Inhibition of glucose uptake by acetoacetate and relief of this inhibition by insulin found previously in slices of rat mammary gland [Williamson, McKeown & Ilic (1975) Biochem. J. 150. 145-152] was confirmed in acini, which represent a more homogeneous population of cells. Glycerol (1mM) behaved like insulin (50 minuits/ml) in its ability to relieve the inhibition of glucose (5 mM) utilization caused by acetoacetate (2 mM) in acini. Both glycerol and insulin reversed the increase in [citrate] and the decrease in [glycerol 3-phosphate] and the [lactate]/[pyruvate] ratio in the presence of acetoacetate. Lipogenesis from 3H2O, [3-14C] acetoacetate, [1-14C]- and [6-14C]-glucose was stimulated, whereas 14CO2 formation from [3-14C]acetoacetate was decreased. Neither insulin nor glycerol relieved the acetoacetate inhibition of glucose uptake when lipogenesis was inhibited by 5-(tetradecyloxy)-2-furoic acid. From measurements of [3-14C]acetoacetate incorporation into lipid in the various situations it is suggested that a cytosolic pathway for acetoacetate utilization may exist in rat mammary gland. In the absence of acetoacetate, glycerol inhibited glucose utilization by 60% and increased both [glycerol 3-phosphate] and the [lactate/[pyruvate] ratio. Possible ways in which glycerol may mimic the effects of insulin are discussed.

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