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1.  Butyrate ingestion improves hepatic glycogen storage in the re-fed rat 
BMC Physiology  2008;8:19.
Butyrate naturally produced by intestinal fiber fermentation is the main nutrient for colonocytes, but the metabolic effect of the fraction reaching the liver is not totally known. After glycogen hepatic depletion in the 48-hour fasting rat, we monitored the effect of (butyrate 1.90 mg + glucose 14.0 mg)/g body weight versus isocaloric (glucose 18.2 mg/g) or isoglucidic (glucose 14.0 mg/g) control force-feeding on in vivo changes in hepatic glycogen and ATP contents evaluated ex vivo by NMR in the isolated and perfused liver.
The change in glycogen was biphasic with (i) an initial linear period where presence of butyrate in the diet increased (P = 0.05) the net synthesis rate (0.20 ± 0.01 μmol/min.g-1 liver wet weight, n = 15) versus glucose 14.0 mg/g only (0.16 ± 0.01 μmol/min.g-1 liver ww, n = 14), and (ii) a plateau of glycogen store followed by a depletion. Butyrate delayed the establishment of the equilibrium between glycogenosynthetic and glycogenolytic fluxes from the 6th to 8th hour post-feeding. The maximal glycogen content was then 97.27 ± 10.59 μmol/g liver ww (n = 7) at the 8th hour, which was significantly higher than with the isocaloric control diet (64.34 ± 8.49 μmol/g, n = 12, P = 0.03) and the isoglucidic control one (49.11 ± 6.35 μmol/g liver ww, n = 6, P = 0.003). After butyrate ingestion, ATP content increased from 0.95 ± 0.29 to a plateau of 2.14 ± 0.23 μmol/g liver ww at the 8th hour post-feeding (n = 8) [P = 0.04 versus isoglucidic control diet (1.45 ± 0.19 μmol/g, n = 8) but was not different from the isocaloric control diet (1.70 ± 0.18 μmol/g, n = 12)].
The main hepatic effect of butyrate is a sparing effect on glycogen storage explained (i) by competition between butyrate and glucose oxidation, glucose being preferentially directed to glycogenosynthesis during the post-prandial state; and (ii) by a likely reduced glycogenolysis from the newly synthesized glycogen. This first demonstration of the improvement of liver glycogen storage by acute butyrate supply may be an important contribution to explaining the beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis of nutritional supply increasing butyrate amount such as fiber diets.
PMCID: PMC2569010  PMID: 18847460
2.  Decrease in oxidative phosphorylation yield in presence of butyrate in perfused liver isolated from fed rats 
BMC Physiology  2007;7:8.
Butyrate is the main nutrient for the colonocytes but the effect of the fraction reaching the liver is not totally known. A decrease in tissue ATP content and increase in respiration was previously demonstrated when livers were perfused with short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate, or octanoate.
In fed rats the oxidative phosphorylation yield was determined on the whole isolated liver perfused with butyrate in comparison with acetate and octoanoate (3 mmol/L). The rate of ATP synthesis was determined in the steady state by monitoring the rate of ATP loss after inhibition of (i) cytochrome oxidase (oxidative phosphorylation) with KCN (2.5 mmol/L) and (ii) glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (glycolysis) with IAA (0.5 mmol/L). The ATP flux, estimated by 31P Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and the measured liver respiration allowed the ATP/O ratio to be determined.
ATP turnover was significantly lower in the presence of butyrate (0.40 ± 0.10 μmoles/min.g, p = 0.001, n = 7) and octanoate (0.56 ± 0.10 μmoles/min.g, p = 0.01, n = 5) than in control (1.09 ± 0.13 μmoles/min.g, n = 7), whereas perfusion with acetate induced no significant decrease (0.76 ± 0.10 μmoles/min.g, n = 7). Mitochondrial oxygen consumption was unchanged in the presence of acetate (1.92 ± 0.16 vs 1.86 ± 0.16 for control) and significantly increased in the presence of butyrate (p = 0.02) and octanoate (p = 0.0004) (2.54 ± 0.18 and 3.04 ± 0.15 μmoles/min.g, respectively). The oxidative phosphorylation yield (ATP/O ratio) calculated in the whole liver was significantly lower with butyrate (0.07 ± 0.02, p = 0.0006) and octanoate (0.09 ± 0.02, p = 0.005) than in control (0.30 ± 0.05), whereas there was no significant change with acetate (0.20 ± 0.02).
Butyrate or octanoate decrease rather than increase the rate of ATP synthesis, resulting in a decrease in the apparent ATP/O ratio. Butyrate as a nutrient has the same effect as longer chain FA. An effect on the hepatic metabolism should be taken into account when large quantities of SCFA are directly used or obtained during therapeutic or nutritional strategies.
PMCID: PMC2048500  PMID: 17725817
3.  Some processes of energy saving and expenditure occurring during ethanol perfusion in the isolated liver of fed rats; a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance study. 
BMC Physiology  2004;4:3.
In the isolated liver of fed rats, a 10 mM ethanol perfusion rapidly induced a rapid 25% decrease in the total ATP content, the new steady state resulting from both synthesis and consumption. The in situ rate of mitochondrial ATP synthesis without activation of the respiration was increased by 27%, implying an increased energy demand. An attempt to identify the ethanol-induced ATP-consuming pathways was performed using 31P and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
Ethanol (i) transiently increased sn-glycerol-3-phosphate formation whereas glycogenolysis was continuously maintained; (ii) decreased the glycolytic ATP supply and (iii) diminished the intracellular pH in a dose-dependent manner in a slight extend. Although the cytosolic oxidation of ethanol largely generated H+ (and NADH), intracellular pHi was maintained by (i) the large and passive excretion of cellular acetic acid arising from ethanol oxidation (evidenced by exogenous acetate administration), without energetic cost or (ii) proton extrusion via the Na+-HCO3- symport (implying the indirect activation of the Na+-K+-ATPase pump and thus an energy use), demonstrated during the addition of their specific inhibitors SITS and ouabaïn, respectively.
Various cellular mechanisms diminish the cytosolic concentration of H+ and NADH produced by ethanol oxidation, such as (i) the large but transient contribution of the dihydroxyacetone phosphate / sn-glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle between cytosol and mitochondria, mainly implicated in the redox state and (ii) the major participation of acetic acid in passive proton extrusion out of the cell. These processes are not ATP-consuming and the latter is a cellular way to save some energy. Their starting in conjunction with the increase in mitochondrial ATP synthesis in ethanol-perfused whole liver was however insufficient to alleviate either the inhibition of glycolytic ATP synthesis and/or the implication of Na+-HCO3- symport and Na+-K+-ATPase in the pHi homeostasis, energy-consuming carriers.
PMCID: PMC375537  PMID: 15053831

Results 1-3 (3)