Oral administration of lithium carbonate to fed-healthy rats strongly decreased liver glycogen content, despite the simultaneous activation of glycogen synthase and the inactivation of glycogen phosphorylase. The effect seemed to be related to a decrease in glucose 6-phosphate concentration and to a decrease in glucokinase activity. Moreover, in these animals lithium markedly decreased liver fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, which could be a consequence of the fall in glucose 6-phosphate and of the inactivation of 6- phosphofructo-2-kinase. Liver pyruvate kinase activity and blood insulin also decreased after lithium administration. Lower doses of lithium carbonate had less intense effects. Lithium administration to starved-healthy and fed- streptozotocin-diabetic rats caused a slight increase in blood insulin, which was simultaneous with increases in liver glycogen, glucose 6-phosphate, and fructose 2,6-phosphate. Glucokinase, 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase, and pyruvate kinase activities also increased after lithium administration in starved- healthy and fed-diabetic rats. Lithium treatment activated glycogen synthase and inactivated glycogen phosphorylase in a manner similar to that observed in fed-healthy rats. Glycemia was not modified in any group of animals. These results indicate that lithium acts on liver glycogen metabolism in vivo in at least two different ways: one related to changes in insulinemia, and the other related to the direct action of lithium on the activity of some key enzymes of liver glucose metabolism. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
- Hepatic metabolism