The New Zealand obese mouse, a model of NIDDM, is characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance. The aim of this study was to investigate the biochemical basis of hepatic insulin resistance in NZO mice. Glycolytic and gluconeogenic enzyme activities were measured in fed and overnight fasted 19- to 20-wk-old NZO and control New Zealand chocolate mice. The NZO mice were twice as heavy as the NZC mice. The activity of the glycolytic enzymes glucokinase and pyruvate kinase was higher, whereas that of the gluconeogenic enzymes PEPCK and glucose-6-phosphatase was lower in fed and fasted NZO mice. These enzyme changes are consistent with a normal response to the hyperinsulinemia in NZO mice. In contrast, the activity of the third regulated gluconeogenic enzyme, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, was similar in fed and fasted NZO and NZC mice despite the higher insulin and glucose levels in the NZO mouse. This enzyme is primarily regulated by the powerful inhibitor fructose-2,6-bisphosphate. The levels of this metabolite were measured and found to be increased in both the fed and fasted states in the NZO mouse, suggesting that the activity of the bifunctional enzyme that regulates the level of inhibitor (6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase) is normally regulated in the NZO mouse. We conclude that most insulin-responsive gluconeogenic and glycolytic enzymes are normally regulated in the NZO mouse, but an abnormality in the regulation of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase may contribute to the increase hepatic glucose production in these mice.

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