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Biochem J. 1978 Dec 15;176(3):705-14.

Stable enhancement of calcium retention in mitochondria isolated from rat liver after the administration of glucagon to the intact animal.


1. Mitochondria isolated from rat liver by centrifugation of the homogenate in buffered iso-osmotic sucrose at between 4000 and 8000g-min, 1h after the administration in vivo of 30mug of glucagon/100g body wt., retain Ca(2+) for over 45min after its addition at 100nmol/mg of mitochondrial protein in the presence of 2mm-P(i). In similar experiments, but after the administration of saline (0.9% NaCl) in place of glucagon, Ca(2+) is retained for 6-8min. The ability of glucagon to enhance Ca(2+) retention is completely prevented by co-administration of 4.2mg of puromycin/100g body wt. 2. The resting rate of respiration after Ca(2+) accumulation by mitochondria from glucagon-treated rats remains low by contrast with that from saline-treated rats. Respiration in the latter mitochondria increased markedly after the Ca(2+) accumulation, reflecting the uncoupling action of the ion. 3. Concomitant with the enhanced retention of Ca(2+) and low rates of resting respiration by mitochondria from glucagon-treated rats was an increased ability to retain endogenous adenine nucleotides. 4. An investigation of properties of mitochondria known to influence Ca(2+) transport revealed a significantly higher concentration of adenine nucleotides but not of P(i) in those from glucagon-treated rats. The membrane potential remained unchanged, but the transmembrane pH gradient increased by approx. 10mV, indicating increased alkalinity of the matrix space. 5. Depletion of endogenous adenine nucleotides by P(i) treatment in mitochondria from both glucagon-treated and saline-treated rats led to a marked diminution in ability to retain Ca(2+). The activity of the adenine nucleotide translocase was unaffected by glucagon treatment of rats in vivo. 6. Although the data are consistent with the argument that the Ca(2+)-translocation cycle in rat liver mitochondria is a target for glucagon action in vivo, they do not permit conclusions to be drawn about the molecular mechanisms involved in the glucagon-induced alteration to this cycle.

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