Hyperglycemia is a common feature of diabetes mellitus. It results from a decrease in glucose utilization by the liver and peripheral tissues and an increase in hepatic glucose production. Glucose phosphorylation by glucokinase is an initial event in glucose metabolism by the liver. However, glucokinase gene expression is very low in diabetic animals. Transgenic mice expressing the P-enolpyruvate carboxykinase/glucokinase chimeric gene were generated to study whether the return of the expression of glucokinase in the liver of diabetic mice might prevent metabolic alterations. In contrast to nontransgenic mice treated with streptozotocin, mice with the transgene previously treated with streptozotocin showed high levels of both glucokinase mRNA and its enzyme activity in the liver, which were associated with an increase in intracellular levels of glucose 6-phosphate and glycogen. The liver of these mice also showed an increase in pyruvate kinase activity and lactate production. Furthermore, normalization of both the expression of genes involved in gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis in the liver and the production of glucose and ketone body by hepatocytes in primary culture were observed in streptozotocin-treated transgenic mice. Thus, glycolysis was induced while gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis were blocked in the liver of diabetic mice expressing glucokinase. This was associated with normalization of blood glucose, ketone bodies, triglycerides, and free fatty acids even in the absence of insulin. These results suggest that the expression of glucokinase during diabetes might be a new approach to the normalization of hyperglycemia.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Jul 1996|