Investigation of Hepatic Glucose Metabolism

Matthew Stephenson (2009). Investigation of Hepatic Glucose Metabolism PhD Thesis, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland.

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Author Matthew Stephenson
Thesis Title Investigation of Hepatic Glucose Metabolism
School, Centre or Institute School of Medicine
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-07
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Assoc Prof Graeme Macdonald
Assoc Prof Jon Whitehead
Dr Kim Bridle
Total pages 200
Total colour pages 11
Total black and white pages 189
Subjects 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract/Summary The incidences of obesity and type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide. A cardinal feature of these conditions is resistance to the effects of the hormone insulin and a resulting hepatic overproduction of glucose. Insulin resistance is also implicated in a range of liver diseases including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatitis C infection. Insulin is released after a meal and acts on liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue to reduce blood glucose concentration. In the liver, insulin inhibits the production and release of glucose into the circulation and stimulates its storage as glycogen. Glucagon, on the other hand, is present in the fasting state and causes breakdown of hepatic glycogen along with production of new glucose. This glucose is released from hepatocytes into the circulation. For the studies in this thesis, functional assays to measure various aspects of hepatic glucose metabolism in vitro were developed. This included measuring glucose output into culture medium, hepatocyte uptake of radiolabelled glucose and incorporation into glycogen, and total cellular glycogen content. These assays were used to investigate glucose metabolism in primary rat hepatocytes and FaO rat hepatoma cells. Both cell types responded to physiological concentrations of insulin, showing decreased glucose output and increased glycogen synthesis. Glucagon increased glucose output and reduced glycogen synthesis in primary cells but had no effect on FaO cells. Factors that have been identified that may inhibit or potentiate insulin action were investigated. Increased body iron stores have been linked with insulin resistance. De-ironing patients improves insulin sensitivity, suggesting a causal relationship between iron and insulin resistance. Hepatocytes store the majority of the body’s excess iron. This project investigated the effects of increasing hepatocyte iron stores, through addition of ferric ammonium citrate (FAC), or depleting iron stores by chelation with dipyridyl. Small increases or decreases of iron in primary cells had negative effects on cell viability, resulting in significantly reduced glucose output and glycogen synthesis. Dipyridyl treatment had similar effects on FaO cells as on primary cells but FAC treatment increased FaO glucose output, although significant iron loading was not achieved. With concentrations of FAC and dipyridyl low enough to not significantly influence cell viability, insulin sensitivity was not affected. Adiponectin is an insulin sensitiser and appears to exert this effect primarily through the liver. Adiponectin can also reduce hepatic glucose output (HGO) independent of insulin. It is believed adiponectin mediates its effects in liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). In muscle, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) has been implicated as a downstream component of adiponectin signalling. In this study, recombinant human adiponectin was produced and collected in culture medium which was then concentrated. Despite the presence of both high molecular weight (HMW) and low molecular weight (LMW) adiponectin multimers, the concentrated medium had no effect on HGO in the presence or absence of insulin. Concentrated adiponectin medium did not affect AMPK or p38 MAPK phosphorylation in hepatocytes or other cell types previously shown to respond to adiponectin. However, commercially-sourced purified recombinant adiponectin also failed to elicit any observable responses. AICAR and metformin are pharmacological activators of AMPK and were used to treat primary rat hepatocytes and FaO cells. These treatments reduced HGO independent of insulin in both cell types. In primary cells, these reductions were partially inhibited with Compound C, an AMPK inhibitor, suggesting that both AICAR and metformin action is at least partly AMPK dependent. In FaO cells, Compound C only inhibited the AICAR-mediated reduction of glucose output, indicating that metformin may act independently of AMPK in these cells. Compound C significantly inhibited AICAR and metformin-mediated increases in AMPK phosphorylation in primary hepatocytes and FaO cells. There was a trend towards inhibition of AICAR-mediated p38 MAPK phosphorylation with Compound C treatment, suggesting that p38 MAPK may lie downstream of AMPK in hepatocytes. Adenoviral expression of constitutively active (CA) and dominant negative (DN) AMPK in primary rat hepatocytes was used to further study the role of AMPK in hepatic glucose metabolism. Despite significant expression of CA AMPK, phosphorylation of downstream acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) was not affected nor was HGO. CA AMPK did, however, increase phosphorylation of p38 MAPK. DN AMPK completely inhibited AICAR-mediated AMPK phosphorylation and partially inhibited phosphorylation of ACC. In addition, AICAR-mediated phosphorylation of p38 MAPK was inhibited by DN AMPK. Taken together, these results suggest that p38 MAPK is downstream of AMPK in hepatocytes. The implication that p38 MAPK is involved in hepatic AMPK signalling is a novel finding. A greater understanding of this pathway in the liver may identify novel therapeutic targets, leading to improved treatment strategies for metabolic disorders linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Keyword liver
hepatic glucose output
insulin resistance
Additional Notes Colour pages: 21,28,30,34,41,46,47,51,54,166,167

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Created: Wed, 26 May 2010, 00:18:25 EST by Mr Matthew Stephenson on behalf of Library - Information Access Service