Adaptive increase in pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 during starvation is mediated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α

Pengfei Wu, Jeffrey M. Peters, Robert A. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Scopus citations


Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoform 4 (PDK4) is upregulated by starvation in many tissues of the body during starvation. This causes inactivation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex which blocks pyruvate oxidation and conserves lactate and alanine for gluconeogenesis. Enhanced PDK4 expression may be caused by the increase in free fatty acids that occurs during starvation. Free fatty acids can activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα), and activation of PPARα can promote PDK4 expression. This model is supported by the findings reported here that WY-14,643, a synthetic PPARα activator, increases PDK4 expression in wild-type mice but not in PPARα-null mice. Starvation likewise increases the expression of PDK4 in tissues of wild-type mice but not in tissues of PPARα,-null mice. These findings document the functional importance of PPARα, for PDK4 expression during starvation and suggest an important role for elevated free fatty acids in the induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 21 2001



  • Fatty acids
  • PPARα
  • Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
  • Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase
  • Starvation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology

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