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Diabetes. 2012 May;61(5):1017-24. doi: 10.2337/db11-0799. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

The role of FOXO and PPAR transcription factors in diet-mediated inhibition of PDC activation and carbohydrate oxidation during exercise in humans and the role of pharmacological activation of PDC in overriding these changes.

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  • 1School of Biomedical Sciences, Medical School, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. tim.constantin@nottingham.ac.uk


High-fat feeding inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC)-controlled carbohydrate (CHO) oxidation, which contributes to muscle insulin resistance. We aimed to reveal molecular changes underpinning this process in resting and exercising humans. We also tested whether pharmacological activation of PDC overrides these diet-induced changes. Healthy males consumed a control diet (CD) and on two further occasions an isocaloric high-fat diet (HFD). After each diet, subjects cycled for 60 min after intravenous infusion with saline (CD and HFD) or dichloroacetate (HFD+DCA). Quadriceps muscle biopsies obtained before and after 10 and 60 min of exercise were used to estimate CHO use, PDC activation, and mRNAs associated with insulin, fat, and CHO signaling. Compared with CD, HFD increased resting pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 2 (PDK2), PDK4, forkhead box class O transcription factor 1 (FOXO1), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor transcription factor α (PPARα) mRNA and reduced PDC activation. Exercise increased PDC activation and whole-body CHO use in HFD, but to a lower extent than in CD. Meanwhile PDK4 and FOXO1, but not PPARα or PDK2, mRNA remained elevated. HFD+DCA activated PDC throughout and restored whole-body CHO use during exercise. FOXO1 appears to play a role in HFD-mediated muscle PDK4 upregulation and inhibition of PDC and CHO oxidation in humans. Also, pharmacological activation of PDC restores HFD-mediated inhibition of CHO oxidation during exercise.

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