Increased glucose tolerance and reduced adiposity in the absence of fasting hypoglycemia in mice with liver-specific Gsα deficiency

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The G protein Gsα is essential for hormone-stimulated cAMP generation and is an important metabolic regulator. We investigated the role of liver Gs-signaling pathways by developing mice with liver-specific Gsα deficiency (LGsKO mice). LGsKO mice had increased liver weight and glycogen content and reduced adiposity, whereas survival, body weight, food intake, and metabolic rates at ambient temperature were unaffected. LGsKO mice had increased glucose tolerance with both increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity in liver and muscle. Fed LGsKO mice were hypoglycemic and hypoinsulinemic, with low expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes and PPARγ coactivator–1. However, LGsKO mice maintained normal fasting glucose and insulin levels, probably due to prolonged breakdown of glycogen stores and possibly increased extrahepatic gluconeogenesis. Lipid metabolism was unaffected in fed LGsKO mice, but fasted LGsKO mice had increased lipogenic and reduced lipid oxidation gene expression in liver and increased serum triglyceride and FFA levels. LGsKO mice had very high serum glucagon and glucagon-like peptide–1 levels and pancreatic α cell hyperplasia, probably secondary to hepatic glucagon resistance and/or chronic hypoglycemia. Our results define novel roles for hepatic Gs-signaling pathways in glucose and lipid regulation, which may prove useful in designing new therapeutic targets for diabetes and obesity.

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