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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Mar;110(3):746-55. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00293.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 25.

Genes and biochemical pathways in human skeletal muscle affecting resting energy expenditure and fuel partitioning.

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Dept. of Nutrition Sciences, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, 1675 University Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35294-3360, USA.


Genes influencing resting energy expenditure (REE) and respiratory quotient (RQ) represent candidate genes for obesity and the metabolic syndrome because of the involvement of these traits in energy balance and substrate oxidation. We aim to explore the molecular basis for individual variation in REE and fuel partitioning as reflected by RQ. We performed microarray studies in human vastus lateralis muscle biopsies from 40 healthy subjects with measured REE and RQ values. We identified 2,392 and 1,115 genes significantly correlated with REE and RQ, respectively. Genes correlated with REE and RQ encompass a broad array of functions, including carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, gene expression, mitochondrial processes, and membrane transport. Microarray pathway analysis revealed that REE was positively correlated with upregulation of G protein-coupled receptor signaling (meet criteria/total genes: 65 of 283) involved in autonomic nervous system functions, including those receptors mediating adrenergic, dopamine, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), neuropeptide Y (NPY), and serotonin action (meet criteria/total genes: 46 of 176). Reduced REE was associated with an increase in genes participating in ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent proteolytic pathways (58 of 232). Serine-type peptidase activity (9 of 76) was positively correlated with RQ, while genes involved in the protein phosphatase type 2A complex (4 of 9), mitochondrial function and cellular respiration (38 of 315), and unfolded protein binding (19 of 97) were associated with reduced RQ values and a preference for lipid fuel metabolism. Individual variations in whole body REE and RQ are regulated by differential expressions of specific genes and pathways intrinsic to skeletal muscle.

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