Enhanced glycogen metabolism in adipose tissue decreases triglyceride mobilization

Kathleen R. Markan, Michael J. Jurczak, Margaret B. Allison, Honggang Ye, Maria M. Sutanto, Ronald N. Cohen, Matthew J. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adipose tissue is a primary site for lipid storage containing trace amounts of glycogen. However, refeeding after a prolonged partial fast produces a marked transient spike in adipose glycogen, which dissipates in coordination with the initiation of lipid resynthesis. To further study the potential interplay between glycogen and lipid metabolism in adipose tissue, the aP2-PTG transgenic mouse line was utilized since it contains a 100- to 400-fold elevation of adipocyte glycogen levels that are mobilized upon fasting. To determine the fate of the released glucose 1-phosphate, a series of metabolic measurements were made. Basal and isoproterenol-stimulated lactate production in vitro was significantly increased in adipose tissue from transgenic animals. In parallel, basal and isoproterenol-induced release of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) was significantly reduced in transgenic adipose tissue vs. control. Interestingly, glycerol release was unchanged between the genotypes, suggesting that enhanced triglyceride resynthesis was occurring in the transgenic tissue. Qualitatively similar results for NEFA and glycerol levels between wild-type and transgenic animals were obtained in vivo during fasting. Additionally, the physiological upregulation of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase cytosolic isoform (PEPCK-C) expression in adipose upon fasting was significantly blunted in transgenic mice. No changes in whole body metabolism were detected through indirect calorimetry. Yet weight loss following a weight gain/loss protocol was significantly impeded in the transgenic animals, indicating a further impairment in triglyceride mobilization. Cumulatively, these results support the notion that the adipocyte possesses a set point for glycogen, which is altered in response to nutritional cues, enabling the coordination of adipose glycogen turnover with lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E117-E125
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Fasting
  • Glycogenolysis
  • Lipolysis
  • Protein phosphatase-1


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