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In order to provide timely treatment for organ damage initiated by therapeutic drugs or exposure to environmental toxicants, we first need to identify markers that provide an early diagnosis of potential adverse effects before permanent damage occurs. Specifically, the liver, as a primary organ prone to toxicants-induced injuries, lacks diagnostic markers that are specific and sensitive to the early onset of injury. Here, to identify plasma metabolites as markers of early toxicant-induced injury, we used a constraint-based modeling approach with a genome-scale network reconstruction of rat liver metabolism to incorporate perturbations of gene expression induced by acetaminophen, a known hepatotoxicant. A comparison of the model results against the global metabolic profiling data revealed that our approach satisfactorily predicted altered plasma metabolite levels as early as 5 h after exposure to 2 g/kg of acetaminophen, and that 10 h after treatment the predictions significantly improved when we integrated measured central carbon fluxes. Our approach is solely driven by gene expression and physiological boundary conditions, and does not rely on any toxicant-specific model component. As such, it provides a mechanistic model that serves as a first step in identifying a list of putative plasma metabolites that could change due to toxicant-induced perturbations.
Soybean (Glycine max) seeds store significant amounts of their biomass as protein, levels of which reflect the carbon and nitrogen received by the developing embryo. The relationship between carbon and nitrogen supply during filling and seed composition was examined through a series of embryo-culturing experiments. Three distinct ratios of carbon to nitrogen supply were further explored through metabolic flux analysis. Labeling experiments utilizing [U-(13)C5]glutamine, [U-(13)C4]asparagine, and [1,2-(13)C2]glucose were performed to assess embryo metabolism under altered feeding conditions and to create corresponding flux maps. Additionally, [U-(14)C12]sucrose, [U-(14)C6]glucose, [U-(14)C5]glutamine, and [U-(14)C4]asparagine were used to monitor differences in carbon allocation. The analyses revealed that: (1) protein concentration as a percentage of total soybean embryo biomass coincided with the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio; (2) altered nitrogen supply did not dramatically impact relative amino acid or storage protein subunit profiles; and (3) glutamine supply contributed 10% to 23% of the carbon for biomass production, including 9% to 19% of carbon to fatty acid biosynthesis and 32% to 46% of carbon to amino acids. Seed metabolism accommodated different levels of protein biosynthesis while maintaining a consistent rate of dry weight accumulation. Flux through ATP-citrate lyase, combined with malic enzyme activity, contributed significantly to acetyl-coenzyme A production. These fluxes changed with plastidic pyruvate kinase to maintain a supply of pyruvate for amino and fatty acids. The flux maps were independently validated by nitrogen balancing and highlight the robustness of primary metabolism.
Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is a multistep process dependent on beta-cell metabolic flux. Our previous studies on intact pancreatic islets used two-photon NAD(P)H imaging as a quantitative measure of the combined redox signal from NADH and NADPH (referred to as NAD(P)H). These studies showed that pyruvate, a non-secretagogue, enters beta-cells and causes a transient rise in NAD(P)H. To further characterize the metabolic fate of pyruvate, we have now developed one-photon flavoprotein microscopy as a simultaneous assay of lipoamide dehydrogenase (LipDH) autofluorescence. This flavoprotein is in direct equilibrium with mitochondrial NADH. Hence, a comparison of LipDH and NAD(P)H autofluorescence provides a method to distinguish the production of NADH, NADPH, or both. Using this method, the glucose dose response is consistent with an increase in both NADH and NADPH. In contrast, the transient rise in NAD(P)H observed with pyruvate stimulation is not accompanied by a significant change in LipDH, which indicates that pyruvate raises cellular NADPH without raising NADH. In comparison, methyl pyruvate stimulated a robust NADH and NADPH response. These data provide new evidence that exogenous pyruvate does not induce a significant rise in mitochondrial NADH. This inability likely results in its failure to produce the ATP necessary for stimulated secretion of insulin. Overall, these data are consistent with either a restricted pyruvate dehydrogenase-dependent metabolism or a buffering of the NADH response by other metabolic mechanisms.
Troglitazone (CS-045) is a new type of antidiabetic agent that decreases plasma glucose by enhancing insulin action in insulin-resistant diabetic animals and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) patients. To examine the direct effect of troglitazone on glucose metabolism and insulin action in skeletal muscle, we infused troglitazone solution into perfused rat hindlimbs in the presence of 6 mmol/L glucose and in the absence or presence of insulin. In the absence of insulin, even 50 mumol/L troglitazone did not elicit glucose uptake. Troglitazone did increase lactate and pyruvate release at concentrations of 20 mumol/L and higher; however, it decreased the ratio of lactate to pyruvate (L/P ratio) and increased oxygen consumption at concentrations higher than 5 and 20 mumol/L, respectively. In hindlimb muscle, 20 mumol/L troglitazone decreased glycogen content without changing fructose 2,6-bisphosphate (F2,6P2) content in the absence of insulin. Insulin infusion with 250 microU/mL obtained half-maximal effects, causing a 2.8-fold increase in glucose uptake and a 1.5-fold increase in lactate and pyruvate release. When 20 mumol/L troglitazone was infused for 30 minutes together with 250 microU/mL insulin, insulin-induced glucose uptake significantly increased 30 minutes after troglitazone infusion, and this increase was further augmented after withdrawal of troglitazone. In insulin plus troglitazone infusion at 30 minutes after troglitazone removal, glycogen content in hindlimb muscle was significantly decreased compared with that obtained with insulin infusion alone. In summary, in the absence of insulin, troglitazone does not elicit glucose uptake, but causes an increase in glycolysis accompanied by a decrease in muscle glycogen content and L/P ratio and an increase in oxygen consumption. In the presence of insulin, troglitazone increases insulin-induced glucose uptake, and this increase is further augmented after troglitazone removal. Addition of troglitazone to insulin infusion decreased the glycogen content in hindlimb muscle. This decrease in muscle glycogen content may trigger an enhancement of insulin-induced glucose uptake similar to that observed during muscle contraction or epinephrine treatment.
The responses of hepatic glycogenolysis to catecholamines in ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH)-lesioned male rats were examined in perfused livers. Seven days after bilateral electrical lesioning of the VMH, the livers were perfused. Isoproterenol, a beta-agonist, stimulated greater glucose production in VMH-lesioned rats than in controls (32.8 vs. 5.6 mumol glucose.h-1.g liver-1), while responses to phenylephrine, an alpha-agonist, decreased significantly compared with controls (44.4 vs. 69.8 mumol glucose.h-1.g liver-1). There were no significant differences in responses of livers to glucagon and vasopressin between control and VMH-lesioned rats. Adrenodemedullation showed the same effect on beta-responses as lesions in the VMH, but no effect on alpha-responses. Plasma epinephrine levels were not detectable with the high-performance liquid chromatography analysis in VMH-lesioned rats. The periodicity of plasma corticosterone levels was observed in both VMH-lesioned and control rats, although daytime increases in plasma corticosterone were blocked by VMH lesions. These results suggest that the lesions in the VMH cause changes in the levels of adrenergic receptor and that the increase in beta-responses is caused mostly by the reduction of plasma epinephrine.
The role of the cellular redox state in the hormonal stimulation of gluconeogenesis was studied in hemoglobin-free perfused rat liver, by fluorimetric measurement of the redox states of intracellular pyridine nucleotides. The maximum rate of glucose production from lactate/pyruvate mixture was observed with a lactate/pyruvate ratio of 10/1, which corresponds to the ratio observed in vivo. Increased reduction of pyridine nucleotides on infusion of ethanol or octanoate was associated with an increased production of glucose from pyruvate, whereas glucose production from lactate decreased. Stimulation of gluconeogenesis from lactate by glucagon was affected by the lactate/pyruvate ratio; a decrease of the lactate/pyruvate ratio resulted in a decrease of the efficacy of glucagon. Stimulation by glucagon of glucose production from pyruvate was abolished during octanoate infusion, although it was still observable during ethanol infusion. In contrast to glucagon, the stimulatory effect of norepinephrine on gluconeogenesis was unaffected by the ratio of lactate to pyruvate. Norepinephrine in the presence of octanoate and ethanol still induced stimulation of glucose production from lactate and pyruvate, which was always accompanied by a transient reduction of pyridine nucleotides. The results demonstrate that the regeneration of NADH in the cytosol is one of the regulatory factors in gluconeogenesis, and that the effects of glucagon and norepinephrine on gluconeogenesis and on the redox state of pyridine nucleotides are not identical.
Isolated adult rat liver parenchymal cells maintained in serum-free medium are stimulated by insulin and epidermal growth factor (EGF) to undergo DNA synthesis. Pyruvate, lactate, and, to a lesser extent, several other intermediary metabolites strikingly enhance DNA synthesis both under serum-free culture conditions and in the presence of dialyzed rat serum. High concentrations (2-50 mM) of these low-molecular-weight metabolites are necessary to produce optimal stimulation. Both alanine (greater than 2 mM) and glutamine (greater than 4 mM) are inhibitory under similar conditions. Glucose, although not required for hepatocyte maintenance or stimulation in the presence of insulin and EGF, acts synergistically with pyruvate to enhance DNA synthesis in a complete mixture.
Pseudomonas sp. MS is capable of growth on a number of compounds containing only C(1) groups. They include trimethylsulphonium salts, methylamine, dimethylamine and trimethylamine. Although formaldehyde and formate will not support growth they are rapidly oxidized by intact cells. Methanol neither supports growth nor is oxidized. A particulate fraction of the cell oxidizes methylamine to carbon dioxide in the absence of any external electron acceptor. Formaldehyde and formate are more slowly oxidized to carbon dioxide by the particulate fraction, although they do not appear to be free intermediates in the oxidation of methylamine. Soluble NAD-linked formaldehyde dehydrogenase and formate dehydrogenase are also present. The particulate methylamine oxidase is induced by growth on methylamine, dimethylamine and trimethylamine, whereas the soluble formaldehyde dehydrogenase and formate dehydrogenase are induced by trimethylsulphonium nitrate as well as the aforementioned amines.