of FFA appeared at least partially due to lower hepatic removal of these metabolites; and 4) peripheral use of ketone bodies was increased and alanine release from the leg reduced in patients with cirrhosis.

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