The balance between anabolism and catabolism of [5-3H]uridine was studied in the mouse after partial hepatectomy. Labelling of RNA and UDP-glucose was determined and evaluated in relation to changes in the specific radioactivity of UTP. The amounts of labelled catabolic products of uridine were increased several-fold in liver and blood after partial hepatectomy. The specific radioactivity of RNA decreased to about 60% of the control value at 6h and was in the same range as that of control liver at 24h after operation. Decreased labelling of RNA and UDP-glucose was attributable to decreased specific radioactivity of UTP. No changes in the size of the UTP pool or in the balance between uridine anabolism and catabolism were found that could explain the decreased specific radioactivity of UTP. Rather, the alterations in the labelling of this metabolite induced by the partial hepatectomy may be related to decreased phosphorylating capacity in the liver cells and/or dilution of the labelled precursor in an expanded uridine pool. The enhanced amounts of uridine catabolic products in liver and blood were probably a consequence of accumulation and altered incorporation of the metabolites from the blood into the liver cells. Despite the increased amounts of labelled catabolic products and the decreased labelling of RNA, the results reported here actually suggest decreased uridine catabolism and slightly increased RNA synthesis in mouse liver after partial hepatectomy. The results stress the importance of proper controls in determination of nucleic acid synthesis and in metabolic studies by use of labelled precursors.

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