Fuel metabolism in fasted newborn rabbits

J Dev Physiol. 1979 Aug;1(4):267-81.


Newborn rabbits delivered by Caesarean section at term were fasted for 72 h at 36 degrees C. Despite the abrupt interruption of maternal supply of energy substrates, glycaemia remains stable for 4 h after birth. This can be related to glucose production via rapid liver glycogenolysis; however, indirect evidence suggests that gluconeogenesis could also contribute to glucose production during this period. There is a selective decrease in the concentrations of gluconeogenic substrates and a suitable hormonal environment for gluconeogenesis as decreased insulin and increased glucagon concentration just after birth. The relative hypoglycaemia which develops after 6 h of life (2.6 mM at 72 h), despite high blood concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids and ketone bodies is not due to a deficient gluconeogenesis per se, as injection of gluconeogenic substrates to 72 h fasted newborns produces a three-fold increase in plasma glucose concentration. It is suggested that this relative hypoglycaemia is secondary to limited gluconeogenic substrate availability in the form of low circulting concentrations of gluconeogenic amino acids.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fasting*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Glycerol / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Ketone Bodies / blood
  • Liver Glycogen / metabolism
  • Rabbits


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Liver Glycogen
  • Glycerol