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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1996 Sep 12;1276(2):161-70.

Differential effects of creatine depletion on the regulation of enzyme activities and on creatine-stimulated mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle, heart, and brain.

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Institute for Cell Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Guanidinopropionic acid (GPA), an analogue of creatine (Cr), is known to inhibit Cr uptake by cells. The metabolic effects of chronic Cr depletion on brain, heart and soleus muscle of rats were studied. In GPA hearts and soleus muscle, total specific creatine kinase (CK) activity was decreased by approx. 40% compared to controls, whereas in brain this same activity was elevated by a factor of two. Immunoblot analysis of soleus mitochondria from GPA rats showed an approximate 4-fold increase in Mi-CK protein and a concomitant 3-fold increase in adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT) protein, when compared to control. In GPA-fed rats, the specific activities of adenylate kinase (ADK) and succinate dehydrogenase were significantly higher in brain and soleus (2-fold), but heart remained the same. However, hexokinase (HK) decreased by approx. 50% both in heart and soleus, indicating that muscle and brain follow different strategies to compensate the energy deficit caused by creatine depletion. Skinned muscle fibres from Cr-depleted soleus attained approx. only 70% maximum state 3 respiration with 0.1 M ADP in the presence of 10 mM Cr compared to 100% in control fibres. This defect in Cr stimulated respiration was also seen in isolated heart mitochondria, but was normal in those from brain. The observed deficit of Cr-stimulated respiration, the significant accumulation of Mib-CK and ANT, concomitant with the formation of Mib-CK rich intra-mitochondrial inclusions shown by electron microscopy, indicate that Mib-CK function and coupling to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), is impaired in these abnormal mitochondria. In addition, our results show tissue-specific metabolic compensations to Cr depletion.

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