American Chemical Society
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Changes in Glycogen Structure over Feeding Cycle Sheds New Light on Blood-Glucose Control

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-12-17, 00:31 authored by Mitchell A. Sullivan, Samuel T. N. Aroney, Shihan Li, Frederick J. Warren, Jin Suk Joo, Ka Sin Mak, David I. Stapleton, Kim S. Bell-Anderson, Robert G. Gilbert
Liver glycogen, a highly branched polymer of glucose, is important for maintaining blood-glucose homeostasis. It was recently shown that db/db mice, a model for Type 2 diabetes, are unable to form the large composite glycogen α particles present in normal, healthy mice. In this study, the structure of healthy mouse-liver glycogen over the diurnal cycle was characterized using size exclusion chromatography and transmission electron microscopy. Glycogen was found to be formed as smaller β particles, and then only assembled into large α particles, with a broad size distribution, significantly after the time when glycogen content had reached a maximum. This pathway, missing in diabetic animals, is likely to give optimal blood-glucose control during the daily feeding cycle. Lack of this control may contribute to, or result from, diabetes. This discovery suggests novel approaches to diabetes management.