Carbon-13 and phosphorus-31 NMR study of hepatic metabolism in the perfused rat liver

P. Canioni, F. Desmoulin, J. P. Galons, M. Bernard, E. Fontanarava, P. J. Cozzone

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8 Scopus citations


Phosphorus-31 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has been used to determine non-invasively absolute concentrations of phosphorylated metabolites in the perfused rat liver. It has been shown that the NMR method does detect cytoplasmic ATP and ADP (ATP: ADP ratio of 15 + 3) with no contribution from mitochondrial adenine nucleotides. The concentration of ATP was 7.2 + 0.3 mM in the cytosol of well-oxygenated liver, after two hours of perfusion with a Krebs-Ringer buffer. Other phosphorylated metabolites were detected, mainly inorganic phosphate (1.1 μmol/g liver wet weight), phosphorylcholine (1.0 μmol/g wet weight), glycerophosphoryl-ethanolamine (0.34 μmol/g wet weight) and glycerophosphorylcholine (0.30 μmol/g wet weight). The intracellular pH measured from the position of the Pi resonance has a value of 7.2 + 0.1. It is likely that the detectable Pi originates from the cytosolic compartment since a pH value of 7.4-7.6 would be expected for the mitochondrial matrix. Natural abundance carbon-13 NMR has also been used to follow the glycogen breakdown in situ by measuring the intensity of the glycogen C-1 resonance in the perfused liver spectrum as a function of the perfusion time. The glycogenolytic process has been studied as a function of the glucose content of the perfusate. Rate of glycogenolysis from 2.7 to 0.16 μEq glycosyl units g wet weight-1 min-1 were found when glucose concentration in the perfusate was varied from 0 to 50 mM. The fate of 90% enriched [2-13C] acetate has been studied in the perfused rat liver by 13C-NMR in order to investigate the mitochondrial metabolism and the interrelations between cytosolic and mitochondrial pools of metabolites. Some compounds of the intermediary metabolism where found to be extensively labelled, e.g. glutamate, glutamine, acetoacetate and βhydroxybutyrate. Under our experimental conditions, labelling of glutamate reached a steady-state within 30 min after the onset of perfusion of 20 mM acetate. In addition, the observed incorporation of carbon-13 isotope into glutamine can be linked to the operation of the glutamate-glutamine antiporter and to the high activity of the cytosolic glutamate synthetase. The finding of both active glutaminase and glutamine synthetase activity in the same liver cells is an evidence of the existence of an active glutamine-glutamate futile cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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