Chronic AMP-activated protein kinase activation and a high-fat diet have an additive effect on mitochondria in rat skeletal muscle

Natasha Fillmore, Daniel L Jacobs, David B Mills, William W Winder, Chad R Hancock
Journal of Applied Physiology 2010, 109 (2): 511-20
Factors that stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle include AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), calcium, and circulating free fatty acids (FFAs). Chronic treatment with either 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside (AICAR), a chemical activator of AMPK, or increasing circulating FFAs with a high-fat diet increases mitochondria in rat skeletal muscle. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the combination of chronic chemical activation of AMPK and high-fat feeding would have an additive effect on skeletal muscle mitochondria levels. We treated Wistar male rats with a high-fat diet (HF), AICAR injections (AICAR), or a high-fat diet and AICAR injections (HF + AICAR) for 6 wk. At the end of the treatment period, markers of mitochondrial content were examined in white quadriceps, red quadriceps, and soleus muscles, predominantly composed of unique muscle-fiber types. In white quadriceps, there was a cumulative effect of treatments on long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, cytochrome c, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha) protein, as well as on citrate synthase and beta-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (beta-HAD) activity. In contrast, no additive effect was noted in the soleus, and in the red quadriceps only beta-HAD activity increased additively. The additive increase of mitochondrial markers observed in the white quadriceps may be explained by a combined effect of two separate mechanisms: high-fat diet-induced posttranscriptional increase in PGC-1alpha protein and AMPK-mediated increase in PGC-1alpha protein via a transcriptional mechanism. These data show that chronic chemical activation of AMPK and a high-fat diet have a muscle type specific additive effect on markers of fatty acid oxidation, the citric acid cycle, the electron transport chain, and transcriptional regulation.


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