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Regulation of hepatic glycogen metabolism in pre natal and post natal rats

, : Regulation of hepatic glycogen metabolism in pre natal and post natal rats. Endocrinology 113(3): 893-902

Three stages of development of hepatic glycogen metabolism in the rat were studied. These included the last stage of gestation, in which large scale synthesis and accumulation of glycogen takes place, the perinatal period of glycogenolysis, and the suckling period up to and including weaning. The role of insulin in the regulation of the key rate-limiting enzymes of glycogen synthesis (glycogen synthase) and glycogen breakdown (glycogen phosphorylase) was studied as was the role of the key phosphoprotein phosphatase enzymes that regulate activation of synthase (synthase phosphatase) and inactivation of phosphorylase (phosphorylase phosphatase). Glycogen accumulates in significant quantities on days 20-21 of gestation in the rat (term, 22 days). Associated with this increased rate and amount of glycogen accumulation is an increase in glycogen synthase a and synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase activities associated with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Concomitantly, fetal insulin levels are elevated as is the insuliin to glucagon molar ratio and the synthase a/phosphorylase a ratio. At birth, these hepatic glycogen stores are rapidly degraded, and synthase a levels are diminished, as are ER-associated synthase phosphatase and phosphorylase phosphatase activities. Phosphorylase a levels are markedly elevated at this time as well. Insulin levels are decreased, as is the insulin to glucagon molar ratio. Gradually over a period of 4 wk after birth, glycogen levels increase in the liver, accompanied by increased ER-associated phosphatase activities and an increased insulin to glucagon molar ratio. The data support a role for increased ambient insulin concentrations in regulation of the periods of active glycogen synthesis and accumulation in pre- and postnatal rat liver. A possible site of action of insulin is the ER and associated phosphoprotein phosphatase activities.

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