The pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1-4) regulate glucose oxidation through inhibitory phosphorylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC). Immunoblot analysis with antibodies raised against recombinant PDK isoforms demonstrated changes in PDK isoform expression in response to experimental hyperthyroidism (100 μg/100 g body weight; 3 days) that was selective for fast-twitch vs slow-twitch skeletal muscle in that PDK2 expression was increased in the fast-twitch skeletal muscle (the anterior tibialis) (by 1.6-fold; P<0.05) but not in the slow-twitch muscle (the soleus). PDK4 protein expression was increased by experimental hyperthyroidism in both muscle types, there being a greater response in the anterior tibialis (4.2-fold increase; P<0.05) than in the soleus (3.2-fold increase; P<0.05). The hyperthyroidismassociated up-regulation of PDK4 expression was observed in conjunction with suppression of skeletal-muscle PDC activity, but not suppression of glucose uptake/phosphorylation, as measured in vivo in conscious unrestrained rats (using the 2-[3H]deoxyglucose technique). We propose that increased PDK isoform expression contributes to the pathology of hyperthyroidism and to PDC inactivation by facilitating the operation of the glucose lactate → glucose (Cori) and glucose → alanine → glucose cycles. We also propose that enhanced relative expression of the pyruvate-insensitive PDK isoform (PDK4) in skeletal muscle in hyperthyroidism uncouples glycolytic flux from pyruvate oxidation, sparing pyruvate for nonoxidative entry into the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and thereby supporting entry of acetyl-CoA (derived from fatty acid oxidation) into the TCA cycle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism