Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1-4) play a critical role in the inhibition of the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex especially when blood glucose levels are low and pyruvate can be conserved for gluconeogenesis. Under diabetic conditions, the Pdk genes, particularly Pdk4, are often induced, and the elevation of the Pdk4 gene expression has been implicated in the increased gluconeogenesis in the liver and the decreased glucose utilization in the peripheral tissues. However, there is no direct evidence yet to show to what extent that the dysregulation of hepatic Pdk genes attributes to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in vivo. To address this question, we crossed Pdk2 or Pdk4 null mice with a diabetic model that is deficient in hepatic insulin receptor substrates 1 and 2 (Irs1/2). Metabolic analyses reveal that deletion of the Pdk4 gene had better improvement in hyperglycemia and glucose tolerance than knockout of the Pdk2 gene whereas the Pdk2 gene deletion showed better insulin tolerance as compared to the Pdk4 gene inactivation on the Irs1/2 knockout genetic background. To examine the specific hepatic effects of Pdks on diabetes, we also knocked down the Pdk2 or Pdk4 gene using specific shRNAs. The data also indicate that the Pdk4 gene knockdown led to better glucose tolerance than the Pdk2 gene knockdown. In conclusion, our data suggest that hepatic Pdk4 may be critically involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)