Mechanisms of hormonal regulation of hepatic glucose metabolism

Diabetes Metab Rev. 1987 Jan;3(1):163-83. doi: 10.1002/dmr.5610030108.


Acute hormonal regulation of liver carbohydrate metabolism mainly involves changes in the cytosolic levels of cAMP and Ca2+. Epinephrine, acting through beta 2-adrenergic receptors, and glucagon activate adenylate cyclase in the liver plasma membrane through a mechanism involving a guanine nucleotide-binding protein that is stimulatory to the enzyme. The resulting accumulation of cAMP leads to activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, which, in turn, phosphorylates many intracellular enzymes involved in the regulation of glycogen metabolism, gluconeogenesis, and glycolysis. These are (1) phosphorylase b kinase, which is activated and, in turn, phosphorylates and activates phosphorylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for glycogen breakdown; (2) glycogen synthase, which is inactivated and is rate-controlling for glycogen synthesis; (3) pyruvate kinase, which is inactivated and is an important regulatory enzyme for glycolysis; and (4) the 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase bifunctional enzyme, phosphorylation of which leads to decreased formation of fructose 2,6-P2, which is an activator of 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase and an inhibitor of fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase, both of which are important regulatory enzymes for glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. In addition to rapid effects of glucagon and beta-adrenergic agonists to increase hepatic glucose output by stimulating glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis and inhibiting glycogen synthesis and glycolysis, these agents produce longer-term stimulatory effects on gluconeogenesis through altered synthesis of certain enzymes of gluconeogenesis/glycolysis and amino acid metabolism. For example, P-enolpyruvate carboxykinase is induced through an effect at the level of transcription mediated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Tyrosine amino-transferase, serine dehydratase, tryptophan oxygenase, and glucokinase are also regulated by cAMP, in part at the level of specific messenger RNA synthesis. The sympathetic nervous system and its neurohumoral agonists epinephrine and norepinephrine also rapidly alter hepatic glycogen metabolism and gluconeogenesis acting through alpha 1-adrenergic receptors. The primary response to these agonists is the phosphodiesterase-mediated breakdown of the plasma membrane polyphosphoinositide phosphatidylinositol 4,5-P2 to inositol 1,4,5-P3 and 1,2-diacylglycerol. This involves a guanine nucleotide-binding protein that is different from those involved in the regulation of adenylate cyclase. Inositol 1,4,5-P3 acts as an intracellular messenger for Ca2+ mobilization by releasing Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Catecholamines / physiology*
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glycolysis
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Hormones / physiology*


  • Catecholamines
  • Pancreatic Hormones
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Glucose
  • Calcium