Estimates of Krebs cycle activity and contributions of gluconeogenesis to hepatic glucose production in fasting healthy subjects and IDDM patients

Diabetologia, Jul 1995

Normal subjects, fasted 60 h, and patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), withdrawn from insulin and fasted overnight, were given phenylacetate orally and intravenously infused with [3-14C]lactate and 13C-bicarbonate. Rates of hepatic gluconeogenesis relative to Krebs cycle rates were estimated from the 14C distribution in glutamate from urinary phenylacetylglutamine. Assuming the 13C enrichment of breath CO2 was that of the CO2 fixed by pyruvate, the enrichment to be expected in blood glucose, if all hepatic glucose production had been by gluconeogenesis, was then estimated. That estimate was compared with the actual enrichment in blood glucose, yielding the fraction of glucose production due to gluconeogenesis. Relative rates were similar in the 60-h fasted healthy subjects and the diabetic patients. Conversion of oxaloacetate to phosphoenolpyruvate was two to eight times Krebs cycle flux and decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA, oxidized in the cycle, was less than one-30th the fixation by pyruvate of CO2. Thus, in estimating the contribution of a gluconeogenic substrate to glucose production by measuring the incorporation of label from the labelled substrate into glucose, dilution of label at the level of oxaloacetate is relatively small. Pyruvate cycling was as much as one-half the rate of conversion of pyruvate to oxaloacetate. Glucose and glutamate carbons were derived from oxaloacetate formed by similar pathways if not from a common pool. In the 60-h fasted subjects, over 80 % of glucose production was via gluconeogenesis. In the diabetic subjects the percentages averaged about 45 %.

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Estimates of Krebs cycle activity and contributions of gluconeogenesis to hepatic glucose production in fasting healthy subjects and IDDM patients

Diabetologia Estimates of Krebs cycle activity and contributions of gluconeogenesis to hepatic glucose production in fasting healthy subjects and IDDM patients B.R. Landau 0 V. Chandramouli 0 W.C. Schumann 0 K. Ekberg 0 K. Kumaran 0 S.C. Kalhan 0 J. Wahren 0 0 1Department of Medicine,Case Western Reserve University , Cleveland,Ohio , USA 2Department of ClinicalPhysiology,KarolinskaHospital, Stockholm,Sweden 3Department of Pediatrics,Case Western Reserve University , Cleveland,Ohio , USA Summary Normal subjects, fasted 60 h, and patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), withdrawn from insulin and fasted overnight, were given phenylacetate orally and intravenously infused with [3-14C]lactate and 13C-bicarbonate. Rates of hepatic gluconeogenesis relative to Krebs cycle rates were estimated from the 14C distribution in glutamate from urinary phenylacetylglutamine. Assuming the 13C enrichment of breath C O 2 was that of the CO 2 fixed by pyruvate, the enrichment to be expected in blood glucose, if all hepatic glucose production had been by gluconeogenesis, was then estimated. That estimate was compared with the actual enrichment in blood glucose, yielding the fraction of glucose production due to gluconeogenesis. Relative rates were similar in the 60-h fasted healthy subjects and the diabetic patients. Conversion of oxaloacetate to phosphoenolpyruvate was two to eight times Krebs cycle flux and decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA, oxidized in the cycle, was less than one30th the fixation by pyruvate of CO2. Thus, in estimating the contribution of a gluconeogenic substrate to glucose production by measuring the incorporation of label from the labelled substrate into glucose, dilution of label at the level of oxaloacetate is relatively small. Pyruvate cycling was as much as onehalf the rate of conversion of pyruvate to oxaloacetate. Glucose and glutamate carbons were derived from oxaloacetate formed by similar pathways if not from a common pool. In the 60-h fasted subjects, over 80 % of glucose production was via gluconeogenesis. In the diabetic subjects the percentages averaged about 45 %. [Diabetologia (1995) 38: 831-838] Gluconeogenesis; Krebs cycle; fasting; insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus; liver 9 Springer-Verlag1995 It is a continuing challenge to develop a method for reliably estimating the contribution of gluconeogenesis to glucose production in humans, so that it can be applied under both physiological and pathological conditions [ 1, 2 ]. Measurements of incorporation of label into glucose on administration of a labelled gluconeogenic substrate are limited by the need to know the amount of label in the substrate entering the gluconeogenic process and the extent of dilution of label during that process, notably at the level of oxaloacetate, an intermediate common to the Krebs cycle and gluconeogenesis. Phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) is the necessary intermediate formed from oxaloacetate via pyruvate in the production of glucose (Fig. 1). We therefore gave l~C-labelled bicarbonate to fasted normal subjects, assuming the specific activity of expired 14CO2 to be the specific activity of 14C fixed in the conversion of oxaloacetate to pyruvate [ 3 ]. We did that because of evidence that expired 14CO2 is a good measure of mitochondrial t4CO2. We estimated the extent of dilution at the level of oxaloacetate from the distribution of 14C from [3-14C]lactate in hepatic etketoglutarate, estimated from the distribution of 14C Fatty V=~ acids CO,/ A~tyF-COA , ~[ , =Fum.ar~ate c,,,=~ V ~V~ CO n-Katoglutarnte COs in glutamine conjugated to phenylacetate. Our method, while time consuming, provides details on the metabolic rates occurring in liver while offering a direct measure of the contribution of gluconeogenesis. We have now used that approach to examine the rate of gluconeogenesis relative to Krebs cycle flux and the contribution of gluconeogenesis to glucose production in insulin-dependent diabetic (IDDM) patients, withdrawn from insulin so as to develop mild ketosis. These findings have been compared with those observed in fasted normal subjects also in mild ketosis. Subjects, materials and methods Subjects. A healthy man and woman, ages 35 and 28 years, with body mass indices 26.0 and 22.0 kg/m2, respectively, and fasted for 60 h, were studied. Five males with IDDM, ages 19 to 23 years, with a mean body mass index of 22.9 kg/m2 (range 18.0 to 26.8) were also studied. The haemoglobin Ale concentration in four of the diabetic subjects ranged from 6.9 to 8.0 % and in one subject, MP, it was 13.9 %. Insulin was withdrawn 24 h before the study and food was withheld for 12 h. The diabetic subjects were encouraged to drink water throughout the period of insulin withdrawal. Approval for the study was obtained from the Human Investigation Committees at the Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm and University Hospitals of Cleveland. Informed consent was obtained from each subject. Materials. [3-x4C]Lactate was prepared as previously described [ 4 ] from D-[6J4C]glucose (purchased from Dupont-New England Nuclear, Boston, Mass., USA). 13C-labelled sodium bicarbonate, 99 % enriched, was purchased from Merck Isotopes Inc., St. Louis, Mo., USA. The [3-14C]lactate infused was dissolved in 50 or 100 ml of a sterile 0.154 mold sodium chloride solution. The 5 g of bicarbonate infused was dissolved in 500 ml of a sterile 0.077 mold sodium chloride solution. The lactate and bicarbonate solutions were shown to be pyrogen-free. Experimental protocol. The protocol was similar to that previously used [ 3, 4 ] except that the subjects were given 13C-labelled bicarbonate together with [3Ja]lactate. The two normal subjects and three of the diabetic subjects ingested 4.8 g of phenylacetate, divided into three 1.6-g portions, at 30-min intervals. At the time the second portion was ingested (designated zero time) an infusion was begun of the labelled lactate and bicarbonate. The [3J4C]lactate (40 ~tCi) was infused in trace quantity, 8 l~Ci as a bolus and then the rest infused at a constant rate for the next 6 h. Labelled bicarbonate (5 g) was infused at a constant rate over the 6-h period. In the other two diabetic subjects infusion was for 8 h. Eighty ~Ci of the [314C]lactate was given, 14 ixCi as a bolus and the rest at a constant rate over the 8 h. Phenylacetate (4.8 g), was ingested in divided portions between the second and third hour. Five grams of the labelled bicarbonate was infused, but the rate of infusion for the first hour was 55 % and the second hour 90 % of the rate over the next 6 h. Blood (5 to 10 ml) was drawn at hourly intervals for determinations of plasma glucose and D-fl-hydroxybutyrate concentrations. Blood for the isolation of glucose (70 to 110 ml), was drawn 90 min before and at the end of the infusion. Urine, for the isolation of urea and glutamate from excreted phenylacetyl-glutamine, was collected at 90-min intervals over the last 3 h of infusion. Respiratory CO 2 was collected at hourly intervals by having the subjects breathe into balloons. Subjects were encouraged to drink 180--240 ml of water hourly during the infusion. Measurements. Blood glucose, urinary urea, and glutamate from the excreted phenylacetylglutamine were isolated and degraded as previously described [ 4 ]. The urea carbon was collected as BaCO3 by using urease. Portions of the glucose and glutamate were diluted with known quantities of unlabelled glucose and glutamate. Portions of these were then combusted to CO 2 and the remainder degraded to yield each of the carbons of the glucose and glutamate as CO 2that was also collected as BaCO 3. Carbon 1 of the undiluted glutamate was isolated as BaCO 3 by treatment of a portion of the glutamate with chloramine T. Carbons 3 and 4 of the undiluted glucose were isolated as BaCO 3 by incubating the glucose with Lactobacillus delbrueckii to form lactate and decarboxylating the lactate. Respiratory CO2 was collected as barium carbonate by bubbling the expired breath through carbonate-free sodium hydroxide and then adding barium chloride. ~4C-specific activities of the barium carbonates from urea, from the combustion of the diluted glucose and the diluted and undiluted glutamate, from the individual carbons of the diluted glucose and glutamate, and from breath CO 2 were determined by liquid scintillation spectrometry. The excess enrichment of 1~C in the BaCOa from urea, carbon 1 of the undiluted glutamate, the carboxyl group of lactate formed from the undiluted glucose and breath CO 2was determined by mass spectrometry [ 5 ]. Barium carbonates from glucose, urea glutamate and respiratory CO 2 collected at zero time were assayed for the measure of ~aC natural abundance. Calculations. Correction was made for the portion of the 14C incorporated into glutamate that was due to the fixation of 14CO2formed from the [3JaC]lactate. The method for estimating the portion is based upon evidence that the bicarbonate utilized in urea formation and formation of oxaloacetate from pyruvate derive from the same pool of CO2 in hepatic mitochondria [ 3 ]. Carbon in CO 2 fixed by pyruvate becomes carbon 1 of ct-ketoglutarate and hence carbon 1 of glutamate. 14CO2from [3J4C]lactate should then be incorporated into carbon 1 of glutamate relative to its incorporation into urea in the same ratio as for 13C-bicarbonate. Therefore, for a given collection period: Specific Activity in Carbon 1 of Glutamate due to 14CO2 Fixation/Specific Activity in Urea = 13C Excess in Glutamate/laC Excess in Urea. The enrichment in carbon 1 of glutamate and urea having been measured as well as the 14Cspecific activity of urea, the specific activity in carbon 1 of glutamate due to 14COz fixation was calculated. Because breath CO2 would be expected to reflect hepatic mitochondrial CO 2, its specific activity and enrichment were also used 4 Carbon 2 Carbon 1 a JG was unable to provide a urine for collection from 5-61/2 h. The specific activity of glutamate from phenylacetylglutamine excreted from 6-61/2h was 25.1 dpm/~mol to calculate the correction due to 14CO 2 fixation. Thus, Specific Activity in Carbon 1 of Glutamate due to 14CO2Fixation/Specific Activity in Breath CO2 = 13CExcess in Glutamate/13C Excess in Breath CO2. For the estimation of the incorporation of 14C from 14CO2 into carbon 3 and 4 of glucose, the measurements of the specific activity and excess enrichment of urea were again employed along with the measurement of the excess enrichment of 13C in glucose. Since carbon from CO2 that is fixed is only incorporated into carbons 3 and 4 of glucose [ 4 ]: Specific Activity of Carbons 3 and 4 of Glucose due to 14CO2fixation/Specific Activity of Urea = 13C Excess in Glucose/13C Excess in Urea. Corrections were similarly made using the specific activities and enrichments in breath CO 2rather than those for urea. From the distribution of 14C from [3-14C]lactate in the carbons of glutamate from urinary phenylacetylglutamine, assumed to be an adequate reflection of the distribution in hepatic a-ketoglutarate, relative rates were estimated for the reactions in gluconeogenesis and the Krebs cycle (Fig.l), i.e. pyruvate to acetyl-CoA, fatty acids to acetyl-CoA, fumarate to oxaloacetate, oxaloacetate to fumarate, oxaloacetate to PEP, PEP to pyruvate, lactate to pyruvate and PEP to glucose. The equations expressing those relationships, as well as an examination of the assumptions made in their derivation, have been presented [ 4 ]. The 13Cenrichment of carbon 1 of PEP, designated E 1,relative to that of the CO2 fixed by pyruvate, depends upon the equilibration of oxaloacetate with fumarate, the rate of gluconeogenesis relative to Krebs cycle flux and the extent of pyruvate cycling, i.e. pyruvate --* oxaloacetate ~ PEP ~ pyruvate, and/or Cori cycling, i.e. pyruvate -o glucose --) pyruvate [ 3 ]. The equation, previously derived [ 3 ], used to estimate E 1, assuming no pyruvate or Cori cycling, is E l = 0.5 VsVrD (V 4 -~-V6) 2 - (V4V 5 -~ V5V6) and in the presence of significant pyruvate and/or Cori cycling where W4 is the rate of conversion of fumarate to oxaloacetate, V5 that of the conversion of oxaloacetate to fumarate and V6 that of the conversion of oxaloacetate to PEP (Fig. 1), all relative to the rate of Krebs cycle flux. P1 is the enrichment of carbon 1 of pyruvate, equal to V7EI/(V74-Ws) where V7is the relative rate of the conversion of PEP to pyruvate and Va that of the conversion of lactate to pyruvate. D is the enrichment of the CO2 fixed by the pyruvate, assumed to be that in breath CO2. The enrichment in carbon 1 of PEP is then half the enrichment to be expected in glucose, i. e. in its carbons 3 and 4, if all glucose production were from gluconeogenesis via PEP. Then 100(13C Excess Enrichment in Glucose)/2E1 equals the% of glucose production by gluconeogenesis [ 3 ]. That equals 100(Enrichment in Carbon 1 of Lactate obtained by incubating the glucose with Lactobacillus delbrueckii)/E 1. Results Distribution of 14Cin glutamate. C a r b o n 1 of t h e glut a m a t e f r o m t h e 61/2--8 h c o l l e c t i o n o f s u b j e c t h a d a x3C excess e n r i c h m e n t a b o u t o n e - h a l f t h a t f r o m t h e 5-61/2 h c o l l e c t i o n (Table 1). H o w e v e r , t h e specific activities a n d e n r i c h m e n t s o f his b r e a t h CO2, reflecting t h e e n r i c h m e n t s in t h e C O 2 f i x e d in t h e i n c o r p o r a t i o n o f 13C i n t o c a r b o n 1 o f t h e g l u t a m a t e w e r e a l m o s t t h e s a m e in t h e t w o periods. T h e r e f o r e , t h e r e was dil u t i o n o f p h e n y l a c e t y l g l u t a m i n e or g l u t a m a t e bet w e e n t h e t i m e o f t h e 61/2--8h u r i n e was c o l l e c t e d a n d t h e t o t a l c o m b u s t i o n , b u t we h a v e b e e n u n a b l e to d e t e r m i n e h o w t h a t o c c u r r e d . T h e d i s t r i b u t i o n s of 14C in t h e g l u t a m a t e c a r b o n s h a v e b e e n c o r r e c t e d f o r the i n c o r p o r a t i o n o f 14C i n t o c a r b o n 1 of g l u t a m a t e d u e to f i x a t i o n of 14C f r o m 14CO2 f o r m e d f r o m t h e [3-14C]lactate. T h e p e r c e n t age c o r r e c t i o n s n o t in p a r e n t h e s e s are t h o s e e s t i m a t e d using the specific activity o f u r e a . It was t h o s e perc e n t a g e s t h a t w e r e u s e d in calculating t h e distributions. Thus, for the glutamate from subject HJ collected at 3-41/2 h, 30.5 % of the 14C f o r m e d in its carbon 1 was due to 14CO2 fixation. Therefore, the% of 14C in carbon 1 before correction was 7.9 % and after correction the 5.5 % recorded. The% corrections in parentheses are those calculated using the specific activities and enrichments in breath CO2 rather than urea. The corrections calculated using the average specific activities and enrichments in breath CO 2 during the period of the collection are about 15 % lower on average than those using urea. The 14C in each of the five carbons of glutamate are recorded as a% of the sum of the 14C in the five carbons. The distributions in different collection periods for a given subject are similar. Over 80 % of the 14C in glutamate was in carbons 2 and 3. The ratios of 14C in carbon 3 to carbon 2 of glutamate from the diabetic patients, except JG, range from 0.63 to 0.76. The ratios for J G and the subjects fasted for 60 h range from 0.86 to 0.95. Distribution o f 14C in glucose. After 60 h of fasting, normal subjects, as in our previous experience [ 3, 4 ], had plasma glucose concentrations of about 4.0 mmol/1 and 6 h later about 3.3 mmol/1 (Table 2). The plasma concentration of fl-hydroxybutyrate at the completion of infusion provides evidence for mild ketosis in all the subjects, except in subject K R for w h o m the concentration was not determined. Specific activities of glucose were highest in the normal subjects fasted for 60 h and next in subject JG. The specific activity of glucose 11/2h before completing the infusion was 72 to 84 % of that at its completion. For the correction for the incorporation of 14C into carbon 3 and 4 of glucose, the measurements of the specific activity and excess enrichment of urea were again employed along with the m e a s u r e m e n t of the excess enrichment of 13C in glucose. The values in parentheses are the corresponding% corrections using the specific activities and enrichments in breath CO2. Percent corrections estimated using breath CO 2 are generally somewhat lower than those using urea except for subjects K R and MP where the corrections using urea are about one-third less than those using breath CO2. Over 90 % of the 14C in glucose was in its carbons 1,2,5 and 6, with about 80 % as much 14C in carbon 2 as 1 and in carbon 5 as 6. The difference in t h e % of 14C in carbon 6 to carbon 1 among the subjects is lowest for the two normal fasted subjects and next lowest for subject JG. Similarly, the differences are smallest between carbons 5 and 2 for the normal subjects and then subject JG. While the percentages of 14C in carbons 3 and 4 are small, only in the normal subjects is the activity in carbon 3 equal to that in carbon 4. Thus, in the diabetic subjects, 14C in carbon 4 exceeds that in carbon 3, except for subject K R at 6 h and that is undoubtedly in error, since 14C in carbon 6 exceeds that in carbon 1 and in carbon 5 that in carbon 2. Relative rates and gluconeogenesis. Rates estimated from the distributions in Table 1 are presented in Table 3. These rates are relative to the rate of Krebs cycle flux set to 1.0, i.e. the rate acetyl-CoA condensed with oxaloacetate to form citrate. More than nine times as much of the acetyl-CoA condensing with oxaloacetate was from fatty acids as from pyruvate in both the fasted normal and the diabetic subject~ The rate of the conversion of oxaloacetate to fumarate in the 60-h fasted subjects was more than 50 times the Pyruvate--4 Fatty acids --, Fumarate Oxaloacetate Oxaloacetate acetyl-CoA acetyl-CoA --4 oxaloacetate ~ fumarate ~ PEP PEP ~ Lactate ~ pyruvate pyruvate PEP glucose rate of Krebs cycle flux. In the diabetic subjects, again with the exception of JG, it was 5 to 14 times more. The rate of conversion of oxaloacetate to P E P was two to five times more, except for J G where it was eight times more, and with no discernible difference between the groups. A b o u t half of the P E P was converted to glucose and the r e m a i n d e r to pyruvate and again with no discernible difference between the groups. Thus, the rate of carboxylation of pyruvate to oxaloacetate, equal to the rate of conversion of oxaloacetate to PEP, was 30 times or m o r e t h a n the rate of its decarboxylation to acetyl-CoA. A b o u t 50 % of the P E P f o r m e d was cycled. The specific activity and enrichment in breath C O ; approached a plateau by the third hour (Table 4). A t 5 h, the specific activity of the breath CO 2 was 88 % or more and of 13C 93 % or more of that at 6 h. Thus, while it was only a small difference, the specific activity of breath CO 2 approached a plateau more slowly than its enrichment. The ratio of incorporation of 14C into carbons 2 and 5 to carbons 1 and 6 of glucose (Table 2) divided by the ratios of the incorporations of 14C into carbons 3 to 2 of glutamate (Table 1) are about 1.0 (Table 5). The ratios for the diabetic subjects average 1.16. Estimates of Ea during the last 11/2 h of infusion, using for D the average a3C enrichment in breath CO2 for that period, are recorded in columns 3 and 4 of Table 6. The m e a n of the enrichments in carbon 3 and 4 of circulating glucose, d e t e r m i n e d by conversion of the glucose to lactate and decarboxylation of the lactate, is recorded in the fifth column. The estim a t e d percentage of glucose production due to gluconeogenesis is t h e n 100 times E 1 divided by the m e a n of the enrichments in carbons 3 and 4 of the glucose. Those estimates are recorded in the last two columns of Table 6. In the 60-h fasted n o r m a l subjects b l o o d glucose was similarly e n r i c h e d at 41/2 and 6 h (Table 7). Enr i c h m e n t s in b l o o d glucose in the diabetic subjects 11/2 h before the e n d of infusion were still 20 to 30 % less t h a n at the e n d of the infusion. Discussion C a r b o n s 1, 2 a n d 3 of et-ketoglutarate, the p r e c u r s o r of g l u t a m a t e , are f r o m carbons 4, 3 a n d 2 of oxaloacetate [ 4 ]. [3- 14C]Lactate via [3- 14C]pyruvate forms [314C]oxaloacetate. 14C in carbon 2 c o m p a r e d to that in c a r b o n 3 of g l u t a m a t e (Table 1) is t h e n a function of the extent of equilibration of oxaloacetate with fumarate relative to the o t h e r fates of oxaloacetate, aac f r o m [3-14C]lactate is i n c o r p o r a t e d into c a r b o n 4 of oxaloacetate, and h e n c e carbon 1 of glutamate, by the c o n v e r s i o n of [2, 3-14C]a-ketoglutarate to [1, 2, 3, 414C]oxaloacetate via the Krebs cycle a n d by 14CO2 fixation by pyruvate. Since 14C in carbon 1 has b e e n c o r r e c t e d for i n c o r p o r a t i o n d u e to fixation, that 14C relative to the 14Cin carbons 2 a n d 3 is the m e a s u r e of cycle flux relative to the conversion of oxaloacetate to PEP. 14C in c a r b o n 4 reflects the decarboxylation of p y r u v a t e to a c e t y l - C o A relative to its o t h e r fates. 14C in c a r b o n 5 is a m e a s u r e of p y r u v a t e cycling, i.e. p y r u v a t e ~ oxaloacetate ---) P E P ---) pyruvate. T h e rates for the two 60-h fasted subjects (Table 3) agree with o u r previous finding o n giving [314C]lactate in an identical m a n n e r to t h r e e o t h e r subjects, a l t h o u g h the equilibration of o x a l o a c e t a t e with f u m a r a t e was less [ 4 ]. T h e flux of P E P to p y r u v a t e was a b o u t one-half the flux of p y r u v a t e to oxaloacetate (Table 3), also in accord with p r e v i o u s estimates [ 4, 6 ]. T h e c o n t r i b u t i o n of Cori cycling c a n n o t be diff e r e n t i a t e d f r o m that of p y r u v a t e cycling a n d the estim a t e relies o n low incorporations. 14C in c a r b o n 4 of g l u t a m a t e f r o m the 41/2-6 h collections of the subjects fasted 60 h, as b e f o r e [4], a v e r a g e d five times the 14C in carbon 5. aac in c a r b o n 3 of P E P was a b o u t 1.2 times that in its c a r b o n 2 as e v i d e n c e d by distributions in glucose. 14C in c a r b o n 3 of circulating lactate in the previous study was a b o u t nine times that in c a r b o n 2 at 6 h. If a4C in the acetylC o A f o r m i n g carbons 4 a n d 5 of g l u t a m a t e h a d c o m e solely f r o m P E P via p y r u v a t e cycling a ratio of 14C in carbon 4 to 5 of 1.2 w o u l d have b e e n e x p e c t e d and 9 if solely f r o m lactate. T h a t it was 5, while assumptiorrs are m a n y a n d the p e r c e n t a g e s small, t h e n suggests that p y r u v a t e and Cori cycling each contribu t e d half. T h e m e t a b o l i c state of the diabetic subjects was m o r e likely to be h e t e r o g e n e o u s t h a n for the n o r m a l subjects. F u r t h e r m o r e , the rates being relative, do n o t p r o v i d e a m e a s u r e of the absolute rates of gluconeogenesis. In starvation a n d u n c o n t r o l l e d diabetes, the m a j o r hepatic e n e r g y source derives f r o m the form a t i o n of N A D H and F A D H 2 in fatty acid oxidation to acetyl-CoA, which results in ketosis, similar in deB.R. Landau et al.:Krebs cycleand gluconeogenesisin fastingand IDDM gree in the two groups. Krebs cycle activity is inhibited by the reduced state of those nucleotides. Corrections for 14CO2 incorporation from the [314C]lactate averaged about 30 % (Table 1). The relative specific activity and 13C enrichment in urea is assumed to reflect the relative specific activity and enrichments of hepatic mitochondrial CO2. Similar percentage corrections using urea and breath CO2 support that assumption (Table 1). The reason the corrections estimated using breath CO2 are about 15 % less than those using urea is unknown, but those corrections would result in only a small change in the estimated rates. Comparisons are for breath CO2 and urea specific activities and 13C enrichments arising from 14C labelled bicarbonate formed by the intracellular metabolism of [3J4C]lactate and 13C-labelled bicarbonate infused intravenously. For the comparisons changes in specific activities within tissues should then parallel those of enrichment. This was reasonably achieved (Table 4). Support for use of the phenylacetylglutamine derivative is found in similar distributions of 14C in the carbons of glucose and glutamate derived from oxaloacetate [ 4 ]. Since the glucose carbons arise from hepatic oxaloacetate, presumably the glutamate carbons were also derived from the same oxaloacetate source. That could only occur by the conversion of hepatic a-ketoglutarate to glutamine that conjugates with phenylacetate. Further evidence is found in a correction of about 30 % for the contribution of 14CO2 fixation to the 14C in carbon 1 of glutamate and carbons 3 and 4 of glucose. Additional support comes from similar distributions of 14C from [2, 314C]succinate, [2-14C]propionate and [3-14C]lactate in phenylacetylglutamine from normal subjects fasted 60 h coupled with evidence for extensive metabolism of [2, 3-14C]succinate and [3-14C]lactate in liver [ 7 ]. Still further support comes from estimates similar to ours from the distribution of 13C in glutamate on perfusing liver from fasted rats with [3-13C]lactate [ 8 ] and on isotopomer analysis of liver glutamate from rats given [U-13C]lactate and [2, 3-13C]lactate [ 9 ]. Correction for CO 2 fixation in the normal subjects was again generally about 30 % for both glutamate and glucose (Tables 1 and 2). For subjects KR and MP, corrections were less for glucose than glutamate. However, those were the subjects in whom corrections using breath CO 2 specific activities and enrichments were higher than those using urea. While that raised concern about the urea measurements, no error was found. Ratios of 14C in the carbons of glutamate and glucose derived from carbons 2 and 3 of oxaloacetate are similar for the normal subjects fasted 60 h (Table 5), but in the diabetic subjects, the average ratio of 1.16 suggests less isotopic equilibration of carbons 3 and 2 of the oxaloacetate used in the formation of the glutamate than glucose. There is evidence for two pools of oxaloacetate in the liver [ 7-10 ]. One would then be mitochondrial, with relatively incomplete isotopic equilibration and the source of the glutamate carbons. The other would arise by transport of mitochondrial oxaloacetate into the cytosol and then further isotopic equilibration before conversion to glucose. Alternatively, some labelled a-ketoglutarate converted in the diabetic subjects to glutamine was not from the liver, or the difference could reflect a heterogeneity in hepatocytes [11]. The possibility of cytosolic and mitochondrial pools of oxaloacetate is tempered by the suggestion of less isotopic equilibration in the carbons from oxaloacetate in glucose than glutamate when individuals fasted overnight were infused with glucose and given [3-14C]lactate and phenylacetate [ 4 ]. Lower specific activities in glutamate from glutamine (Table 1) than in glucose (Table 2) are in accord with much of the glutamine used in the conjugation of phenylacetate being unlabelled and coming from muscle [ 12, 13 ]. 14Cin carbon 2 to 1of glutamate overlap 14C in carbons 1and 6 to 14C in carbons 3 and 4 of glucose (Tables 1 and 2), i.e. 5.0 to 9.3, excluding subject JG, compared to 5.0 to 11.6, but glucose ratios tend to be more, as was previously observed [ 4 ]. This again suggests some difference in the source of the carbons of oxaloacetate for glucose and glutamate formation. The difference in range increases, if the incorporation of 14C in carbon 2 of citrate, the source of which is carbon 3 of oxaloacetate, relative to that in carbon 6 of citrate, the source of which is carbon 1 of oxaloacetate, is taken into account. The range is then 4.9 to 8.0 rather than 5.0 to 9.3. A major reservation in estimates of rates of gluconeogenesis from the incorporation of label from a labelled substrate into glucose is uncertainty as to the extent of dilution of label at the level of oxaloacetate [ 1, 3, 4 ]. That the rate of gluconeogenesis is 2 or more times the rate of Krebs cycle flux in the uncontrolled diabetic patient means that dilution of the labelled substrate is relatively small. We previously estimated that in the 60-h fasted human, in the conversion of [3-14Clpyruvate to glucose, the specific activity of PEP would be about five-sixths the specific activity of intracellular pyruvate [ 4 ]. Label is assumed for the estimates [ 4 ] only to be lost in significant quantity from the cycle in the conversion of oxaloacetate to PEP (Fig.l). The same pattern in glutamate formed by livers of fasted rats perfused with [313C]lactate in vitro and by livers of fasted rats infused with [3-~3C]lactate in vivo supports that assumption [131. Inability to determine the specific activity or enrichment of intracellular pyruvate has in the past prevented quantitation. The use of breath C02 eliminates that problem, since its specific activity or enrichment appears to be a good measure of that in intracellular CO 2 [ 3 ]. However, when (1-13C)leucine was infused into 60-h fasted humans, enrichment of breath CO 2 was about 15 % less than CO2 in arterial and hepatic vein blood (14). As in our previous study [ 3 ], in the normal subjects fasted 60 h, 80 % or m o r e of the glucose produced (assuming no cycling) was by gluconeogenesis (Table 6). This is in accord with gluconeogenesis being the only source of circulating glucose after prolonged fasting, except for small amounts from glycogen [ 15 ] and glycerol [ 16 ]. In the diabetic subjects the contribution of gluconeogenesis varied, but except for subject TS was much less, averaging about 45 %. U p t a k e of gluconeogenic substrates across the splanchnic bed in I D D M subjects, withdrawn from insulin, has accounted for 32-40 % of splanchnic glucose output [ 17, 18 ]. Glycogen stores remaining during the period of insulin withdrawal may explain the lower contributions of gluconeogenesis to glucose production in the first three diabetic subjects. We expected the higher contribution in subject JG because the distribution of 14C and specific activity in his blood glucose were similar to that in the normal subjects fasted 60 h. The almost symmetrical labelling of glucose carbons, evidence of nearly complete isotopic equilibration between dihydroxyacetone-3-P and glyceraldehyde-3P, has been observed when glycogen is depleted [ 4 ]. Since enrichment (Table 7) and specific activities (Table 2) in glucose 11/2 h before the end of infusion was less than at the end of the infusion, steady state was not achieved. However, as the contribution of glycogen to glucose production decreases, the specific activity of glucose would be expected to increase. A limitation in achieving steady-state in circulating glucose enrichment in the diabetic subjects was probably their large glucose pool. Until steady-state is achieved, gluconeogenesis m a y be low because a significant portion of glucose in the blood is in the circulation prior to the administration of laC-bicarbonate. In the two 60-h fasted normal subjects, steady-state was approached as evidenced by the similar enrichments in glucose at 41/2 and 6 h. In the three 60-h fasted subjects in the previous study [ 4 ], glucose and glutamate specific activities are in accord with the resuits for the two subjects in the present study. The achieving of steady-state for the estimate of relative rates is not a determinant as long as the distribution of 14C in glutamate is not changing. The enrichment of 13Cin carbon 1 of glutamate would be expected to increase in time with increasing enrichment in 1. Landau BR ( 1993 ) Estimating gluconeogenic rates in NIDDM . Adv Exp Med Biol 334 : 209 - 220 2. Gay I_2 , Schneiter Ph , Schutz Y , Di Vetta V , Jrquier E , Tappy L ( 1994 ) A non-invasive assessment of hepatic glycogen kinetics and post-absorptive gluconeogenesis in man . Diabetologia 37 : 517 - 523 3. Ensemo E , Chandramouli V , Schumann WC , Kumaran K , Wahren J , Landau , BR ( 1992 ) Use of 14CO2 in estimating rates of gluconeogenesis . Am J Physiol 263 : E36 - E41 4. Magnusson I , Schumann WC , Bartsch GE et al. ( 1991 ) Noninvasive tracing of Krebs cycle metabolism in liver . J Biol Chem 266 : 697545984 5. Kosugi K , Scofield RF , Chandramouli V , Kumaran K , Schumann WC , Landau BR ( 1986 ) Pathways of acetone's metabolism in the rat . J Biol Chem 261 : 3952 - 3957 6. 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Rothman DL , Magnusson I , Katz LD , Shulman RG , Shulman GI ( 1991 ) Quantitation of hepatic glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis in fasting humans with 13CNMR . Science 254 : 573 - 576 16. Wahren J , Efendic S , Luft R , Hagenfeldt L , Bjorkman O , Felig P ( 1977 ) Influence of somatostatin on splanchnic metabolism in postabsorptive and 60-h fasted humans . J Clin Invest 59 : 299 - 307 17. Wahren J , Felig P , Cerasi E , Luft R ( 1972 ) Splanchnic and peripheral glucose and amino acid metabolism in diabetes mellitus . J Clin Invest 51 : 1870 - 1878 18. Wahren J , Hagenfeldt L , Felig P ( 1975 ) Splanchnic and leg exchange of glucose, amino acids, and free fatty acids during exercise in diabetes mellitus . J Clin Invest 55 : 1303 - 1314


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B. R. Landau, V. Chandramouli, W. C. Schumann, K. Ekberg, K. Kumaran, S. C. Kalhan, J. Wahren. Estimates of Krebs cycle activity and contributions of gluconeogenesis to hepatic glucose production in fasting healthy subjects and IDDM patients, Diabetologia, 1995, 831-838, DOI: 10.1007/s001250050360