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Glycogenolysis is creation of extra blood glucose (from breakdown of glycogen) by the liver, in response to glucagon from the alpha cells of the pancreas, or to epinephrine from the adrenal gland.

The process of converting glucose into glycogen is called glycogenesis[1][2].

Glycogenolysis and Gluconeogenesis differ in the way the glucose is produced: glycogenolysis does this with carbohydrate sources, while gluconeogenesis produces glucose from non-carbohydrate ones.[3].

Blood glucose is also raised (usually more slowly) by breaking down protein from food, in the cells, in a process called gluconeogenesis, which is a cat's major energy source. Glycogenolysis is relatively fast.

Glycogenolysis is part of the body's usual equilibrium mechanism [4] for maintaining blood glucose levels, but in diabetics in can easily go awry, sometimes finding an inappropriate set point.

Diabetics and physicians and veterinarians have coined other terms relating to glycogenolysis[5] , including:

  • Somogyi_rebound: Glycogenolysis that occurs when blood sugar drops dangerously fast or low.
  • Vet stress: Glycogenolysis caused by stress. Stress causes the adrenal glands to release epinephrine or "adrenalin" which also stimulates breakdown of glycogen and therefore higher blood sugar.
  • Panicky liver or Liver dump: Glycogenolysis apparently triggered by a "low" blood sugar level that may not be so low. May also be triggered by low basal insulin levels.

Panicky liver is poorly-understood, but may be responsible for some cases of diabetics who can't seem to reduce their blood glucose into safe target ranges after many months of knowledgeable attempts at regulation. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins believes that a body accustomed to hyperglycemia may raise its threshold for glycogenolysis.


Further ReadingEdit

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