Differential Metabolism of Glycerol Based on Oral versus Intravenous Administration in Humans

Ankit Shah, Yujue Wang, Fredric E. Wondisford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glycerol can be metabolized to glucose via gluconeogenesis or lactate via glycolysis. It is unknown if glycerol is metabolized similarly in the portal and systemic circulations in humans. Eight metabolically healthy overnight-fasted individuals received equimolar amounts of 13C3-glycerol orally and intravenously on two separate occasions with serial blood draws over four hours. Serum samples underwent liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis. Oral 13C3-glycerol administration led to higher average serum glucose enrichment than intravenous administration (5.02 ± 1.43 versus 4.07 ± 0.79%, p = 0.009). In contrast, intravenous 13C3-glycerol administration yielded higher average serum lactate enrichment than oral administration (5.67 ± 0.80 versus 4.85 ± 1.30%, p = 0.032). Peak serum glucose enrichment was also higher with oral administration (9.37 ± 2.93 versus 7.12 ± 1.28%, p = 0.010). Glycerol metabolism across the portal and systemic circulations is not congruent. Orally administered labeled glycerol led to greater labeled glucose production, while intravenously administration yielded greater lactate production. These data support direct glycerol to lactate conversion in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number890
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • Cori cycle
  • carbon flux
  • gluconeogenesis
  • glycerol
  • lactate
  • mass spectrometry
  • portal metabolism


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