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Glycogen metabolism in the liver of the foetal rat.

ABSTRACT: 1. The glycogen present in the liver of rat foetuses was labelled by injecting a trace amount of [6-(3)H]glucose into the mother at 19.5 days of gestation. The radioactivity incorporated in the glycogen 4h after the administration of the label was still present 38h later. A large proportion of this radioactivity was on the outer chains of the polysaccharide. These results indicate that there is normally almost no glycogen degradation in the foetal liver. In contrast, glycogen breakdown occurs very rapidly in the livers of foetuses whose mother is anaesthetized. 2. Glycogen synthetase is present in the liver at day 16 of gestation at a concentration as high as 30% of that in the adult, but essentially as an inactive (b) enzyme. The appearance of synthetase phosphatase between days 18 and 19 corresponds to that of synthetase a and to the beginning of glycogen synthesis. From day 19 to 21.5 the amount of synthetase a present in the foetal liver is just sufficient to account for the actual rate of glycogen deposition. 3. The content of total phosphorylase in the foetal liver increases continuously from day 16 to birth. However, a precise measurement of the a and b forms of the enzyme in the liver of non-anaesthetized foetuses is not possible. Taking the rate of glycogenolysis as an appropriate index of phosphorylase activity, we conclude that this enzyme is almost entirely in the inactive form in the foetal liver under normal conditions. 4. The accumulation of glycogen in the liver during late pregnancy may therefore be explained by a relatively slow rate of synthesis and a nearly total absence of degradation.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC1168004 | BioStudies | 1974-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1042/bj1400331

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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