Tissue reserves of metabolic fuels

In the fed state, as well as providing for immediate energy needs, substrates are converted into storage compounds for use in the fasting state. There are two main stores of metabolic fuels:

  • triacylglycerols in adipose tissue;
  • glycogen as a carbohydrate reserve in liver and muscle.

In addition, there is an increase in the synthesis of tissue proteins after a meal, as a result of the increased availability of metabolic fuel to provide ATP for protein synthesis (section 9.2.3.3).

In the fasting state, which is the normal state between meals, these reserves are mobilized and used. Glycogen is a source of glucose, while adipose tissue provides both fatty acids and glycerol from triacylglycerol. Some of the relatively labile protein laid down in response to meals is also mobilized in fasting, and the amino acids are used both as a metabolic fuel and, more importantly, a source of citric acid cycle intermediates for gluconeogenesis.

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