Incubation of adult rat cardiac myocytes with increasing glucose concentrations decreased phosphorylation (αThr172) and activity of AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase). The effect could be demonstrated without measurable changes in adenine nucleotide contents. The glucose effect was additive to the decrease in AMPK activity caused by insulin, was attenuated by adrenaline, was not mimicked by glucose analogues, lactate or pyruvate and was not due to changes in myocyte glycogen content. AMPK activity was decreased by xylitol and PMS (phenazine methosulfate) and was increased by the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase inhibitor DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and by thiamine. PMS and DHEA respectively, increased and decreased CO2 formation by the PPP (pentose phosphate pathway). AMPK activity was inversely related to the myocyte content of Xu5P (xylulose 5-phosphate), an intermediate of the non-oxidative arm of the PPP. Endothall, an inhibitor of PP2A (protein phosphatase 2A), abolished the glucose effect on AMPK activity. Further studies are needed to define the ‘active component’ that mediates the glucose effect and whether its site of action is PP2A.

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