Polymyxin B, a cyclic decapeptide antibiotic, increased blood glucose and lactate, and inhibited the stimulation of lipogenesis in interscapular brown adipose tissue and lactating mammary gland of starved-refed virgin and lactating rats respectively. Lipogenesis was not inhibited in white adipose tissue or liver. The antibiotic increased the haematocrit. The relative blood flow to brown adipose tissue and lactating mammary gland was decreased by polymyxin B, and this was accompanied by a decrease in tissue ATP content. In vitro polymyxin B did not affect glucose utilization or conversion into lipid, nor the stimulation by insulin of these processes in brown-adipose-tissue slices. Treatment of rats in vivo with polymyxin B resulted in decreased utilization of glucose in vitro in brown-adipose-tissue slices. Similarly, acini from mammary glands of polymyxin B-treated lactating rats had decreased rates of conversion of [1-14C]glucose to lipid. It is concluded that the effects of polymyxin B may be brought about by decreases in tissue blood flow. The possibility that these effects are secondary to inhibition of glucose utilization cannot be ruled out.

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