Regulation of hepatic glucose production and the role of gluconeogenesis in humans: Is the rate of gluconeogenesis constant?

Frank Q. Nuttall, Angela Ngo, Mary C. Gannon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


We have been interested in the metabolic effects of ingested fuels, both in normal subjects and in people with type 2 diabetes. Recently, we have become interested in the regulation of glucose production and the regulation of gluconeogenesis in particular. We are not aware of a recent comprehensive review of these topics. Therefore, we have reviewed the currently available literature. The pertinent papers obtained from a Medline search of the words gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, hepatic glucose output, as well as papers from our personal files, form the basis of this review. In order to analyse the data, it also was necessary to review the relevant methodology used in determining gluconeogenesis. Pathway diagrams have been included with this review in order to illustrate and highlight key aspects of the methodologies. Current data support the hypothesis that the rate of glucose appearance changes but the rate of gluconeogenesis remains remarkably stable in widely varying metabolic conditions in people without diabetes. In people with diabetes, whether gluconeogenesis remains unchanged is at present uncertain. Available data are very limited. The mechanism by which gluconeogenesis remains relatively constant, even in the setting of excess substrates, is not known. One interesting speculation is that gluconeogenic substrates substitute for each other depending on availability. Thus, the overall rate is either unaffected or only modestly changed. This requires further confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-458
Number of pages21
JournalDiabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Glycogenolysis
  • Hepatic glucose output
  • Isotope dilution
  • Mass isotopomer distribution analysis (MIDA)
  • Methodology
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy


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