Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 395–410 | Cite as

Mechanisms of blood glucose homeostasis

  • H. -G. Hers


The mechanisms by which glycogen metabolism, glycolysis and gluconeogenesis are controlled in the liver both by hormones and by the concentration of glucose are reviewed. The control of glycogen metabolism occurs by phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of both glycogen phosphorylase and glycogen synthase catalysed by various protein kinases and protein phosphatases. The hormonal effect is to stimulate glycogenolysis by the intermediary of cyclic AMP, which activates directly or indirectly the protein kinases. The glucose effect is to activate the protein phosphatase system; this occurs by the direct binding of glucose to glycogen phosphorylase which is then a better substrate for phosphorylase phosphatase and is inactivated. Since phosphorylasea is a strong inhibitor of synthase phosphatase, its disappearance allows the activation of glycogen synthase and the initiation of glycogen synthesis. When glycogen synthesis is intense, the concentrations of UDPG and of glucose 6-phosphate in the liver decrease, allowing a net glucose uptake by the liver. Glucose uptake is indeed the difference between the activities of glucokinase and glucose 6-phosphatase. Since the Km of the latter enzyme is far above the physiological concentration of its substrate, the decrease in glucose 6-phosphate concentration proportionally reduces its activity.

The control of glycolysis and of gluconeogenesis occurs mostly at the level of the interconversion of fructose 6-phosphate and fructose 1,6-bisphosphate under the action of phosphofructokinase 1 and fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase. Fructose 2,6-bisphosphate is a potent stimulator of the first of these two enzymes and an inhibitor of the second. It is formed from fructose 6-phosphate and ATP by phosphofructokinase 2 and hydrolysed by a fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase. These two enzymes are part of a single bifunctional protein which is a substrate for cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. Its phosphorylation causes the inactivation of phosphofructokinase 2 and the activation of fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase, resulting in the disappearance of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate. The other major effector of these two enzymes is fructose 6-phosphate, which is the substrate of phosphofructokinase 2 and a potent inhibitor of fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase; these properties allow the formation of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate when the level of glycaemia and secondarily that of fructose 6-phosphate is high.


Fructose Phosphorylase Glycogen Synthesis Glycogen Phosphorylase Glycogen Metabolism 
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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. -G. Hers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Chimie PhysiologiqueUniversité Catholique de LouvainBelgium
  2. 2.International Institute of Cellular and Molecular PathologyBrusselsBelgium

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