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PPAR Res. 2008;2008:279531. doi: 10.1155/2008/279531.

Cardiac PPARalpha Protein Expression is Constant as Alternate Nuclear Receptors and PGC-1 Coordinately Increase During the Postnatal Metabolic Transition.

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Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, 4800 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98105, USA.


Gene expression data obtained in mouse heart indicate that increased expression for the nuclear receptor, peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha), prompts the postnatal transition from predominantly carbohydrate to fatty acid oxidation preference. However, no phenotypic or proteomic data are available to confirm downstream signaling and metabolic transition in mice. We studied the hypothesis that shifts in nuclear receptor expression trigger the newborn metabolic switch in a newborn sheep. This species is well characterized with regards to developmental changes in substrate oxidative metabolism. Heart tissues from fetal (130 days gestation), newborn </=24 hours, and 30-day old lambs were evaluated for protein expression from multiple enzymes controlling oxidative metabolism as well as principal nuclear receptors and coactivators. Although muscle and liver type carnitine palmitoyl transferases I showed no significant changes to correspond to the metabolic transition, hexokinase II protein content showed a profound transient drop, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase steadily increased. PPARalpha showed no increases preceding or during the transition, while peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 (PGC-1) increased approximately 20-fold transiently in newborn heart in conjunction with significant increases in thyroid hormone receptor alpha1 and retinoid-activated receptor alpha. These data challenge the paradigm that increases in PPARalpha prompt the postnatal metabolic switch, and suggest that other nuclear receptors play a major role. As thyroid hormone (TH) modulates PGC-1 expression in sheep during development, these data further suggest that well-characterized perinatal TH surge in sheep contributes to this metabolic switch.

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