On the activities of glycogen phosphorylase and glycogen synthase in the liver of the rat

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1978 Dec 1;544(2):225-33. doi: 10.1016/0304-4165(78)90092-2.


A procedure was developed for determination of glycogen synthase and phosphorylase activities in liver after various in vivo physiological treatments. Liver samples were obtained from anaesthetised rats by freeze-clamping in situ. Other procedures were shown to stimulate the activity of phosphorylase and depress the activity of glycogen in the liver. The direction of glycogen metabolism appears to be regulated by the relative proportions of the two enzymes, as shown by a strong positive correlation between total activities and active forms of phosphorylase and synthase. The enzyme activities responded as expected to stimuli such as insulin and glucose, which depressed phosphorylase and increased synthase activity, and glucagon, which increased phosphorylase and decreased synthase activity. In fasted animals approximately 50% of each enzyme was in the active form, which suggests the existence of a potential futile cycle for glycogen metabolism. The role for such a cycle in the regulation of glycogen synthesis and degradation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Stability
  • Fasting
  • Glucagon / pharmacology
  • Glycogen Synthase / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Phosphorylases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Species Specificity


  • Insulin
  • Glucagon
  • Phosphorylases
  • Glycogen Synthase