The cyclic AMP and glycogen concentrations and the activities of phosphorylase kinase, phosphorylase a and glycogen synthase a were not different in livers from lean or ob/ob mice despite increased plasma glucose and insulin in the obese group. The liver water content was decreased by 10% in the obese mice. In hepatocytes isolated from lean mice and incubated with increasing glucose concentrations (14-112 mM), a sequential inactivation of phosphorylase and activation of glycogen synthase was observed. In hepatocytes from obese mice the inactivation of phosphorylase was not followed by an activation of synthase. The inactivation of phosphorylase occurred more rapidly and was followed by an activation of synthase in hepatocytes isolated from both groups of mice when in the incubation medium Na+ was replaced by K+ or when Ca2+ was omitted and 2.5 mM-EGTA included. The inactivation of phosphorylase and activation of synthase were not different in broken-liver-cell preparations from lean and obese animals. The re-activation of phosphorylase in liver filtrates in the presence of 0.1 microM-cyclic AMP and MgATP was inhibited by about 70% by EGTA and stimulated by Ca2+ and was always greater in preparations from ob/ob mice. The apparent paradox between the impairment of glycogen metabolism in isolated liver preparations and the situation in vivo in obese mice is discussed.

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