Ornithine decarboxylase activity in insulin-deficient states

C. A. Conover, S. J. Rozovski, E. R. Belur, T. T. Aoki, N. B. Ruderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The activity of ornithine decarboxylase, the rate-controlling enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, was determined in tissues of normal control rats and rats made diabetic with streptozotocin. In untreated diabetic rats fed ad libitum, ornithine decarboxylase activity was markedly diminished in liver, skeletal muscle, heart and thymus. Ornithine decarboxylase was not diminished in a comparable group of diabetic rats maintained on insulin. Starvation for 48 h decreased ornithine decarboxylase activity to very low values in tissues of both normal and diabetic rats. In the normal group, refeeding caused a biphasic increase in liver ornithine decarboxylase; there was a 20-fold increase in activity at 3h followed by a decrease in activity, and a second peak between 9 and 24 h. Increase in ornithine decarboxylase in skeletal muscle, heart and thymus were not evident until after 24-48 h of refeeding, and only a single increase occurred. The increase in liver ornithine decarboxylase in diabetic rats was greater than in normal rats after 3h of refeeding, but there was no second peak. In peripheral tissues, the increase in ornithine decarboxylase with refeeding was diminished. Skeletal-muscle ornithine decarboxylase is induced more rapidly when meal-fed rats are refed after a period without food. Refeeding these rats after a 48h period without food caused a 5-fold increase in ornithine decarboxylase in skeletal muscle at 3h in control rats but failed to increase activity in daibetic rats. When insulin was administered alone or together with food to the diabetic rats, muscle ornithine decarboxylase increased to activities even higher than in the refed controls. In conclusion, these findings indicate that the regulation of ornithine decarboxylase in many tissues is grossly impaired in diabetes and starvation. They also suggest that polyamine formation in vivo is an integral component of the growth-promoting effect of insulin or some factor dependent on insulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-732
Number of pages8
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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