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1.  Amelioration of Behavioral Abnormalities in BH4-deficient Mice by Dietary Supplementation of Tyrosine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60803.
This study reports an amelioration of abnormal motor behaviors in tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4)-deficient Spr−/− mice by the dietary supplementation of tyrosine. Since BH4 is an essential cofactor for the conversion of phenylalanine into tyrosine as well as the synthesis of dopamine neurotransmitter within the central nervous system, the levels of tyrosine and dopamine were severely reduced in brains of BH4-deficient Spr−/− mice. We found that Spr−/− mice display variable ‘open-field’ behaviors, impaired motor functions on the ‘rotating rod’, and dystonic ‘hind-limb clasping’. In this study, we report that these aberrant motor deficits displayed by Spr−/− mice were ameliorated by the therapeutic tyrosine diet for 10 days. This study also suggests that dopamine deficiency in brains of Spr−/− mice may not be the biological feature of aberrant motor behaviors associated with BH4 deficiency. Brain levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites in Spr−/− mice were not substantially increased by the dietary tyrosine therapy. However, we found that mTORC1 activity severely suppressed in brains of Spr−/− mice fed a normal diet was restored 10 days after feeding the mice the tyrosine diet. The present study proposes that brain mTORC1 signaling pathway is one of the potential targets in understanding abnormal motor behaviors associated with BH4-deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3618182  PMID: 23577163
2.  Effects of vitamin C and E supplementation on oxidative stress and liver toxicity in rats fed a low-fat ethanol diet 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2013;7(2):109-114.
We compared the preventive capacity of high intakes of vitamin C (VC) and vitamin E (VE) on oxidative stress and liver toxicity in rats fed a low-fat ethanol diet. Thirty-two Wistar rats received the low fat (10% of total calories) Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet as follows: either ethanol alone (Alc group, 36% of total calories) or ethanol in combination with VC (Alc + VC group, 40 mg VC/100 g body weight) or VE (Alc + VE group, 0.8 mg VE/100 g body weight). Control rats were pair-fed a liquid diet with the Alc group. Ethanol administration induced a modest increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), conjugated dienes (CD), and triglycerides but decreased total radical-trapping antioxidant potential (TRAP) in plasma. VE supplementation to alcohol-fed rats restored the plasma levels of AST, CD, and TRAP to control levels. However, VC supplementation did not significantly influence plasma ALT, AST, or CD. In addition, a significant increase in plasma aminothiols such as homocysteine and cysteine was observed in the Alc group, but cysteinylglycine and glutathione (GSH) did not change by ethanol feeding. Supplementing alcohol-fed rats with VC increased plasma GSH and hepatic S-adenosylmethionine, but plasma levels of aminothiols, except GSH, were not influenced by either VC or VE supplementation in ethanol-fed rats. These results indicate that a low-fat ethanol diet induces oxidative stress and consequent liver toxicity similar to a high-fat ethanol diet and that VE supplementation has a protective effect on ethanol-induced oxidative stress and liver toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3627927  PMID: 23610603
Ethanol; low fat diet; vitamin E & C; oxidative stress; liver toxicity
3.  Autophagy induction by tetrahydrobiopterin deficiency 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1323-1334.
Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) deficiency is a genetic disorder associated with a variety of metabolic syndromes such as phenylketonuria (PKU). In this article, the signaling pathway by which BH4 deficiency inactivates mTORC1 leading to the activation of the autophagic pathway was studied utilizing BH4-deficient Spr-/- mice generated by the knockout of the gene encoding sepiapterin reductase (SR) catalyzing BH4 synthesis. We found that mTORC1 signaling was inactivated and autophagic pathway was activated in tissues from Spr-/- mice. This study demonstrates that tyrosine deficiency causes mTORC1 inactivation and subsequent activation of autophagic pathway in Spr-/- mice. Therapeutic tyrosine diet completely rescued dwarfism and mTORC1 inhibition but inactivated autophagic pathway in Spr-/- mice. Tyrosine-dependent inactivation of mTORC1 was further supported by mTORC1 inactivation in Pahenu2 mouse model lacking phenylalanine hydroxylase (Pah). NIH3T3 cells grown under the condition of tyrosine restriction exhibited autophagy induction. However, mTORC1 activation by RhebQ64L, a positive regulator of mTORC1, inactivated autophagic pathway in NIH3T3 cells under tyrosine-deficient conditions. In addition, this study first documents mTORC1 inactivation and autophagy induction in PKU patients with BH4 deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3242797  PMID: 21795851
tetrahydrobiopterin; autophagy; mTORC1; tyrosine; phenylalanine; phenylketonuria; Akt; AMPK
4.  Folic acid supplementation reduces oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity in rats treated chronically with ethanol 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2011;5(6):520-526.
Folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia are found in most patients with alcoholic liver disease. Oxidative stress is one of the most important mechanisms contributing to homocysteine (Hcy)-induced tissue injury. However it has not been examined whether exogenous administration of folic acid attenuates oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo effect of folic acid supplementation on oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity induced by chronic ethanol consumption. Wistar rats (n = 32) were divided into four groups and fed 0%, 12%, 36% ethanol, or 36% ethanol plus folic acid (10 mg folic acid/L) diets. After 5 weeks, chronic consumption of the 36% ethanol diet significantly increased plasma alanine transaminase (ALT) (P < 0.05) and aspartate transaminase (AST) (P < 0.05), triglycerides (TG) (P < 0.05), Hcy (P < 0.001), and low density lipoprotein conjugated dienes (CD) (P < 0.05) but decreased total radical-trapping antioxidant potential (TRAP) (P < 0.001). These changes were prevented partially by folic acid supplementation. The 12% ethanol diet had no apparent effect on most parameters. Plasma Hcy concentration was well correlated with plasma ALT (r = 0.612**), AST (r = 0.652*), CD (r = 0.495*), and TRAP (r = -0.486*). The results indicate that moderately elevated Hcy is associated with increased oxidative stress and liver injury in alcohol-fed rats, and suggests that folic acid supplementation appears to attenuate hepatic toxicity induced by chronic ethanol consumption possibly by decreasing oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3259294  PMID: 22259676
Ethanol; hepatic toxicity; folic acid supplementation; oxidative stress; homocysteine
5.  Effects of dietary supplementation of high-dose folic acid on biomarkers of methylating reaction in vitamin B12-deficient rats 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2009;3(2):122-127.
Folate is generally considered as a safe water-soluble vitamin for supplementation. However, we do not have enough information to confirm the potential effects and safety of folate supplementation and the interaction with vitamin B12 deficiency. It has been hypothesized that a greater methyl group supply could lead to compensation for vitamin B12 deficiency. On this basis, the present study was conducted to examine the effects of high-dose folic acid (FA) supplementation on biomarkers involved in the methionine cycle in vitamin B12-deficient rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed diets containing either 0 or 100 µg (daily dietary requirement) vitamin B12/kg diet with either 2 mg (daily dietary requirement) or 100 mg FA/kg diet for six weeks. Vitamin B12-deficiency resulted in increased plasma homocysteine (p<0.01), which was normalized by dietary supplementation of high-dose FA (p<0.01). However, FA supplementation and vitamin B12 deficiency did not alter hepatic and brain S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) concentrations and hepatic DNA methylation. These results indicated that supplementation of high-dose FA improved homocysteinemia in vitamin B12-deficiency but did not change SAM and SAH, the main biomarkers of methylating reaction.
PMCID: PMC2788180  PMID: 20016712
Folic acid supplementation; vitamin B12-deficiency; homocysteine; DNA methylation
6.  In vitro inhibition of 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase activity by acetaldehyde 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2008;2(4):195-199.
Alcoholism has been associated with folate deficiency in humans and laboratory animals. Previous study showed that ethanol feeding reduces the dehydrogenase and hydrolase activity of 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (FDH) in rat liver. Hepatic ethanol metabolism generates acetaldehyde and acetate. The mechanisms by which ethanol and its metabolites produce toxicity within the liver cells are unknown. We purified FDH from rat liver and investigated the effect of ethanol, acetaldehyde and acetate on the enzyme in vitro. Hepatic FDH activity was not reduced by ethanol or acetate directly. However, acetaldehyde was observed to reduce the dehydrogenase activity of FDH in a dose- and time-dependent manner with an apparent IC50 of 4 mM, while the hydrolase activity of FDH was not affected by acetaldehyde in vitro. These results suggest that the inhibition of hepatic FDH dehydrogenase activity induced by acetadehyde may play a role in ethanol toxicity.
PMCID: PMC2788200  PMID: 20016718
Ethanol toxicity; acetaldehyde; 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase/hydrolase; folate

Results 1-6 (6)