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1.  A Prevalent Variant in PPP1R3A Impairs Glycogen Synthesis and Reduces Muscle Glycogen Content in Humans and Mice 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(1):e27.
Stored glycogen is an important source of energy for skeletal muscle. Human genetic disorders primarily affecting skeletal muscle glycogen turnover are well-recognised, but rare. We previously reported that a frameshift/premature stop mutation in PPP1R3A, the gene encoding RGL, a key regulator of muscle glycogen metabolism, was present in 1.36% of participants from a population of white individuals in the UK. However, the functional implications of the mutation were not known. The objective of this study was to characterise the molecular and physiological consequences of this genetic variant.
Methods and Findings
In this study we found a similar prevalence of the variant in an independent UK white population of 744 participants (1.46%) and, using in vivo 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies, demonstrate that human carriers (n = 6) of the variant have low basal (65% lower, p = 0.002) and postprandial muscle glycogen levels. Mice engineered to express the equivalent mutation had similarly decreased muscle glycogen levels (40% lower in heterozygous knock-in mice, p < 0.05). In muscle tissue from these mice, failure of the truncated mutant to bind glycogen and colocalize with glycogen synthase (GS) decreased GS and increased glycogen phosphorylase activity states, which account for the decreased glycogen content.
Thus, PPP1R3A C1984ΔAG (stop codon 668) is, to our knowledge, the first prevalent mutation described that directly impairs glycogen synthesis and decreases glycogen levels in human skeletal muscle. The fact that it is present in ∼1 in 70 UK whites increases the potential biomedical relevance of these observations.
Stephen O'Rahilly and colleagues describe the effect of a mutation inPPP1R3A, present in 1.36% of participants from one UK population, that directly impairs glycogen synthesis and decreases glycogen levels in human skeletal muscle.
Editors' Summary
The human body gets the energy it needs for day-to-day living from food in a process called metabolism. However, not all the energy released by metabolism is used immediately. Some is stored in skeletal muscles as glycogen, a glucose polymer that is used during high intensity exercise. After eating, chemicals in the digestive system release glucose (a type of sugar) from food into the bloodstream where it triggers insulin release from the pancreas. Insulin instructs muscle, liver and fat cells to remove glucose from the bloodstream to keep the amount of sugar in the blood at a safe level. The cells use the glucose immediately as fuel or convert it into glycogen or fat for storage. Glycogen turnover (the depletion and replacement of glycogen stores) is tightly controlled by glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase, enzymes that make and destroy glycogen, respectively. A third enzyme called protein phosphatase 1 promotes net glycogen synthesis by activating glycogen synthase and inactivating glycogen phosphorylase. The activity of protein phosphatase 1 is regulated by a family of “targeting subunits.” In muscle, one of these targeting subunits, called RGL, facilitates protein phosphatase 1 action on glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several known human genetic disorders affect the breakdown of muscle glycogen but few genetic changes (mutations) have been found that decrease the synthesis of muscle glycogen. Researchers are interested in discovering mutations that affect glycogen turnover and other aspects of metabolism because some of these may be involved in the development of diabetes, an important metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. In this study, the researchers have investigated how a recently identified mutation in PPP1R3A, the gene that encodes RGL, affects glycogen synthesis. This mutation—PPP1R3A FS—was previously found in 1.36% of a UK white population. It causes the production of a short version of RGL that lacks the part of the molecule that tethers RGL to a cellular structure called the sarcoplasmic reticulum but leaves its glycogen binding domain intact.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To confirm that PPP1R3A FS is a common mutation in the UK white population, the researchers sequenced the gene in 744 healthy adults enrolled in the Oxford Biobank (which hopes to uncover metabolically important genetic variations by monitoring the health of a large number of 30- to 50-year-old people from whom DNA has been collected). 1.46% of these people had the PPP1R3A FS mutation. To examine glycogen storage in carriers of the mutation, the researchers used a technique called in vivo 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Basal muscle glycogen levels and those reached after a meal were lower in these individuals than in people without the mutation but their blood sugar and insulin levels were normal. Finally, to examine how the mutation reduces muscle glycogen, the researchers made mice carrying the PPP1R3A FS mutation. Like the human carriers, these mice had less glycogen than normal in their muscles. Unexpectedly, in biochemical experiments the truncated RGL protein made by the mutant mice did not bind to glycogen or co-localize with glycogen synthase. This lack of binding decreased the activity of glycogen synthase and increased the activity of glycogen phosphorylase, thus decreasing muscle glycogen.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify the PPP1R3A FS mutation as the first prevalent mutation known to impair glycogen synthesis and to decrease glycogen levels in human skeletal muscles. They also confirm that this mutation is very common in UK whites. Although these human carriers do not report any exercise intolerance, detailed studies are needed to test whether the mutation has any effect on skeletal muscle performance. In addition, suggest the researchers, the mutation might be involved in the development of type 2 diabetes. Impaired insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis, which is a feature of insulin-resistant muscle and liver cells, is thought to be a key event in the development of type 2 diabetes. Although some previous results indicate that the PPP1R3A FS mutations can sometimes predispose people to develop insulin resistance, only a large population-based study in multiple ethnic groups will reveal whether the PPP1R3A FS mutation has an important impact on the development of type 2 diabetes.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Wikipedia has pages on metabolism and on glycogen (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia provides information about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The UK Biobank is looking for genetic variations among human populations that are associated with metabolic and other disorders
Web sites are available with brief descriptions of the research programs of Stephen O'Rahilly and Anna DePaoli-Roach
PMCID: PMC2214798  PMID: 18232732
2.  Prevalence and clinical characteristics of lower limb atherosclerotic lesions in newly diagnosed patients with ketosis-onset diabetes: a cross-sectional study 
The clinical features of atherosclerotic lesions in ketosis-onset diabetes are largely absent. We aimed to compare the characteristics of lower limb atherosclerotic lesions among type 1, ketosis-onset and non-ketotic type 2 diabetes.
A cross-sectional study was performed in newly diagnosed Chinese patients with diabetes, including 53 type 1 diabetics with positive islet-associated autoantibodies, 208 ketosis-onset diabetics without islet-associated autoantibodies, and 215 non-ketotic type 2 diabetics. Sixty-two subjects without diabetes were used as control. Femoral intima-media thickness (FIMT), lower limb atherosclerotic plaque and stenosis were evaluated and compared among the four groups based on ultrasonography. The risk factors associated with lower limb atherosclerotic plaque were evaluated via binary logistic regression in patients with diabetes.
After adjusting for age and sex, the prevalence of lower limb plaque in the patients with ketosis-onset diabetes (47.6%) was significantly higher than in the control subjects (25.8%, p = 0.013), and showed a higher trend compared with the patients with type 1 diabetes (39.6%, p = 0.072), but no difference was observed in comparison to the patients with non-ketotic type 2 diabetes (62.3%, p = 0.859). The mean FIMT in the ketosis-onset diabetics (0.73 ± 0.17 mm) was markedly greater than that in the control subjects (0.69 ± 0.13 mm, p = 0.045) after controlling for age and sex, but no significant differences were found between the ketosis-onset diabetics and the type 1 diabetics (0.71 ± 0.16 mm, p = 0.373), and the non-ketotic type 2 diabetics (0.80 ± 0.22 mm, p = 0.280), respectively. Age and FIMT were independent risk factors for the presence of lower limb plaque in both the ketosis-onset and non-ketotic type 2 diabetic patients, while sex and age in the type 1 diabetic patients.
The prevalence and risk of lower limb atherosclerotic plaque in the ketosis-onset diabetes were remarkably higher than in the control subjects without diabetes. The features and risk factors of lower limb atherosclerotic lesions in the ketosis-onset diabetes resembled those in the non-ketotic type 2 diabetes, but different from those in the type 1 diabetes. Our findings provide further evidences to support the classification of ketosis-onset diabetes as a subtype of type 2 diabetes rather than idiopathic type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4054910  PMID: 24926320
Type 1 diabetes; Ketosis-onset diabetes; Type 2 diabetes; Lower limb arteries; Atherosclerosis
3.  Reproducibility and Absolute Quantification of Muscle Glycogen in Patients with Glycogen Storage Disease by 13C NMR Spectroscopy at 7 Tesla 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108706.
Carbon-13 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C MRS) offers a noninvasive method to assess glycogen levels in skeletal muscle and to identify excess glycogen accumulation in patients with glycogen storage disease (GSD). Despite the clinical potential of the method, it is currently not widely used for diagnosis or for follow-up of treatment. While it is possible to perform acceptable 13C MRS at lower fields, the low natural abundance of 13C and the inherently low signal-to-noise ratio of 13C MRS makes it desirable to utilize the advantage of increased signal strength offered by ultra-high fields for more accurate measurements. Concomitant with this advantage, however, ultra-high fields present unique technical challenges that need to be addressed when studying glycogen. In particular, the question of measurement reproducibility needs to be answered so as to give investigators insight into meaningful inter-subject glycogen differences. We measured muscle glycogen levels in vivo in the calf muscle in three patients with McArdle disease (MD), one patient with phosphofructokinase deficiency (PFKD) and four healthy controls by performing 13C MRS at 7T. Absolute quantification of the MRS signal was achieved by using a reference phantom with known concentration of metabolites. Muscle glycogen concentration was increased in GSD patients (31.5±2.9 g/kg w. w.) compared with controls (12.4±2.2 g/kg w. w.). In three GSD patients glycogen was also determined biochemically in muscle homogenates from needle biopsies and showed a similar 2.5-fold increase in muscle glycogen concentration in GSD patients compared with controls. Repeated inter-subject glycogen measurements yield a coefficient of variability of 5.18%, while repeated phantom measurements yield a lower 3.2% system variability. We conclude that noninvasive ultra-high field 13C MRS provides a valuable, highly reproducible tool for quantitative assessment of glycogen levels in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC4189928  PMID: 25296331
4.  Ketosis Onset Type 2 Diabetes Had Better Islet β-Cell Function and More Serious Insulin Resistance 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:510643.
Diabetic ketosis had been identified as a characteristic of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but now emerging evidence has identified that they were diagnosed as T2DM after long time follow up. This case control study was aimed at comparing the clinical characteristic, β-cell function, and insulin resistance of ketosis and nonketotic onset T2DM and providing evidence for treatment selection. 140 cases of newly diagnosed T2DM patients were divided into ketosis (62 cases) and nonketotic onset group (78 cases). After correction of hyperglycemia and ketosis with insulin therapy, plasma C-peptide concentrations were measured at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 hours after 75 g glucose oral administration. Area under the curve (AUC) of C-peptide was calculated. Homoeostasis model assessment was used to estimate basal β-cell function (HOMA-β) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Our results showed that ketosis onset group had higher prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) than nonketotic group (P = 0.04). Ketosis onset group had increased plasma C-peptide levels at 0 h, 0.5 h, and 3 h and higher AUC0–0.5, AUC0–1, AUC0–3 (P < 0.05). Moreover, this group also had higher HOMA-β and HOMA-IR than nonketotic group (P < 0.05). From these data, we concluded that ketosis onset T2DM had better islet β-cell function and more serious insulin resistance than nonketotic onset T2DM.
PMCID: PMC4009153  PMID: 24829925
5.  Interactions of Fat and Carbohydrate Metabolism—New Aspects and Therapies 
NO one has so far produced anything approaching a clear picture of either fat or carbohydrate metabolism and the interactions of the two are still more involved and elusive although they clearly exist. Plants and animals build up reserves of fat from carbohydrate, but the reverse process (fat into carbohydrate), proved in plant seeds, is still unproven in animals, although theoretically possible.
In normal human metabolism fat-carbohydrate interactions are almost hidden. The disturbances shown in the metabolism of a diabetic seem to give us the clearest indications of these interactions. Either carbohydrate or fat can be used as the main source of body fuel, but their metabolic course is very different, both as regards chemistry and function. It is only whep carbohydrate is not available, either in starvation or severe diabetes, that fat provides the fuel of the body; this contrast is also manifest in the blood and internal organs, especially the liver. Under the commonest normal conditions of diet carbohydrate is predominantly and preferentially used for metabolism. The liver is rich in glycogen, poor in fat; the blood fat is minimal and ketone bodies, although perhaps present in small amount in the blood at most times, are absent on common tests. As soon as carbohydrate is insufficiently available for the needs of metabolism, depot fat flows to the liver and is there catabolized to ketone bodies which recent proof has shown to be burned peripherally in the muscles independent of carbohydrate metabolism. This is a normal process, harmful only in diabetes, and especially harmful when it occurs suddenly, e.g. when insulin is cut off from a fat diabetic dog or human patient. A diabetic supports with ease a prolonged severe ketosis but suffers from one of sudden onset, although of milder severity. Insulin in the diabetic and sugar in the starved switches metabolism from fat to carbohydrate usage very quickly and ketonuria usually disappears in three to six hours.
“Diabetic obesity” is very common and is often seen in the earliest stages and again after insulin treatment. It seems probable that hyperglycæmia causes this obesity and this has been clearly established by observations on an unusual case of lipæmia, diabetes and lipodystrophy.
Lipæcmia may occur in two opposite phases of metabolism, one anabolic—when fat is on its way to storage, the other catabolic—when it is flowing from stores to the liver. The latter is the usual condition obvious in disease.
Work has also been done which suggests that other lipotropic factors—choline, lipocaic, &c., exert an influence on carbohydrate-fat balance, more specifically the glycogen-fat balance in the liver.
In America attention has been drawn to the frequent and persistenzt occurrence of fatty enlargement of the liver in diabetic children. The author has seen many diabetic children (usually in a state of chronic ketosis) with enlarged livers, but such enlargement has rapidly disappeared with better management of the diabetes. Only two out of some 500 diabetic children have clearly shown the unmistakable syndrome of “hepatomegalic dwarfism ”. In these two cases choline and lipocaic were given over prolonged periods without any effect: the liver, however, of one of these cases has since become normal by the addition of zinc protamine insulin.
PMCID: PMC1998199  PMID: 19992415
6.  Prevalence and clinical characteristics of carotid atherosclerosis in newly diagnosed patients with ketosis-onset diabetes: a cross-sectional study 
The features of carotid atherosclerosis in ketosis-onset diabetes have not been investigated. Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence and clinical characteristics of carotid atherosclerosis in newly diagnosed Chinese diabetic patients with ketosis but without islet-associated autoantibodies.
In total, 423 newly diagnosed Chinese patients with diabetes including 208 ketosis-onset diabetics without islet-associated autoantibodies, 215 non-ketotic type 2 diabetics and 79 control subjects without diabetes were studied. Carotid atherosclerosis was defined as the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in any of the carotid vessel segments. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), carotid atherosclerotic plaque formation and stenosis were assessed and compared among the three groups based on Doppler ultrasound examination. The clinical features of carotid atherosclerotic lesions were analysed, and the risk factors associated with carotid atherosclerosis were evaluated using binary logistic regression in patients with diabetes.
The prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis was significantly higher in the ketosis-onset diabetic group (30.80%) than in the control group (15.2%, p=0.020) after adjusting for age- and sex-related differences, but no significant difference was observed in comparison to the non-ketotic diabetic group (35.8%, p=0.487). The mean CIMT of the ketosis-onset diabetics (0.70±0.20 mm) was markedly higher than that of the control subjects (0.57±0.08 mm, p<0.001), but no significant difference was found compared with the non-ketotic type 2 diabetics (0.73±0.19 mm, p=0.582) after controlling for differences in age and sex. In both the ketosis-onset and the non-ketotic diabetes, the prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis was markedly increased with age (both p<0.001) after controlling for sex, but no sex difference was observed (p=0.479 and p=0.707, respectively) after controlling for age. In the ketosis-onset diabetics, the presence of carotid atherosclerosis was significantly associated with age, hypertension, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and mean CIMT.
The prevalence and risk of carotid atherosclerosis were significantly higher in the ketosis-onset diabetics than in the control subjects but similar to that in the non-ketotic type 2 diabetics. The characteristics of carotid atherosclerotic lesions in the ketosis-onset diabetics resembled those in the non-ketotic type 2 diabetics. Our findings support the classification of ketosis-onset diabetes as a subtype of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3583071  PMID: 23324539
Ketosis-prone diabetes; Type 2 diabetes; Atherosclerosis; Carotid arteries; Epidemiology
7.  Effects of Intravenous Glucose Load on Insulin Secretion in Patients With Ketosis-Prone Diabetes During Near-Normoglycemia Remission 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(4):854-860.
Most patients with ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes (KPD) discontinue insulin therapy and remain in near-normoglycemic remission. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of glucotoxicity on β-cell function during remission in obese patients with KPD.
Age- and BMI-matched obese African Americans with a history of KPD (n = 8), severe hyperglycemia but without ketosis (ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes, n = 7), and obese control subjects (n = 13) underwent intravenous infusion of 10% dextrose at a rate of 200 mg per m2/min for 20 h. β-Cell function was assessed by changes in insulin and C-peptide concentrations during dextrose infusion and by changes in acute insulin response (AIR) and first-phase insulin release (FPIR) to arginine stimulation before and after dextrose infusion.
The mean ± SD time to discontinue insulin therapy was 7.1 ± 1.7 weeks in KPD and 9.6 ± 2.3 weeks in ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes (NS). During a 20-h dextrose infusion, changes in insulin, C-peptide, and the C-peptide–to–glucose ratio were similar among diabetic and control groups. During dextrose infusion, subjects with ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes had greater areas under the curve for blood glucose than subjects with KPD and control subjects (P < 0.05). The AIR and FPIR to arginine stimulation as well as glucose potentiation to arginine assessed before and after dextrose infusion were not different among the study groups.
Near-normoglycemia remission in obese African American patients with KPD and ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes is associated with a remarkable recovery in basal and stimulated insulin secretion. At near-normoglycemia remission, patients with KPD displayed a pattern of insulin secretion similar to that of patients with ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes and obese nondiabetic subjects.
PMCID: PMC2845041  PMID: 20067967
8.  Mechanism of liver glycogen repletion in vivo by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1985;76(3):1229-1236.
In order to quantitate the pathways by which liver glycogen is repleted, we administered [1-13C]glucose by gavage into awake 24-h fasted rats and examined the labeling pattern of 13C in hepatic glycogen. Two doses of [1-13C]glucose, 1 and 6 mg/g body wt, were given to examine whether differences in the plasma glucose concentration altered the metabolic pathways via which liver glycogen was replenished. After 1 and 3 h (high-dose group) and after 1 and 2 h (low-dose group), the animals were anesthetized and the liver was quickly freeze-clamped. Liver glycogen was extracted and the purified glycogen hydrolyzed to glucose with amyloglucosidase. The distribution of the 13C-label was subsequently determined by 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The percent 13C enrichment of the glucosyl units in glycogen was: 15.1 +/- 0.8%(C-1), 1.5 +/- 0.1%(C-2), 1.2 +/- 0.1%(C-3), 1.1 +/- 0.1%(C-4), 1.6 +/- 0.1%(C-5), and 2.2 +/- 0.1%(C-6) for the high-dose study (n = 4, at 3 h); 16.5 +/- 0.5%(C-1), 2.0 +/- 0.1%(C-2), 1.3 +/- 0.1%(C-3), 1.1 +/- 0.1%(C-4), 2.2 +/- 0.1%(C-5), and 2.4 +/- 0.1%(C-6) in the low-dose study (n = 4, at 2 h). The average 13C-enrichment of C-1 glucose in the portal vein was found to be 43 +/- 1 and 40 +/- 2% in the high- and low-dose groups, respectively. Therefore, the amount of glycogen that was synthesized from the direct pathway (i.e., glucose----glucose-6-phosphate----glucose-1-phosphate----UDP-glucose---- glycogen) was calculated to be 31 and 36% in the high- and low-dose groups, respectively. The 13C-enrichments of portal vein lactate and alanine were 14 and 14%, respectively, in the high-dose group and 11 and 8%, respectively, in the low-dose group. From these enrichments, the minimum contribution of these gluconeogenic precursors to glycogen repletion can be calculated to be 7 and 20% in the high- and low-dose groups, respectively. The maximum contribution of glucose recycling at the triose isomerase step to glycogen synthesis (i.e., glucose----triose-phosphates----glycogen) was estimated to be 3 and 1% in the high- and low-dose groups, respectively. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that (a) only one-third of liver glycogen repletion occurs via the direct conversion of glucose to glycogen, and that (b) only a very small amount of glycogen synthesis can be accounted for by the conversion of glucose to triose phosphates and back to glycogen; this suggests that futile cycling between fructose-6-phosphate and fructose-1,6-diphosphate under these conditions is minimal. Our results also show that (c) alanine and lactate account for a minimum of between 7 and 20% of the glycogen synthesized, and that (d) the three pathways through which the labeled flux is measured account for a total of only 50% of the total glycogen synthesized. These results suggest that either there is a sizeable amount of glycogen synthesis via pathway(s) that were not examined in the present experiment or that there is a much greater dilution of labeled alanine/lactate in the oxaloacetate pool than previously appreciated, or some combination of these two explanations.
PMCID: PMC424028  PMID: 4044833
9.  The Role of Skeletal Muscle Glycogen Breakdown for Regulation of Insulin Sensitivity by Exercise 
Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates in mammals. In humans the majority of glycogen is stored in skeletal muscles (∼500 g) and the liver (∼100 g). Food is supplied in larger meals, but the blood glucose concentration has to be kept within narrow limits to survive and stay healthy. Therefore, the body has to cope with periods of excess carbohydrates and periods without supplementation. Healthy persons remove blood glucose rapidly when glucose is in excess, but insulin-stimulated glucose disposal is reduced in insulin resistant and type 2 diabetic subjects. During a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp, 70–90% of glucose disposal will be stored as muscle glycogen in healthy subjects. The glycogen stores in skeletal muscles are limited because an efficient feedback-mediated inhibition of glycogen synthase prevents accumulation. De novo lipid synthesis can contribute to glucose disposal when glycogen stores are filled. Exercise physiologists normally consider glycogen’s main function as energy substrate. Glycogen is the main energy substrate during exercise intensity above 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (Vo2max⁡) and fatigue develops when the glycogen stores are depleted in the active muscles. After exercise, the rate of glycogen synthesis is increased to replete glycogen stores, and blood glucose is the substrate. Indeed insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis is elevated after exercise, which, from an evolutional point of view, will favor glycogen repletion and preparation for new “fight or flight” events. In the modern society, the reduced glycogen stores in skeletal muscles after exercise allows carbohydrates to be stored as muscle glycogen and prevents that glucose is channeled to de novo lipid synthesis, which over time will causes ectopic fat accumulation and insulin resistance. The reduction of skeletal muscle glycogen after exercise allows a healthy storage of carbohydrates after meals and prevents development of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3248697  PMID: 22232606
glycogen phosphorylase; glycogen synthase; exercise; type 2 diabetes; insulin resistance; exercise; de novo lipogenesis
10.  Abnormalities in Glycogen Metabolism in a Patient with Alpers’ Syndrome Presenting with Hypoglycemia 
JIMD Reports  2013;14:29-35.
Intermittent hypoglycemia has been described in association with Alpers’ syndrome, a disorder caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma gene. In some patients hypoglycemia may define the initial disease presentation well before the onset of the classical Alpers’ triad of psychomotor retardation, intractable seizures, and liver failure. Correlating with the genotype, POLG pathogenicity is a result of increased mitochondrial DNA mutability, and mitochondrial DNA depletion resulting in energy deficient states. Hypoglycemia therefore could be secondary to any metabolic pathway affected by ATP deficiency. Although it has been speculated that hypoglycemia is due to secondary fatty acid oxidation defects or abnormal gluconeogenesis, the exact underlying etiology is still unclear. Here we present detailed studies on carbohydrate metabolism in an Alpers’ patient who presented initially exclusively with intermittent episodes of hypoglycemia and ketosis. Our results do not support a defect in gluconeogenesis or fatty acid oxidation as the cause of hypoglycemia. In contrast, studies performed on liver biopsy suggested abnormal glycogenolysis. This is shown via decreased activities of glycogen brancher and debrancher enzymes with normal glycogen structure and increased glycogen on histology of the liver specimen. To our knowledge, this is the first report documenting abnormalities in glycogen metabolism in a patient with Alpers’ syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4213341  PMID: 24272679
11.  Ketosis-Onset Diabetes and Ketosis-Prone Diabetes: Same or Not? 
Objective. To compare clinical characteristics, immunological markers, and β-cell functions of 4 subgroups (“Aβ” classification system) of ketosis-onset diabetes and ketosis prone diabetes patients without known diabetes, presenting with ketosis or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and admitted to our department from March 2011 to December 2011 in China, with 50 healthy persons as control group. Results. β-cell functional reserve was preserved in 63.52% of patients. In almost each subgroup (except A−  β− subgroup of ketosis prone group), male patients were more than female ones. The age of the majority of patients in ketosis prone group was older than that of ketosis-onset group, except A−  β− subgroup of ketosis prone group. The durations from the patient first time ketosis or DKA onset to admitting to the hospital have significant difference, which were much longer for the ketosis prone group except the A+ β+ subgroup. BMI has no significant difference among subgroups. FPG of ketosis prone group was lower than that of A−  β+ subgroup and A+ β+ subgroup in ketosis-onset group. A−  β− subgroup and A+ β+ subgroup of ketosis prone group have lower HbA1c than ketosis-onset group. Conclusions. Ketosis-onset diabetes and ketosis prone diabetes do not absolutely have the same clinical characteristics. Each subgroup shows different specialty.
PMCID: PMC3655588  PMID: 23710177
12.  Predominant role of gluconeogenesis in the hepatic glycogen repletion of diabetic rats. 
Liver glycogen formation can occur via the direct (glucose----glucose-6-phosphate----glycogen) or indirect (glucose----C3 compounds----glucose-6-phosphate----glycogen) pathways. In the present study we have examined the effect of hyperglycemia on the pathways of hepatic glycogenesis, estimated from liver uridine diphosphoglucose (UDPglucose) specific activities, and on peripheral (muscle) glucose metabolism in awake, unstressed control and 90% pancreatectomized, diabetic rats. Under identical conditions of hyperinsulinemia (approximately 550 microU/ml), 2-h euglycemic (6 mM) and hyperglycemic (+5.5 mM and +11 mM) clamp studies were performed in combination with [3-3H,U-14C]glucose, [6-3H,U-14C]glucose, or [3-3H]glucose and [U-14C]lactate infusions under postabsorptive conditions. Total body glucose uptake and muscle glycogen synthesis were decreased in diabetic vs. control rats during all the clamp studies, whereas glycolytic rates were similar. By contrast, hyperglycemia determined similar rates of liver glycogen synthesis in both groups. Nevertheless, in diabetic rats, the contribution of the direct pathway to hepatic glycogen repletion was severely decreased, whereas the indirect pathway was markedly increased. After hyperglycemia, hepatic glucose-6-phosphate concentrations were increased in both groups, whereas UDPglucose concentrations were reduced only in the control group. These results indicate that in the diabetic state, under hyperinsulinemic conditions, hyperglycemia normally stimulates liver glycogen synthesis through a marked increase in the indirect pathway, which in turn may compensate for the reduction in the direct pathway. The increase in the hepatic concentrations of both glucose-6-phosphate and UDPglucose suggests the presence, in this diabetic rat model, of a compensatory "push" mechanism for liver glycogen repletion.
PMCID: PMC442816  PMID: 1530852
13.  Characterization and pathogenesis of anemia in glycogen storage disease type Ia and Ib 
The aim of this study was to characterize the frequency and causes of anemia in glycogen storage disease type I.
Hematologic data and iron studies were available from 202 subjects (163 with glycogen storage disease Ia and 39 with glycogen storage disease Ib). Anemia was defined as hemoglobin concentrations less than the 5th percentile for age and gender; severe anemia was defined as presence of a hemoglobin <10 g/dl.
In glycogen storage disease Ia, 68/163 patients were anemic at their last follow-up. Preadolescent patients tended to have milder anemia secondary to iron deficiency, but anemia of chronic disease predominated in adults. Severe anemia was present in 8/163 patients, of whom 75% had hepatic adenomas. The anemia improved or resolved in all 10 subjects who underwent resection of liver lesions. Anemia was present in 72% of patients with glycogen storage disease Ib, and severe anemia occurred in 16/39 patients. Anemia in patients with glycogen storage disease Ib was associated with exacerbations of glycogen storage disease enterocolitis, and there was a significant correlation between C-reactive protein and hemoglobin levels (P = 0.036).
Anemia is a common manifestation of both glycogen storage disease Ia and Ib, although the pathophysiology appears to be different between these conditions. Those with severe anemia and glycogen storage disease Ia likely have hepatic adenomas, whereas glycogen storage disease enterocolitis should be considered in those with glycogen storage disease Ib.
PMCID: PMC3808879  PMID: 22678084
anemia; glycogen storage disease I; hepcidin; inflammatory bowel disease; iron
14.  A metabolic link between mitochondrial ATP synthesis and liver glycogen metabolism: NMR study in rats re-fed with butyrate and/or glucose 
Butyrate, end-product of intestinal fermentation, is known to impair oxidative phosphorylation in rat liver and could disturb glycogen synthesis depending on the ATP supplied by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and cytosolic glycolysis.
In 48 hr-fasting rats, hepatic changes of glycogen and total ATP contents and unidirectional flux of mitochondrial ATP synthesis were evaluated by ex vivo 31P NMR immediately after perfusion and isolation of liver, from 0 to 10 hours after force-feeding with (butyrate 1.90 mg + glucose 14.0 mg.g-1 body weight) or isocaloric glucose (18.2 mg.g-1 bw); measurements reflected in vivo situation at each time of liver excision. The contribution of energetic metabolism to glycogen metabolism was estimated.
A net linear flux of glycogen synthesis (~11.10 ± 0.60 μmol glucosyl units.h-1.g-1 liver wet weight) occurred until the 6th hr post-feeding in both groups, whereas butyrate delayed it until the 8th hr. A linear correlation between total ATP and glycogen contents was obtained (r2 = 0.99) only during net glycogen synthesis. Mitochondrial ATP turnover, calculated after specific inhibition of glycolysis, was stable (~0.70 ± 0.25 μmol.min-1.g-1 liver ww) during the first two hr whatever the force-feeding, and increased transiently about two-fold at the 3rd hr in glucose. Butyrate delayed the transient increase (1.80 ± 0.33 μmol.min-1.g-1 liver ww) to the 6th hr post-feeding. Net glycogenolysis always appeared after the 8th hr, whereas flux of mitochondrial ATP synthesis returned to near basal level (0.91 ± 0.19 μmol.min-1.g-1 liver ww).
In liver from 48 hr-starved rats, the energy need for net glycogen synthesis from exogenous glucose corresponds to ~50% of basal mitochondrial ATP turnover. The evidence of a late and transient increase in mitochondrial ATP turnover reflects an energetic need, probably linked to a glycogen cycling. Butyrate, known to reduce oxidative phosphorylation yield and to induce a glucose-sparing effect, delayed the transient increase in mitochondrial ATP turnover and hence energy contribution to glycogen metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3141389  PMID: 21676253
15.  Splanchnic and leg exchange of glucose, amino acids, and free fatty acids during exercise in diabetes mellitus. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1975;55(6):1303-1314.
The influence of exercise on leg and splanchnic exchange of substrates was examined in eight insulin-dependent diabetics 24 h after withdrawal of insulin and in eight healthy controls studied at rest and after 40 min of bicycle ergometer exercise at 55-60% of maximal capacity. In four of the diabetic subjects, basal arterial ketone acid levels were 3-4 mmol/ liter (ketotic diabetics) and in the remainder, below 1 mmol/liter (nonketotic diabetics). ,ree fatty acid (FFA) turnover and regional exchange were evaluated with 14-C- labeled oleic acid. Leg uptake of blood glucose rose 13-18 fold during exercise in both the diabetics and controls and accounted for a similar proportion of the total oxygen uptake by leg muscles (25-28%) in the two groups. In contrast, leg uptake of FFA corresponded to 39% of leg oxygen consumption in the diabetic group but only 27% in controls. Systemic turnover of oleic acid was similar in the two groups. Splanchnic glucose output increased during exercise 3-4 fold above resting levels in both groups. In the diabetics, splanchnic uptake of lactate, pyruvate, glycerol, and glycogenic amino acids rose more than twofold above resting levels and was fourfold greater than in exercising controls. Total precursor uptake could account for 30% of the splanchnic glucose output in the diabetic group. In contrast, in the controls, total splanchnic uptake of glucose precursors was no greater during exercise than in the resting state and could account for no more than 11% of splanchnic glucose output. The augmented precursor uptake during exercise in the diabetics was a consequence of increased splanchnic fractional extraction as well as increased peripheral production of gluconeogenic substrates. The arterial glucagon concentration was unchanged by exercise in both groups, but was higher in the diabetics. In the diabetic subjects with ketosis in the resting state, exercise elicited a rise in arterial glucose and FFA, an augmented splanchnic uptake of FFA, and a 2-3 fold increase in splanchnic output of 3-hydroxybutyrate. Uptake of 3-hydroxybutyrate by the exercising leg rose more rapidly than splanchnic production, resulting in a fall in arterial levels of 3-hydroxybutyrate. It is concluded that (a) glucose uptake by exercising muscle in hyperglycemic diabetics is no different from that of controls; (b) splanchnic glucose output rises during exercise to a similar extent in diabetics and controls, while uptake of gluconeogenic substrates is markedly higher in diabetics and accounts for a greater proportion of total splanchnic glucose output; (c) exercise in diabetic patients with mild ketosis is associated with a rise in blood glucose and FFA levels as well as augmented splanchnic production and peripheral uptake of ketone bodies.
PMCID: PMC301886  PMID: 1133176
16.  Mechanism of Antidiabetic Action of Compound GII Purified from Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) Seeds 
To study the mechanism of action of water soluble compound GII purified from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) seeds which was shown earlier to have antidiabetic effect in the subdiabetic, moderately and severely diabetic rabbits. In rabbits (1–1.5 kg bw) diabetes was induced by intravenous injection of 80 mg/kg bw of alloxan. They were fed with GII at a dose of 50 mg/kg bw daily once in the morning for 15 days in the subdiabetic and moderately diabetic and 30 days in the severely diabetic rabbits. Serum total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), LDL + VLDL cholesterol [(LDL + VLDL)C], HDL cholesterol [(HDL)C], total tissue lipids, glycogen and enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, polyol pathway) hexokinase, glucokinase, pyruvate kinase, malic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphatase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, aldose reductase and sorbitol dehydrogenase and antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase were estimated. Liver and kidney function parameters were also estimated. Treatment with GII for 15 days in the subdiabetic and moderately diabetic rabbits and for 30 days in the severely diabetic rabbits (i) decreased the elevated lipids TC, TG, (LDL + VLDL)C and increased the decreased (HDL)C, (ii) decreased the elevated liver and heart total lipids, TC and TG, (iii) increased the decreased liver and muscle glycogen, (iv) increased the decreased hexokinase, glucokinase, pyruvate kinase, malic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, (v) decreased the increased glucose-6-phosphatase, sorbitol dehydrogenase, aldose reductase. Results thus show that treatment with GII compound purified from fenugreek seeds for 15 days in the subdiabetic and moderately diabetic and 30 days in the severely diabetic rabbits corrects the altered serum lipids, tissue lipids, glycogen, enzymes of glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen metabolism, polyol pathway and antioxidant enzymes. Histopathological abnormalities (fatty infiltration and other cellular changes) seen in the pancreas, liver, heart and kidneys were repaired after treatment with GII. In fact partially damaged pancreas was repaired. Liver and kidney function test results were normal in the GII treated animals indicating that GII treatment is safe and free from any side effects.
PMCID: PMC3210251  PMID: 23024468
GII from fenugreek seeds; Mechanism of action; Serum and tissue lipids; Glycogen; Glycolysis; Gluconeogenesis; Antioxidant enzymes
17.  Lack of Lipotoxicity Effect on β-Cell Dysfunction in Ketosis-Prone Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2009;33(3):626-631.
Over half of newly diagnosed obese African Americans with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) discontinue insulin therapy and go through a period of near-normoglycemia remission. This subtype of diabetes is known as ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes (KPDM).
To investigate the role of lipotoxicity on β-cell function, eight obese African Americans with KPDM, eight obese subjects with type 2 diabetes with severe hyperglycemia without ketosis (ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes), and nine nondiabetic obese control subjects underwent intravenous infusion of 20% intralipid at 40 ml/h for 48 h. β-Cell function was assessed by changes in insulin and C-peptide concentration during infusions and by changes in acute insulin response to arginine stimulation (AIRarg) before and after lipid infusion.
The mean time to discontinue insulin therapy was 11.0 ± 8.0 weeks in KPDM and 9.6 ± 2.2 weeks in ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes (P = NS). At remission, KPDM and ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes had similar glucose (94 ± 14 vs. 109 ± 20 mg/dl), A1C (5.7 ± 0.4 vs. 6.3 ± 1.1%), and baseline AIRarg response (34.8 ± 30 vs. 64 ± 69 μU/ml). P = NS despite a fourfold increase in free fatty acid (FFA) levels (0.4 ± 0.3 to 1.8 ± 1.1 mmol/l, P < 0.01) during the 48-h intralipid infusion; the response to AIRarg stimulation, as well as changes in insulin and C-peptide levels, were similar among obese patients with KPDM, patients with ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes, and nondiabetic control subjects.
Near-normoglycemia remission in obese African American patients with KPDM and ketosis-resistant type 2 diabetes is associated with a remarkable recovery in basal and stimulated insulin secretion. A high FFA level by intralipid infusion for 48 h was not associated with β-cell decompensation (lipotoxicity) in KPDM patients.
PMCID: PMC2827521  PMID: 20028938
18.  Non-invasive measurement of brain glycogen by NMR spectroscopy and its application to the study of brain metabolism 
Journal of neuroscience research  2011;89(12):1905-1912.
Glycogen is the reservoir for glucose in the brain. Beyond the general agreement that glycogen serves as an energy source in the central nervous system, its exact role in brain energy metabolism has yet to be elucidated. Experiments performed in cell and tissue culture and animals have shown that glycogen content is affected by several factors including glucose, insulin, neurotransmitters, and neuronal activation. The study of in vivo glycogen metabolism has been hindered by the inability to measure glycogen non-invasively, but in the past several years, the development of a non-invasive localized 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy method has enabled the study of glycogen metabolism in the conscious human. With this technique, 13C-glucose is administered intravenously and its incorporation into and wash-out from brain glycogen is tracked. One application of this method has been to the study of brain glycogen metabolism in humans during hypoglycemia: data have shown that mobilization of brain glycogen is augmented during hypoglycemia and, after a single episode of hypoglycemia, glycogen synthesis rate is increased, suggesting that glycogen stores rebound to levels greater than baseline. Such studies suggest glycogen may serve as a potential energy reservoir in hypoglycemia and may participate in the brain's adaptation to recurrent hypoglycemia and eventual development of hypoglycemia unawareness. Beyond this focused area of study, 13C NMR spectroscopy has a broad potential for application in the study of brain glycogen metabolism and carries the promise of a better understanding of the role of brain glycogen in diabetes and other conditions.
PMCID: PMC3189435  PMID: 21732401
Brain glycogen; 13C NMR spectroscopy; in vivo glycogen measurement
The distribution in liver cell fractions of UDPG-glycogen transferase has been studied. In fasting animals which have been refed 6 hours before sacrifice, the distribution of the enzyme in the various cell fractions can be correlated with the glycogen content of each fraction. A purified glycogen fraction has been prepared by differential centrifugation in sucrose gradients. This glycogen fraction contains vesicular structures which resemble those seen in association with glycogen deposits in the intact liver cell. In addition, the glycogen pellet contains UDPG-glycogen transferase in high specific activity. Subfractionation of the glycogen pellet separates the majority of vesicular elements from the bulk of transferase activity and glycogen. The evidence presented suggests that the presence of UPDG-glycogen transferase in the glycogen pellet is to be attributed to its binding to glycogen rather than to its association with the structural elements found in the glycogen fraction.
PMCID: PMC2225075  PMID: 13764028
20.  Role of the direct and indirect pathways for glycogen synthesis in rat liver in the postprandial state. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1988;81(3):872-878.
The pathway for hepatic glycogen synthesis in the postprandial state was studied in meal-fed rats chronically cannulated in the portal vein. Plasma glucose concentration in the portal vein was found to be 4.50 +/- 1.01 mM (mean +/- SE; n = 3) before a meal and 11.54 +/- 0.70 mM (mean +/- SE; n = 4) after a meal in rats meal-fed a diet consisting of 100% commercial rat chow for 7 d. The hepatic-portal difference of plasma glucose concentration showed that liver released glucose in the fasted state and either extracted or released glucose after feeding depending on plasma glucose concentration in the portal vein. The concentration of portal vein glucose at which liver changes from glucose releasing to glucose uptake was 8 mM, the Km of glucokinase [E.C.]. The rate of glycogen synthesis in liver during meal-feeding was found to be approximately 1 mumol glucosyl U/g wet wt/min in rats meal-fed a 50% glucose supplemented chow diet. The relative importance of the direct vs. indirect pathway for the replenishment of hepatic glycogen was determined by the incorporation of [3-3H,U-14C]glucose into liver glycogen. Labeled glucose was injected into the portal vein at the end of meal-feeding. The ratio of 3H/14C in the glucosyl units of glycogen was found to be 83-92% of the ratio in liver free glucose six minutes after the injection, indicating that the majority of exogenous glucose incorporated into glycogen did not go through glycolysis. The percent contribution of the direct versus indirect pathway was quantitated from the difference in the relative specific activity (RSA) of [3H] and [14C]-glycogen in rats infused with [3-3H,U-14C]glucose. No significant difference was found between the RSA of [3H]glycogen and [14C]glycogen, indicating further that the pathway for glycogen synthesis in liver from exogenous glucose is from the direct pathway. Our results do not support the thesis that the majority of liver glycogen is synthesized from glucose-6-phosphate derived from gluconeogenesis. Reasons for the discrepancy between current findings and other reports supporting the indirect pathway for glycogen synthesis in the liver are discussed.
PMCID: PMC442539  PMID: 3343346
21.  Effects of Endotoxin on Gluconeogenesis, Glycogen Synthesis, and Liver Glycogen Synthase in Mice 
Infection and Immunity  1973;7(4):642-654.
This study was undertaken to characterize the nature of carbohydrate loss due to endotoxin poisoning in mice and to elucidate mechanisms responsible for the changes. Female ICR mice, fasted overnight, were injected intraperitoneally with a mean lethal dose of endotoxin extracted from Salmonella typhimurium strain SR-11. Liver glycogen levels, alanine-U-14C and pyruvate-2-14C incorporation into blood glucose and liver glycogen, glucose-U-14C incorporation into liver glycogen, and liver glycogen synthase activities were measured at intervals after treatment. Liver glycogen in fasted mice given endotoxin was diminished significantly as early as 1 h after treatment. Liver glycogen synthase was significantly decreased in poisoned mice at 17 h. The use of actinomycin D showed that the induction of this enzyme due to fasting or hydrocortisone, or both, was inhibited by endotoxin. The incorporation of the 14C-label from alanine-U-14C, pyruvate-2-14C, or glucose-U-14C into blood glucose and liver glycogen was substantially impaired in endotoxemic animals at 12 h. Decreases in incorporation occurred as early as 4 h after treatment. The progressive increase in glycogen synthase activity observed in fasted controls was not seen in endotoxin-poisoned mice. The administration of a glucose or pyruvate load to endotoxin-treated mice did not restore gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, or liver glycogen synthase activity to normal levels. The in vivo activation of glycogen synthase by glucose was significantly reduced in endotoxemic animals. These changes indicate reduced carbohydrate synthesis as a probable cause for rapid sugar loss during endotoxemia in mice.
PMCID: PMC422738  PMID: 4202664
22.  Muscle Mitochondrial ATP Synthesis and Glucose Transport/Phosphorylation in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(5):e154.
Muscular insulin resistance is frequently characterized by blunted increases in glucose-6-phosphate (G-6-P) reflecting impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation. These abnormalities likely relate to excessive intramyocellular lipids and mitochondrial dysfunction. We hypothesized that alterations in insulin action and mitochondrial function should be present even in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods and Findings
We measured G-6-P, ATP synthetic flux (i.e., synthesis) and lipid contents of skeletal muscle with 31P/1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ten patients with T2DM and in two control groups: ten sex-, age-, and body mass-matched elderly people; and 11 younger healthy individuals. Although insulin sensitivity was lower in patients with T2DM, muscle lipid contents were comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased G-6-P by 50% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39%–99%) in all groups. Patients with diabetes had 27% lower fasting ATP synthetic flux compared to younger controls (p = 0.031). Insulin stimulation increased ATP synthetic flux only in controls (younger: 26%, 95% CI 13%–42%; older: 11%, 95% CI 2%–25%), but failed to increase even during hyperglycemic hyperinsulinemia in patients with T2DM. Fasting free fatty acids and waist-to-hip ratios explained 44% of basal ATP synthetic flux. Insulin sensitivity explained 30% of insulin-stimulated ATP synthetic flux.
Patients with well-controlled T2DM feature slightly lower flux through muscle ATP synthesis, which occurs independently of glucose transport /phosphorylation and lipid deposition but is determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, the reduction in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal despite normal glucose transport/phosphorylation suggests further abnormalities mainly in glycogen synthesis in these patients.
Michael Roden and colleagues report that even patients with well-controlled insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes have altered mitochondrial function.
Editors' Summary
Diabetes mellitus is an increasingly common chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. In normal individuals, blood sugar levels are maintained by the hormone insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas when blood glucose levels rise after eating (glucose is produced by the digestion of food) and “instructs” insulin-responsive muscle and fat cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream. The cells then use glucose as a fuel or convert it into glycogen, a storage form of glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the commonest type of diabetes, the muscle and fat cells become nonresponsive to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance) and consequently blood glucose levels rise. Over time, this hyperglycemia increases the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, and other life-threatening complications.
Why Was This Study Done?
Insulin resistance is often an early sign of type 2 diabetes, sometimes predating its development by many years, so understanding its causes might provide clues about how to stop the global diabetes epidemic. One theory is that mitochondria—cellular structures that produce the energy (in the form of a molecule called ATP) needed to keep cells functioning—do not work properly in people with insulin resistance. Mitochondria change (metabolize) fatty acids into energy, and recent studies have revealed that fat accumulation caused by poorly regulated fatty acid metabolism blocks insulin signaling, thus causing insulin resistance. Other studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study mitochondrial function noninvasively in human muscle indicate that mitochondria are dysfunctional in people with insulin resistance by showing that ATP synthesis is impaired in such individuals. In this study, the researchers have examined both baseline and insulin-stimulated mitochondrial function in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes and in normal controls to discover more about the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers determined the insulin sensitivity of people with type 2 diabetes and two sets of people (the “controls”) who did not have diabetes: one in which the volunteers were age-matched to the people with diabetes, and the other containing younger individuals (insulin resistance increases with age). To study insulin sensitivity in all three groups, the researchers used a “hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp.” For this, after an overnight fast, the participants' insulin levels were kept high with a continuous insulin infusion while blood glucose levels were kept normal using a variable glucose infusion. In this situation, the glucose infusion rate equals glucose uptake by the body and therefore measures tissue sensitivity to insulin. Before and during the clamp, the researchers used MRS to measure glucose-6-phosphate (an indicator of how effectively glucose is taken into cells and phosphorylated), ATP synthesis, and the fat content of the participants' muscle cells. Insulin sensitivity was lower in the patients with diabetes than in the controls, but muscle lipid content was comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased glucose-6-phosphate levels similarly in all the groups. Patients with diabetes and the older controls had lower fasting ATP synthesis rates than the young controls and, whereas insulin stimulation increased ATP synthesis in all the controls, it had no effect in the patients with diabetes. In addition, fasting blood fatty acid levels were inversely related to basal ATP synthesis, whereas insulin sensitivity was directly related to insulin-stimulated ATP synthesis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the impairment of muscle mitochondrial ATP synthesis in fasting conditions and after insulin stimulation in people with diabetes is not due to impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation or fat deposition in the muscles. Instead, it seems to be determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. These results add to the evidence suggesting that mitochondrial function is disrupted in type 2 diabetes and in insulin resistance, but also suggest that there may be abnormalities in glycogen synthesis. More work is needed to determine the exact nature of these abnormalities and to discover whether they can be modulated to prevent the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. For now, though, these findings re-emphasize the need for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance to reduce their food intake to compensate for the reduced energy needs of their muscles and to exercise to increase the ATP-generating capacity of their muscles. Both lifestyle changes could improve their overall health and life expectancy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on diabetes
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on diabetes for patients and professionals
American Diabetes Association provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
Diabetes UK has information for patients and professionals on diabetes
PMCID: PMC1858707  PMID: 17472434
23.  Comparison of a new aspiration needle device and the Quick-Core biopsy needle for transjugular liver biopsy 
AIM: To evaluate sample adequacy, safety, and needle passes of a new biopsy needle device compared to the Quick-Core biopsy needle for transjugular liver biopsy in patients affected by liver disease.
METHODS: Thirty consecutive liver-disease patients who had major coagulation abnormalities and/or relevant ascites underwent transjugular liver biopsy using either a new needle device (18 patients) or the Quick-Core biopsy needle (12 patients). The length of the specimens was measured before fixation. A pathologist reviewed the histological slides for sample adequacy and pathologic diagnoses. The two methods’ specimen adequacy and complication rates were assessed.
RESULTS: Liver biopsies were technically successful in all 30 (100%) patients, with diagnostic histological core specimens obtained in 30 of 30 (100%) patients, for an overall success rate of 100%. With the new device, 18 specimens were obtained, with an average of 1.1 passes per patient. Using the Quick-Core biopsy needle, 12 specimens were obtained, with an average of 1.8 passes per patient. Specimen length was significantly longer with the new needle device than with the Quick-Core biopsy needle (P < 0.05). The biopsy tissue was not fragmented in any of the specimens with the new aspiration needle device, but tissue was fragmented in 3 of 12 (25.0%) specimens obtained using the Quick-Core biopsy needle. Complications included cardiac arrhythmia in 3 (10.0%) patients, and transient abdominal pain in 4 (13.3%) patients. There were no cases of subcapsular hematoma, hemoperitoneum, or sepsis, and there was no death secondary to the procedure. In particular, no early or delayed major procedure-related complications were observed in any patient.
CONCLUSION: Transjugular liver biopsy is a safe and effective procedure, and there was significant difference in the adequacy of the specimens obtained using the new needle device compared to the Quick-Core biopsy needle. Using the new biopsy needle device, the specimens showed no tissue fragmentation and no increment in major procedure-related complications was observed.
PMCID: PMC4088143  PMID: 17072958
Liver disease; Biopsy-interventional proced-ures; Transjugular biopsy
24.  Dysregulation of Multiple Facets of Glycogen Metabolism in a Murine Model of Pompe Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56181.
Pompe disease, also known as glycogen storage disease (GSD) type II, is caused by deficiency of lysosomal acid α-glucosidase (GAA). The resulting glycogen accumulation causes a spectrum of disease severity ranging from a rapidly progressive course that is typically fatal by 1 to 2 years of age to a slower progressive course that causes significant morbidity and early mortality in children and adults. The aim of this study is to better understand the biochemical consequences of glycogen accumulation in the Pompe mouse. We evaluated glycogen metabolism in heart, triceps, quadriceps, and liver from wild type and several strains of GAA−/− mice. Unexpectedly, we observed that lysosomal glycogen storage correlated with a robust increase in factors that normally promote glycogen biosynthesis. The GAA−/− mouse strains were found to have elevated glycogen synthase (GS), glycogenin, hexokinase, and glucose-6-phosphate (G-6-P, the allosteric activator of GS). Treating GAA−/− mice with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA) led to a dramatic reduction in the levels of glycogen, GS, glycogenin, and G-6-P. Lysosomal glycogen storage also correlated with a dysregulation of phosphorylase, which normally breaks down cytoplasmic glycogen. Analysis of phosphorylase activity confirmed a previous report that, although phosphorylase protein levels are identical in muscle lysates from wild type and GAA−/− mice, phosphorylase activity is suppressed in the GAA−/− mice in the absence of AMP. This reduction in phosphorylase activity likely exacerbates lysosomal glycogen accumulation. If the dysregulation in glycogen metabolism observed in the mouse model of Pompe disease also occurs in Pompe patients, it may contribute to the observed broad spectrum of disease severity.
PMCID: PMC3572993  PMID: 23457523
25.  Capacity for Moderate Exercise in Obese Subjects after Adaptation to a Hypocaloric, Ketogenic Diet 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1980;66(5):1152-1161.
To study the capacity for moderate endurance exercise and change in metabolic fuel utilization during adaptation to a ketogenic diet, six moderately obese, untrained subjects were fed a eucaloric, balanced diet (base line) for 2 wk, followed by 6 wk of a protein-supplemented fast (PSF), which provided 1.2 g of protein/kg ideal body wt, supplemented with minerals and vitamins. The mean weight loss was 10.6 kg.
The duration of treadmill exercise to subjective exhaustion was 80% of base line after 1 wk of the PSF, but increased to 155% after 6 wk. Despite adjusting up to base line, with a backpack, the subjects' exercise weight after 6 wk of dieting, the final exercise test was performed at a mean of 60% of maximum aerobic capacity, whereas the base-line level was 76%. Resting vastus lateralis glycogen content fell to 57% of base line after 1 wk of the PSF, but rose to 69% after 6 wk, at which time no decrement in muscle glycogen was measured after >4 h of uphill walking. The respiratory quotient (RQ) during steady-state exercise was 0.76 during base line, and fell progressively to 0.66 after 6 wk of the PSF. Blood glucose was well maintained during exercise in ketosis. The sum of acetoacetate and beta hydroxybutyrate rose from 3.28 to 5.03 mM during exercise after 6 wk of the PSF, explaining in part the low exercise RQ.
The low RQ and the fact that blood glucose and muscle glycogen were maintained during exhausting exercise after 6 wk of a PSF suggest that prolonged ketosis results in an adaptation, after which lipid becomes the major metabolic fuel, and net carbohydrate utilization is markedly reduced during moderate but ultimately exhausting exercise.
PMCID: PMC371554  PMID: 7000826

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