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1.  A high-fat diet decreases AMPK activity in multiple tissues in the absence of hyperglycemia or systemic inflammation in rats 
Consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) in experimental animal models initiates a series of molecular events and outcomes, including insulin resistance and obesity, that mimic the metabolic syndrome in humans. The relationship among, and order of, the molecular events linking a diet high in fat to pathologies is often unclear. In the present study, we provide several novel insights into the relationship between a HFD and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a key regulator of cellular metabolism and whole-body energy balance. HFD substantially decreased the activities of both iso-forms of AMPK in white adipose tissue, heart, and liver. These decreases in AMPK activity occurred in the absence of decreased AMPK transcription, systemic inflammation, hyperglycemia, or elevated levels of free fatty acids. The HFD-induced decrease in AMPK activity was associated with systemic insulin resistance and hyperleptinemia. In blood, >98 % of AMPK activity was localized in agranulocytes as the α1 isoform. In contrast to the solid tissues studied, AMPK activities were not altered by HFD in granulocytes or agranulocytes. We conclude that HFD-induced obesity causes a broad, non-tissue, or isoform-specific lowering of AMPK activity. Given the central position AMPK plays in whole-body energy balance, this decreased AMPK activity may play a previously unrecognized role in obesity and its associated pathologies.
PMCID: PMC3644018  PMID: 22941749
Obesity; Diabetes; Adipose; Blood
2.  Caloric restriction does not alter effects of aging in cardiac side population cells 
Age  2010;33(3):351-361.
The aged heart displays a loss of cardiomyocyte number and function, possibly due to the senescence and decreased regenerative potential that has been observed in some cardiac progenitor cells. An important cardiac progenitor that has not been studied in the context of aging is the cardiac side population (CSP) cell. To address this, flow cytometry-assisted cell sorting was used to isolate CSP cells from adult (6–10 months old) and aged (24–32 months old) C57Bl/6 mice that were fed either a control diet or an anti-aging diet (caloric restriction, CR). Aging caused a 2.3-fold increase in the total number of CSP cells and a 3.2-fold increase in the cardiomyogenic sca1+/CD31− subpopulation. Aging did not affect markers of proliferation or senescence, including telomerase activity and expression of cell cycle genes, in sca1+/CD31− CSP cells. In contrast, the aged cells had reduced expression of genes associated with differentiation, including smooth muscle actin and cardiac muscle actin (5.1- and 3.2-fold, respectively). None of these age effects were altered by CR diet. Therefore, it appears that the manner in which CSP cells age is distinct from the aging of post-mitotic tissue (and perhaps other progenitor cells) that can often be attenuated by CR.
PMCID: PMC3168602  PMID: 20922487
Adult stem cell; Cardiac regeneration; CR; CSP; Sca1; CD31

Results 1-2 (2)