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Am J Physiol. 1996 Apr;270(4 Pt 1):E559-64.

Altered regulation of hepatic glucose output in the male offspring of protein-malnourished rat dams.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, United Kingdom.


Offspring of protein-malnourished rat dams have permanent alterations in hepatic enzyme activities associated with glucose homeostasis. Hormonal control of hepatic glucose output (HGO) was studied in male offspring of dams fed either a 20% (control) or 8% (low protein) protein diet during pregnancy and lactation. Glucagon (210 pM) stimulated HGO significantly more (P < 0.04) in controls (from 0.72 +/- 0.11 to 3.18 +/- 0.30 mumol.min-1.g liver-1) compared with low-protein animals (from 0.53 +/- 0.11 to 2.05 +/- 0.24 mumol.min-1.g liver-1). Insulin (1 nM) decreased (P < 0.001) HGO in controls to 2.39 +/- 0.37 mumol.min-1.g liver-1 after 10 min but increased HGO (to 2.82 +/- 0.40 mumol.min-1.g liver-1; P < 0.04) in low-protein rats. There were fivefold fewer (P = 0.01) glucagon receptors but a threefold increase (P < 0.05) in hepatic insulin receptor number in the low-protein rats, which was reflected by increased in insulin degradation (P < 0.001). The glucose transporter GLUT-2 was also raised threefold in the low-protein group (P < 0.001). The anomalous response to insulin indicates changes in its metabolic signaling, but normal insulin binding suggests that this alteration is a postreceptor event.

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