Cardiac glycogen accumulation after dexamethasone is regulated by AMPK

Prasanth Puthanveetil, Fang Wang, Girish Kewalramani, Suk Kim Min, Elham Hosseini-Beheshti, Natalie Ng, William Lau, Thomas Pulinilkunnil, Michael Allard, Ashraf Abrahani, Brian Rodrigues

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31 Scopus citations


Glycogen is an immediate source of glucose for cardiac tissue to maintain its metabolic homeostasis. However, its excess brings about cardiac structural and physiological impairments. Previously, we have demonstrated that in hearts from dexamethasone (Dex)-treated animals, glycogen accumulation was enhanced. We examined the influence of 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) on glucose entry and glycogen synthase as a means of regulating the accumulation of this stored polysaccharide. After Dex, cardiac tissue had a limited contribution toward the development of whole body insulin resistance. Measurement of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) at the plasma membrane revealed an excess presence of this transporter protein at this location. Interestingly, this was accompanied by an increase in GLUT4 in the intracellular membrane fraction, an effect that was well correlated with increased GLUT4 mRNA. Both total and phosphorylated AMPK increased after Dex. Immunoprecipitation of Akt substrate of 160 kDa (AS160) followed by Western blot analysis demonstrated no change in Akt phosphorylation at Ser473 and Thr308 in Dex-treated hearts. However, there was a significant increase in AMPK phosphorylation at Thr172, which correlated well with AS160 phosphorylation. In Dex-treated hearts, there was a considerable reduction in the phosphorylation of glycogen synthase, whereas glycogen synthase kinase-3-β phosphorylation was augmented. Our data suggest that AMPK-mediated glucose entry combined with the activation of glycogen synthase and a reduction in glucose oxidation (Qi et al., Diabetes 53: 1790-1797, 2004) act together to promote glycogen storage. Should these effects persist chronically in the heart, they may explain the increased morbidity and mortality observed with long-term excesses in endogenous or exogenous glucocorticoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1753-H1762
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Glucose transporter 4
  • Glycogen synthase
  • Insulin resistance


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