Intravenous glucose tolerance tests and measurements with [6-3H]glucose of rate of glucose replacement, transit time, and body glucose mass were performed in fed and fasted Hoplias malabaricus. Both glycemia levels and the rate of decline of blood glucose following intravenous administration of 500 mg/kg glucose were significantly lower in 60-day-fasted than in fed fish. Changes in plasma free fatty acids were opposite to those in blood glucose. The rate of glucose replacement, calculated graphically from mean +/- 3 SE plots of glucose specific radioactivity, was 0.71 (0.66-0.77) mg.kg-1.min-1 in fed H. malabaricus and decreased to 0.51 (0.46-0.56) mg.kg-1.min-1 after 60 days without food, with a concomitant reduction of body glucose mass (mmin, 138 vs. 83 mg/kg). In fish starved for 10 mo the rate of glucose replacement and body glucose mass were further reduced to 0.35 (0.29-0.42) mg.kg-1.min-1 and 57 mg/kg (mmin), respectively. It is concluded that a progressive decline in the rate of glucose utilization contributes to the adaptation of fish to prolonged fasting.
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