Effect of hind limb muscle unloading on liver metabolism of rats

T. Peter Stein, Margaret D. Schluter, Anthony T. Galante, Patricia Soteropoulos, Manuel Ramirez, Allison Bigbee, Richard E. Grindeland, Charles E. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In response to decreased use, skeletal muscle undergoes an adaptive reductive remodeling. There is a shift in fiber types from slow twitch to fast twitch fiber types. Associated with muscle unloading is an increased reliance on carbohydrate metabolism for energy. The hind limb suspended (HLS) rat model was used as the experimental model to determine whether skeletal muscle unloading had any impact on the liver. We used a combination of actual enzyme assays and microarray mRNA expression to address this question. The GenMAPP program was used to identify altered metabolic pathways. We found that the major changes in the liver with HLS were increases in the expression of genes involved in the generation of energy fuels for export, specifically gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis. The expression of mRNA was increased (P<0.05) for three of the four enzymes involved in the regulation of gluconeogenesis pathway (pyruvate carboxylase (PC), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), and glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase). Actual assay of enzymatic activity, in μmol • min -1 • mg protein -1 showed G-6-Pase (0.14+0.01 vs 0.17+0.01 P<0.05), fructose 1,6, bisphophosphatase (0.048+0.002 vs 0.054+0.002, P<0.07), and PEPCK (0.031+0.002 vs 0.038+0.012 (P<0.05) to be increased. We conclude that 1) atrophied muscle is not the only tissue to be affected by HLS, as there is also a response by the liver; and 2) the major changes in liver substrate metabolism induced by HLS appear to be limited to glucose and triglyceride production. The increase in glycolytic capacity in disused muscle is paralleled by an increase in glucogenic capacity by the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


  • Atrophy
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Hind limb unloading
  • Muscle disuse


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