Mechanism responsible for the hypoglycemic actions of dichloroacetate and 2-chloropropionate

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Dichloroacetate, an activator of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, is known to lower blood glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and alanine when given to diabetic and 24 h fasted rats. Under certain conditions, especially when pyruvate carboxylase is made rate limiting for want of bicarbonate, dichloroacetate effectively inhibits glucose synthesis from lactate by isolated hepatocytes. 2-Chloropropionate also activates the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, lowers blood glucose, lactate, and pyruvate in 24 h fasted rats, but stimulates gluconeogenesis from lactate or alanine by isolated hepatocytes. Dichloroacetate is catabolized to glyoxylate and thence to oxalate by liver cells, whereas 2-chloropropionate cannot be catabolized to these products. Glyoxylate and oxalate are potent inhibitors of glucose synthesis from lactate, pyruvate, and alanine, but not from dihydroxyacetone. Inhibition is much more pronounced in a bicarbonate-deficient medium, in which pyruvate carboxylase is probably rate limiting for gluconeogenesis. It seems likely, therefore, that the inhibition of lactate gluconeogenesis by dichloroacetate is actually caused by oxalate, which inhibits pyruvate carboxylation. Nevertheless, the major effect of dichloroacetate, and probably the sole effect of 2-chloropropionate, on blood glucose concentration is to limit substrate availability in the blood for hepatic gluconeogenesis. Since oxalic acid stone formation and renal dysfunction may prove to be side effects of any therapeutic application of dichloroacetate, we suggest that further studies on the treatment of hyperglycemia and lactic acidosis with pyruvate dehydrogenase activators be carried out with 2-chloropropionate rather than dichloroacetate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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