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1.  Resistance to Aerobic Exercise Training Causes Metabolic Dysfunction and Reveals Novel Exercise-Regulated Signaling Networks 
Diabetes  2013;62(8):2717-2727.
Low aerobic exercise capacity is a risk factor for diabetes and a strong predictor of mortality, yet some individuals are “exercise-resistant” and unable to improve exercise capacity through exercise training. To test the hypothesis that resistance to aerobic exercise training underlies metabolic disease risk, we used selective breeding for 15 generations to develop rat models of low and high aerobic response to training. Before exercise training, rats selected as low and high responders had similar exercise capacities. However, after 8 weeks of treadmill training, low responders failed to improve their exercise capacity, whereas high responders improved by 54%. Remarkably, low responders to aerobic training exhibited pronounced metabolic dysfunction characterized by insulin resistance and increased adiposity, demonstrating that the exercise-resistant phenotype segregates with disease risk. Low responders had impaired exercise-induced angiogenesis in muscle; however, mitochondrial capacity was intact and increased normally with exercise training, demonstrating that mitochondria are not limiting for aerobic adaptation or responsible for metabolic dysfunction in low responders. Low responders had increased stress/inflammatory signaling and altered transforming growth factor-β signaling, characterized by hyperphosphorylation of a novel exercise-regulated phosphorylation site on SMAD2. Using this powerful biological model system, we have discovered key pathways for low exercise training response that may represent novel targets for the treatment of metabolic disease.
PMCID: PMC3717870  PMID: 23610057
2.  Genomics and Genetics in the Biology of Adaptation to Exercise 
Comprehensive Physiology  2011;1(3):1603-1648.
This chapter is devoted to the role of genetic variation and gene-exercise interactions in the biology of adaptation to exercise. There is evidence from genetic epidemiology research that DNA sequence differences contribute to human variation in physical activity level, cardiorespiratory fitness in the untrained state, cardiovascular and metabolic response to acute exercise, and responsiveness to regular exercise. Methodological and technological advances have made it possible to undertake the molecular dissection of the genetic component of complex, multifactorial traits, such as those of interest to exercise biology, in terms of tissue expression profile, genes, and allelic variants. The evidence from animal models and human studies is considered. Data on candidate genes, genome-wide linkage results, genome-wide association findings, expression arrays, and combinations of these approaches are reviewed. Combining transcriptomic and genomic technologies has been shown to be more powerful as evidenced by the development of a recent molecular predictor of the ability to increase VO2max with exercise training. For exercise as a behavior and physiological fitness as a state to be major players in public health policies will require that that the role of human individuality and the influence of DNA sequence differences be understood. Likewise, progress in the use of exercise in therapeutic medicine will depend to a large extent on our ability to identify the favorable responders for given physiological properties to a given exercise regimen.
PMCID: PMC3938186  PMID: 23733655
3.  Correction: Molecular Networks of Human Muscle Adaptation to Exercise and Age 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(4):10.1371/annotation/35682594-0e72-496b-8641-f956d22c391e.
PMCID: PMC3894103
4.  Molecular Networks of Human Muscle Adaptation to Exercise and Age 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003389.
Physical activity and molecular ageing presumably interact to precipitate musculoskeletal decline in humans with age. Herein, we have delineated molecular networks for these two major components of sarcopenic risk using multiple independent clinical cohorts. We generated genome-wide transcript profiles from individuals (n = 44) who then undertook 20 weeks of supervised resistance-exercise training (RET). Expectedly, our subjects exhibited a marked range of hypertrophic responses (3% to +28%), and when applying Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) up-stream analysis to ∼580 genes that co-varied with gain in lean mass, we identified rapamycin (mTOR) signaling associating with growth (P = 1.4×10−30). Paradoxically, those displaying most hypertrophy exhibited an inhibited mTOR activation signature, including the striking down-regulation of 70 rRNAs. Differential analysis found networks mimicking developmental processes (activated all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA, Z-score = 4.5; P = 6×10−13) and inhibited aryl-hydrocarbon receptor signaling (AhR, Z-score = −2.3; P = 3×10−7)) with RET. Intriguingly, as ATRA and AhR gene-sets were also a feature of endurance exercise training (EET), they appear to represent “generic” physical activity responsive gene-networks. For age, we found that differential gene-expression methods do not produce consistent molecular differences between young versus old individuals. Instead, utilizing two independent cohorts (n = 45 and n = 52), with a continuum of subject ages (18–78 y), the first reproducible set of age-related transcripts in human muscle was identified. This analysis identified ∼500 genes highly enriched in post-transcriptional processes (P = 1×10−6) and with negligible links to the aforementioned generic exercise regulated gene-sets and some overlap with ribosomal genes. The RNA signatures from multiple compounds all targeting serotonin, DNA topoisomerase antagonism, and RXR activation were significantly related to the muscle age-related genes. Finally, a number of specific chromosomal loci, including 1q12 and 13q21, contributed by more than chance to the age-related gene list (P = 0.01–0.005), implying possible epigenetic events. We conclude that human muscle age-related molecular processes appear distinct from the processes regulated by those of physical activity.
Author Summary
A fundamental challenge for modern medicine is to generate new strategies to cope with the rising proportion of older people within society, as unaddressed it will make many health care systems financially unviable. Ageing impacts both quality of life and longevity through reduced musculoskeletal function. What is unknown in humans is whether the decline with age, referred to as “sarcopenia,” represents a molecular ageing process or whether it is primarily driven by alterations in lifestyle, e.g. reduced physical activity and poor nutrition. Because the details of such interactions will be uniquely human, we aimed to produce the first reproducible global molecular profile of human muscle age, one that could be validated across independent clinical cohorts to ensure its general applicability. We combined this analysis with extensive data on the impact of exercise training on human muscle phenotype to then identify the processes predominately associated with age and not environment. We were able to identify unique gene pathways associated with human muscle growth and age and were able to conclude that human muscle age-related molecular processes appear distinct from the processes directly regulated by those of physical activity.
PMCID: PMC3605101  PMID: 23555298
5.  Loss of neuronatin promotes “browning” of primary mouse adipocytes while reducing Glut1-mediated glucose disposal 
Failure of white adipose tissue to appropriately store excess metabolic substrate seems to underpin obesity-associated type 2 diabetes. Encouraging “browning” of white adipose has been suggested as a therapeutic strategy to help dispose of excess stored lipid and ameliorate the resulting insulin resistance. Genetic variation at the DNA locus encoding the novel proteolipid neuronatin has been associated with obesity, and we recently observed that neuronatin expression is reduced in subcutaneous adipose tissue from obese humans. Thus, to explore the function of neuronatin further, we used RNAi to silence its expression in murine primary adipocyte cultures and examined the effects on adipocyte phenotype. We found that primary adipocytes express only the longer isoform of neuronatin. Loss of neuronatin led to increased mitochondrial biogenesis, indicated by greater intensity of MitoTracker Green staining. This was accompanied by increased expression of UCP1 and the key genes in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, PGC-1α, Cox8b, and Cox4 in primary subcutaneous white adipocytes, indicative of a “browning” effect. In addition, phosphorylation of AMPK and ACC was increased, suggestive of increased fatty acid utilization. Similar, but less pronounced, effects of neuronatin silencing were also noted in primary brown adipocytes. In contrast, loss of neuronatin caused a reduction in both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis, likely mediated by a reduction in Glut1 protein upon silencing of neuronatin. In contrast, loss of neuronatin had no effect on insulin signaling. In conclusion, neuronatin appears to be a novel regulator of browning and metabolic substrate disposal in white adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC3625784  PMID: 23482445
6.  Variability in training-induced skeletal muscle adaptation 
Journal of Applied Physiology  2010;110(3):846-853.
When human skeletal muscle is exposed to exercise training, the outcomes, in terms of physiological adaptation, are unpredictable. The significance of this fact has long been underappreciated, and only recently has progress been made in identifying some of the molecular bases for the heterogeneous response to exercise training. It is not only of great medical importance that some individuals do not substantially physiologically adapt to exercise training, but the study of the heterogeneity itself provides a powerful opportunity to dissect out the genetic and environmental factors that limit adaptation, directly in humans. In the following review I will discuss new developments linking genetic and transcript abundance variability to an individual's potential to improve their aerobic capacity or endurance performance or induce muscle hypertrophy. I will also comment on the idea that certain gene networks may be associated with muscle “adaptability” regardless the stimulus provided.
PMCID: PMC3069632  PMID: 21030666
microarray; personalized medicine; aerobic fitness; transcriptomics; genomics
7.  Gene-chip studies of adipogenesis-regulated microRNAs in mouse primary adipocytes and human obesity 
Adipose tissue abundance relies partly on the factors that regulate adipogenesis, i.e. proliferation and differentiation of adipocytes. While components of the transcriptional program that initiates adipogenesis is well-known, the importance of microRNAs in adipogenesis is less well studied. We thus set out to investigate whether miRNAs would be actively modulated during adipogenesis and obesity.
Several models exist to study adipogenesis in vitro, of which the cell line 3T3-L1 is the most well known, albeit not the most physiologically appropriate. Thus, as an alternative, we produced EXIQON microarray of brown and white primary murine adipocytes (prior to and following differentiation) to yield global profiles of miRNAs.
We found 65 miRNAs regulated during in vitro adipogenesis in primary adipocytes. We evaluated the similarity of our responses to those found in non-primary cell models, through literature data-mining. When comparing primary adipocyte profiles, with those of cell lines reported in the literature, we found a high degree of difference in 'adipogenesis' regulated miRNAs suggesting that the model systems may not be accurately representing adipogenesis. The expression of 10 adipogenesis-regulated miRNAs were studied using real-time qPCR and then we selected 5 miRNAs, that showed robust expression, were profiled in subcutaneous adipose tissue obtained from 20 humans with a range of body mass indices (BMI, range = 21-48, and all samples have U133+2 Affymetrix profiles provided). Of the miRNAs tested, mir-21 was robustly expressed in human adipose tissue and positively correlated with BMI (R2 = 0.49, p < 0.001).
In conclusion, we provide a preliminary analysis of miRNAs associated with primary cell in vitro adipogenesis and demonstrate that the inflammation-associated miRNA, mir-21 is up-regulated in subcutaneous adipose tissue in human obesity. Further, we provide a novel transcriptomics database of EXIQON and Affymetrix adipocyte profiles to facilitate data mining.
PMCID: PMC3070678  PMID: 21426570
primary white and brown adipocytes; microRNAs; microarray; EXIQON; Affymetrix; Adipose tissue: adipocyte; transcriptome
8.  Integration of microRNA changes in vivo identifies novel molecular features of muscle insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes 
Genome Medicine  2010;2(2):9.
Skeletal muscle insulin resistance (IR) is considered a critical component of type II diabetes, yet to date IR has evaded characterization at the global gene expression level in humans. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are considered fine-scale rheostats of protein-coding gene product abundance. The relative importance and mode of action of miRNAs in human complex diseases remains to be fully elucidated. We produce a global map of coding and non-coding RNAs in human muscle IR with the aim of identifying novel disease biomarkers.
We profiled >47,000 mRNA sequences and >500 human miRNAs using gene-chips and 118 subjects (n = 71 patients versus n = 47 controls). A tissue-specific gene-ranking system was developed to stratify thousands of miRNA target-genes, removing false positives, yielding a weighted inhibitor score, which integrated the net impact of both up- and down-regulated miRNAs. Both informatic and protein detection validation was used to verify the predictions of in vivo changes.
The muscle mRNA transcriptome is invariant with respect to insulin or glucose homeostasis. In contrast, a third of miRNAs detected in muscle were altered in disease (n = 62), many changing prior to the onset of clinical diabetes. The novel ranking metric identified six canonical pathways with proven links to metabolic disease while the control data demonstrated no enrichment. The Benjamini-Hochberg adjusted Gene Ontology profile of the highest ranked targets was metabolic (P < 7.4 × 10-8), post-translational modification (P < 9.7 × 10-5) and developmental (P < 1.3 × 10-6) processes. Protein profiling of six development-related genes validated the predictions. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein was detectable only in muscle satellite cells and was increased in diabetes patients compared with controls, consistent with the observation that global miRNA changes were opposite from those found during myogenic differentiation.
We provide evidence that IR in humans may be related to coordinated changes in multiple microRNAs, which act to target relevant signaling pathways. It would appear that miRNAs can produce marked changes in target protein abundance in vivo by working in a combinatorial manner. Thus, miRNA detection represents a new molecular biomarker strategy for insulin resistance, where micrograms of patient material is needed to monitor efficacy during drug or life-style interventions.
PMCID: PMC2847700  PMID: 20353613
9.  Using transcriptomics to identify and validate novel biomarkers of human skeletal muscle cancer cachexia 
Genome Medicine  2010;2(1):1.
Cancer cachexia is a multi-organ tissue wasting syndrome that contributes to morbidity and mortality in many cancer patients. Skeletal muscle loss represents an established key feature yet there is no molecular understanding of the disease process. In fact, the postulated molecular regulators of cancer cachexia originate largely from pre-clinical models and it is unclear how these translate to the clinical environment.
Rectus abdominis muscle biopsies were obtained from 65 upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer patients during open surgery and RNA profiling was performed on a subset of this cohort (n = 21) using the Affymetrix U133+2 platform. Quantitative analysis revealed a gene signature, which underwent technical validation and independent confirmation in a separate clinical cohort.
Quantitative significance analysis of microarrays produced an 83-gene signature that was able to identify patients with greater than 5% weight loss, while this molecular profile was unrelated to markers of systemic inflammation. Selected genes correlating with weight loss were validated using quantitative real-time PCR and independently studied as general cachexia biomarkers in diaphragm and vastus lateralis from a second cohort (n = 13; UGI cancer patients). CaMKIIβ correlated positively with weight loss in all muscle groups and CaMKII protein levels were elevated in rectus abdominis. TIE1 was also positively associated with weight loss in both rectus abdominis and vastus lateralis muscle groups while other biomarkers demonstrated tissue-specific expression patterns. Candidates selected from the pre-clinical literature, including FOXO protein and ubiquitin E3 ligases, were not related to weight loss in this human clinical study. Furthermore, promoter analysis identified that the 83 weight loss-associated genes had fewer FOXO binding sites than expected by chance.
We were able to discover and validate new molecular biomarkers of human cancer cachexia. The exercise activated genes CaMKIIβ and TIE1 related positively to weight-loss across muscle groups, indicating that this cachexia signature is not simply due to patient inactivity. Indeed, excessive CaMKIIβ activation is a potential mechanism for reduced muscle protein synthesis. Our genomics analysis also supports the view that the available preclinical models do not accurately reflect the molecular characteristics of human muscle from cancer cachexia patients.
PMCID: PMC2829926  PMID: 20193046
10.  Skin Electroporation: Effects on Transgene Expression, DNA Persistence and Local Tissue Environment 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e7226.
Electrical pulses have been used to enhance uptake of molecules into living cells for decades. This technique, often referred to as electroporation, has become an increasingly popular method to enhance in vivo DNA delivery for both gene therapy applications as well as for delivery of vaccines against both infectious diseases and cancer. In vivo electrovaccination (gene delivery followed by electroporation) is currently being investigated in several clinical trials, including DNA delivery to healthy volunteers. However, the mode of action at molecular level is not yet fully understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This study investigates intradermal DNA electrovaccination in detail and describes the effects on expression of the vaccine antigen, plasmid persistence and the local tissue environment. Gene profiling of the vaccination site showed that the combination of DNA and electroporation induced a significant up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes. In vivo imaging of luciferase activity after electrovaccination demonstrated a rapid onset (minutes) and a long duration (months) of transgene expression. However, when the more immunogenic prostate specific antigen (PSA) was co-administered, PSA-specific T cells were induced and concurrently the luciferase expression became undetectable. Electroporation did not affect the long-term persistence of the PSA-expressing plasmid.
This study provides important insights to how DNA delivery by intradermal electrovaccination affects the local immunological responses of the skin, transgene expression and clearance of the plasmid. As the described vaccination approach is currently being evaluated in clinical trials, the data provided will be of high significance.
PMCID: PMC2748717  PMID: 19789652
11.  Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males 
Traditional high volume aerobic exercise training reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk but involves a substantial time commitment. Extremely low volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) has recently been demonstrated to produce improvements to aerobic function, but it is unknown whether HIT has the capacity to improve insulin action and hence glycemic control.
Sixteen young men (age: 21 ± 2 y; BMI: 23.7 ± 3.1 kg·m-2; VO2peak: 48 ± 9 ml·kg-1·min-1) performed 2 weeks of supervised HIT comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4–6 × 30-s cycle sprints per session). Aerobic performance (250-kJ self-paced cycling time trial), and glucose, insulin and NEFA responses to a 75-g oral glucose load (oral glucose tolerance test; OGTT) were determined before and after training.
Following 2 weeks of HIT, the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26% respectively, all P < 0.001). Fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations remained unchanged, but there was a tendency for reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations post-training (pre: 350 ± 36 v post: 290 ± 39 μmol·l-1, P = 0.058). Insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, was improved by 23% (P < 0.01), while aerobic cycling performance improved by ~6% (P < 0.01).
The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.
PMCID: PMC2640399  PMID: 19175906
13.  Dysregulation of Mitochondrial Dynamics and the Muscle Transcriptome in ICU Patients Suffering from Sepsis Induced Multiple Organ Failure 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3686.
Septic patients treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) often develop multiple organ failure including persistent skeletal muscle dysfunction which results in the patient's protracted recovery process. We have demonstrated that muscle mitochondrial enzyme activities are impaired in septic ICU patients impairing cellular energy balance, which will interfere with muscle function and metabolism. Here we use detailed phenotyping and genomics to elucidate mechanisms leading to these impairments and the molecular consequences.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Utilising biopsy material from seventeen patients and ten age-matched controls we demonstrate that neither mitochondrial in vivo protein synthesis nor expression of mitochondrial genes are compromised. Indeed, there was partial activation of the mitochondrial biogenesis pathway involving NRF2α/GABP and its target genes TFAM, TFB1M and TFB2M yet clearly this failed to maintain mitochondrial function. We therefore utilised transcript profiling and pathway analysis of ICU patient skeletal muscle to generate insight into the molecular defects driving loss of muscle function and metabolic homeostasis. Gene ontology analysis of Affymetrix analysis demonstrated substantial loss of muscle specific genes, a global oxidative stress response related to most probably cytokine signalling, altered insulin related signalling and a substantial overlap between patients and muscle wasting/inflammatory animal models. MicroRNA 21 processing appeared defective suggesting that post-transcriptional protein synthesis regulation is altered by disruption of tissue microRNA expression. Finally, we were able to demonstrate that the phenotype of skeletal muscle in ICU patients is not merely one of inactivity, it appears to be an actively remodelling tissue, influenced by several mediators, all of which may be open to manipulation with the aim to improve clinical outcome.
This first combined protein and transcriptome based analysis of human skeletal muscle obtained from septic patients demonstrated that losses of mitochondria and muscle mass are accompanied by sustained protein synthesis (anabolic process) while dysregulation of transcription programmes appears to fail to compensate for increased damage and proteolysis. Our analysis identified both validated and novel clinically tractable targets to manipulate these failing processes and pursuit of these could lead to new potential treatments.
PMCID: PMC2579334  PMID: 18997871
14.  The human PINK1 locus is regulated in vivo by a non-coding natural antisense RNA during modulation of mitochondrial function 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:74.
Mutations in the PTEN induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) are implicated in early-onset Parkinson's disease. PINK1 is expressed abundantly in mitochondria rich tissues, such as skeletal muscle, where it plays a critical role determining mitochondrial structural integrity in Drosophila.
Herein we characterize a novel splice variant of PINK1 (svPINK1) that is homologous to the C-terminus regulatory domain of the protein kinase. Naturally occurring non-coding antisense provides sophisticated mechanisms for diversifying genomes and we describe a human specific non-coding antisense expressed at the PINK1 locus (naPINK1). We further demonstrate that PINK1 varies in vivo when human skeletal muscle mitochondrial content is enhanced, supporting the idea that PINK1 has a physiological role in mitochondrion. The observation of concordant regulation of svPINK1 and naPINK1 during in vivo mitochondrial biogenesis was confirmed using RNAi, where selective targeting of naPINK1 results in loss of the PINK1 splice variant in neuronal cell lines.
Our data presents the first direct observation that a mammalian non-coding antisense molecule can positively influence the abundance of a cis-transcribed mRNA under physiological abundance conditions. While our analysis implies a possible human specific and dsRNA-mediated mechanism for stabilizing the expression of svPINK1, it also points to a broader genomic strategy for regulating a human disease locus and increases the complexity through which alterations in the regulation of the PINK1 locus could occur.
PMCID: PMC1831481  PMID: 17362513
15.  Modulation of extracellular matrix genes reflects the magnitude of physiological adaptation to aerobic exercise training in humans 
BMC Biology  2005;3:19.
Regular exercise reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease partly through improved aerobic fitness. The determinants of exercise-induced gains in aerobic fitness in humans are not known. We have demonstrated that over 500 genes are activated in response to endurance-exercise training, including modulation of muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) genes. Real-time quantitative PCR, which is essential for the characterization of lower abundance genes, was used to examine 15 ECM genes potentially relevant for endurance-exercise adaptation. Twenty-four sedentary male subjects undertook six weeks of high-intensity aerobic cycle training with muscle biopsies being obtained both before and 24 h after training. Subjects were ranked based on improvement in aerobic fitness, and two cohorts were formed (n = 8 per group): the high-responder group (HRG; peak rate of oxygen consumption increased by +0.71 ± 0.1 L min-1; p < 0.0001) while the low-responder group (LRG; peak rate of oxygen consumption did not change, +0.17 ± 0.1 L min-1, ns). ECM genes profiled included the angiopoietin 1 and related genes (angiopoietin 2, tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and EGF-like domains 1 (TIE1) and 2 (TIE2), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and related receptors (VEGF receptor 1, VEGF receptor 2 and neuropilin-1), thrombospondin-4, α2-macroglobulin and transforming growth factor β2.
neuropilin-1 (800%; p < 0.001) and VEGF receptor 2 (300%; p < 0.01) transcript abundance increased only in the HRG, whereas levels of VEGF receptor 1 mRNA actually declined in the LRG (p < 0.05). TIE1 and TIE2 mRNA levels were unaltered in the LRG, whereas transcription levels of both genes were increased by 2.5-fold in the HRG (p < 0.01). Levels of thrombospondin-4 (900%; p < 0.001) and α2-macroglobulin (300%, p < 0.05) mRNA increased substantially in the HRG. In contrast, the amount of transforming growth factor β2 transcript increased only in the HRG (330%; p < 0.01), whereas it remained unchanged in the LRG (-80%).
We demonstrate for the first time that aerobic training activates angiopoietin 1 and TIE2 genes in human muscle, but only when aerobic capacity adapts to exercise-training. The fourfold-greater increase in aerobic fitness and markedly differing gene expression profile in the HRG indicates that these ECM genes may be critical for physiological adaptation to exercise in humans. In addition, we show that, without careful demonstration of physiological adaptation, conclusions derived from gene expression profiling of human skeletal muscle following exercise may be of limited value. We propose that future studies should (a) investigate the mechanisms that underlie the apparent link between physiological adaptation and gene expression and (b) use the genes profiled in this paper as candidates for population genetic studies.
PMCID: PMC1224855  PMID: 16138928
16.  Metabolic adaptations to repeated periods of contraction with reduced blood flow in canine skeletal muscle 
BMC Physiology  2005;5:11.
Patients suffering from Intermittent Claudication (IC) experience repeated periods of muscle contraction with low blood flow, throughout the day and this may contribute to the hypothesised skeletal muscle abnormalities. However, no study has evaluated the consequences of intermittent contraction with low blood flow on skeletal muscle tissue. Our aim was to generate this basic physiological data, determining the 'normal' response of healthy skeletal muscle tissue. We specifically proposed that the metabolic responses to contraction would be modified under such circumstances, revealing endogenous strategies engaged to protect the muscle adenine nucleotide pool. Utilizing a canine gracilis model (n = 9), the muscle was stimulated to contract (5 Hz) for three 10 min periods (separated by 10 min rest) under low blood flow conditions (80% reduced), followed by 1 hr recovery and then a fourth period of 10 min stimulation. Muscle biopsies were obtained prior to and following the first and fourth contraction periods. Direct arterio-venous sampling allowed for the calculation of muscle metabolite efflux and oxygen consumption.
During the first period of contraction, [ATP] was reduced by ~30%. During this period there was also a 10 fold increase in muscle lactate concentration and a substantial increase in muscle lactate and ammonia efflux. Subsequently, lactate efflux was similar during the first three periods, while ammonia efflux was reduced by the third period. Following 1 hr recovery, muscle lactate and phosphocreatine concentrations had returned to resting values, while muscle [ATP] remained 20% lower. During the fourth contraction period no ammonia efflux or change in muscle ATP content occured. Despite such contrasting metabolic responses, muscle tension and oxygen consumption were identical during all contraction periods from 3 to 10 min.
repeated periods of muscle contraction, with low blood flow, results in cessation of muscle ammonia production which is suggestive of a dramatic reduction in flux through AMP deaminase.
PMCID: PMC1187899  PMID: 16018808
17.  Considerations when using the significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) algorithm 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6:129.
Users of microarray technology typically strive to use universally acceptable data analysis strategies to determine significant expression changes in their experiments. One of the most frequently utilised methods for gene expression data analysis is SAM (significance analysis of microarrays). The impact of selection thresholds, on the output from SAM, may critically alter the conclusion of a study, yet this consideration has not been systematically evaluated in any publication.
We have examined the effect of discrete data selection criteria (qualification criteria for inclusion) and response thresholds (out-put filtering) on the number of significant genes reported by SAM. The use of a reduced data set by applying arbitrary restrictions vis-à-vis abundance calls (e.g. from D-chip) or application of the fold change (FC) option within SAM (named the FC hurdle hereafter), can substantially alter the significant gene list when running SAM in Microsoft Excel. We determined that for a given final FC criteria (e.g. 1.5 fold change) the FC hurdle applied within Microsoft Excel SAM alters the number of reported genes above the final FC criteria. The reason is that the FC hurdle changes the composition of the control data set, such that a different significance level (q-value) is obtained for any given gene. This effect can be so large that it changes subsequent post hoc analysis interpretation, such as ontology overrepresentation analysis.
Our results argue for caution when using SAM. All data sets analysed with SAM could be reanalysed taking into account the potential impact of the use of arbitrary thresholds to trim data sets before significance testing.
PMCID: PMC1173086  PMID: 15921534

Results 1-17 (17)