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Glucagon stimulation of mitochondrial respiration.

Open AccessPublished:October 10, 1975DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9258(19)40904-6
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      Acute glucagon treatment of intact rats has been found to cause a stimulation of hepatic mitochondrial respiration as measured by monitoring oxygen uptake polarographically. Rates of State 3 respiration with several NAD-linked substrates and succinate were increased significantly after hormonal treatment and isolation of mitochondria. This stimulation cannot be ascribed to a partial uncoupling effect since State 4 respiration as measured by monitoring oxygen uptake polarographically. Rates of State 3 respiration with either slightly increased or unchanged. Furthermore, rates of uncoupled respiration with these substrates were also stimulated after hormonal treatment. On the other hand, respiratory rates (State 3, 4, and uncoupled) with ascorbate-N,N,N',N'-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine as substrate were unaffected by glucagon treatment. The hormonally stimulated rates of respiration produced a corresponding increase in the rate of generation of high energy state as indicated in measurements of Ca2+ uptake by isolated mitochondria. Rates of Ca2+ uptake were monitored by two methods: measurement of initial rates of proton ejection following CaCl2 additions and measurement of disappearance of Ca2+ from the suspension medium using murexide as indicator in a dual wavelength spectrophotometer. A significant stimulation in the initial rate of succinate-dependent Ca2+ uptake was noted after glucagon treatment of animals and isolation of hepatic mitochondria. No effect of the hormonal treatment was seen on the extent of Ca2+ uptake or the stoichiometry of H+ ejected per Ca2+ taken up. That the hormonal effect on Ca2+ transport is at the level of the substrate-induced generation of high energy state is indicated by the observation that no effect of glucagon treatment is seen on ATP-dependent Ca2+ uptake. Glucagon-induced changes in the activities of substrate-metabolizing enzymes are considered unlikely for the following reasons: (a) previously published data showed a lack of a hormonal effect on pyruvate-metabolizing enzymes and (b) data in this study showing no effect of glucagon treatment on the activity of NAD-malate dehydrogenase as measured in mitochondrial lysates. All of these observations are consistent with either an activation of mitochondrial substrate transport and/or a stimulation of mitochondrial electron transport by glucagon treatment. Regardless of the exact mechanism involved, the effect of the hormonal treatment is to produce an increase in ATP synthetic and ion-pumping capability during a period of increased energy demand, i.e. increased gluconeogenesis.

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