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Mikkel H Vendelbo, Britt Christensen, Solbritt B Grønbæk, Morten Høgild, Michael Madsen, Steen B Pedersen, Jens O L Jørgensen, Niels Jessen and Niels Møller


Fasting and exercise stimulates, whereas glucose suppresses GH secretion, but it is uncertain how these conditions impact GH signaling in peripheral tissues. To test the original ‘feast and famine hypothesis’ by Rabinowitz and Zierler, according to which the metabolic effects of GH are predominant during fasting, we specifically hypothesized that fasting and exercise act in synergy to increase STAT-5b target gene expression.

Design and methods

Eight healthy men were studied on two occasions in relation to a 1 h exercise bout: i) with a concomitant i.v. glucose infusion (‘feast’) and ii) after a 36 h fast (‘famine’). Muscle and fat biopsy specimens were obtained before, immediately after, and 30 min after exercise.


GH increased during exercise on both examination days and this effect was amplified by fasting, and free fatty acid (FFA) levels increased after fasting. STAT-5b phosphorylation increased similarly following exercise on both occasions. In adipose tissue, suppressors of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) and SOCS2 were increased after exercise on the fasting day and both fasting and exercise increased cytokine inducible SH2-containing protein (CISH). In muscle, SOCS2 and CISH mRNA were persistently increased after fasting. Muscle SOCS1, SOCS3, and CISH mRNA expression increased, whereas SOCS2 decreased after exercise on both examination days.


This study demonstrates that fasting and exercise act in tandem to amplify STAT-5b target gene expression (SOCS and CISH) in adipose and muscle tissue in accordance with the ‘feast and famine hypothesis’; the adipose tissue signaling responses, which hitherto have not been scrutinized, may play a particular role in promoting FFA mobilization.

Free access

Monika J Bak, Nicolai Wewer Albrechtsen, Jens Pedersen, Bolette Hartmann, Mikkel Christensen, Tina Vilsbøll, Filip K Knop, Carolyn F Deacon, Lars O Dragsted and Jens J Holst


To determine the specificity and sensitivity of assays carried out using commercially available kits for glucagon and/or oxyntomodulin measurements.


Ten different assay kits used for the measurement of either glucagon or oxyntomodulin concentrations were obtained. Solutions of synthetic glucagon (proglucagon (PG) residues 33–61), oxyntomodulin (PG residues 33–69) and glicentin (PG residues 1–69) were prepared and peptide concentrations were verified by quantitative amino acid analysis and a processing-independent in-house RIA. Peptides were added to the matrix (assay buffer) supplied with the kits (concentration range: 1.25–300 pmol/l) and to human plasma and recoveries were determined. Assays yielding meaningful results were analysed for precision and sensitivity by repeated analysis and ability to discriminate low concentrations.

Results and conclusion

Three assays were specific for glucagon (carried out using the Millipore (Billerica, MA, USA), Bio-Rad (Sundbyberg, Sweden), and ALPCO (Salem, NH, USA) and Yanaihara Institute (Shizuoka, Japan) kits), but none was specific for oxyntomodulin. The assay carried out using the Phoenix (Burlingame, CA, USA) glucagon kit measured the concentrations of all three peptides (total glucagon) equally. Sensitivity and precision were generally poor; the assay carried out using the Millipore RIA kit performed best with a sensitivity around 10 pmol/l. Assays carried out using the BlueGene (Shanghai, China), USCN LIFE (Wuhan, China) (oxyntomodulin and glucagon), MyBioSource (San Diego, CA, USA) and Phoenix oxyntomodulin kits yielded inconsistent results.