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1.  Maternal obesity induced by a high fat diet causes altered cellular development in fetal brains suggestive of a predisposition of offspring to neurological disorders in later life 
Metabolic brain disease  2013;28(4):10.1007/s11011-013-9437-8.
Fetal development in an obese maternal intrauterine environment has been shown to predispose the offspring for a number of metabolic disorders in later life. The observation that a large percentage of women of child-bearing age in the US are overweight/obese during pregnancy is therefore a source of concern. A high fat (HF) diet-induced obesity in female rats has been used as a model for maternal obesity. The objective of this study was to determine cellular development in brains of term fetuses of obese rats fed a HF diet from the time of weaning. Fetal brains were dissected out on gestational day 21 and processed for immunohistochemical analysis in the hypothalamic as well as extra-hypothalamic regions. The major observation of this study is that fetal development in the obese HF female rat induced several alterations in the HF fetal brain. Marked increases were observed in orexigenic signaling and a significant decrease was observed for anorexigenic signaling in the vicinity of the 3rd ventricle in HF brains. Additionally, our results indicated diminished proliferation and maturation of stem-like cells in the hypothalamus (3rd ventricular region) as well as in the cortex. The results from the present study indicate developmental alterations in the hypothalamic and extra-hypothalamic regions in the HF fetal brain suggestive of a predisposition for the development of obesity and possibly neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the offspring.
PMCID: PMC3828054  PMID: 24043569
Maternal obesity; High fat diet; Fetal brain cellular development; Hypothalamic appetite regulation
2.  Developmental programming in skeletal muscle in response to overnourishment in the immediate postnatal life in rats☆,☆☆,★ 
Overnourishment during the suckling period (small litter, SL) results in the development of adult-onset obesity. To investigate the mechanisms that underlie the development of insulin resistance in the skeletal muscle of young and adult female SL rats, the litter size was reduced to 3 female pups/dam (SL) while the control litter (CL) had 12 pups/dam from the postnatal day 3 until day 21. Protein content, mRNA expression and methylation status of the promoter region of key components in the insulin signaling pathway were determined in the skeletal muscle of SL rats. Overnutrition during the suckling period resulted in increased body weight gains, hyperphagia and adult-onset obesity as well as increased levels of serum insulin, glucose, and leptin in SL rats. No differences in the expression of total protein as well as tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor β and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) were observed in skeletal muscle between two groups at both ages. A significant decrease of total insulin receptor substrate 1(IRS-1) and an increase in serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 were observed in skeletal muscle from adult SL rats. Hypermethylation of specific CpG dinucleotides in the proximal promoter region was observed for the Irs1 and Glut4 genes which correlated with the reduction in Irs1 and Glut4 mRNA levels in skeletal muscle of adult SL rats. Our results suggest that epigenetic modifications of the key genes involved in the insulin signaling pathway in skeletal muscle could result in the development of insulin resistance in SL female rats.
PMCID: PMC3805821  PMID: 23968580
Early overnutrition; Hyperinsulinemia; Epigenetics; DNA methylation; Insulin receptor substrate 1
3.  Alpha-Lipoic Acid Reduces LDL-Particle Number and PCSK9 Concentrations in High-Fat Fed Obese Zucker Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90863.
We characterized the hypolipidemic effects of alpha-lipoic acid (LA, R-form) and examined the associated molecular mechanisms in a high fat fed Zucker rat model. Rats (n = 8) were assigned to a high fat (HF) diet or the HF diet with 0.25% LA (HF-LA) for 30 days and pair fed to remove confounding effects associated with the anorectic properties of LA. Compared with the HF controls, the HF-LA group was protected against diet-induced obesity (102.5±3.1 vs. 121.5±3.6,% change BW) and hypercholesterolemia with a reduction in total-C (−21%), non-HDL-C (−25%), LDL-C (−16%), and total LDL particle number (−46%) and an increase in total HDL particles (∼22%). This cholesterol-lowering response was associated with a reduction in plasma PCSK9 concentration (−70%) and an increase in hepatic LDLr receptor protein abundance (2 fold of HF). Compared with the HF-fed animals, livers of LA-supplemented animals were protected against TG accumulation (−46%), likely through multiple mechanisms including: a suppressed lipogenic response (down-regulation of hepatic acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase expression); enhanced hepatic fat oxidation (increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase Iα expression); and enhanced VLDL export (increased hepatic diacylglycerol acyltransferase and microsomal triglyceride transfer protein expression and elevated plasma VLDL particle number). Study results also support an enhanced fatty acid uptake (2.8 fold increase in total lipase activity) and oxidation (increased CPT1β protein abundance) in muscle tissue in LA-supplemented animals compared with the HF group. In summary, in the absence of a change in caloric intake, LA was effective in protecting against hypercholesterolemia and hepatic fat accumulation under conditions of strong genetic and dietary predisposition toward obesity and dyslipidemia.
PMCID: PMC3942488  PMID: 24595397
4.  Cortical metabolism in pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency revealed by ex vivo multiplet 13C-NMR of the adult mouse brain 
Neurochemistry international  2012;61(7):10.1016/j.neuint.2012.07.020.
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), required for complete glucose oxidation, is essential for brain development. Although PDC deficiency is associated with a severe clinical syndrome, little is known about its effects on either substrate oxidation or synthesis of key metabolites such as glutamate and glutamine. Computational simulations of brain metabolism indicated that a 25% reduction in flux through PDC and a corresponding increase in flux from an alternative source of acetyl-CoA would substantially alter the 13C NMR spectrum obtained from brain tissue. Therefore, we evaluated metabolism of [1,6-13C2]glucose (oxidized by both neurons and glia) and [1,2-13C2]acetate (an energy source that bypasses PDC) in the cerebral cortex of adult mice mildly and selectively deficient in brain PDC activity, a viable model that recapitulates the human disorder. Intravenous infusions were performed in conscious mice and extracts of brain tissue were studied by 13C NMR. We hypothesized that mice deficient in PDC must increase the proportion of energy derived from acetate metabolism in the brain. Unexpectedly, the distribution of 13C in glutamate and glutamine, a measure of the relative flux of acetate and glucose into the citric acid cycle, was not altered. The 13C labeling pattern in glutamate differed significantly from glutamine, indicating preferential oxidation of [1,2-13C]acetate relative to [1,6-13C]glucose by a readily discernible metabolic domain of the brain of both normal and mutant mice, presumably glia. These findings illustrate that metabolic compartmentation is preserved in the PDC-deficient cerebral cortex, probably reflecting intact neuron-glia metabolic interactions, and that a reduction in brain PDC activity sufficient to induce cerebral dysgenesis during development does not appreciably disrupt energy metabolism in the mature brain.
PMCID: PMC3816779  PMID: 22884585
5.  Cerebral Developmental Abnormalities in a Mouse with Systemic Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67473.
Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex (PDC) deficiency is an inborn error of pyruvate metabolism causing a variety of neurologic manifestations. Systematic analyses of development of affected brain structures and the cellular processes responsible for their impairment have not been performed due to the lack of an animal model for PDC deficiency. METHODS: In the present study we investigated a murine model of systemic PDC deficiency by interrupting the X-linked Pdha1 gene encoding the α subunit of PDH to study its role on brain development and behavioral studies. RESULTS: Male embryos died prenatally but heterozygous females were born. PDC activity was reduced in the brain and other tissues in female progeny compared to age-matched control females. Immunohistochemical analysis of several brain regions showed that approximately 40% of cells were PDH−. The oxidation of glucose to CO2 and incorporation of glucose-carbon into fatty acids were reduced in brain slices from 15 day-old PDC-deficient females. Histological analyses showed alterations in several structures in white and gray matters in 35 day-old PDC-deficient females. Reduction in total cell number and reduced dendritic arbors in Purkinje neurons were observed in PDC-deficient females. Furthermore, cell proliferation, migration and differentiation into neurons by newly generated cells were reduced in the affected females during pre- and postnatal periods. PDC-deficient mice had normal locomotor activity in a novel environment but displayed decreased startle responses to loud noises and there was evidence of abnormal pre-pulse inhibition of the startle reflex. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that a reduction in glucose metabolism resulting in deficit in energy production and fatty acid biosynthesis impairs cellular differentiation and brain development in PDC-deficient mice.
PMCID: PMC3694023  PMID: 23840713
6.  Metabolic Programming in the Immediate Postnatal Life 
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism  2011;58(Suppl 2):18-28.
The metabolic programming effects of nutritional modifications in the immediate postnatal life are increasingly recognized to independently contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome in later life. Adjustment of litter size in rodents has been used to induce either under- or overnourishment in the immediate postnatal life of the offspring. While undernourishment led to growth retardation in the offspring, overnourishment produced increased body weight gains, hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia. Overnourishment during the suckling period induced several adaptations in the energy circuitry in the hypothalamus of the offspring predisposing them for the onset of obesity later in life. Another approach for a nutritional modification in the immediate postnatal period is the artificial rearing of newborn rat pups on a high-carbohydrate (HC) milk formula without changes in the total calorie availability. Hyperinsulinemia, immediately evident in the HC pups, persisted in the post-weaning period even after withdrawal of the HC milk. Significant alterations in pancreatic islets supported chronic hyperinsulinemia in the HC rats. Alterations in the gene expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides predisposing to hyperphagia were evident during the period of the HC dietary modification. The persistence of these hypothalamic adaptations supported the obese phenotype in adult HC rats. A transgenerational effect gave rise to the development of chronic hyperinsulinemia and adult-onset obesity in the offspring of the HC female rats. Other studies have shown that lactation by a diabetic, obese or malnourished mother resulted in predisposition for the onset of metabolic disorders in the offspring. These observations from animal studies on the metabolic programming effects due to altered nutritional experiences in the immediate postnatal life strongly suggest that altered feeding practices for infants (formula feeding and early introduction of infant foods) could contribute to the rising incidence of overweight/obesity in children and adults.
PMCID: PMC3190171  PMID: 21846978
Hyperinsulinemia; Hyperphagia; Hypothalamic energy homeostasis; Increased carbohydrate intake; Nutritional experiences; Obesity; Overnourishment; Suckling period
7.  Effect of Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products on Mouse Liver 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35143.
The exact pathophysiology of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is not known. Previous studies suggest that dietary advanced glycation end products (AGEs) can cause oxidative stress in liver. We aim to study the effects of dietary AGEs on liver health and their possible role in the pathogenesis of NASH. METHODS: Two groups of mice were fed the same diet except the AGE content varied. One group was fed a high AGE diet and the second group was fed a regular AGE diet. Liver histology, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance and glucose tolerance were assessed. RESULTS: Histology revealed that neutrophil infiltration occurred in the livers of the high AGE group at week 26; steatosis did not accompany liver inflammation. At week 39 livers from both groups exhibited macro- or micro-steatosis, yet no inflammation was detected. Higher insulin levels were detected in the regular AGE group at week 26 (P = 0.034), compared to the high AGE group. At week 39, the regular AGE group showed higher levels of alanine aminotransferase (P<0.01) and aspartate aminotransferase (P = 0.02) than those of the high AGE group. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that a high AGE diet can cause liver inflammation in the absence of steatosis. Our results show that dietary AGEs could play a role in initiating liver inflammation contributing to the disease progression of NASH. Our observation that the inflammation caused by high AGE alone did not persist suggests interesting future directions to investigate how AGEs contribute to pro-oxidative and anti-oxidative pathways in the liver.
PMCID: PMC3319631  PMID: 22496902
8.  Phosphorylation Status of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Distinguishes Metabolic Phenotypes of Cultured Rat Brain Astrocytes and Neurons 
Glia  2010;58(10):1168-1176.
Glucose metabolism in nervous tissue has been proposed to occur in a compartmentalized manner with astrocytes contributing largely to glycolysis and neurons being the primary site of glucose oxidation. However, mammalian astrocytes and neurons both contain mitochondria and it remains unclear why in culture neurons oxidize glucose, lactate, and pyruvate to a much larger extent than astrocytes. The objective of this study was to determine whether pyruvate metabolism is differentially regulated in cultured neurons vs. astrocytes. Expression of all components of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), the rate-limiting step for pyruvate entry into the Krebs cycle, was determined in cultured astrocytes and neurons. In addition, regulation of PDC enzymatic activity in the two cell types via protein phosphorylation was examined. We show that all components of the PDC are expressed in both cell types in culture but that PDC activity is kept strongly inhibited in astrocytes through phosphorylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase alpha subunit (PDHα). In contrast, neuronal PDC operates close to maximal levels with much lower levels of phosphorlyated PDHα. Dephosphorylation of astrocytic PDHα restores PDC activity and lowers lactate production. Our findings suggest that the glucose metabolism of astrocytes and neurons may be far more flexible than previously believed.
PMCID: PMC2915787  PMID: 20544852
Glycolysis; oxidation; lactate; dichloroacetate
9.  Characterization of interactions of dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase with its binding protein in the human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex 
Unlike pyruvate dehydrogenase complexes (PDCs) from prokaryotes, PDCs from higher eukaryotes have an additional structural component, E3-binding protein (BP), for binding of dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (E3) in the complex. Based on the 3-D structure of the subcomplex of human (h) E3 with the di-domain (L3S1) of hBP, the amino acid residues (H348, D413, Y438, and R447) of hE3 for binding to hBP were substituted singly by alanine or other residues. These substitutions did not have large effects on hE3 activity when measured in its free form. However, when these hE3 mutants were reconstituted in the complex, the PDC activity was significantly reduced to 9% for Y438A, 20% for Y438H, and 18% for D413A. The binding of hE3 mutants with L3S1 determined by isothermal titration calorimetry revealed that the binding affinities of the Y438A, Y438H, and D413A mutants to L3S1 were severely reduced (1019-, 607-, and 402-fold, respectively). Unlike wild-type hE3 the binding of the Y438A mutant to L3S1 was accompanied by an unfavorable enthalpy change and a large positive entropy change. These results indicate that hE3-Y438 and hE3-D413 play important roles in binding of hE3 to hBP.
PMCID: PMC2927845  PMID: 20385101
Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase; E3-binding protein; Subunit-subunit interaction; Thermodynamics
10.  Triazaspirodimethoxybenzoyls as selective inhibitors of mycobacterial lipoamide dehydrogenase†# 
Biochemistry  2010;49(8):1616-1627.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) remains the leading single cause of death from bacterial infection. Here we explored the possibility of species-selective inhibition of lipoamide dehydrogenase (Lpd), an enzyme central to Mtb’s intermediary metabolism and antioxidant defense. High-throughput screening of combinatorial chemical libraries identified triazaspirodimethoxybenzoyls as high-nanomolar inhibitors of Mtb’s Lpd that were noncompetitive versus NADH, NAD+, and lipoamide and >100-fold selective compared to human Lpd. Efficacy required the dimethoxy and dichlorophenyl groups. The structure of an Lpd-inhibitor complex was resolved to 2.42 Å by X-ray crystallography, revealing that the inhibitor occupied a pocket adjacent to the Lpd NADH/NAD+ binding site. The inhibitor did not overlap with the adenosine moiety of NADH/NAD+ but did overlap with positions predicted to bind the nicotinamide rings in NADH and NAD+ complexes. The dimethoxy ring occupied a deep pocket adjacent to the FAD flavin ring where it would block coordination of the NADH nicotinamide ring, while the dichlorophenyl group occupied a more exposed pocket predicted to coordinate the NAD+ nicotinamide. Several residues that are not conserved between the bacterial enzyme and its human homolog were predicted to contribute both to inhibitor binding and species selectivity, as confirmed for 3 residues by analysis of the corresponding mutant Mtb Lpd proteins. Thus non-conservation of residues lining the electron-transfer tunnel in Mtb Lpd can be exploited for development of species-selective Lpd inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2827632  PMID: 20078138
11.  Interaction of E1 and E3 components with the core proteins of the human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex 
The human (h) pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (hPDC) consists of multiple copies of several components: pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1), dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase (E2), dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (E3), E3-binding protein (BP), and specific kinases and phosphatases. Mammalian PDC has a well organized structure with an icosahedral symmetry of the central E2/BP core to which the other component proteins bind non-covalently. Both hE2 and hBP consist of three well defined domains, namely the lipoyl domain, the subunit-binding domain and the inner domain, connected with flexible linkers. hE1 (α2β2) binds to the subunit-binding domain of hE2; whereas hE3 binds to the E3-binding domain of hBP. Among several residues of the C-terminal surface of the hE1β E1βD289 was found to interact with hE2K276. The C-terminal residue I329 of the hE1β did not participate in binding to hE2. This latter finding shows specificity in the interaction between E1β and E2 in hPDC. The selective binding between hE3 and the E3-binding domain of hBP was investigated using specific mutants. E3R460G and E3340K showed significant reductions in affinity for hBP as determined by surface plasmon resonance. Both residues are involved in the structural organization of the binding site on hE3. Substitution of I157, N137 and R155 of hBP resulted in variable increases in the KD for binding with wild-type hE3, suggesting that the binding results from several weak electrostatic bonds and hydrophobic interactions among residues of hBP with residues at the interface of dimeric hE3. These results provide insight in the mono-specificity of binding of E1 to E2 and E3 to BP in hPDC and showed the differences in the binding of peripheral components (E1 and E3) in human and bacterial PDCs.
PMCID: PMC2770179  PMID: 20160912
12.  Binding of pyruvate dehydrogenase to the core of the human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex 
FEBS letters  2008;582(3):468-472.
In human (h) pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) the pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) is bound to the E1-binding domain of dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase (E2). The C-terminal surface of the E1β subunit was scanned for the negatively charged residues involved in binding with E2. βD289 of hE1 interacts with K276 of hE2 in a manner similar to the corresponding interaction in Bacillus stearothermophilus PDC. In contrast to bacterial E1β, the C-terminal residue of the hE1β does not participate in the binding with positively charged residues of hE2. This latter finding shows species specificity in the interaction between hE1β and hE2 in PDC.
PMCID: PMC2262399  PMID: 18206651
subunit-binding domain; subunit-subunit interaction; surface plasmon resonance; PDC
13.  Acetylphosphinate is the most potent mechanism-based substrate-like inhibitor of both the human and E. coli pyruvate dehydrogenase components of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex 
Bioorganic chemistry  2006;34(6):362-379.
Two analogues of pyruvate, acetylphosphinate and acetylmethylphosphinate were tested as inhibitors of the E1 (pyruvate dehydrogenase) component of the human and Escherichia coli pyruvate dehydrogenase complexes. This is the first instance of such studies on the human enzyme. The acetylphosphinate is a stronger inhibitor of both enzymes (Ki< 1 μM) than acetylmethylphosphinate. Both inhibitors are found to be reversible tight-binding inhibitors. With both inhibitors and with both enzymes, the inhibition apparently takes place by formation of a C2α-phosphinolactylthiamin diphosphate derivative, a covalent adduct of the inhibitor and the coenzyme, mimicking the behavior of substrate and forming a stable analogue of the C2α-lactylthiamin diphosphate. Formation of the intermediate analogue in each case is confirmed by the appearance of a positive circular dichroism signal in the 305-306 nm range, attributed to the 1',4'-iminopyrimidine tautomeric form of the coenzyme. It is further shown that the αHis63 residue of the human E1 has a role in the formation of C2α-lactylthiamin diphosphate since the αHis63Ala variant is only modestly inhibited by either inhibitor, nor did either compound generate the circular dichroism bands assigned to different tautomeric forms of the 4'-aminopyrimidine ring of the coenzyme seen with the wild type enzyme. Interestingly, opposite enantiomers of the carboligase side product acetoin are produced by the human and bacterial enzymes.
PMCID: PMC1783836  PMID: 17070897
human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; Escherichia coli pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; acetylphosphinate; acetylmethylphosphinate; thiamin diphosphate; thiamin 2-thiothiazolone diphosphate; acetylphosphonate methyl ester; circular dichroism; mechanism-based inhibition; acetoin

Results 1-13 (13)