Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 contributes to the recirculation of gluconeogenic precursors during postexercise glycogen recovery

Eric A.F. Herbst, Rebecca E.K. Macpherson, Paul J. Leblanc, Brian D. Roy, Nam Ho Jeoung, Robert A. Harris, Sandra J. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


During recovery from glycogen-depleting exercise, there is a shift from carbohydrate oxidation to glycogen resynthesis. The activity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex may decrease to reduce oxidation of carbohydrates in favor of increasing gluconeogenic recycling of carbohydrate-derived substrates for this process. The precise mechanism behind this has yet to be elucidated; however, research examining mRNA content has suggested that the less-abundant pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 (PDK4) may reduce PDH activation during exercise recovery. To investigate this, skeletal muscle and liver of wild-type (WT) and PDK4-knockout (PDK4-KO) mice were analyzed at rest (Rest), after exercise to exhaustion (Exh), and after 2 h of recovery with ad libitum feeding (Rec). Although there were no differences in exercise tolerance between genotypes, caloric consumption was doubled by PDK4-KO mice during Rec. Because of this, PDK4-KO mice at Rec supercompensated muscle glycogen to 120% of resting stores. Therefore, an extra group of PDK4-KO mice were pair-fed (PF) with WT mice during Rec for comparison. PF mice fully replenished muscle glycogen but recovered only 50% of liver glycogen stores. Concentrations of muscle lactate and alanine were also lower in PF than in WT mice, indicating that this decrease may lead to a potential reduction of recycled gluconeogenic substrates, due to oxidation of their carbohydrate precursors in skeletal muscle, leading to observed reductions in hepatic glucose and glycogen concentrations. Because of the impairments seen in PF PDK4-KO mice, these results suggest a role for PDK4 in regulating the PDH complex in muscle and promoting gluconeogenic precursor recirculation during recovery from exhaustive exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R102-R107
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014


  • Exercise
  • Glycogen
  • Oxidative metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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