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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of glucagon on hepatic respiratory capacity.

Data from numerous laboratories show that mitochondria isolated from livers treated acutely with glucagon have higher rates of state 3 respiration than control mitochondria. The purpose of the present study was to learn whether this phenomenon is an isolation artifact resulting from a stabilization of the mitochondrial membrane or whether it represents a real increase in the maximal respiratory capacity of liver cells due to glucagon treatment. Electron transport was measured through different spans of the electron transport chain by using ferricyanide as an alternate electron acceptor to O2. With isolated intact liver mitochondria, pretreatment with glucagon was found to cause an increase in electron flow, through both Complex I and Complex III, suggesting that the effect of glucagon was not specific for a single site in the electron transport chain. Using intact isolated hepatocytes, different results are obtained. Respiration was measured in isolated hepatocytes after quantitation of the hepatocyte mitochondrial content by assay of citrate synthase. Hepatocyte respiration could therefore be reported per mg of mitochondrial protein. By providing durohydroquinone to the cells, it was possible to measure electron flow from coenzyme Q to O2 in the absence of the physiological regulation of substrate supply. Likewise, the addition of carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone released the in situ mitochondria from control by the cytosolic ATP/ADP ratio and it was possible to measure maximal electron flow rates through Complex III. In the presence of carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone, electron flow was higher in mitochondria in the cell than in isolated mitochondria. Glucagon caused no increase in mitochondrial respiration in situ either in the presence of the physiological substrates or in the presence of durohydroquinone. The data obtained do not support a role for the electron transport chain as a target of glucagon action in hepatocytes.[1]


  1. The effect of glucagon on hepatic respiratory capacity. LaNoue, K.F., Strzelecki, T., Finch, F. J. Biol. Chem. (1984) [Pubmed]
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