OBJECTIVE: Glycogen storage disease type 1a (GSD Ia) is a rare inherited metabolic disorder caused by mutations in the glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC1) gene. When untreated, GSD Ia leads to severe fasting-induced hypoglycemia. Although current intensive dietary management aims to prevent hypoglycemia, patients still experience hypoglycemic events. Poor glycemic control in GSD Ia is associated with hypertriglyceridemia, hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma, and also with an increased bleeding tendency of unknown origin.
METHODS: To evaluate the effect of glycemic control on leukocyte levels and coagulation in GSD Ia, we employed hepatocyte-specific G6pc1 deficient (L-G6pc-/-) mice under fed or fasted conditions, to match good or poor glycemic control in GSD Ia, respectively.
RESULTS: We found that fasting-induced hypoglycemia in L-G6pc-/- mice decreased blood leukocytes, specifically pro-inflammatory Ly6Chi monocytes, compared to controls. Refeeding reversed this decrease. The decrease in Ly6Chi monocytes was accompanied by an increase in plasma corticosterone levels and was prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone. Further, fasting-induced hypoglycemia in L-G6pc-/- mice prolonged bleeding time in the tail vein bleeding assay, with reversal by refeeding. This could not be explained by changes in coagulation factors V, VII, or VIII, or von Willebrand factor. While the prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin time, as well as total platelet counts were not affected by fasting-induced hypoglycemia in L-G6pc-/- mice, ADP-induced platelet aggregation was disturbed.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies reveal a relationship between fasting-induced hypoglycemia, decreased blood monocytes, and disturbed platelet aggregation in L-G6pc-/- mice. While disturbed platelet aggregation likely accounts for the bleeding phenotype in GSD Ia, elevated plasma corticosterone decreases levels of pro-inflammatory monocytes. These studies highlight the necessity of maintaining good glycemic control in GSD Ia.