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Abstract

Male rats were maintained on a controlled feeding schedule and groups of animals sacrificed at 2, 15, 21, 36, 48 and 72 hours of fasting. Chemical determinations of glycogen showed that livers of rats fasted two hours contained 8.7% glycogen; 15 hours, 6.2%; 21 hours, 0.7%; 36 hours, 0.7%; 48 hours, 0.8%; and 72 hours, 0.4%. After PA/S procedures, glycogen appeared in hepatocytes of rats fasted 2 and 15 hours as large masses intensely stained. At these time-periods, almost all cells contained significant quantities of glycogen but hepatocytes located toward portal tracts showed larger and more intensely stained masses of glycogen than found in cells near central veins. After longer periods of fasting, glycogen masses decreased in size, number, and staining intensity. The fine structure of hepatocytes from rats fasted 2 or 15 hours showed abundant α and β particles of glycogen in the form of large masses throughout the cytosome. These correlated in position and shape to the masses of glycogen seen in the light microscope. As glycogen depletion occurred (fasted 21 hours and longer) the number of glycogen particles decreased in hepatocytes. It is concluded from this study that a good correlation exists between chemical determinations of hepatic glycogen, cytochemistry of glycogen in hepatocytes, fine structure of liver cells, and the fasting state of the animal.