We wished to determine whether the elevated glucose cycling (GC) between glucose and glucose-6-phosphate (G⇆G6P) in diabetes can be reversed with acute insulin treatment. In six insulin-deprived, anesthetized, depancreatized dogs, insulin was infused for 6–9 h at a starting dose of 45–150 pmol-kg−1-min−1 to normalize plasma glucose from 23.9 ± 1.4 to 5.0 ± 0.4 mmol/1 and gradually decreased to and maintained at a basal rate (1.7 ± 1.0 pmol · kg−1 · min−1) during the last 3 h. GC, measured with [2-3H]- and [6-3H]glucose, fell markedly from 15.3 ± 2.7 and normalized at 1.3 ± 0.6 μmol · kg−1 · min−1 (P < 0.001). This occurred because total hepatic glucose output fell much more (from 41.2 ± 3.1 to 11.6 ± 1.2) than did glucose production (from 25.9 ± 1.9 to 10.3 ± 1.0 μmol · kg−1 · min−1) (both P < 0.01). Freeze-clamped liver biopsies were taken at timed intervals for measurements of hepatic enzymes and substrates. The elevated hepatic hexose-6-phosphate levels decreased with insulin infusion (151 ± 24 vs. 71 ± 13 nmol/g, P < 0.01). Maximal activities of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) (from 17.6 ± 0.8 to 19.6 ± 2.6 U/g) and glucokinase (from 1.1 ± 0.2 to 1.0 ± 0.2 U/g) did not change. Insulin infusion resulted in a threefold increase (P < 0.05) in the activity of glycogen synthase (active form), but had no effect on hepatic glycogen content. We therefore conclude that in the depancreatized dog, 1) acute insulin infusion with a concurrent correction of hyperglycemia can markedly reduce and normalize GC, and 2) the acute reduction in GC is primarily mediated by reduced substrate fluxes through glucokinase and G6Pase and does not require stable changes in maximal activities of the two enzymes. However, in vivo allosteric changes in enzyme activities (particularly G6Pase), immeasurable in vitro, cannot be excluded. In addition to enzyme measurements, the importance of tracer methods that allow for in vivo measurements of fluxes through glucokinase and G6Pase is emphasized.

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