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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Jan 8;1379(1):134-42.

Hexokinase isoenzymes in normal and cirrhotic human liver: suppression of glucokinase in cirrhosis.

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Department of Medicine, Human Diabetes and Metabolism Research Centre, The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


The activities of hexokinase isoenzymes I-IV (EC and of N-acetylglucosamine kinase (EC were determined in normal human liver and in alcoholic liver disease and primary biliary cirrhosis after FPLC fractionation of high-speed supernatants on Mono-Q with a linear NaCl gradient. In control human liver the hexokinase activities were: I, 3.6; II, 0.7; III, 3.5, IV, 4.8 (mUnits/mg supernatant protein). The activity of N-acetylglucosamine kinase was 8 mU/mg of protein. In alcoholic liver disease and primary biliary cirrhosis, the activity of hexokinase IV (glucokinase) was suppressed to less than 10% of control activity and the activity of hexokinase I was increased 3-fold. The activity of hexokinase II was increased approximately 7-fold in alcoholic liver disease. The activities of hexokinase III and N-acetylglucosamine kinase were unchanged in cirrhosis. Hexokinase III showed 50% substrate inhibition at 100 mM glucose as compared with 0.5mM glucose. The high activity of hexokinase III in human liver (approximately 50% of the low-Km activity and 70% of glucokinase activity) results in a significant underestimation of glucokinase activity as determined by the conventional spectrometric assay while the activity of N-acetylglucosamine kinase may contribute to an overestimation of glucokinase activity in the radiochemical assay. Furthermore glucokinase is dramatically suppressed in liver disease, which although partly compensated for by the increase in hexokinase I (and II), accounts in part for the well-known glucose intolerance of liver cirrhosis.

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