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1.  Cafeteria diet induce changes in blood flow that are more related with heat dissipation than energy accretion 
PeerJ  2016;4:e2302.
Background. A “cafeteria” diet is a self-selected high-fat diet, providing an excess of energy, which can induce obesity. Excess of lipids in the diet hampers glucose utilization eliciting insulin resistance, which, further limits amino acid oxidation for energy.
Methods. Male Wistar rats were exposed for a month to “cafeteria” diet. Rats were cannulated and fluorescent microspheres were used to determine blood flow.
Results. Exposure to the cafeteria diet did not change cardiac output, but there was a marked shift in organ irrigation. Skin blood flow decreased to compensate increases in lungs and heart. Blood flow through adipose tissue tended to increase in relation to controls, but was considerably increased in brown adipose tissue (on a weight basis).
Discussion. The results suggest that the cafeteria diet-induced changes were related to heat transfer and disposal.
PMCID: PMC4975024  PMID: 27547590
Flux; Cafeteria diet; Rat; Tissue blood flow
2.  Effects of sex and site on amino acid metabolism enzyme gene expression and activity in rat white adipose tissue 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1399.
Background and Objectives. White adipose tissue (WAT) shows marked sex- and diet-dependent differences. However, our metabolic knowledge of WAT, especially on amino acid metabolism, is considerably limited. In the present study, we compared the influence of sex on the amino acid metabolism profile of the four main WAT sites, focused on the paths related to ammonium handling and the urea cycle, as a way to estimate the extent of WAT implication on body amino-nitrogen metabolism.
Experimental Design. Adult female and male rats were maintained, undisturbed, under standard conditions for one month. After killing them under isoflurane anesthesia. WAT sites were dissected and weighed. Subcutaneous, perigonadal, retroperitoneal and mesenteric WAT were analyzed for amino acid metabolism gene expression and enzyme activities.
Results. There was a considerable stability of the urea cycle activities and expressions, irrespective of sex, and with only limited influence of site. Urea cycle was more resilient to change than other site-specialized metabolic pathways. The control of WAT urea cycle was probably related to the provision of arginine/citrulline, as deduced from the enzyme activity profiles. These data support a generalized role of WAT in overall amino-N handling. In contrast, sex markedly affected WAT ammonium-centered amino acid metabolism in a site-related way, with relatively higher emphasis in males’ subcutaneous WAT.
Conclusions. We found that WAT has an active amino acid metabolism. Its gene expressions were lower than those of glucose-lipid interactions, but the differences were quantitatively less important than usually reported. The effects of sex on urea cycle enzymes expression and activity were limited, in contrast with the wider variations observed in other metabolic pathways. The results agree with a centralized control of urea cycle operation affecting the adipose organ as a whole.
PMCID: PMC4647552  PMID: 26587356
Adipose tissue; Urea cycle; Ammonium; Citrulline; Urea; Adipose organ; Lipogenesis
3.  Glycerol Production from Glucose and Fructose by 3T3-L1 Cells: A Mechanism of Adipocyte Defense from Excess Substrate 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139502.
Cultured adipocytes (3T3-L1) produce large amounts of 3C fragments; largely lactate, depending on medium glucose levels. Increased glycolysis has been observed also in vivo in different sites of rat white adipose tissue. We investigated whether fructose can substitute glucose as source of lactate, and, especially whether the glycerol released to the medium was of lipolytic or glycolytic origin. Fructose conversion to lactate and glycerol was lower than that of glucose. The fast exhaustion of medium glucose was unrelated to significant changes in lipid storage. Fructose inhibited to a higher degree than glucose the expression of lipogenic enzymes. When both hexoses were present, the effects of fructose on gene expression prevailed over those of glucose. Adipocytes expressed fructokinase, but not aldolase b. Substantive release of glycerol accompanied lactate when fructose was the substrate. The mass of cell triacylglycerol (and its lack of change) could not justify the comparatively higher amount of glycerol released. Consequently, most of this glycerol should be derived from the glycolytic pathway, since its lipolytic origin could not be (quantitatively) sustained. Proportionally (with respect to lactate plus glycerol), more glycerol was produced from fructose than from glucose, which suggests that part of fructose was catabolized by the alternate (hepatic) fructose pathway. Earlier described adipose glycerophophatase activity may help explain the glycolytic origin of most of the glycerol. However, no gene is known for this enzyme in mammals, which suggests that this function may be carried out by one of the known phosphatases in the tissue. Break up of glycerol-3P to yield glycerol, may be a limiting factor for the synthesis of triacylglycerols through control of glycerol-3P availability. A phosphatase pathway such as that described may have a potential regulatory function, and explain the production of glycerol by adipocytes in the absence of lipolytic stimulation.
PMCID: PMC4591265  PMID: 26426115
4.  Marked increase in rat red blood cell membrane protein glycosylation by one-month treatment with a cafeteria diet 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1101.
Background and Objectives. Glucose, an aldose, spontaneously reacts with protein amino acids yielding glycosylated proteins. The compounds may reorganize to produce advanced glycosylation products, which regulatory importance is increasingly being recognized. Protein glycosylation is produced without the direct intervention of enzymes and results in the loss of function. Glycosylated plasma albumin, and glycosylated haemoglobin are currently used as index of mean plasma glucose levels, since higher glucose availability results in higher glycosylation rates. In this study we intended to detect the early changes in blood protein glycosylation elicited by an obesogenic diet.
Experimental Design. Since albumin is in constant direct contact with plasma glucose, as are the red blood cell (RBC) membranes, we analyzed their degree or glycosylation in female and male rats, either fed a standard diet or subjected to a hyper-energetic self-selected cafeteria diet for 30 days. This model produces a small increase in basal glycaemia and a significant increase in body fat, leaving the animals in the initial stages of development of metabolic syndrome. We also measured the degree of glycosylation of hemoglobin, and the concentration of glucose in contact with this protein, that within the RBC. Glycosylation was measured by colorimetric estimation of the hydroxymethylfurfural liberated from glycosyl residues by incubation with oxalate.
Results. Plasma glucose was higher in cafeteria diet and in male rats, both independent effects. However, there were no significant differences induced by sex or diet in either hemoglobin or plasma proteins. Purified RBC membranes showed a marked effect of diet: higher glycosylation in cafeteria rats, which was more marked in females (not in controls). In any case, the number of glycosyl residues per molecule were higher in hemoglobin than in plasma proteins (after correction for molecular weight). The detected levels of glucose in RBC were lower than those of plasma, even when expressed in molal units, and were practically nil in cafeteria-diet fed rats compared with controls; there was no effect of sex.
Conclusions. RBC membrane glycosylation is a sensitive indicator of developing metabolic syndrome-related hyperglycemia, more sensitive than the general measurement of plasma or RBC protein glycosylation. The extensive glycosylation of blood proteins does not seem to be markedly affected by sex; and could be hardly justified from an assumedly sustained plasma hyperglycemia. The low levels of glucose found within RBC, especially in rats under the cafeteria diet, could hardly justify the extensive glycosylation of hemoglobin and the lack of differences with controls, which contained sizeable levels of intracellular glucose. Additional studies are needed to study the dynamics of glucose in vivo in the RBC to understand how such extensive protein glycosylation could take place.
PMCID: PMC4512766  PMID: 26213657
Erythrocyte; Protein glycosylation; Glycemia; Glycosylated hemoglobin; Blood cell membrane; Cafeteria diet; Glycosylation
5.  Influence of a hyperlipidic diet on the composition of the non-membrane lipid pool of red blood cells of male and female rats 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1083.
Background and objectives. Red blood cells (RBC) are continuously exposed to oxidative agents, affecting their membrane lipid function. However, the amount of lipid in RBCs is higher than the lipids of the cell membrane, and includes triacylglycerols, which are no membrane components. We assumed that the extra lipids originated from lipoproteins attached to the cell surface, and we intended to analyse whether the size and composition of this lipid pool were affected by sex or diet.
Experimental design. Adult male and female Wistar rats were fed control or cafeteria diets. Packed blood cells and plasma lipids were extracted and analysed for fatty acids by methylation and GC-MS, taking care of not extracting membrane lipids.
Results. The absence of ω3-PUFA in RBC extracts (but not in plasma) suggest that the lipids extracted were essentially those in the postulated lipid surface pool and not those in cell membrane. In cells’ extracts, there was a marked depletion of PUFA (and, in general, of insaturation). Fatty acid patterns were similar for all groups studied, with limited effects of sex and no effects of diet in RBC (but not in plasma) fatty acids. Presence of trans fatty acids was small but higher in RBC lipids, and could not be justified by dietary sources.
Conclusions. The presence of a small layer of lipid on the RBC surface may limit oxidative damage to the cell outer structures, and help explain its role in the transport of lipophilic compounds. However, there may be other, so far uncovered, additional functions for this lipid pool.
PMCID: PMC4512764  PMID: 26213652
Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Red blood cells; Blood lipids; Trans fatty acids; Hyperlipidic diet; Cafeteria diet
6.  Evidences of Basal Lactate Production in the Main White Adipose Tissue Sites of Rats. Effects of Sex and a Cafeteria Diet 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119572.
Female and male adult Wistar rats were fed standard chow or a simplified cafeteria diet for one month. Then, the rats were killed and the white adipose tissue (WAT) in four sites: perigonadal, retroperitoneal, mesenteric and subcutaneous (inguinal) were sampled and frozen. The complete WAT weight in each site was measured. Gene expression analysis of key lipid and glucose metabolism enzymes were analyzed, as well as tissue and plasma lactate and the activity of lactate dehydrogenase. Lactate gradients between WAT and plasma were estimated. The influence of sex and diet (and indirectly WAT mass) on lactate levels and their relationships with lactate dehydrogenase activity and gene expressions were also measured. A main conclusion is the high production of lactate by WAT, practically irrespective of site, diet or sex. Lactate production is a direct correlate of lactate dehydrogenase activity in the tissue. Furthermore, lactate dehydrogenase activity is again directly correlated with the expression of the genes Ldha and Ldhb for this enzyme. In sum, the ability to produce lactate by WAT is not directly dependent of WAT metabolic state. We postulate that, in WAT, a main function of the lactate dehydrogenase path may be that of converting excess available glucose to 3C fragments, as a way to limit tissue self-utilization as substrate, to help control glycaemia and/or providing short chain substrates for use as energy source elsewhere. More information must be gathered before a conclusive role of WAT in the control of glycaemia, and the full existence of a renewed glucose-lactate-fatty acid cycle is definitely established.
PMCID: PMC4351194  PMID: 25741703
7.  Long-Term Increased Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase 1A Expression in Ventromedial Hypotalamus Causes Hyperphagia and Alters the Hypothalamic Lipidomic Profile 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97195.
Lipid metabolism in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) has emerged as a crucial pathway in the regulation of feeding and energy homeostasis. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) 1A is the rate-limiting enzyme in mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation and it has been proposed as a crucial mediator of fasting and ghrelin orexigenic signalling. However, the relationship between changes in CPT1A activity and the intracellular downstream effectors in the VMH that contribute to appetite modulation is not fully understood. To this end, we examined the effect of long-term expression of a permanently activated CPT1A isoform by using an adeno-associated viral vector injected into the VMH of rats. Peripherally, this procedure provoked hyperghrelinemia and hyperphagia, which led to overweight, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. In the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH), long-term CPT1AM expression in the VMH did not modify acyl-CoA or malonyl-CoA levels. However, it altered the MBH lipidomic profile since ceramides and sphingolipids increased and phospholipids decreased. Furthermore, we detected increased vesicular γ-aminobutyric acid transporter (VGAT) and reduced vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) expressions, both transporters involved in this orexigenic signal. Taken together, these observations indicate that CPT1A contributes to the regulation of feeding by modulating the expression of neurotransmitter transporters and lipid components that influence the orexigenic pathways in VMH.
PMCID: PMC4018328  PMID: 24819600
8.  Treatment of Rats with a Self-Selected Hyperlipidic Diet, Increases the Lipid Content of the Main Adipose Tissue Sites in a Proportion Similar to That of the Lipids in the Rest of Organs and Tissues 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90995.
Adipose tissue (AT) is distributed as large differentiated masses, and smaller depots covering vessels, and organs, as well as interspersed within them. The differences between types and size of cells makes AT one of the most disperse and complex organs. Lipid storage is partly shared by other tissues such as muscle and liver. We intended to obtain an approximate estimation of the size of lipid reserves stored outside the main fat depots. Both male and female rats were made overweight by 4-weeks feeding of a cafeteria diet. Total lipid content was analyzed in brain, liver, gastrocnemius muscle, four white AT sites: subcutaneous, perigonadal, retroperitoneal and mesenteric, two brown AT sites (interscapular and perirenal) and in a pool of the rest of organs and tissues (after discarding gut contents). Organ lipid content was estimated and tabulated for each individual rat. Food intake was measured daily. There was a surprisingly high proportion of lipid not accounted for by the main macroscopic AT sites, even when brain, liver and BAT main sites were discounted. Muscle contained about 8% of body lipids, liver 1–1.4%, four white AT sites lipid 28–63% of body lipid, and the rest of the body (including muscle) 38–44%. There was a good correlation between AT lipid and body lipid, but lipid in “other organs” was highly correlated too with body lipid. Brain lipid was not. Irrespective of dietary intake, accumulation of body fat was uniform both for the main lipid storage and handling organs: large masses of AT (but also liver, muscle), as well as in the ”rest” of tissues. These storage sites, in specialized (adipose) or not-specialized (liver, muscle) tissues reacted in parallel against a hyperlipidic diet challenge. We postulate that body lipid stores are handled and regulated coordinately, with a more centralized and overall mechanisms than usually assumed.
PMCID: PMC3946303  PMID: 24603584
9.  Altered Nitrogen Balance and Decreased Urea Excretion in Male Rats Fed Cafeteria Diet Are Related to Arginine Availability 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:959420.
Hyperlipidic diets limit glucose oxidation and favor amino acid preservation, hampering the elimination of excess dietary nitrogen and the catabolic utilization of amino acids. We analyzed whether reduced urea excretion was a consequence of higher NOx; (nitrite, nitrate, and other derivatives) availability caused by increased nitric oxide production in metabolic syndrome. Rats fed a cafeteria diet for 30 days had a higher intake and accumulation of amino acid nitrogen and lower urea excretion. There were no differences in plasma nitrate or nitrite. NOx and creatinine excretion accounted for only a small part of total nitrogen excretion. Rats fed a cafeteria diet had higher plasma levels of glutamine, serine, threonine, glycine, and ornithine when compared with controls, whereas arginine was lower. Liver carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase I activity was higher in cafeteria diet-fed rats, but arginase I was lower. The high carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase activity and ornithine levels suggest activation of the urea cycle in cafeteria diet-fed rats, but low arginine levels point to a block in the urea cycle between ornithine and arginine, thereby preventing the elimination of excess nitrogen as urea. The ultimate consequence of this paradoxical block in the urea cycle seems to be the limitation of arginine production and/or availability.
PMCID: PMC3953638  PMID: 24707502
10.  Modulation in Wistar Rats of Blood Corticosterone Compartmentation by Sex and a Cafeteria Diet 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57342.
In the metabolic syndrome, glucocorticoid activity is increased, but circulating levels show little change. Most of blood glucocorticoids are bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), which liver expression and circulating levels are higher in females than in males. Since blood hormones are also bound to blood cells, and the size of this compartment is considerable for androgens and estrogens, we analyzed whether sex or eating a cafeteria diet altered the compartmentation of corticosterone in rat blood. The main corticosterone compartment in rat blood is that specifically bound to plasma proteins, with smaller compartments bound to blood cells or free. Cafeteria diet increased the expression of liver CBG gene, binding plasma capacity and the proportion of blood cell-bound corticosterone. There were marked sex differences in blood corticosterone compartmentation in rats, which were unrelated to testosterone. The use of a monoclonal antibody ELISA and a polyclonal Western blot for plasma CBG compared with both specific plasma binding of corticosterone and CBG gene expression suggested the existence of different forms of CBG, with varying affinities for corticosterone in males and females, since ELISA data showed higher plasma CBG for males, but binding and Western blot analyses (plus liver gene expression) and higher physiological effectiveness for females. Good cross- reactivity to the antigen for polyclonal CBG antibody suggests that in all cases we were measuring CBG.The different immunoreactivity and binding affinity may help explain the marked sex-related differences in plasma hormone binding as sex-linked different proportions of CBG forms.
PMCID: PMC3579843  PMID: 23451210
11.  Effect of Sex and Prior Exposure to a Cafeteria Diet on the Distribution of Sex Hormones between Plasma and Blood Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34381.
It is generally assumed that steroid hormones are carried in the blood free and/or bound to plasma proteins. We investigated whether blood cells were also able to bind/carry sex-related hormones: estrone, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone. Wistar male and female rats were fed a cafeteria diet for 30 days, which induced overweight. The rats were fed the standard rat diet for 15 additional days to minimize the immediate effects of excess ingested energy. Controls were always kept on standard diet. After the rats were killed, their blood was used for 1) measuring plasma hormone levels, 2) determining the binding of labeled hormones to washed red blood cells (RBC), 3) incubating whole blood with labeled hormones and determining the distribution of label between plasma and packed cells, discounting the trapped plasma volume, 4) determining free plasma hormone using labeled hormones, both through membrane ultrafiltration and dextran-charcoal removal. The results were computed individually for each rat. Cells retained up to 32% estrone, and down to 10% of testosterone, with marked differences due to sex and diet (the latter only for estrogens, not for DHEA and testosterone). Sex and diet also affected the concentrations of all hormones, with no significant diet effects for estradiol and DHEA, but with considerable interaction between both factors. Binding to RBC was non-specific for all hormones. Estrogen distribution in plasma compartments was affected by sex and diet. In conclusion: a) there is a large non-specific RBC-carried compartment for estrone, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone deeply affected by sex; b) Prior exposure to a cafeteria (hyperlipidic) diet induced hormone distribution changes, affected by sex, which hint at sex-related structural differences in RBC membranes; c) We postulate that the RBC compartment may contribute to maintain free (i.e., fully active) sex hormone levels in a way similar to plasma proteins non-specific binding.
PMCID: PMC3313971  PMID: 22479617
12.  Comparative effects of oleoyl-estrone and a specific β3-adrenergic agonist (CL316, 243) on the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism of rat white adipose tissue 
The combination of oleoyl-estrone (OE) and a selective β3-adrenergic agonist (B3A; CL316,243) treatment in rats results in a profound and rapid wasting of body reserves (lipid).
In the present study we investigated the effect of OE (oral gavage) and/or B3A (subcutaneous constant infusion) administration for 10 days to overweight male rats, compared with controls, on three distinct white adipose tissue (WAT) sites: subcutaneous inguinal, retroperitoneal and epididymal. Tissue weight, DNA (and, from these values cellularity), cAMP content and the expression of several key energy handling metabolism and control genes were analyzed and computed in relation to the whole site mass.
Both OE and B3A significantly decreased WAT mass, with no loss of DNA (cell numbers). OE decreased and B3A increased cAMP. Gene expression patterns were markedly different for OE and B3A. OE tended to decrease expression of most genes studied, with no changes (versus controls) of lipolytic but decrease of lipogenic enzyme genes. The effects of B3A were widely different, with a generalized increase in the expression of most genes, including the adrenergic receptors, and, especially the uncoupling protein UCP1.
OE and B3A, elicit widely different responses in WAT gene expression, end producing similar effects, such as shrinking of WAT, loss of fat, maintenance of cell numbers. OE acted essentially on the balance of lipolysis-lipogenesis and the blocking of the uptake of substrates; its decrease of synthesis favouring lipolysis. B3A induced a shotgun increase in the expression of most regulatory systems in the adipocyte, an effect that in the end favoured again the loss of lipid; this barely selective increase probably produces inefficiency, which coupled with the increase in UCP1 expression may help WAT to waste energy through thermogenesis.
There were considerable differences in the responses of the three WAT sites. OE in general lowered gene expression and stealthily induced a substrate imbalance. B3A increasing the expression of most genes enhanced energy waste through inefficiency rather than through specific pathway activation. There was not a synergistic effect between OE and B3A in WAT, but their combined action increased WAT energy waste.
PMCID: PMC2841192  PMID: 20184727
13.  Different modulation by dietary restriction of adipokine expression in white adipose tissue sites in the rat 
White adipose tissue (WAT) is a disperse organ acting as energy storage depot and endocrine/paracrine controlling factor in the management of energy availability and inflammation. WAT sites response under energy-related stress is not uniform. In the present study we have analyzed how different WAT sites respond to limited food restriction as a way to better understand the role of WAT in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome.
Overweight male rats had their food intake reduced a 40% compared with free-feeding controls. On day ten, the rats were killed; circulating glucose, insulin, leptin, adiponectin, triacylglycerols and other parameters were measured. The main WAT sites were dissected: mesenteric, retroperitoneal, epididymal and subcutaneous inguinal, which were weighed and frozen. Later all subcutaneous WAT was also dissected and weighed. Samples were used for DNA (cellularity) analysis and mRNA extraction and semiquantitarive RT-PCR analysis of specific cytokine gene expressions.
There was a good correlation between serum leptin and cumulative WAT leptin gene mRNA, but not for adiponectin. Food restriction reduced WAT size, but not its DNA content (except for epididymal WAT). Most cytokines were correlated to WAT site weight, but not to DNA. There was WAT site specialization in the differential expression (and probably secretion) of adipokines: subcutaneous WAT showed the highest concentration for leptin, CD68 and MCP-1, mesenteric WAT for TNFα (and both tissues for the interleukins 1β and 6); resistin was highly expressed in subcutaneous and retroperitoneal WAT.
Food restriction induced different patterns for mesenteric and the other WAT sites, which may be directly related to both the response to intestine-derived energy availability, and an inflammatory-related response. However, retroperitoneal WAT, and to a lower extent, subcutaneous and epididymal, reacted decreasing the expression of inflammatory markers and the signaling of decreased energy availability in their stores. The varying cytokine expression patterns highlight the fact that WAT sites show different inflammatory and signaling responses to energy availability; they are too much different to simply extend to the whole-body WAT the findings of one or even a couple of sites.
PMCID: PMC3224727  PMID: 19642981
14.  Semiquantitative RT-PCR measurement of gene expression in rat tissues including a correction for varying cell size and number 
Current methodology of gene expression analysis limits the possibilities of comparison between cells/tissues of organs in which cell size and/or number changes as a consequence of the study (e.g. starvation). A method relating the abundance of specific mRNA copies per cell may allow direct comparison or different organs and/or changing physiological conditions.
With a number of selected genes, we analysed the relationship of the number of bases and the fluorescence recorded at a present level using cDNA standards. A lineal relationship was found between the final number of bases and the length of the transcript. The constants of this equation and those of the relationship between fluorescence and number of bases in cDNA were determined and a general equation linking the length of the transcript and the initial number of copies of mRNA was deduced for a given pre-established fluorescence setting. This allowed the calculation of the concentration of the corresponding mRNAs per g of tissue. The inclusion of tissue RNA and the DNA content per cell, allowed the calculation of the mRNA copies per cell.
The application of this procedure to six genes: Arbp, cyclophilin, ChREBP, T4 deiodinase 2, acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 and IRS-1, in liver and retroperitoneal adipose tissue of food-restricted rats allowed precise measures of their changes irrespective of the shrinking of the tissue, the loss of cells or changes in cell size, factors that deeply complicate the comparison between changing tissue conditions. The percentage results obtained with the present methods were essentially the same obtained with the delta-delta procedure and with individual cDNA standard curve quantitative RT-PCR estimation.
The method presented allows the comparison (i.e. as copies of mRNA per cell) between different genes and tissues, establishing the degree of abundance of the different molecular species tested.
PMCID: PMC2217546  PMID: 18039356
15.  In rats, oral oleoyl-DHEA is rapidly hydrolysed and converted to DHEA-sulphate 
BMC Pharmacology  2007;7:4.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) released by adrenal glands may be converted to androgens and estrogens mainly in the gonadal, adipose, mammary, hepatic and nervous tissue. DHEA is also a key neurosteroid and has antiglucocorticoid activity. DHEA has been used for the treatment of a number of diseases, including obesity; its pharmacological effects depend on large oral doses, which effect rapidly wanes in part because of its short half-life in plasma. Since steroid hormone esters circulate for longer periods, we have studied here whether the administration of DHEA oleoyl ester may extend its pharmacologic availability by keeping high circulating levels.
Tritium-labelled oleoyl-DHEA was given to Wistar male and female rats by gastric tube. The kinetics of appearance of the label in plasma was unrelated to sex; the pattern being largely coincident with the levels of DHEA-sulfate only in females, and after 2 h undistinguishable from the results obtained using labelled DHEA gavages; in the short term, practically no lipophilic DHEA label was found in plasma. After 24 h only a small fraction of the label remained in the rat organs, with a different sex-related distribution pattern coincident for oleoyl- and free- DHEA gavages. The rapid conversion of oleoyl-DHEA into circulating DHEA-sulfate was investigated using stomach, liver and intestine homogenates; which hydrolysed oleoyl-DHEA optimally near pH 8. Duodenum and ileum contained the highest esterase activities. Pure hog pancreas cholesterol-esterase broke down oleoyl-DHEA at rates similar to those of oleoyl-cholesterol. The intestinal and liver esterases were differently activated by taurocholate and showed different pH-activity patterns than cholesterol esterase, suggesting that oleoyl-DHEA can be hydrolysed by a number of esterases in the lumen (e.g. cholesterol-esterase), in the intestinal wall and the liver.
The esterase activities found may condition the pharmacological availability (and depot effect) of orally administered steroid hormone fatty acid esters such as oleoyl-DHEA. The oral administration of oleoyl-DHEA in order to extend DHEA plasma availability has not been proved effective, since the ester is rapidly hydrolysed, probably in the intestine itself, and mainly converted to DHEA-sulfate at least in females.
PMCID: PMC1831771  PMID: 17346356

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