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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Jan 11;430(2):573-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.11.111. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Induction of mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration is associated with mTOR regulation in hepatocytes of rats treated with the pan-PPAR activator tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA).

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Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Norway.


The hypolipidemic effect of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) activators has been explained by increasing mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation, as observed in livers of rats treated with the pan-PPAR activator tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA). PPAR-activation does, however, not fully explain the metabolic adaptations observed in hepatocytes after treatment with TTA. We therefore characterized the mitochondrial effects, and linked this to signalling by the metabolic sensor, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In hepatocytes isolated from TTA-treated rats, the changes in cellular content and morphology were consistent with hypertrophy. This was associated with induction of multiple mitochondrial biomarkers, including mitochondrial DNA, citrate synthase and mRNAs of mitochondrial proteins. Transcription analysis further confirmed activation of PPARα-associated genes, in addition to genes related to mitochondrial biogenesis and function. Analysis of mitochondrial respiration revealed that the capacity of both electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation were increased. These effects coincided with activation of the stress related factor, ERK1/2, and mTOR. The protein level and phosphorylation of the downstream mTOR actors eIF4G and 4E-BP1 were induced. In summary, TTA increases mitochondrial respiration by inducing hypertrophy and mitochondrial biogenesis in rat hepatocytes, via adaptive regulation of PPARs as well as mTOR.

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