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Eur J Biochem. 1991 May 8;197(3):805-13.

Regulation of hepatic energy metabolism by epidermal growth factor.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Tennessee, Memphis.


Employing the non-recirculating perfused rat liver preparation, we have investigated the regulation of hepatic gluconeogenesis, and metabolic fluxes through the tricarboxylic acid cycle and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase reaction by epidermal growth factor (EGF) which mimics the actions of both insulin and Ca(2+)-mobilizing hormones (e.g. vasopressin). As monitored by the rate of 14CO2 production from [2-14C]pyruvate (0.5 mM), EGF (10 nM) transiently stimulated the activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. EGF also transiently stimulated hepatic gluconeogenesis from pyruvate. The transient stimulation of tricarboxylic acid cycle activity and gluconeogenesis were accompanied by an increase in perfusate Ca2+ content indicating that EGF also altered hepatic Ca2+ fluxes. EGF-elicited stimulation of gluconeogenesis was, at least in part, the result of a transient (50%) inhibition of pyruvate kinase activity. Likewise, EGF-mediated stimulation of tricarboxylic acid cycle activity can, in part, be attributed to EGF-elicited stimulation of metabolic flux through the mitochondrial, Ca(2+)-sensitive, 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase reaction. The regulation of hepatic metabolism by EGF appears to be the manifestation of alteration in cellular Ca2+ content since in experiments performed under conditions known to abolish the ability of EGF to alter cytosolic free-Ca2+ concentrations, i.e. in livers of pertussis-toxin-treated rats, EGF did not alter either perfusate Ca2+ content or any of the metabolic parameters monitored. Additionally, experiments involving pulsatile infusion of either EGF or phenylephrine into livers demonstrated that, unlike the alpha 1-adrenergic receptor, homologous desensitization of the EGF receptor occurs. Such a homologous desensitization of the EGF receptor can explain the transient nature of EGF-elicited stimulation of various metabolic processes. Since protein kinase C activation by EGF can lead to receptor desensitization, experiments were performed with phorbol esters which either activate or do not alter protein kinase C activity. While the inactive phorbol ester 4 alpha-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate did not modulate the hepatic actions of EGF, activation of protein kinase C by 4 beta-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (70 nM) abolished the ability of EGF to stimulate gluconeogenesis, tricarboxylic acid cycle activity and metabolic flux through the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex.

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