Inhibition of hepatocyte proteolysis and lactate gluconeogenesis by chloroquine

David W. Crabb, Ralph A. Jersild, Sylvia A. McCune, Melanie S. Swartzentruber, Robert A. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Chloroquine (50 μm) is rapidly taken up by isolated hepatocytes in a temperature-dependent manner. It inhibits glucose synthesis from lactate, but not from pyruvate or dihydroxyacetone. The inhibition is reversed by lysine or ammonia but not by oleate or carnitine. Ammonia inhibits chloroquine uptake by the hepatocytes but lysine does not. Chloroquine also inhibits urea synthesis, the release of ninhydrin-reacting substances, the accumulation of amino acids, and the lactate-dependent accumulation of glutamate. Ethanol oxidation in the presence of lactate is also inhibited, and this too is reversed by lysine. Chloroquine increases the redox state of the cytosolic compartment, as evidenced by lactate-to-pyruvate ratios, of hepatocytes prepared from both 48-h fasted and meal-fed rats. The above findings are consistent with chloroquine entering the lysosomes of the hepatocytes and inhibiting proteolysis by raising the lysosomal pH. Isolated hepatocytes are deficient in amino acids and, chloroquine inhibition of proteolysis prevents replenishment of the amino acid pools. Thus, chloroquine prevents reconstitution of the malate-aspartate shuttle required for the movement of reducing equivalents into the mitochondrion during lactate gluconeogenesis, ethanol oxidation, and glycolysis. The metabolic competency of freshly isolated hepatocytes, therefore, depends on the replenishment of amino acid pools by lysosomal breakdown of endogenous protein. Furthermore, chloroquine uptake may be an index of lysosomal function with isolated hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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