Hepatic glycogen metabolism was investigated in genetically diabetic C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice during their development. Initially, the development of obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperglucagonemia in these mice was examined, which illustrated that the diabetes progressed normally. Little difference in hepatic glycogen concentrations was observed, averaging approximately 50 and 60 mg/g liver in diabetic (db/db) and control heterozygote (db/+) mice, respectively. Glycogen synthase activity (total and a-form) was significantly elevated by 5 wk in the diabetic mice relative to controls and reached maximum levels (twofold higher than controls) around 8–9 wk. This activity then slowly declined during the rest of the 15-wk period examined. Both phosphorylase a and total phosphorylase activities were also elevated by 5 wk, reaching levels twofold higher than controls. These activities did not decline at the end of this 15-wk period, but instead continued to slowly increase. Glycogen synthase a activity showed a positive correlation (r = 0.54, N = 144) with circulating levels of insulin, and a similar correlation was seen for phosphorylase a activity and plasma glucagon levels (r = 0.64, N = 72). Protein kinase and phosphoprotein phosphatase activities were also measured, but no differences were detected between diabetic and control mice. This longitudinal study clarifies some of the changes in hepatic glycogen metabolism that occur during the progression of diabetes in the db/db mouse and indicates a role for circulating insulin and glucagon concentrations on the steady-state activities of glycogen synthase and phosphorylase, respectively.

This content is only available via PDF.