Adipose tissue branched chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism modulates circulating BCAA levels.
Whereas the role of adipose tissue in glucose and lipid homeostasis is widely recognized, its role in systemic protein and amino acid metabolism is less well-appreciated. In vitro and ex vivo experiments suggest that adipose tissue can metabolize substantial amounts of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). However, the role of adipose tissue in regulating BCAA metabolism in vivo is controversial. Interest in the contribution of adipose tissue to BCAA metabolism has been renewed with recent observations demonstrating down-regulation of BCAA oxidation enzymes in adipose tissue in obese and insulin-resistant humans. Using gene set enrichment analysis, we observe alterations in adipose-tissue BCAA enzyme expression caused by adipose-selective genetic alterations in the GLUT4 glucose-transporter expression. We show that the rate of adipose tissue BCAA oxidation per mg of tissue from normal mice is higher than in skeletal muscle. In mice overexpressing GLUT4 specifically in adipose tissue, we observe coordinate down-regulation of BCAA metabolizing enzymes selectively in adipose tissue. This decreases BCAA oxidation rates in adipose tissue, but not in muscle, in association with increased circulating BCAA levels. To confirm the capacity of adipose tissue to modulate circulating BCAA levels in vivo, we demonstrate that transplantation of normal adipose tissue into mice that are globally defective in peripheral BCAA metabolism reduces circulating BCAA levels by 30% (fasting)-50% (fed state). These results demonstrate for the first time the capacity of adipose tissue to catabolize circulating BCAAs in vivo and that coordinate regulation of adipose-tissue BCAA enzymes may modulate circulating BCAA levels.
Herman, MA; She, P; Peroni, OD; Lynch, CJ; Kahn, BB
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