, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 473–483 | Cite as

Biochemistry of liver development in the perinatal period

  • H. -J. Böhme
  • G. Sparmann
  • E. Hofmann


Just before birth, changes occur in the metabolic capacities of rat liver so that the animal can adapt to changes in the substrate supply. In utero, glucose is the main energy-generating fuel and the liver metabolism is directed towards glucose degradation. The activities of the rate-limiting enzymes of glycolysis, hexokinase and phosphofructokinase, are high. In preparation for post-natal life, when the continuous glucose supply from the mother is interrupted, very large amounts of glycogen are stored in the late fetal liver. With the intake of the fat-rich and carbohydrate-poor milk diet, the animal develops the ability to synthesize glucose de novo from non-carbohydrate precursors. During suckling, metabolic energy is derived mainly from the β-oxidation of fatty acids, which in turn is an essential prerequisite for the high rate of gluconeogenesis, by yielding acetyl-CoA for the activation of pyruvate carboxylase and by generating a high NADH/NAD ratio for the shift of the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase reaction in the direction of glucose formation.-The developmental adaptation of metabolism and the process of enzymatic differentiation are closely connected with the maturation of the endocrine system and the changes in the concentration of circulating hormones. The neonatal regulation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and of tyrosine aminotransferase by variations in the hormonal milieu around birth, and also the interacton of hormonal and nutritional factors in the induction of serine dehydratase and glucokinase at the end of the suckling period, will be discussed in detail.


Hexokinase Phosphoenolpyruvate Fetal Liver Glyceraldehyde Pyruvate Carboxylase 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. -J. Böhme
    • 1
  • G. Sparmann
    • 1
  • E. Hofmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physiological ChemistryKarl-Marx-University, DDRLeipzigGerman Democratic Republic

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