A study has been made of the effect of hypokalemia on carbohydrate and lipidmetabolism.
Forty-two male Wistar rats, divided into three groups, were fed a low-potassium diet for two weeks. One group was injected with saline and fed a diet and drinking water supplemented with potassium, a second group was injected with desoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA), while the third group was DOCA-treated and given potassium supplement. One week after the last injection, intracardiac glucose tolerance tests were performed, and blood and tissue specimens obtained for potassium, insulin, glucose, free fatty acids (FFA), and glycogen.
Hypokalemia, successfully induced by this regimen, was associated with: (1) retardation of growth; (2) increased liver and muscle glycogen; (3) no change in liver potassium; (4) increased fat potassium; (5) decreased muscle potassium; (6) elevation of fasting, and one- and two-hour post-glucose blood sugar concentrations; (7) no change in rate of early rapid disappearance of injected glucose; (8) no effect on fasting or post-glucose plasma FFA levels; and (9) no effect on mean fasting or post-glucose insulin levels, but a reduction in differential insulin response after glucose.