In vitro and in vivo suppression of gluconeogenesis by inhibition of pyruvate carboxylase

Joseph J. Bahl, Masafumi Matsuda, Ralph A. Defronzo, Rubin Bressler

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57 Scopus citations


The mechanism of inhibition of gluconeogenesis by phenylalkanoic acids was studied in vitro and in vivo. In vitro production of 14CO2 from labeled glucose or palmitate was not inhibited at 4 mM, a concentration of phenylacetic acid that inhibited gluconeogenesis from lactate/pyruvate. In vitro studies with isolated mitochondria showed that the CoA ester of phenylacetic acid was formed. The parent phenylalkanoic acid had no effect on purified pyruvate carboxylase activity, but phenylacetyl CoA ester decreased pyruvate carboxylation in a concentration-dependent manner. Phenylacetic acid inhibited gluconeogenesis in isolated rat liver cells from 10 mM lactate/1 mM pyruvate (decreased 39%, P < 0.05), but not 10 mM L-glutamine or [14C]aspartate, showing that the inhibition of gluconeogenesis occurred at the level of pyruvate carboxylase. A 20 mg bolus with infusion of 1 mg/min of phenylpropionic acid decreased blood glucose levels of normal [110 ± 12 to 66 ± 11 mg/dL, N = 7, P < 0.05 (unpaired Student's t-test vs control)] and streptozocin diabetic rats [295 ± 14 to 225 ± 12 mg/dL, N = 7, P < 0.01 (paired t-test vs basal)]. Hepatic glucose production in control and diabetic rats was suppressed under conditions where liver glycogen was depleted, indicating that gluconeogenesis had been inhibited in vivo. The results suggest the possibility that the inappropriate overproduction of glucose can be controlled by inhibitors of pyruvate carboxylase. This class of inhibitors may be useful in the treatment of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 1997


  • gluconeogenic inhibitor
  • hepatic glucose production
  • hypoglycemic agents
  • pyruvate carboxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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