Rats from an inbred strain (NZR/Mh) were found to have high concentrations of glycogen in their livers, even after 24 h of starvation. Despite this, blood glucose concentrations were well maintained on starvation for up to 72 h. The primary defect is a deficiency of liver phosphorylase kinase, causing a lack of active glycogen phosphorylase, although total phosphorylase is normal. The intravenous injection of glucagon caused a rapid activation of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase in the liver, but no increase in either phosphorylase kinase or phosphorylase a activity. Although total glycogen synthase activity in the livers of affected rats was higher than normal, glycogen synthase in the active form was very low, presumably as a result of the high liver glycogen content. The condition is transmitted as autosomal recessive and, apart from hepatomegaly, the affected rats appear healthy.

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