- Muscle glycogen depletion has been proposed as one of the main causes of fatigue during exercise. However, few studies have addressed the contribution of liver glycogen to exercise performance. Using a low-intensity running protocol, here, we analyzed exercise capacity in mice overexpressing protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) specifically in the liver (PTGOE mice), which show a high concentration of glycogen in this organ. PTGOE mice showed improved exercise capacity, as determined by the distance covered and time ran in an extenuating endurance exercise, compared with control mice.
- Hepatic glycogen metabolism is impaired in diabetes. We previously demonstrated that strategies to increase liver glycogen content in a high-fat-diet mouse model of obesity and insulin resistance led to a reduction in food intake and ameliorated obesity and glucose tolerance. These effects were accompanied by a decrease in insulin levels, but whether this decrease contributed to the phenotype observed in this animal was unclear. Here we sought to evaluate this aspect directly, by examining the long-term effects of increasing liver glycogen in an animal model of insulin-deficient and monogenic diabetes, namely the Akita mouse, which is characterized by reduced insulin production.
- Lafora disease (LD) is a fatal, autosomal recessive, glycogen-storage disorder that manifests as severe epilepsy. LD results from mutations in the gene encoding either the glycogen phosphatase laforin or the E3 ubiquitin ligase malin. Individuals with LD develop cytoplasmic, aberrant glycogen inclusions in nearly all tissues that more closely resemble plant starch than human glycogen. This Minireview discusses the unique window into glycogen metabolism that LD research offers. It also highlights recent discoveries, including that glycogen contains covalently bound phosphate and that neurons synthesize glycogen and express both glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase.