Dietary iron deficiency in rats results in increased blood glucose turnover and recycling. We measured the rates of glucose production in isolated hepatocytes from iron-sufficient (Fe+) and iron-deficient (Fe-) rats to assess the intrinsic capacity of the Fe- liver to carry out gluconeogenesis. Low-iron and control diets were given to 21-day-old female rats. After 4-5 wk, hemoglobin concentrations averaged 4.1 g/dl in the Fe- and 14.3 g/dl in the Fe+ animals. In the hepatocytes from Fe- rats, there was a 35% decrease in the rate of glucose production from 1 mM pyruvate + 10 mM lactate, a 48% decrease from 0.1 mM pyruvate + 1 mM lactate, a 39% decrease from 1 mM alanine, and a 48% decrease from 1 mM glycerol. The addition of 5 μM norepinephrine or 0.5 μM glucagon to the incubation media produced stimulatory effects on hepatocytes from both Fe- and Fe+ rats, resulting in the maintenance of an average difference of 38% in the rates of gluconeogenesis between the two groups. Studies on isolated liver mitochondria and cytosol revealed α-glycerophosphate-cytochrome c reductase and phospho(enol)pyruvate carboxykinase activities to be decreased by 27% in Fe- rats. We conclude that because severe dietary iron deficiency decreases gluconeogenesis in isolated rat hepatocytes, the increased gluconeogenesis demonstrated by Fe- rats in vivo is attributable to increased availability of gluconeogenic substrates and upregulation of the pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)