Hepatic energy state is regulated by glucagon receptor signaling in mice

Eric D. Berglund, Robert S. Lee-Young, Daniel G. Lustig, Sara E. Lynes, E. Patrick Donahue, Raul C. Camacho, M. Elizabeth Meredith, Mark A. Magnuson, Maureen J. Charron, David H. Wasserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The hepatic energy state, defined by adenine nucleotide levels, couples metabolic pathways with energy requirements. This coupling is fundamental in the adaptive response to many conditions and is impaired in metabolic disease. We have found that the hepatic energy state is substantially reduced following exercise, fasting, and exposure to other metabolic stressors in C57BL/6 mice. Glucagon receptor signaling was hypothesized to mediate this reduction because increased plasma levels of glucagon are characteristic of metabolic stress and because this hormone stimulates energy consumption linked to increased gluconeogenic flux through cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C) and associated pathways. We developed what we believe to be a novel hyperglucagonemic-euglycemic clamp to isolate an increment in glucagon levels while maintaining fasting glucose and insulin. Metabolic stress and a physiological rise in glucagon lowered the hepatic energy state and amplified AMP-activated protein kinase signaling in control mice, but these changes were abolished in glucagon receptor-null mice and mice with liver-specific PEPCK-C deletion. 129X1/Sv mice, which do not mount a glucagon response to hypoglycemia, displayed an increased hepatic energy state compared with C57BL/6 mice in which glucagon was elevated. Taken together, these data demonstrate in vivo that the hepatic energy state is sensitive to glucagon receptor activation and requires PEPCK-C, thus providing new insights into liver metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2412-2422
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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