1. The kinetic properties of overt carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT I, EC 2.3.1.21) were studied in rat liver mitochondria isolated from untreated, diabetic and insulin-treated diabetic animals. A comparison was made of the time courses required for the changes in these properties of CPT I to occur and for the development of ketosis during the induction of chronic diabetes and its reversal by insulin treatment. 2. The development of hyperketonaemia over the first 5 days of insulin withdrawal from streptozotocin-treated rats was accompanied by parallel increases in the activity of CPT I and in the I0.5 (concentration required to produce 50% inhibition) of the enzyme for malonyl-CoA. 3. The rapid reversal of the ketotic state by treatment of chronically diabetic rats with 6 units of regular insulin was not accompanied by any change in the properties of CPT I over the first 4 h. Higher doses of insulin (15 units), delivered throughout a 4 h period, resulted in an increase in the affinity of CPT I for malonyl-CoA, but the sensitivity of the enzyme to the inhibitor was still significantly lower than in mitochondria from normal animals. 4. Conversely, when insulin treatment was continued over a 24 h period, full restoration of the sensitivity of the enzyme to malonyl-CoA was achieved. However, the activity of the enzyme was only decreased marginally. 5. These results are discussed in terms of the possibility that the major regulatory sites of the rate of hepatic oxidation may vary in different phases of the induction and reversal of chronic diabetes.

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