Publications by authors named "Kenneth N Maclean"

55 Publications

Trisomy 21 results in modest impacts on mitochondrial function and central carbon metabolism.

Free Radic Biol Med 2021 Jun 12;172:201-212. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, USA; Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA. Electronic address:

Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. Mechanistically, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are reported to be etiological factors for many of the DS-related comorbidities and have previously been reported in a number of in vitro and in vivo models of DS. The purpose of this study was to test for the presence of mitochondrial dysfunction in fibroblast cells obtained via skin biopsy from individuals with DS, and to assess the impact of trisomy 21 on central carbon metabolism. Using extracellular flux assays in matched dermal fibroblasts from euploid and DS individuals, we found that basal mitochondrial dysfunction is quite mild. Stressing the cells with a cocktail of mitochondrial stressors revealed a significant mitochondrial deficit in DS cells compared to euploid controls. Evaluation of extracellular acidification rate did not reveal a baseline abnormality in glycolysis; however, metabolomic assessments utilizing isotopically labeled glucose and glutamine revealed altered central carbon metabolism in DS cells. Specifically, we observed greater glucose dependency, uptake and flux into the oxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway in DS fibroblasts. Furthermore, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) we found that mitochondrial function in DS iPSCs was similar to the previously published studies employing fetal cells. Together, these data indicate that aberrant central carbon metabolism is a candidate mechanism for stress-related mitochondrial dysfunction in DS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2021.06.003DOI Listing
June 2021

Analysis of differential neonatal lethality in cystathionine β-synthase deficient mouse models using metabolic profiling.

FASEB J 2021 06;35(6):e21629

Cancer Biology Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) is a key enzyme of the trans-sulfuration pathway that converts homocysteine to cystathionine. Loss of CBS activity due to mutation results in CBS deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism characterized by extreme elevation of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy). C57BL6 mice containing either a homozygous null mutation in the cystathionine β-synthase (Cbs ) gene or an inactive human CBS protein (Tg-G307S Cbs ) are born in mendelian numbers, but the vast majority die between 18 and 21 days of age due to liver failure. However, adult Cbs null mice that express a hypomorphic allele of human CBS as a transgene (Tg-I278T Cbs ) show almost no neonatal lethality despite having serum tHcy levels similar to mice with no CBS activity. Here, we characterize liver and serum metabolites in neonatal Cbs , Tg-G307S Cbs , and Tg-I278T Cbs mice at 6, 10, and 17 days of age to understand this difference. In serum, we observe similar elevations in tHcy in both Tg-G307S Cbs and Tg-I278T Cbs compared to control animals, but methionine is much more severely elevated in Tg-G307S Cbs mice. Large scale metabolomic analysis of liver tissue confirms that both methionine and methionine-sulfoxide are significantly more elevated in Tg-G307S Cbs animals, along with significant differences in several other metabolites including hexoses, amino acids, other amines, lipids, and carboxylic acids. Our data are consistent with a model that the neonatal lethality observed in CBS-null mice is driven by excess methionine resulting in increased stress on a variety of related pathways including the urea cycle, TCA cycle, gluconeogenesis, and phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.202100302RDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8218533PMC
June 2021

Cystathionine γ-lyase promotes estrogen-stimulated uterine artery blood flow via glutathione homeostasis.

Redox Biol 2021 04 8;40:101827. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Division of Reproductive Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 12700 E. 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA; Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 12700 E. 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA. Electronic address:

During pregnancy, estrogen (E) stimulates uterine artery blood flow (UBF) by enhancing nitric oxide (NO)-dependent vasodilation. Cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) promotes vascular NO signaling by producing hydrogen sulfide (HS) and by maintaining the ratio of reduced-to-oxidized intracellular glutathione (GSH/GSSG) through l-cysteine production. Because redox homeostasis can influence NO signaling, we hypothesized that CSE mediates E stimulation of UBF by modulating local intracellular cysteine metabolism and GSH/GSSG levels to promote redox homeostasis. Using non-pregnant ovariectomized WT and CSE-null (CSE KO) mice, we performed micro-ultrasound of mouse uterine and renal arteries to assess changes in blood flow upon exogenous E stimulation. We quantified serum and uterine artery NO metabolites (NO), serum amino acids, and uterine and renal artery GSH/GSSG. WT and CSE KO mice exhibited similar baseline uterine and renal blood flow. Unlike WT, CSE KO mice did not exhibit expected E stimulation of UBF. Renal blood flow was E-insensitive for both genotypes. While serum and uterine artery NO were similar between genotypes at baseline, E decreased NO in CSE KO serum. Cysteine was also lower in CSE KO serum, while citrulline and homocysteine levels were elevated. E and CSE deletion additively decreased GSH/GSSG in uterine arteries. In contrast, renal artery GSH/GSSG was insensitive to E or CSE deletion. Together, these findings suggest that CSE maintenance of uterine artery GSH/GSSG facilitates nitrergic signaling in uterine arteries and is required for normal E stimulation of UBF. These data have implications for pregnancy pathophysiology and the selective hormone responses of specific vascular beds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2020.101827DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823052PMC
April 2021

Derangement of hepatic polyamine, folate, and methionine cycle metabolism in cystathionine beta-synthase-deficient homocystinuria in the presence and absence of treatment: Possible implications for pathogenesis.

Mol Genet Metab 2021 02 11;132(2):128-138. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Medicine and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Cystathionine beta-synthase deficient homocystinuria (HCU) is a life-threatening disorder of sulfur metabolism. Our knowledge of the metabolic changes induced in HCU are based almost exclusively on data derived from plasma. In the present study, we present a comprehensive analysis on the effects of HCU upon the hepatic metabolites and enzyme expression levels of the methionine-folate cycles in a mouse model of HCU. HCU induced a 10-fold increase in hepatic total homocysteine and in contrast to plasma, this metabolite was only lowered by approximately 20% by betaine treatment indicating that this toxic metabolite remains unacceptably elevated. Hepatic methionine, S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine, N-acetlymethionine, N-formylmethionine, methionine sulfoxide, S-methylcysteine, serine, N-acetylserine, taurocyamine and N-acetyltaurine levels were also significantly increased by HCU while cysteine, N-acetylcysteine and hypotaurine were all significantly decreased. In terms of polyamine metabolism, HCU significantly decreased spermine and spermidine levels while increasing 5'-methylthioadenosine. Betaine treatment restored normal spermine and spermidine levels but further increased 5'-methylthioadenosine. HCU induced a 2-fold induction in expression of both S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Induction of this latter enzyme was accompanied by a 10-fold accumulation of its product, 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate, with the potential to significantly perturb one‑carbon metabolism. Expression of the cytoplasmic isoform of serine hydroxymethyltransferase was unaffected by HCU but the mitochondrial isoform was repressed indicating differential regulation of one‑carbon metabolism in different sub-cellular compartments. All HCU-induced changes in enzyme expression were completely reversed by either betaine or taurine treatment. Collectively, our data show significant alterations of polyamine, folate and methionine cycle metabolism in HCU hepatic tissues that in some cases, differ significantly from those observed in plasma, and have the potential to contribute to multiple aspects of pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2021.01.003DOI Listing
February 2021

Estrogen Regulates Local Cysteine Metabolism in Mouse Myometrium.

Reprod Sci 2021 01 20;28(1):79-90. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Division of Reproductive Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 12700 East 19th Avenue, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA.

Sulfur amino acid metabolism influences reproductive physiology, and transsulfuration in particular may be critical for normal cellular function. The sex hormone estrogen (E) modulates gene expression and redox balance in some tissues by inducing the transsulfuration enzymes cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) and cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE). The role of sex hormones in sulfur amino acid metabolism by uterine smooth muscle is not known. Here, we show that CBS and CSE proteins increase in the mouse myometrium during estrus and diestrus, respectively, suggesting that E reciprocally regulates myometrial CBS and CSE expression. In ovariectomized mice, exogenous E upregulates CBS and downregulates CSE levels. E promotes CBS mRNA and protein expression but attenuates CSE protein expression without affecting CSE mRNA. This pattern of E-stimulated changes in transsulfuration enzyme expression is specific to the uterine smooth muscle. E does not change vaginal or cervical expression of CBS or CSE significantly, and E decreases expression of CSE in the liver without affecting CBS. E also downregulates myometrial cysteinesulfinic acid decarboxylase (CSAD) and decreases myometrial biochemical synthesis of the gaso-transmitter hydrogen sulfide (HS). These findings suggest that myometrial sulfur amino acid metabolism may regulate uterine redox homeostasis, with implications for the source and metabolism of myometrial cysteine in high E states such as estrus and pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s43032-020-00284-6DOI Listing
January 2021

Pathogenic variants in SQOR encoding sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase are a potentially treatable cause of Leigh disease.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2020 09 15;43(5):1024-1036. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Section of Clinical Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.

Hydrogen sulfide, a signaling molecule formed mainly from cysteine, is catabolized by sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (gene SQOR). Toxic hydrogen sulfide exposure inhibits complex IV. We describe children of two families with pathogenic variants in SQOR. Exome sequencing identified variants; SQOR enzyme activity was measured spectrophotometrically, protein levels evaluated by western blotting, and mitochondrial function was assayed. In family A, following a brief illness, a 4-year-old girl presented comatose with lactic acidosis and multiorgan failure. After stabilization, she remained comatose, hypotonic, had neurostorming episodes, elevated lactate, and Leigh-like lesions on brain imaging. She died shortly after. Her 8-year-old sister presented with a rapidly fatal episode of coma with lactic acidosis, and lesions in the basal ganglia and left cortex. Muscle and liver tissue had isolated decreased complex IV activity, but normal complex IV protein levels and complex formation. Both patients were homozygous for c.637G > A, which we identified as a founder mutation in the Lehrerleut Hutterite with a carrier frequency of 1 in 13. The resulting p.Glu213Lys change disrupts hydrogen bonding with neighboring residues, resulting in severely reduced SQOR protein and enzyme activity, whereas sulfide generating enzyme levels were unchanged. In family B, a boy had episodes of encephalopathy and basal ganglia lesions. He was homozygous for c.446delT and had severely reduced fibroblast SQOR enzyme activity and protein levels. SQOR dysfunction can result in hydrogen sulfide accumulation, which, consistent with its known toxicity, inhibits complex IV resulting in energy failure. In conclusion, SQOR deficiency represents a new, potentially treatable, cause of Leigh disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7484123PMC
September 2020

Maternal Amino Acid Profiles to Distinguish Constitutionally Small versus Growth-Restricted Fetuses Defined by Doppler Ultrasound: A Pilot Study.

Am J Perinatol 2020 09 2;37(11):1084-1093. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.

Objective: Fetuses measuring below the 10th percentile for gestational age may be either constitutionally small for gestational age (SGA) or have pathologic fetal growth restriction (FGR). FGR is associated with adverse outcomes; however, identification of low-risk SGA cases is difficult. We performed a pilot study evaluating maternal markers of pathologic FGR, hypothesizing there are distinct amino acid signatures that might be used for diagnosis and development of new interventions.

Study Design: This was a cohort study of healthy women with sonographic fetal estimated fetal weight <5th percentile divided into two groups based upon umbilical artery (UmA) Doppler studies or uterine artery (UtA) Doppler studies. We collected maternal blood samples prior to delivery and used ion pair reverse phase liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry or gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to assess 44 amino acids.

Results: Among 14 women included, five had abnormal UmA, and three had abnormal UtA Doppler results. Those with abnormal UmA showed elevated ornithine. Those with abnormal UtA had lower dimethylglycine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, and 1-methylhistidine.

Conclusion: We found several amino acids that might identify pregnancies affected by pathologic FGR. These findings support the feasibility of future larger studies to identify maternal metabolic approaches to accurately stratify risk for small fetuses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1701504DOI Listing
September 2020

knockout exacerbates diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis and liver injury in mice.

JHEP Rep 2019 Dec 5;1(6):418-429. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, McMaster University, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4A6, Canada.

The fatty acid translocase, also known as CD36, is a well-established scavenger receptor for fatty acid (FA) uptake and is abundantly expressed in many metabolically active tissues. In the liver, CD36 is known to contribute to the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and to the more severe non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, by promoting triglyceride accumulation and subsequent lipid-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Given the recent discovery that the hepatocyte-secreted proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) blocks CD36 expression, we sought to investigate the role of PCSK9 in liver fat accumulation and injury in response to saturated FAs and in a mouse model of diet-induced hepatic steatosis.

Methods: In this study, we investigated the role of PCSK9 on the uptake and accumulation of FAs, as well as FA-induced toxicity, in a variety of cultured hepatocytes. Diet-induced hepatic steatosis and liver injury were also assessed in mice.

Results: Our results indicate that PCSK9 deficiency in cultured hepatocytes increased the uptake and accumulation of saturated and unsaturated FAs. In the presence of saturated FAs, PCSK9 also protected cultured hepatocytes from ER stress and cytotoxicity. In line with these findings, a metabolic challenge using a high-fat diet caused severe hepatic steatosis, ER stress inflammation and fibrosis in the livers of mice compared to controls. Given that inhibition of CD36 ablated the observed accumulation of lipid and , our findings also highlight CD36 as a strong contributor to steatosis and liver injury in the context of PCSK9 deficiency.

Conclusions: Collectively, our findings demonstrate that PCSK9 regulates hepatic triglyceride content in a manner dependent on CD36. In the presence of excess dietary fats, PCSK9 can also protect against hepatic steatosis and liver injury.

Lay Summary: The proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a circulating protein known to reduce the abundance of receptors on the surface of liver cells charged with the task of lipid uptake from the circulation. Although PCSK9 deficiency is known to cause lipid accumulation in mice and in cultured cells, the toxicological implications of this observation have not yet been reported. In this study, we demonstrate that PCSK9 can protect against cytotoxicity in cultured liver cells treated with a saturated fatty acid and we also show that knockout mice develop increased liver injury in response to a high-fat diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2019.10.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7005770PMC
December 2019

SNARE proteins rescue impaired autophagic flux in Down syndrome.

PLoS One 2019 12;14(11):e0223254. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, United States of America.

Down syndrome (DS) is a chromosomal disorder caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Ts21). Unbalanced karyotypes can lead to dysfunction of the proteostasis network (PN) and disrupted proteostasis is mechanistically associated with multiple DS comorbidities. Autophagy is a critical component of the PN that has not previously been investigated in DS. Based on our previous observations of PN disruption in DS, we investigated possible dysfunction of the autophagic machinery in human DS fibroblasts and other DS cell models. Following induction of autophagy by serum starvation, DS fibroblasts displayed impaired autophagic flux indicated by autophagolysosome accumulation and elevated p62, NBR1, and LC3-II abundance, compared to age- and sex-matched, euploid (CTL) fibroblasts. While lysosomal physiology was unaffected in both groups after serum starvation, we observed decreased basal abundance of the Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive-factor Attachment protein Receptor (SNARE) family members syntaxin 17 (STX17) and Vesicle Associated Membrane Protein 8 (VAMP8) indicating that decreased autophagic flux in DS is due at least in part to a possible impairment of autophagosome-lysosome fusion. This conclusion was further supported by the observation that over-expression of either STX17 or VAMP8 in DS fibroblasts restored autophagic degradation and reversed p62 accumulation. Collectively, our results indicate that impaired autophagic clearance is a characteristic of DS cells that can be reversed by enhancement of SNARE protein expression and provides further evidence that PN disruption represents a candidate mechanism for multiple aspects of pathogenesis in DS and a possible future target for therapeutic intervention.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223254PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850524PMC
March 2020

GDF10 blocks hepatic PPARγ activation to protect against diet-induced liver injury.

Mol Metab 2019 09 28;27:62-74. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Department of Medicine, McMaster University, The Research Institute of St. Joe's Hamilton, Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 4A6, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: Growth differentiation factors (GDFs) and bone-morphogenic proteins (BMPs) are members of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) superfamily and are known to play a central role in the growth and differentiation of developing tissues. Accumulating evidence, however, demonstrates that many of these factors, such as BMP-2 and -4, as well as GDF15, also regulate lipid metabolism. GDF10 is a divergent member of the TGFβ superfamily with a unique structure and is abundantly expressed in brain and adipose tissue; it is also secreted by the latter into the circulation. Although previous studies have demonstrated that overexpression of GDF10 reduces adiposity in mice, the role of circulating GDF10 on other tissues known to regulate lipid, like the liver, has not yet been examined.

Methods: Accordingly, GDF10 mice and age-matched GDF10 control mice were fed either normal control diet (NCD) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks and examined for changes in liver lipid homeostasis. Additional studies were also carried out in primary and immortalized human hepatocytes treated with recombinant human (rh)GDF10.

Results: Here, we show that circulating GDF10 levels are increased in conditions of diet-induced hepatic steatosis and, in turn, that secreted GDF10 can prevent excessive lipid accumulation in hepatocytes. We also report that GDF10 mice develop an obese phenotype as well as increased liver triglyceride accumulation when fed a NCD. Furthermore, HFD-fed GDF10 mice develop increased steatosis, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, fibrosis, and injury of the liver compared to HFD-fed GDF10 mice. To explain these observations, studies in cultured hepatocytes led to the observation that GDF10 attenuates nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) activity; a transcription factor known to induce de novo lipogenesis.

Conclusion: Our work delineates a hepatoprotective role of GDF10 as an adipokine capable of regulating hepatic lipid levels by blocking de novo lipogenesis to protect against ER stress and liver injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2019.06.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6717799PMC
September 2019

Biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular dysfunction in inherited cystathionine β-synthase deficient homocystinuria and the impact of taurine treatment in a phase 1/2 human clinical trial.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2019 05 11;42(3):424-437. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.

Study Objective: A phase 1/2 clinical trial was performed in individuals with cystathionine β synthase (CBS) deficient homocystinuria with aims to: (a) assess pharmacokinetics and safety of taurine therapy, (b) evaluate oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular function in CBS deficiency, and (c) evaluate the impact of short-term taurine treatment.

Methods: Individuals with pyridoxine-nonresponsive CBS deficiency with homocysteine >50 μM, without inflammatory disorder or on antioxidant therapy were enrolled. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation, endothelial function (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation [FMD]), and disease-related metabolites obtained at baseline were compared to normal values. While maintaining current treatment, patients were treated with 75 mg/kg taurine twice daily, and treatment response assessed after 4 hours and 4 days.

Results: Fourteen patients (8-35 years; 8 males, 6 females) were enrolled with baseline homocysteine levels 161 ± 67 μM. The study found high-dose taurine to be safe when excluding preexisting hypertriglyceridemia. Taurine pharmacokinetics showed a rapid peak level returning to near normal levels at 12 hours, but had slow accumulation and elevated predosing levels after 4 days of treatment. Only a single parameter of oxidative stress, 2,3-dinor-8-isoprostaglandin-F2α, was elevated at baseline, with no elevated inflammatory parameters, and no change in FMD values overall. Taurine had no effect on any of these parameters. However, the effect of taurine was strongly related to pretreatment FMD values; and taurine significantly improved FMD in the subset of individuals with pretreatment FMD values <10% and in individuals with homocysteine levels >125 μM, pertinent to endothelial function.

Conclusion: Taurine improves endothelial function in CBS-deficient homocystinuria in patients with preexisting reduced function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12085DOI Listing
May 2019

Taurine alleviates repression of betaine-homocysteine -methyltransferase and significantly improves the efficacy of long-term betaine treatment in a mouse model of cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria.

FASEB J 2019 05 15;33(5):6339-6353. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

Classical cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria (HCU) is a life-threatening inborn error of sulfur metabolism. Treatment for pyridoxine-nonresponsive HCU involves lowering homocysteine (Hcy) with a methionine (Met)-restricted diet and betaine supplementation. Betaine treatment efficacy diminishes significantly over time due to impairment of betaine-Hcy -methyltransferase (BHMT) function. Little is known regarding the regulation of BHMT in HCU. Using a betaine-responsive preclinical mouse model of HCU, we observed that this condition induces a 75% repression of BHMT mRNA, protein and enzyme activity, and significant depletion of hepatic betaine levels. BHMT repression was proportional to plasma Hcy levels but was not observed in mouse models of homocystinuria due to either methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or Met synthase deficiency. Both Met supplementation and chemically induced glutathione depletion exacerbated hepatic BHMT repression in HCU mice but not wild-type (WT) controls. Conversely, cysteine treatment normalized hepatic BHMT expression in HCU mice but had no effect in WT control animals. Taurine treatment induced BHMT expression in HCU mice by 5-fold and restored maximal lowering of Hcy levels during long-term betaine treatment with a concomitant normalization of inflammatory cytokine expression and a significantly improved coagulative phenotype. Collectively, our findings indicate that adjuvantial taurine treatment has the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes in HCU.-Maclean, K. N., Jiang, H, Phinney, W. N., Keating, A. K., Hurt, K. J., Stabler, S. P. Taurine alleviates repression of betaine-homocysteine -methyltransferase and significantly improves the efficacy of long-term betaine treatment in a mouse model of cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201802069RRDOI Listing
May 2019

Switching obese mothers to a healthy diet improves fetal hypoxemia, hepatic metabolites, and lipotoxicity in non-human primates.

Mol Metab 2018 12 28;18:25-41. Epub 2018 Sep 28.

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, USA; Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, USA; Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) risk begins in utero in offspring of obese mothers. A critical unmet need in this field is to understand the pathways and biomarkers underlying fetal hepatic lipotoxicity and whether maternal dietary intervention during pregnancy is an effective countermeasure.

Methods: We utilized a well-established non-human primate model of chronic, maternal, Western-style diet induced obesity (OB-WSD) compared with mothers on a healthy control diet (CON) or a subset of OB-WSD mothers switched to the CON diet (diet reversal; OB-DR) prior to and for the duration of the next pregnancy. Fetuses were studied in the early 3rd trimester.

Results: Fetuses from OB-WSD mothers had higher circulating triglycerides (TGs) and lower arterial oxygenation suggesting hypoxemia, compared with fetuses from CON and OB-DR mothers. Hepatic TG content, oxidative stress (TBARs), and de novo lipogenic genes were increased in fetuses from OB-WSD compared with CON mothers. Fetuses from OB-DR mothers had lower lipogenic gene expression and TBARs yet persistently higher TGs. Metabolomic profiling of fetal liver and serum (umbilical artery) revealed distinct separation of CON and OB-WSD groups, and an intermediate phenotype in fetuses from OB-DR mothers. Pathway analysis identified decreased tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, increased amino acid (AA) metabolism and byproducts, and increased gluconeogenesis, suggesting an increased reliance on AA metabolism to meet energy needs in the liver of fetuses from OB-WSD mothers. Components in collagen synthesis, including serum protein 5-hydroxylysine and hepatic lysine and proline, were positively correlated with hepatic TGs and TBARs, suggesting early signs of fibrosis in livers from the OB-WSD group. Importantly, hepatic gluconeogenic and arginine related intermediates and serum levels of lactate, pyruvate, several AAs, and nucleotide intermediates were normalized in the OB-DR group. However, hepatic levels of CDP-choline and total ceramide levels remained high in fetuses from OB-DR mothers.

Conclusions: Our data provide new metabolic evidence that, in addition to fetal hepatic steatosis, maternal WSD creates fetal hypoxemia and increases utilization of AAs for energy production and early activation of gluconeogenic pathways in the fetal liver. When combined with hyperlipidemia and limited antioxidant activity, the fetus suffers from hepatic oxidative stress and altered intracellular metabolism which can be improved with maternal diet intervention. Our data reinforce the concept that multiple "first hits" occur in the fetus prior to development of obesity and demonstrate new biomarkers with potential clinical implications for monitoring NAFLD risk in offspring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2018.09.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6308036PMC
December 2018

Methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase contributes to allergic airway disease.

PLoS One 2018 12;13(1):e0190916. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, United States of America.

Rationale: Environmental exposures strongly influence the development and progression of asthma. We have previously demonstrated that mice exposed to a diet enriched with methyl donors during vulnerable periods of fetal development can enhance the heritable risk of allergic airway disease through epigenetic changes. There is conflicting evidence on the role of folate (one of the primary methyl donors) in modifying allergic airway disease.

Objectives: We hypothesized that blocking folate metabolism through the loss of methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase (Mthfr) activity would reduce the allergic airway disease phenotype through epigenetic mechanisms.

Methods: Allergic airway disease was induced in C57BL/6 and C57BL/6Mthfr-/- mice through house dust mite (HDM) exposure. Airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) were measured between the two groups. Gene expression and methylation profiles were generated for whole lung tissue. Disease and molecular outcomes were evaluated in C57BL/6 and C57BL/6Mthfr-/- mice supplemented with betaine.

Measurements And Main Results: Loss of Mthfr alters single carbon metabolite levels in the lung and serum including elevated homocysteine and cystathionine and reduced methionine. HDM-treated C57BL/6Mthfr-/- mice demonstrated significantly less airway hyperreactivity (AHR) compared to HDM-treated C57BL/6 mice. Furthermore, HDM-treated C57BL/6Mthfr-/- mice compared to HDM-treated C57BL/6 mice have reduced whole lung lavage (WLL) cellularity, eosinophilia, and Il-4/Il-5 cytokine concentrations. Betaine supplementation reversed parts of the HDM-induced allergic airway disease that are modified by Mthfr loss. 737 genes are differentially expressed and 146 regions are differentially methylated in lung tissue from HDM-treated C57BL/6Mthfr-/- mice and HDM-treated C57BL/6 mice. Additionally, analysis of methylation/expression relationships identified 503 significant correlations.

Conclusion: Collectively, these findings indicate that the loss of folate as a methyl donor is a modifier of allergic airway disease, and that epigenetic and expression changes correlate with this modification. Further investigation into the mechanisms that drive this observation is warranted.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190916PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5766142PMC
February 2018

Taurine treatment prevents derangement of the hepatic γ-glutamyl cycle and methylglyoxal metabolism in a mouse model of classical homocystinuria: regulatory crosstalk between thiol and sulfinic acid metabolism.

FASEB J 2018 03 3;32(3):1265-1280. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

Cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria (HCU) is a poorly understood, life-threatening inborn error of sulfur metabolism. Analysis of hepatic glutathione (GSH) metabolism in a mouse model of HCU demonstrated significant depletion of cysteine, GSH, and GSH disulfide independent of the block in trans-sulfuration compared with wild-type controls. HCU induced the expression of the catalytic and regulatory subunits of γ-glutamyl ligase, GSH synthase (GS), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase 1, 5-oxoprolinase (OPLAH), and the GSH-dependent methylglyoxal detoxification enzyme, glyoxalase-1. Multiple components of the transcription factor nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant-response regulatory axis were induced without any detectable activation of Nrf2. Metabolomic analysis revealed the accumulation of multiple γ-glutamyl amino acids and that plasma ophthalmate levels could serve as a noninvasive marker for hepatic redox stress. Neither cysteine, nor betaine treatment was able to reverse the observed enzyme inductions. Taurine treatment normalized the expression levels of γ-glutamyl ligase C/M, GS, OPLAH, and glyoxalase-1, and reversed HCU-induced deficits in protein glutathionylation by acting to double GSH levels relative to controls. Collectively, our data indicate that the perturbation of the γ-glutamyl cycle could contribute to multiple sequelae in HCU and that taurine has significant therapeutic potential for both HCU and other diseases for which GSH depletion is a critical pathogenic factor.-Maclean, K. N., Jiang, H., Aivazidis, S., Kim, E., Shearn, C. T., Harris, P. S., Petersen, D. R., Allen, R. H., Stabler, S. P., Roede, J. R. Taurine treatment prevents derangement of the hepatic γ-glutamyl cycle and methylglyoxal metabolism in a mouse model of classical homocystinuria: regulatory crosstalk between thiol and sulfinic acid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201700586RDOI Listing
March 2018

The burden of trisomy 21 disrupts the proteostasis network in Down syndrome.

PLoS One 2017 21;12(4):e0176307. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, United States of America.

Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by trisomy of chromosome 21. Abnormalities in chromosome number have the potential to lead to disruption of the proteostasis network (PN) and accumulation of misfolded proteins. DS individuals suffer from several comorbidities, and we hypothesized that disruption of proteostasis could contribute to the observed pathology and decreased cell viability in DS. Our results confirm the presence of a disrupted PN in DS, as several of its elements, including the unfolded protein response, chaperone system, and proteasomal degradation exhibited significant alterations compared to euploid controls in both cell and mouse models. Additionally, when cell models were treated with compounds that promote disrupted proteostasis, we observed diminished levels of cell viability in DS compared to controls. Collectively our findings provide a cellular-level characterization of PN dysfunction in DS and an improved understanding of the potential pathogenic mechanisms contributing to disrupted cellular physiology in DS. Lastly, this study highlights the future potential of designing therapeutic strategies that mitigate protein quality control dysfunction.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176307PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400264PMC
September 2017

Cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency alters hepatic phospholipid and choline metabolism: Post-translational repression of phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase is a consequence rather than a cause of liver injury in homocystinuria.

Mol Genet Metab 2017 04 2;120(4):325-336. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Electronic address:

Classical homocystinuria (HCU) due to inactivating mutation of cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) is a poorly understood life-threatening inborn error of sulfur metabolism. A previously described cbs-/- mouse model exhibits a semi-lethal phenotype due to neonatal liver failure. The transgenic HO mouse model of HCU exhibits only mild liver injury and recapitulates multiple aspects of the disease as it occurs in humans. Disruption of the methionine cycle in HCU has the potential to impact multiple aspect of phospholipid (PL) metabolism by disruption of both the Kennedy pathway and phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) mediated synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC). Comparative metabolomic analysis of HO mouse liver revealed decreased levels of choline, and choline phosphate indicating disruption of the Kennedy pathway. Alterations in the relative levels of multiple species of PL included significant increases in PL degradation products consistent with enhanced membrane PL turnover. A significant decrease in PC containing 20:4n6 which primarily formed by the methylation of phosphatidylethanolamine to PC was consistent with decreased flux through PEMT. Hepatic expression of PEMT in both the cbs-/- and HO models is post-translationally repressed with decreased levels of PEMT protein and activity that inversely-correlates with the scale of liver injury. Failure to induce further repression of PEMT in HO mice by increased homocysteine, methionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine or depletion of glutathione combined with examination of multiple homocysteine-independent models of liver injury indicated that repression of PEMT in HCU is a consequence rather than a cause of liver injury. Collectively, our data show significant alteration of a broad range of hepatic PL and choline metabolism in HCU with the potential to contribute to multiple aspects of pathogenesis in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2017.02.010DOI Listing
April 2017

A 2.78-Mb duplication on chromosome 21q22.11 implicates candidate genes in the partial trisomy 21 phenotype.

NPJ Genom Med 2016 2;1. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.

Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability (ID) and in the majority of cases is the result of complete trisomy 21. The hypothesis that the characteristic DS clinical features are due to a single DS critical region (DSCR) at distal chromosome 21q has been refuted by recently reported segmental trisomy 21 cases characterised by microarray-based comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH). These rare cases have implicated multiple regions on chromosome 21 in the aetiology of distinct features of DS; however, the map of chromosome 21 copy-number aberrations and their associated phenotypes remains incompletely defined. We report a child with ID who was deemed very high risk for DS on antenatal screening (1 in 13) and has partial, but distinct, dysmorphologic features of DS without congenital heart disease (CHD). Oligonucleotide aCGH testing of the proband detected a previously unreported 2.78-Mb duplication on chromosome 21q22.11 that includes 16 genes; however, this aberration does not harbour any of the historical DSCR genes (, , and ). This informative case implicates previously under-recognised candidate genes (, and ) in the pathogenesis of specific DS clinical features and supports a critical region for CHD located more distal on chromosome 21q. In addition, this unique case illustrates how the increasing resolution of microarray and high-throughput sequencing technologies can continue to reveal new biology and enhance understanding of widely studied genetic diseases that were originally described over 50 years ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npjgenmed.2016.3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102301PMC
March 2016

Liver-Specific Deletion of Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog Deleted on Chromosome 10 Significantly Ameliorates Chronic EtOH-Induced Increases in Hepatocellular Damage.

PLoS One 2016 28;11(4):e0154152. Epub 2016 Apr 28.

Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States of America.

Alcoholic liver disease is a significant contributor to global liver failure. In murine models, chronic ethanol consumption dysregulates PTEN/Akt signaling. Hepatospecific deletion of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTENLKO) mice possess constitutive activation of Akt(s) and increased de novo lipogenesis resulting in increased hepatocellular steatosis. This makes PTENLKO a viable model to examine the effects of ethanol in an environment of preexisting steatosis. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of chronic ethanol consumption and the absence of PTEN (PTENLKO) compared to Alb-Cre control mice (PTENf/f) on hepatocellular damage as evidenced by changes in lipid accumulation, protein carbonylation and alanine amino transferase (ALT). In the control PTENf/f animals, ethanol significantly increased ALT, liver triglycerides and steatosis. In contrast, chronic ethanol consumption in PTENLKO mice decreased hepatocellular damage when compared to PTENLKO pair-fed controls. Consumption of ethanol elevated protein carbonylation in PTENf/f animals but had no effect in PTENLKO animals. In PTENLKO mice, overall hepatic mRNA expression of genes that contribute to GSH homeostasis as well as reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) concentrations were significantly elevated compared to respective PTENf/f counterparts. These data indicate that during conditions of constitutive Akt activation and steatosis, increased GSH homeostasis assists in mitigation of ethanol-dependent induction of oxidative stress and hepatocellular damage. Furthermore, data herein suggest a divergence in EtOH-induced hepatocellular damage and increases in steatosis due to polyunsaturated fatty acids downstream of PTEN.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154152PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849752PMC
March 2017

Sex-specific dysregulation of cysteine oxidation and the methionine and folate cycles in female cystathionine gamma-lyase null mice: a serendipitous model of the methylfolate trap.

Biol Open 2015 Aug 14;4(9):1154-62. Epub 2015 Aug 14.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

In addition to its role in the endogenous synthesis of cysteine, cystathionine gamma-lyase (CGL) is a major physiological source of the vasorelaxant hydrogen sulfide. Cgl null mice are potentially useful for studying the influence of this compound upon vascular tone and endothelial function. Here, we confirm a previous report that female Cgl null mice exhibit an approximate 45-fold increase in plasma total homocysteine compared to wild type controls. This level of homocysteine is approximately 3.5-fold higher than that observed in male Cgl null mice and is essentially equivalent to that observed in mouse models of cystathionine beta synthase deficient homocystinuria. Cgl null mice of both sexes exhibited decreased expression of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and cysteinesulfinate decarboxylase compared to WT controls. Female Cgl null mice exhibited a sex-specific induction of betaine homocysteine S-methyltransferase and methionine adenosyltransferase 1, alpha and a 70% decrease in methionine synthase expression accompanied by significantly decreased plasma methionine. Decreased plasma cysteine levels in female Cgl null mice were associated with sex-specific dysregulation of cysteine dioxygenase expression. Comparative histological assessment between cystathionine beta-synthase and Cgl null mice indicated that the therapeutic potential of cystathionine against liver injury merits possible further investigation. Collectively, our data demonstrates the importance of considering sex when investigating mouse models of inborn errors of metabolism and indicate that while female Cgl null mice are of questionable utility for studying the physiological role of hydrogen sulfide, they could serve as a useful model for studying the consequences of methionine synthase deficiency and the methylfolate trap.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/bio.013433DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4582125PMC
August 2015

Hcfc1b, a zebrafish ortholog of HCFC1, regulates craniofacial development by modulating mmachc expression.

Dev Biol 2014 Dec 2;396(1):94-106. Epub 2014 Oct 2.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA; Section of Genetics, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Electronic address:

Mutations in HCFC1 (MIM300019), have been recently associated with cblX (MIM309541), an X-linked, recessive disorder characterized by multiple congenital anomalies including craniofacial abnormalities. HCFC1 is a transcriptional co-regulator that modulates the expression of numerous downstream target genes including MMACHC, but it is not clear how these HCFC1 targets play a role in the clinical manifestations of cblX. To begin to elucidate the mechanism by which HCFC1 modulates disease phenotypes, we have carried out loss of function analyses in the developing zebrafish. Of the two HCFC1 orthologs in zebrafish, hcfc1a and hcfc1b, the loss of hcfc1b specifically results in defects in craniofacial development. Subsequent analysis revealed that hcfc1b regulates cranial neural crest cell differentiation and proliferation within the posterior pharyngeal arches. Further, the hcfc1b-mediated craniofacial abnormalities were rescued by expression of human MMACHC, a downstream target of HCFC1 that is aberrantly expressed in cblX. Furthermore, we tested distinct human HCFC1 mutations for their role in craniofacial development and demonstrated variable effects on MMACHC expression in humans and craniofacial development in zebrafish. Notably, several individuals with mutations in either HCFC1 or MMACHC have been reported to have mild to moderate facial dysmorphia. Thus, our data demonstrates that HCFC1 plays a role in craniofacial development, which is in part mediated through the regulation of MMACHC expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.09.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391465PMC
December 2014

Oxidative stress-mediated aldehyde adduction of GRP78 in a mouse model of alcoholic liver disease: functional independence of ATPase activity and chaperone function.

Free Radic Biol Med 2014 Aug 9;73:411-20. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Electronic address:

Pathogenesis in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is complicated and multifactorial but clearly involves oxidative stress and inflammation. Currently, conflicting reports exist regarding the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the etiology of ALD. The glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) is the ER homolog of HSP70 and plays a critical role in the cellular response to ER stress by serving as a chaperone assisting protein folding and by regulating the signaling of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Comprising three functional domains, an ATPase, a peptide-binding, and a lid domain, GRP78 folds nascent polypeptides via the substrate-binding domain. Earlier work has indicated that the ATPase function of GRP78 is intrinsically linked and essential to its chaperone activity. Previous work in our laboratory has indicated that GRP78 and the UPR are not induced in a mouse model of ALD but that GRP78 is adducted by the lipid electrophiles 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and 4-oxononenal (4-ONE) in vivo. As impairment of GRP78 has the potential to contribute to pathogenesis in ALD, we investigated the functional consequences of aldehyde adduction on GRP78 function. Identification of 4-HNE and 4-ONE target residues in purified human GRP78 revealed a marked propensity for Lys and His adduction within the ATPase domain and a relative paucity of adduct formation within the peptide-binding domain. Consistent with these findings, we observed a concomitant dose-dependent decrease in ATP-binding and ATPase activity without any discernible impairment of chaperone function. Collectively, our data indicate that ATPase activity is not essential for GRP78-mediated chaperone activity and is consistent with the hypothesis that ER stress does not play a primary initiating role in the early stages of ALD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.06.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395467PMC
August 2014

Altered hepatic sulfur metabolism in cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria: regulatory role of taurine on competing cysteine oxidation pathways.

FASEB J 2014 Sep 2;28(9):4044-54. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

Department of Pediatrics and

Cystathionine β-synthase-deficient homocystinuria (HCU) is a serious life-threatening inborn error of sulfur metabolism with poorly understood pathogenic mechanisms. We investigated the effect of HCU on hepatic cysteine oxidation in a transgenic mouse model of the disease. Cysteine dioxygenase (CDO) protein levels were 90% repressed without any change in mRNA levels. Cysteinesulfinic acid decarboxylase (CSAD) was induced at both the mRNA (8-fold) and protein (15-fold) levels. Cysteine supplementation normalized CDO protein levels without reversing the induction of CSAD. Regulatory changes in CDO and CSAD expression were proportional to homocysteine elevation, indicating a possible threshold effect. Hepatic and blood taurine levels in HCU animals were decreased by 21 and 35%, respectively, and normalized by cysteine supplementation. Expression of the cytoplasmic (GOT1) and mitochondrial (GOT2) isoforms of glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase were repressed in HCU animals by 86 and 30%, respectively. HCU induced regulatory changes in CSAD, CDO, and GOT1 expression were normalized by taurine supplementation, indicating that cysteine is not the only sulfur compound that regulates hepatic cysteine oxidation. Collectively, our results indicate that HCU induces significant alterations of sulfur metabolism with the potential to contribute to pathogenesis and that cysteine and taurine have the potential to serve as adjunctive treatments in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.14-253633DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5395733PMC
September 2014

Variant non ketotic hyperglycinemia is caused by mutations in LIAS, BOLA3 and the novel gene GLRX5.

Brain 2014 Feb 11;137(Pt 2):366-79. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, 80045, USA.

Patients with nonketotic hyperglycinemia and deficient glycine cleavage enzyme activity, but without mutations in AMT, GLDC or GCSH, the genes encoding its constituent proteins, constitute a clinical group which we call 'variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia'. We hypothesize that in some patients the aetiology involves genetic mutations that result in a deficiency of the cofactor lipoate, and sequenced genes involved in lipoate synthesis and iron-sulphur cluster biogenesis. Of 11 individuals identified with variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia, we were able to determine the genetic aetiology in eight patients and delineate the clinical and biochemical phenotypes. Mutations were identified in the genes for lipoate synthase (LIAS), BolA type 3 (BOLA3), and a novel gene glutaredoxin 5 (GLRX5). Patients with GLRX5-associated variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia had normal development with childhood-onset spastic paraplegia, spinal lesion, and optic atrophy. Clinical features of BOLA3-associated variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia include severe neurodegeneration after a period of normal development. Additional features include leukodystrophy, cardiomyopathy and optic atrophy. Patients with lipoate synthase-deficient variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia varied in severity from mild static encephalopathy to Leigh disease and cortical involvement. All patients had high serum and borderline elevated cerebrospinal fluid glycine and cerebrospinal fluid:plasma glycine ratio, and deficient glycine cleavage enzyme activity. They had low pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme activity but most did not have lactic acidosis. Patients were deficient in lipoylation of mitochondrial proteins. There were minimal and inconsistent changes in cellular iron handling, and respiratory chain activity was unaffected. Identified mutations were phylogenetically conserved, and transfection with native genes corrected the biochemical deficiency proving pathogenicity. Treatments of cells with lipoate and with mitochondrially-targeted lipoate were unsuccessful at correcting the deficiency. The recognition of variant nonketotic hyperglycinemia is important for physicians evaluating patients with abnormalities in glycine as this will affect the genetic causation and genetic counselling, and provide prognostic information on the expected phenotypic course.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awt328DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3914472PMC
February 2014

Deficiency of TDAG51 protects against atherosclerosis by modulating apoptosis, cholesterol efflux, and peroxiredoxin-1 expression.

J Am Heart Assoc 2013 May 17;2(3):e000134. Epub 2013 May 17.

Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, McMaster University and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Apoptosis caused by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress contributes to atherothrombosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). T-cell death-associated gene 51 (TDAG51), a member of the pleckstrin homology-like domain gene family, is induced by ER stress, causes apoptosis when overexpressed, and is present in lesion-resident macrophages and endothelial cells.

Methods And Results: To study the role of TDAG51 in atherosclerosis, male mice deficient in TDAG51 and apolipoprotein E (TDAG51(-/-)/ApoE(-/-)) were generated and showed reduced atherosclerotic lesion growth (56 ± 5% reduction at 40 weeks, relative to ApoE(-/-) controls, P<0.005) and necrosis (41 ± 4% versus 63 ± 8% lesion area in TDAG51(-/-)/ApoE(-/-) and ApoE(-/-), respectively; P<0.05) without changes in plasma levels of lipids, glucose, and inflammatory cytokines. TDAG51 deficiency caused several phenotypic changes in macrophages and endothelial cells that increase cytoprotection against oxidative and ER stress, enhance PPARγ-dependent reverse cholesterol transport, and upregulate peroxiredoxin-1 (Prdx-1), an antioxidant enzyme with antiatherogenic properties (1.8 ± 0.1-fold increase in Prdx-1 protein expression, relative to control macrophages; P<0.005). Two independent case-control studies found that a genetic variant in the human TDAG51 gene region (rs2367446) is associated with CVD (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.24; P=0.0003).

Conclusions: These findings provide evidence that TDAG51 affects specific cellular pathways known to reduce atherogenesis, suggesting that modulation of TDAG51 expression or its activity may have therapeutic benefit for the treatment of CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.113.000134DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3698773PMC
May 2013

Increased dietary fat contributes to dysregulation of the LKB1/AMPK pathway and increased damage in a mouse model of early-stage ethanol-mediated steatosis.

J Nutr Biochem 2013 Aug 1;24(8):1436-45. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Denver Anchutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the interaction of moderate and high dietary fat and ethanol with respect to formation of steatosis and regulation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway in a mouse model of chronic ethanol consumption.

Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice were pair-fed a modified Lieber-DeCarli diet composed of either moderate fat [30% fat-derived calories (MF)] or high fat [45% fat-derived calories (HF)] combined with increasing concentrations of ethanol (2%-6%) for 6 weeks.

Results: Chronic ethanol consumption resulted in significant increases in plasma alanine aminotransferase in MF (1.84-fold) and HF mice (2.33-fold), yet liver triglycerides only increased significantly in the HF model (1.62-fold). Ethanol addition significantly increased plasma adiponectin under conditions of MF but not HF. In combination with MF, the addition of ethanol significantly decreased total and hepatic pThr(172)AMPKα and acetyl CoA Carboxylase (ACC). HF plus ethanol decreased pSer(108)AMPKβ, yet a marked 1.5-fold increase in pThr(172)AMPKα occurred. No change was evident in pSer(79)ACC under conditions of ethanol and HF ingestion. In both models, nuclear levels of sterol response element binding protein 1c and carbohydrate response element binding protein were decreased. Surprisingly, MF plus ethanol significantly elevated protein expression of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD), long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCAD) and very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase but did not significantly affect mRNA expression of other proteins involved in β-oxidation and fatty acid synthesis. HF plus ethanol significantly reduced mRNA expression of both stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 and fatty acid elongase 5, but did not have an effect on MCAD or LCAD.

Conclusion: These data suggest that, when co-ingested with ethanol, dietary fat differentially contributes to dysregulation of adiponectin-dependent activation of the AMPK pathway in the liver of mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.12.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3713161PMC
August 2013

Loss of TDAG51 results in mature-onset obesity, hepatic steatosis, and insulin resistance by regulating lipogenesis.

Diabetes 2013 Jan 6;62(1):158-69. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Regulation of energy metabolism is critical for the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and hepatic steatosis. Here, we report an important role for the pleckstrin homology-related domain family member, T-cell death-associated gene 51 (TDAG51), in the regulation of energy metabolism. TDAG51 expression was examined during adipocyte differentiation. Adipogenic potential of preadipocytes with knockdown or absence of TDAG51 was assessed. Weight gain, insulin sensitivity, metabolic rate, and liver lipid content were also compared between TDAG51-deficient (TDAG51(-/-)) and wild-type mice. In addition to its relatively high expression in liver, TDAG51 was also present in white adipose tissue (WAT). TDAG51 was downregulated during adipogenesis, and TDAG51(-/-) preadipocytes exhibited greater lipogenic potential. TDAG51(-/-) mice fed a chow diet exhibited greater body and WAT mass, had reduced energy expenditure, displayed mature-onset insulin resistance (IR), and were predisposed to hepatic steatosis. TDAG51(-/-) mice had increased hepatic triglycerides and SREBP-1 target gene expression. Furthermore, TDAG51 expression was inversely correlated with fatty liver in multiple mouse models of hepatic steatosis. Taken together, our findings suggest that TDAG51 is involved in energy homeostasis at least in part by regulating lipogenesis in liver and WAT, and hence, may constitute a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and IR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db12-0256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3526025PMC
January 2013

Cystathionine protects against endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced lipid accumulation, tissue injury, and apoptotic cell death.

J Biol Chem 2012 Sep 1;287(38):31994-2005. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.

Cystathionine (R-S-(2-amino-2-carboxyethyl)-l-homocysteine) is a non-proteinogenic thioether containing amino acid. In mammals, cystathionine is formed as an intermediate of the transsulfuration pathway by the condensation of serine and homocysteine (Hcy) in a reaction catalyzed by cystathionine β-synthase (CBS). Cystathionine is subsequently converted to cysteine plus ammonia and α-ketobutyrate by the action of cystathionine γ-lyase (CGL). Pathogenic mutations in CBS result in CBS-deficient homocystinuria (HCU) which, if untreated, results in mental retardation, thromboembolic complications and connective tissue disorders. Currently there is no known function for cystathionine other than serving as an intermediate in transsulfuration and to date, the possible contribution of the abolition of cystathionine synthesis to pathogenesis in HCU has not been investigated. Using both mouse and cell-culture models, we have found that cystathionine is capable of blocking the induction of hepatic steatosis and kidney injury, acute tubular necrosis, and apoptotic cell death by the endoplasmic reticulum stress inducing agent tunicamycin. Northern and Western blotting analysis indicate that the protective effects of cystathionine occur without any obvious alteration of the induction of the unfolded protein response. Our data constitute the first experimental evidence that the abolition of cystathionine synthesis may contribute to the pathology of HCU and that this compound has therapeutic potential for disease states where ER stress is implicated as a primary initiating pathogenic factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M112.355172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3442531PMC
September 2012

Oxidative Stress and the ER Stress Response in a Murine Model for Early-Stage Alcoholic Liver Disease.

J Toxicol 2012 5;2012:207594. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and constitutes a significant socioeconomic burden. Previous work has implicated oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the etiology of ALD; however, the complex and interrelated nature of these cellular responses presently confounds our understanding of ethanol-induced hepatopathy. In this paper, we assessed the pathological contribution of oxidative stress and ER stress in a time-course mouse model of early-stage ALD. Ethanol-treated mice exhibited significant hepatic panlobular steatosis and elevated plasma ALT values compared to isocaloric controls. Oxidative stress was observed in the ethanol-treated animals through a significant increase in hepatic TBARS and immunohistochemical staining of 4-HNE-modified proteins. Hepatic glutathione (GSH) levels were significantly decreased as a consequence of decreased CBS activity, increased GSH utilization, and increased protein glutathionylation. At the same time, immunoblot analysis of the PERK, IRE1α, ATF6, and SREBP pathways reveals no significant role for these UPR pathways in the etiology of hepatic steatosis associated with early-stage ALD. Collectively, our results indicate a primary pathogenic role for oxidative stress in the early initiating stages of ALD that precedes the involvement of the ER stress response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/207594DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399426PMC
August 2012
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