Splanchnic regulation of glucose production

Annu Rev Nutr. 2007;27:329-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.27.061406.093806.


The liver plays a key role for the maintenance of blood glucose homeostasis under widely changing physiological conditions. In the overnight fasted state, breakdown of hepatic glycogen and synthesis of glucose from lactate, amino acids, glycerol, and pyruvate contribute about equally to hepatic glucose production. Postprandial glucose uptake by the liver is determined by the size of the glucose load reaching the liver, the rise in insulin concentration, and the route of glucose delivery. Hepatic glycogen stores are depleted within 36 to 48 hours of fasting, but gluconeogenesis continues to provide glucose for tissues with an obligatory glucose requirement. Glucose output from the liver increases during exercise; during short-term intensive exertion, hepatic glycogenolysis is the primary source of extra glucose for skeletal muscle, and during prolonged exercise, hepatic gluconeogenesis becomes gradually more important in keeping with falling insulin and rising glucagon levels. Type 1 diabetes is accompanied by diminished hepatic glycogen stores, augmented gluconeogenesis, and increased basal hepatic glucose production in proportion to the severity of the diabetic state. The hyperglycemia of type 2 diabetes is in part caused by an overproduction of glucose from the liver that is secondary to accelerated gluconeogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Gluconeogenesis / physiology*
  • Glycogenolysis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin