Publications by authors named "Theo Wallimann"

93 Publications

Creatine Supplementation for Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Scientific Rationale for a Clinical Trial

Nutrients 2021 04 23;13(5). Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Comparative Immunology Group, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, D2 Dublin, Ireland.

Based on theoretical considerations, experimental data with cells in vitro, animal studies in vivo, as well as a single case pilot study with one colitis patient, a consolidated hypothesis can be put forward, stating that "oral supplementation with creatine monohydrate (Cr), a pleiotropic cellular energy precursor, is likely to be effective in inducing a favorable response and/or remission in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like ulcerative colitis and/or Crohn's disease". A current pilot clinical trial that incorporates the use of oral Cr at a dose of 2 × 7 g per day, over an initial period of 2 months in conjunction with ongoing therapies (NCT02463305) will be informative for the proposed larger, more long-term Cr supplementation study of 2 × 3-5 g of Cr per day for a time of 3-6 months. This strategy should be insightful to the potential for Cr in reducing or alleviating the symptoms of IBD. Supplementation with chemically pure Cr, a natural nutritional supplement, is well tolerated not only by healthy subjects, but also by patients with diverse neuromuscular diseases. If the outcome of such a clinical pilot study with Cr as monotherapy or in conjunction with metformin were positive, oral Cr supplementation could then be used in the future as potentially useful adjuvant therapeutic intervention for patients with IBD, preferably together with standard medication used for treating patients with chronic ulcerative colitis and/or Crohn's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13051429DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8145094PMC
April 2021

Creatine homeostasis and protein energy wasting in hemodialysis patients.

J Transl Med 2021 03 20;19(1):115. Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, 9713 GZ, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Muscle wasting, low protein intake, hypoalbuminemia, low body mass, and chronic fatigue are prevalent in hemodialysis patients. Impaired creatine status may be an often overlooked, potential contributor to these symptoms. However, little is known about creatine homeostasis in hemodialysis patients. We aimed to elucidate creatine homeostasis in hemodialysis patients by assessing intradialytic plasma changes as well as intra- and interdialytic losses of arginine, guanidinoacetate, creatine and creatinine. Additionally, we investigated associations of plasma creatine concentrations with low muscle mass, low protein intake, hypoalbuminemia, low body mass index, and chronic fatigue. Arginine, guanidinoacetate, creatine and creatinine were measured in plasma, dialysate, and urinary samples of 59 hemodialysis patients. Mean age was 65 ± 15 years and 63% were male. During hemodialysis, plasma concentrations of arginine (77 ± 22 to 60 ± 19 μmol/L), guanidinoacetate (1.8 ± 0.6 to 1.0 ± 0.3 μmol/L), creatine (26 [16-41] to 21 [15-30] μmol/L) and creatinine (689 ± 207 to 257 ± 92 μmol/L) decreased (all P < 0.001). During a hemodialysis session, patients lost 1939 ± 871 μmol arginine, 37 ± 20 μmol guanidinoacetate, 719 [399-1070] μmol creatine and 15.5 ± 8.4 mmol creatinine. In sex-adjusted models, lower plasma creatine was associated with a higher odds of low muscle mass (OR per halving: 2.00 [1.05-4.14]; P = 0.04), low protein intake (OR: 2.13 [1.17-4.27]; P = 0.02), hypoalbuminemia (OR: 3.13 [1.46-8.02]; P = 0.008) and severe fatigue (OR: 3.20 [1.52-8.05]; P = 0.006). After adjustment for potential confounders, these associations remained materially unchanged. Creatine is iatrogenically removed during hemodialysis and lower plasma creatine concentrations were associated with higher odds of low muscle mass, low protein intake, hypoalbuminemia, and severe fatigue, indicating a potential role for creatine supplementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02780-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7981955PMC
March 2021

Plasma creatine and incident type 2 diabetes in a general population-based cohort: The PREVEND study.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2021 Apr 10;94(4):563-574. Epub 2021 Jan 10.

Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Type 2 diabetes is associated with both impaired insulin action at target tissues and impaired insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction may play a role in both insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. Plasma creatine has been proposed as a potential marker for mitochondrial dysfunction. We aimed to investigate the association between plasma creatine and incident type 2 diabetes.

Methods: We measured fasting plasma creatine concentrations by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in participants of the general population-based PREVEND study. The study outcome was incident type 2 diabetes, defined as a fasting plasma glucose ≥7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl); a random sample plasma glucose ≥11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dl); self-report of a physician diagnosis or the use of glucose-lowering medications based on a central pharmacy registration. Associations of plasma creatine with type 2 diabetes were quantified using Cox proportional hazards models and were adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: We included 4735 participants aged 52 ± 11 years, of whom 49% were male. Mean plasma creatine concentrations were 36.7 ± 17.6 µmol/L, with lower concentrations in males than in females (30.4 ± 15.1 µmol/L vs. 42.7 ± 17.7 µmol/L; p for difference <.001). During 7.3 [6.2-7.7] years of follow-up, 235 (5.4%) participants developed type 2 diabetes. Higher plasma creatine concentrations were associated with an increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes (HR per SD change: 1.27 [95% CI: 1.11-1.44]; p < .001), independent of potential confounders. This association was strongly modified by sex (p interaction <.001). Higher plasma creatine was associated with an increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes in males (HR: 1.40 [1.17-1.67]; p < .001), but not in females (HR: 1.10 [0.90-1.34]; p = .37).

Conclusion: Fasting plasma creatine concentrations are lower in males than in females. Higher plasma creatine is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cen.14396DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048485PMC
April 2021

Role of creatine and creatine kinase in UCP1-independent adipocyte thermogenesis.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2020 11 21;319(5):E944-E946. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

University Grenoble Alpes and Inserm U1055, Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics & SFR Environmental and Systems Biology, Grenoble, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00367.2020DOI Listing
November 2020

Intradialytic creatine supplementation: A scientific rationale for improving the health and quality of life of dialysis patients.

Med Hypotheses 2017 Feb 7;99:1-14. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

Nephrology Klinik Im Park, Zurich, Switzerland.

The CK/PCr-system, with creatine (Cr) as an energy precursor, plays a crucial role in cellular physiology. In the kidney, as in other organs and cells with high and fluctuating energy requirements, energy-charged phospho-creatine (PCr) acts as an immediate high-energy source and energy buffer, and as an intracellular energy transport vehicle. A maximally filled total Cr (Cr plus PCr) pool is a prerequisite for optimal functioning of the body and its organs, and health. Skeletal- and cardiac muscles of dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are depleted of Cr in parallel with the duration of dialysis. The accompanying accumulation of cellular damage seen in CKD patients lead to a deterioration of musculo-skeletal and neurological functioning and poor quality of life (QOL). Therefore, to counteract Cr depletion, it is proposed to supplement CKD patients with Cr. The anticipated benefits include previously documented improvements in the musculo-skeletal system, brain and peripheral nervous system, as well as improvements in the common comorbidities of CKD patients (see below). Thus, with a relatively simple, safe and inexpensive Cr supplementation marked improvements in quality of life (QOL) and life span are likely reached. To avoid Cr and fluid overload by oral Cr administration, we propose intradialytic Cr supplementation, whereby a relatively small amount of Cr is added to the large volume of dialysis solution to a final concentration of 1-10mM. From there, Cr enters the patient's circulation by back diffusion during dialysis. Because of the high affinity of the Cr transporter (CRT) for Cr affinity for Cr (Vmax of CRT for Cr=20-40μM Cr), Cr is actively transported from the blood stream into the target cells and organs, including skeletal and cardiac muscle, brain, proximal tubules of kidney epithelial cells, neurons, and leukocytes and erythrocytes, which all express CRT and depend on the CK/PCr system. By this intradialytic strategy, only as much Cr is taken up by the body as is needed to fill the tissue Cr pools and no excess Cr has to be excreted, as is the case with oral Cr. Because aqueous solutions of Cr are not very stable, Cr must be added immediately before dialysis either as solid Cr powder or from a frozen Cr stock solution to the dialysate, or alternatively, Cr could become an additional component of a novel dry dialysate mixture in a cartridge device.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2016.12.002DOI Listing
February 2017

Creatine: a miserable life without it.

Amino Acids 2016 08;48(8):1739-50

Formerly University of Chichester, Chichester, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-016-2297-xDOI Listing
August 2016

Creatine supplementation improves neural progenitor cell survival in Huntington's disease.

Brain Circ 2016 Jul-Sep;2(3):133-137. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Berne, Inselspital, CH-3010 Berne, Switzerland.

Preclinical and clinical studies suggest that striatal transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) and neural progenitor cells (NPCs) may be an appealing and valuable system for treating Huntington's disease. Nevertheless, for a neural replacement to become an effective translational treatment for Huntington's disease, a certain number of difficulties must be addressed, including how to improve the integration of transplanted cell grafts with the host tissue, to elevate the survival rates of transplanted cells, and to ensure their directed differentiation into specific neuronal phenotypes. Research focusing on the translational applications of creatine (Cr) supplementation in NSC and NPC cell replacement therapies continues to offer promising results, pointing to Cr as a factor with the potential to improve cell graft survivability and encourage differentiation toward GABAergic phenotypes in models of striatal transplantation. Here, we evaluate research examining the outcomes of Cr supplementation and how the timing of supplementation regimes may affect their efficacy. The recent studies indicate that Cr's effects vary according to the developmental stage of the cells being treated, noting the dynamic differences in creatine kinase expression over the developmental stages of differentiating NPCs. This research continues to move Cr supplementation closer to the widespread clinical application and suggests such techniques warrant further examination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/2394-8108.192519DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126277PMC
October 2016

The effects of creatine supplementation on striatal neural progenitor cells depend on developmental stage.

Amino Acids 2016 08 29;48(8):1913-27. Epub 2016 Apr 29.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Berne, Inselspital, Freiburgstrasse 10, 3010, Berne, Switzerland.

Transplantation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) is a promising experimental therapy for Huntington's disease (HD). The variables responsible for the success of this approach, including selection of the optimal developmental stage of the grafted cells, are however largely unknown. Supporting cellular energy metabolism by creatine (Cr) supplementation is a clinically translatable method for improving cell transplantation strategies. The present study aims at investigating differences between early (E14) and late (E18) developmental stages of rat striatal NPCs in vitro. NPCs were isolated from E14 and E18 embryos and cultured for 7 days with or without Cr [5 mM]. Chronic treatment significantly increased the percentage of GABA-immunoreactive neurons as compared to untreated controls, both in the E14 (170.4 ± 4.7 %) and the E18 groups (129.3 ± 9.3 %). This effect was greater in E14 cultures (p < 0.05). Similarly, short-term treatment for 24 h resulted in increased induction (p < 0.05) of the GABA-ergic phenotype in E14 (163.0 ± 10.4 %), compared to E18 cultures (133.3 ± 9.5 %). Total neuronal cell numbers and general viability were not affected by Cr (p > 0.05). Protective effects of Cr against a metabolic insult were equal in E14 and E18 NPCs (p > 0.05). Cr exposure promoted morphological differentiation of GABA-ergic neurons, including neurite length in both groups (p < 0.05), but the number of branching points was increased only in the E18 group (p < 0.05). Our results demonstrate that the role of Cr as a GABA-ergic differentiation factor depends on the developmental stage of striatal NPCs, while Cr-mediated neuroprotection is not significantly influenced. These findings have potential implications for optimizing future cell replacement strategies in HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-016-2238-8DOI Listing
August 2016

The extended, dynamic mitochondrial reticulum in skeletal muscle and the creatine kinase (CK)/phosphocreatine (PCr) shuttle are working hand in hand for optimal energy provision.

Authors:
Theo Wallimann

J Muscle Res Cell Motil 2015 Oct 20;36(4-5):297-300. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Department of Biology, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10974-015-9427-zDOI Listing
October 2015

Comment on "toxic hepatitis in a group of 20 male body-builders taking dietary supplements" by.

Authors:
Theo Wallimann

Food Chem Toxicol 2013 Jan 26;51:453-4. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.10.022DOI Listing
January 2013

Phosphocreatine interacts with phospholipids, affects membrane properties and exerts membrane-protective effects.

PLoS One 2012 17;7(8):e43178. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

University Joseph Fourier, Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, Grenoble, France.

A broad spectrum of beneficial effects has been ascribed to creatine (Cr), phosphocreatine (PCr) and their cyclic analogues cyclo-(cCr) and phospho-cyclocreatine (PcCr). Cr is widely used as nutritional supplement in sports and increasingly also as adjuvant treatment for pathologies such as myopathies and a plethora of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, Cr and its cyclic analogues have been proposed for anti-cancer treatment. The mechanisms involved in these pleiotropic effects are still controversial and far from being understood. The reversible conversion of Cr and ATP into PCr and ADP by creatine kinase, generating highly diffusible PCr energy reserves, is certainly an important element. However, some protective effects of Cr and analogues cannot be satisfactorily explained solely by effects on the cellular energy state. Here we used mainly liposome model systems to provide evidence for interaction of PCr and PcCr with different zwitterionic phospholipids by applying four independent, complementary biochemical and biophysical assays: (i) chemical binding assay, (ii) surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR), (iii) solid-state (31)P-NMR, and (iv) differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). SPR revealed low affinity PCr/phospholipid interaction that additionally induced changes in liposome shape as indicated by NMR and SPR. Additionally, DSC revealed evidence for membrane packing effects by PCr, as seen by altered lipid phase transition. Finally, PCr efficiently protected against membrane permeabilization in two different model systems: liposome-permeabilization by the membrane-active peptide melittin, and erythrocyte hemolysis by the oxidative drug doxorubicin, hypoosmotic stress or the mild detergent saponin. These findings suggest a new molecular basis for non-energy related functions of PCr and its cyclic analogue. PCr/phospholipid interaction and alteration of membrane structure may not only protect cellular membranes against various insults, but could have more general implications for many physiological membrane-related functions that are relevant for health and disease.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0043178PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3422282PMC
May 2013

Molecular system bioenergics of the heart: experimental studies of metabolic compartmentation and energy fluxes versus computer modeling.

Int J Mol Sci 2011 13;12(12):9296-331. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Institute of Experimental Cardiology, Cardiology Research Center, Moscow, 121552, Russia.

In this review we analyze the recent important and remarkable advancements in studies of compartmentation of adenine nucleotides in muscle cells due to their binding to macromolecular complexes and cellular structures, which results in non-equilibrium steady state of the creatine kinase reaction. We discuss the problems of measuring the energy fluxes between different cellular compartments and their simulation by using different computer models. Energy flux determinations by (18)O transfer method have shown that in heart about 80% of energy is carried out of mitochondrial intermembrane space into cytoplasm by phosphocreatine fluxes generated by mitochondrial creatine kinase from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), produced by ATP Synthasome. We have applied the mathematical model of compartmentalized energy transfer for analysis of experimental data on the dependence of oxygen consumption rate on heart workload in isolated working heart reported by Williamson et al. The analysis of these data show that even at the maximal workloads and respiration rates, equal to 174 μmol O(2) per min per g dry weight, phosphocreatine flux, and not ATP, carries about 80-85% percent of energy needed out of mitochondria into the cytosol. We analyze also the reasons of failures of several computer models published in the literature to correctly describe the experimental data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms12129296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257131PMC
January 2015

A short review on creatine-creatine kinase system in relation to cancer and some experimental results on creatine as adjuvant in cancer therapy.

Amino Acids 2012 Jun 19;42(6):2319-30. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Department of Biological Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, 700 032, India.

The creatine/creatine kinase (CK) system plays a key role in cellular energy buffering and transport. In vertebrates, CK has four isoforms expressed in a tissue-specific manner. In the process of creatine biosynthesis several other important metabolites are formed. The anticancer effect of creatine had been reported in the past, and recent literature has reported low creatine content in several types of malignant cells. Furthermore, creatine can protect cardiac mitochondria from the deleterious effects of some anticancer compounds. Previous work from our laboratory showed progressive decrease of phosphocreatine, creatine and CK upon transformation of skeletal muscle into sarcoma. It was convincingly demonstrated that prominent expression of creatine-synthesizing enzymes L-arginine: glycine amidinotransferase and N-guanidinoacetate methyltransferase occurs in sarcoma, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and sarcoma 180 cells; whereas, both these enzymes are virtually undetectable in skeletal muscle. Creatine transporter also remained unaltered in malignant cells. The anticancer effect of methylglyoxal had been known for a long time. The present work shows that this anticancer effect of methylglyoxal is significantly augmented in presence of creatine. On creatine supplementation the effect of methylglyoxal plus ascorbic acid was further augmented and there was no visible sign of tumor. Moreover, creatine and CK, which were very low in sarcoma tissue, were significantly elevated with the concomitant regression of tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-0974-3DOI Listing
June 2012

The creatine kinase system and pleiotropic effects of creatine.

Amino Acids 2011 May 30;40(5):1271-96. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The pleiotropic effects of creatine (Cr) are based mostly on the functions of the enzyme creatine kinase (CK) and its high-energy product phosphocreatine (PCr). Multidisciplinary studies have established molecular, cellular, organ and somatic functions of the CK/PCr system, in particular for cells and tissues with high and intermittent energy fluctuations. These studies include tissue-specific expression and subcellular localization of CK isoforms, high-resolution molecular structures and structure-function relationships, transgenic CK abrogation and reverse genetic approaches. Three energy-related physiological principles emerge, namely that the CK/PCr systems functions as (a) an immediately available temporal energy buffer, (b) a spatial energy buffer or intracellular energy transport system (the CK/PCr energy shuttle or circuit) and (c) a metabolic regulator. The CK/PCr energy shuttle connects sites of ATP production (glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation) with subcellular sites of ATP utilization (ATPases). Thus, diffusion limitations of ADP and ATP are overcome by PCr/Cr shuttling, as most clearly seen in polar cells such as spermatozoa, retina photoreceptor cells and sensory hair bundles of the inner ear. The CK/PCr system relies on the close exchange of substrates and products between CK isoforms and ATP-generating or -consuming processes. Mitochondrial CK in the mitochondrial outer compartment, for example, is tightly coupled to ATP export via adenine nucleotide transporter or carrier (ANT) and thus ATP-synthesis and respiratory chain activity, releasing PCr into the cytosol. This coupling also reduces formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibits mitochondrial permeability transition, an early event in apoptosis. Cr itself may also act as a direct and/or indirect anti-oxidant, while PCr can interact with and protect cellular membranes. Collectively, these factors may well explain the beneficial effects of Cr supplementation. The stimulating effects of Cr for muscle and bone growth and maintenance, and especially in neuroprotection, are now recognized and the first clinical studies are underway. Novel socio-economically relevant applications of Cr supplementation are emerging, e.g. for senior people, intensive care units and dialysis patients, who are notoriously Cr-depleted. Also, Cr will likely be beneficial for the healthy development of premature infants, who after separation from the placenta depend on external Cr. Cr supplementation of pregnant and lactating women, as well as of babies and infants are likely to be of benefit for child development. Last but not least, Cr harbours a global ecological potential as an additive for animal feed, replacing meat- and fish meal for animal (poultry and swine) and fish aqua farming. This may help to alleviate human starvation and at the same time prevent over-fishing of oceans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-0877-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080659PMC
May 2011

Regulation of the creatine transporter by AMP-activated protein kinase in kidney epithelial cells.

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2010 Jul 12;299(1):F167-77. Epub 2010 May 12.

Renal-Electrolyte Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.

The metabolic sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates several transport proteins, potentially coupling transport activity to cellular stress and energy levels. The creatine transporter (CRT; SLC6A8) mediates creatine uptake into several cell types, including kidney epithelial cells, where it has been proposed that CRT is important for reclamation of filtered creatine, a process critical for total body creatine homeostasis. Creatine and phosphocreatine provide an intracellular, high-energy phosphate-buffering system essential for maintaining ATP supply in tissues with high energy demands. To test our hypothesis that CRT is regulated by AMPK in the kidney, we examined CRT and AMPK distribution in the kidney and the regulation of CRT by AMPK in cells. By immunofluorescence staining, we detected CRT at the apical pole in a polarized mouse S3 proximal tubule cell line and in native rat kidney proximal tubules, a distribution overlapping with AMPK. Two-electrode voltage-clamp (TEV) measurements of Na(+)-dependent creatine uptake into CRT-expressing Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrated that AMPK inhibited CRT via a reduction in its Michaelis-Menten V(max) parameter. [(14)C]creatine uptake and apical surface biotinylation measurements in polarized S3 cells demonstrated parallel reductions in creatine influx and CRT apical membrane expression after AMPK activation with the AMP-mimetic compound 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranoside. In oocyte TEV experiments, rapamycin and the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranosyl 5'-monophosphate (ZMP) inhibited CRT currents, but there was no additive inhibition of CRT by ZMP, suggesting that AMPK may inhibit CRT indirectly via the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. We conclude that AMPK inhibits apical membrane CRT expression in kidney proximal tubule cells, which could be important in reducing cellular energy expenditure and unnecessary creatine reabsorption under conditions of local and whole body metabolic stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajprenal.00162.2010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904179PMC
July 2010

PKA phosphorylates and inactivates AMPKalpha to promote efficient lipolysis.

EMBO J 2010 Jan 26;29(2):469-81. Epub 2009 Nov 26.

Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The mobilization of metabolic energy from adipocytes depends on a tightly regulated balance between hydrolysis and resynthesis of triacylglycerides (TAGs). Hydrolysis is stimulated by beta-adrenergic signalling to PKA that mediates phosphorylation of lipolytic enzymes, including hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). TAG resynthesis is associated with high-energy consumption, which when inordinate, leads to increased AMPK activity that acts to restrain hydrolysis of TAGs by inhibiting PKA-mediated activation of HSL. Here, we report that in primary mouse adipocytes, PKA associates with and phosphorylates AMPKalpha1 at Ser-173 to impede threonine (Thr-172) phosphorylation and thus activation of AMPKalpha1 by LKB1 in response to lipolytic signals. Activation of AMPKalpha1 by LKB1 is also blocked by PKA-mediated phosphorylation of AMPKalpha1 in vitro. Functional analysis of an AMPKalpha1 species carrying a non-phosphorylatable mutation at Ser-173 revealed a critical function of this phosphorylation for efficient release of free fatty acids and glycerol in response to PKA-activating signals. These results suggest a new mechanism of negative regulation of AMPK activity by PKA that is important for converting a lipolytic signal into an effective lipolytic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2009.339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824464PMC
January 2010

Homo-oligomerization and activation of AMP-activated protein kinase are mediated by the kinase domain alphaG-helix.

J Biol Chem 2009 Oct 3;284(40):27425-37. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Department of Biology, Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a heterotrimeric complex playing a crucial role in maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. Recently, homodimerization of mammalian AMPK and yeast ortholog SNF1 was shown by us and others. In SNF1, it involved specific hydrophobic residues in the kinase domain alphaG-helix. Mutation of the corresponding AMPK alpha-subunit residues (Val-219 and Phe-223) to glutamate reduced the tendency of the kinase to form higher order homo-oligomers, as was determined by the following three independent techniques in vitro: (i) small angle x-ray scattering, (ii) surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, and (iii) two-dimensional blue native/SDS-PAGE. Recombinant protein as well as AMPK in cell lysates of primary cells revealed distinct complexes of various sizes. In particular, the assembly of very high molecular mass complexes was dependent on both the alphaG-helix-mediated hydrophobic interactions and kinase activation. In vitro and when overexpressed in double knock-out (alpha1(-/-), alpha2(-/-)) mouse embryonic fibroblast cells, activation of mutant AMPK was impaired, indicating a critical role of the alphaG-helix residues for AMPK activation via its upstream kinases. Also inactivation by protein phosphatase 2Calpha was affected in mutant AMPK. Importantly, activation of mutant AMPK by LKB1 was restored by exchanging the corresponding and conserved hydrophobic alphaG-helix residues of LKB1 (Ile-260 and Phe-264) to positively charged amino acids. These mutations functionally rescued LKB1-dependent activation of mutant AMPK in vitro and in cell culture. Our data suggest a physiological role for the hydrophobic alphaG-helix residues in homo-oligomerization of heterotrimers and cellular interactions, in particular with upstream kinases, indicating an additional level of AMPK regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.047670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785672PMC
October 2009

Developmental changes in the expression of creatine synthesizing enzymes and creatine transporter in a precocial rodent, the spiny mouse.

BMC Dev Biol 2009 Jul 1;9:39. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, Australia 3800.

Background: Creatine synthesis takes place predominately in the kidney and liver via a two-step process involving AGAT (L-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase) and GAMT (guanidinoacetate methyltransferase). Creatine is taken into cells via the creatine transporter (CrT), where it plays an essential role in energy homeostasis, particularly for tissues with high and fluctuating energy demands. Very little is known of the fetal requirement for creatine and how this may change with advancing pregnancy and into the early neonatal period. Using the spiny mouse as a model of human perinatal development, the purpose of the present study was to comprehensively examine the development of the creatine synthesis and transport systems.

Results: The estimated amount of total creatine in the placenta and brain significantly increased in the second half of pregnancy, coinciding with a significant increase in expression of CrT mRNA. In the fetal brain, mRNA expression of AGAT increased steadily across the second half of pregnancy, although GAMT mRNA expression was relatively low until 34 days gestation (term is 38-39 days). In the fetal kidney and liver, AGAT and GAMT mRNA and protein expression were also relatively low until 34-37 days gestation. Between mid-gestation and term, neither AGAT or GAMT mRNA or protein could be detected in the placenta.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that in the spiny mouse, a species where, like the human, considerable organogenesis occurs before birth, there appears to be a limited capacity for endogenous creatine synthesis until approximately 0.9 of pregnancy. This implies that a maternal source of creatine, transferred across the placenta, may be essential until the creatine synthesis and transport system matures in preparation for birth. If these results also apply to the human, premature birth may increase the risk of creatine deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-213X-9-39DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2713216PMC
July 2009

Development and performance of an enzyme immunoassay to detect creatine kinase isoenzyme MB activity using anti-mitochondrial creatine kinase monoclonal antibodies.

Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2009 ;69(6):687-95

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Objective: The MB fraction of creatine kinase (CK-MB) has long been used as a cardiac marker. It is known that the CK-MB immunoinhibition method lacks selectivity and accuracy, because the appearance of macro CK type 2, corresponding to mitochondrial creatine kinase (MtCK) in some patient serum may render CK-MB activity measured by conventional method abnormally high. Thus, to improve the specificity and accuracy of the CK-MB assay, we developed two types of monoclonal anti-MtCK antibodies against sarcomeric MtCK and ubiquitous MtCK, and present herein the performance of a new method using these antibodies.

Material And Methods: The performance of our test for detecting CK-MB activity was compared with other methods, and the range of CK-MB activities in normal human serum was investigated.

Results: The two types of monoclonal antibodies developed by us were isoenzyme-specific to sMtCK or uMtCK. The correlation coefficients of our method and conventional method to electrophoresis were 0.973 and 0.873, respectively. The mean CK-MB activity in normal human serum by our method and the conventional method was 2.4 and 11.7 U/L, respectively. Thus, our data indicated that about 80% of CK-MB activity, determined using the conventional method, seems to correspond to the MtCK activity.

Conclusion: Our method is novel in offering higher accuracy of measuring true CK-MB contents in human serum as compared to the conventional method. The possibility of accurately estimating CK-MB activity by our method which can inhibit MtCKs in healthy person and patient serum is likely to bring a break-through in clinical diagnostics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/00365510902981171DOI Listing
December 2009

A versatile multidimensional protein purification system with full internet remote control based on a standard HPLC system.

Biotechniques 2009 May;46(6):ix-xii

INSERM U884, Université Joseph Fourier, Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, Grenoble, France.

The standard Akta Explorer high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system has limitations for the automation of multidimensional protein purification. Here, we describe simple modifications that allow for automated multidimensional purification protocols to extend the possibilities of the Akta three-dimensional purification kit in terms of column number, flexibility of volumes stocked for re-injection of samples, and available choice of buffers. These modifications do not preclude the use of standard one-dimensional purification protocols. Additionally, we demonstrate a technology for encrypted full remote control of the machine over the Internet by cost-effective use of standard asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) that enables direct remote interaction with the machine without preventing local control. A 4-column purification scheme, including equilibration and cleaning in place (CIP) procedures, was implemented on such a system. It significantly increased reproducibility and shortened processing time by 85%, as compared with manual operation, thus allowing for automated protein purification overnight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/000113130DOI Listing
May 2009

Tracking and quantification of 32P-labeled phosphopeptides in liquid chromatography matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry.

Anal Biochem 2009 Jul 17;390(2):141-8. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Institute of Cell Biology, Department of Biology, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

Phosphoamino acid modifications on substrate proteins are critical components of protein kinase signaling pathways. Thus, diverse methodologies have been developed and applied to identify the sites of phosphorylated amino acids within proteins. Despite significant progress in the field, even the determination of phosphorylated residues in a given highly purified protein is not a matter of routine and can be difficult and time-consuming. Here we present a practicable approach that integrates into a liquid chromatography matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (LC-MALDI MS) workflow and allows localization and quantification of phosphorylated peptides on the MALDI target plate prior to MS analysis. Tryptic digests of radiolabeled proteins are fractionated by reversed-phase LC directly onto disposable MALDI target plates, followed by autoradiographic imaging. Visualization of the radiolabel enables focused analysis of selected spots, thereby accelerating the process of phosphorylation site mapping by decreasing the number of spectra to be acquired. Moreover, absolute quantification of the phosphorylated peptides is permitted by the use of appropriate standards. Finally, the manual sample handling is minimal, and consequently the risk of adsorptive sample loss is very low. Application of the procedure allowed the targeted identification of six novel autophosphorylation sites of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and displayed additional unknown phosphorylated peptide species not amenable to detection by MS. Furthermore, autoradiography revealed topologically inhomogeneous distribution of phosphorylated peptides within individual spots. However, accurate analysis of defined areas within single spots suggests that, rather than such quantitative differences, mainly the manner of matrix crystallization significantly affects ionization of phosphopeptides.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ab.2009.04.015DOI Listing
July 2009

Metabolic compartmentation - a system level property of muscle cells: real problems of diffusion in living cells.

Int J Mol Sci 2008 May 9;9(5):751-67. Epub 2008 May 9.

INSERM U, Joseph Fourier University Grenoble, France.

Problems of quantitative investigation of intracellular diffusion and compartmentation of metabolites are analyzed. Principal controversies in recently published analyses of these problems for the living cells are discussed. It is shown that the formal theoretical analysis of diffusion of metabolites based on Fick's equation and using fixed diffusion coefficients for diluted homogenous aqueous solutions, but applied for biological systems in vivo without any comparison with experimental results, may lead to misleading conclusions, which are contradictory to most biological observations. However, if the same theoretical methods are used for analysis of actual experimental data, the apparent diffusion constants obtained are orders of magnitude lower than those in diluted aqueous solutions. Thus, it can be concluded that local restrictions of diffusion of metabolites in a cell are a system-level properties caused by complex structural organization of the cells, macromolecular crowding, cytoskeletal networks and organization of metabolic pathways into multienzyme complexes and metabolons. This results in microcompartmentation of metabolites, their channeling between enzymes and in modular organization of cellular metabolic networks. The perspectives of further studies of these complex intracellular interactions in the framework of Systems Biology are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms9050751DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2635703PMC
May 2008

Enzymes of creatine biosynthesis, arginine and methionine metabolism in normal and malignant cells.

FEBS J 2008 Dec;275(23):5899-909

Department of Biological Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur, Kolkata, India.

The creatine/creatine kinase system decreases drastically in sarcoma. In the present study, an investigation of catalytic activities, western blot and mRNA expression unambiguously demonstrates the prominent expression of the creatine-synthesizing enzymes l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase and N-guanidinoacetate methyltransferase in sarcoma, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and Sarcoma 180 cells, whereas both enzymes were virtually undetectable in normal muscle. Compared to that of normal animals, these enzymes remained unaffected in the kidney or liver of sarcoma-bearing mice. High activity and expression of mitochondrial arginase II in sarcoma indicated increased ornithine formation. Slightly or moderately higher levels of ornithine, guanidinoacetate and creatinine were observed in sarcoma compared to muscle. Despite the intrinsically low level of creatine in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and Sarcoma 180 cells, these cells could significantly take up and release creatine, suggesting a functional creatine transport, as verified by measuring mRNA levels of creatine transporter. Transcript levels of arginase II, ornithine-decarboxylase, S-adenosyl-homocysteine hydrolase and methionine-synthase were significantly upregulated in sarcoma and in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and Sarcoma 180 cells. Overall, the enzymes related to creatine and arginine/methionine metabolism were found to be significantly upregulated in malignant cells. However, the low levels of creatine kinase in the same malignant cells do not appear to be sufficient for the building up of an effective creatine/phosphocreatine pool. Instead of supporting creatine biosynthesis, l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase and N-guanidinoacetate methyltransferase appear to be geared to support cancer cell metabolism in the direction of polyamine and methionine synthesis because both these compounds are in high demand in proliferating cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06718.xDOI Listing
December 2008

An automated home-built low-cost fermenter suitable for large-scale bacterial expression of proteins in Escherichia coli.

Biotechniques 2008 Aug;45(2):187-9

Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

We have developed an automated fermentation system for cost-efficient upscaling of protein expression in bacteria. The system, built for use by nonbiotechnologists, can be assembled mostly from standard laboratory equipment and allows a largely unattended growth of bacteria to OD 25 (at 600 nm) in a 12 L vessel. The typical yield of 250-350 g of wet weight cell pellet per run, which is equivalent to the biomass obtained from 250 shake flask cultures containing 400 mL Luria-Broth medium each, facilitates the production of large amounts of purified recombinant protein without the laborious need for optimization of expression and purification conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/000112830DOI Listing
August 2008

Creatine and creatine kinase in health and disease--a bright future ahead?

Subcell Biochem 2007 ;46:309-34

DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., Biotechnology R&D, Bldg. 203/17B, P.O. Box 3255, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.

Many links are reported or suspected between the functioning of creatine, phosphocreatine, the creatine kinase isoenzymes or the creatine biosynthesis enzymes on one hand, and health or disease on the other hand. The aim of the present book was to outline our current understanding on many of these links. In this chapter, we summarize the main messages and conclusions presented in this book. In addition, we refer to a number of recent publications that highlight the pleiotropy in physiological functions of creatine and creatine kinase, and which suggest that numerous discoveries on new functions of this system are still ahead of us. Finally, we present our views on the most promising future avenues of research to deepen our knowledge on creatine and creatine kinase. In particular, we elaborate on how state-of-the-art high-throughput analytical ("omics") technologies and systems biology approaches may be used successfully to unravel the complex network of interdependent physiological functions related to creatine and creatine kinase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6486-9_16DOI Listing
August 2008

The creatine kinase phosphotransfer network: thermodynamic and kinetic considerations, the impact of the mitochondrial outer membrane and modelling approaches.

Subcell Biochem 2007 ;46:27-65

Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, INSERM U 884, Joseph Fourier University, 2280, Rue de la Piscine, BP53X-38041, Grenoble Cedex 9, France.

In this review, we summarize the main structural and functional data on the role of the phosphocreatine (PCr)--creatine kinase (CK) pathway for compartmentalized energy transfer in cardiac cells. Mitochondrial creatine kinase, MtCK, fixed by cardiolipin molecules in the vicinity of the adenine nucleotide translocator, is a key enzyme in this pathway. Direct transfer of ATP and ADP between these proteins has been revealed both in experimental studies on the kinetics of the regulation of mitochondrial respiration and by mathematical modelling as a main mechanism of functional coupling of PCr production to oxidative phosphorylation. In cells in vivo or in permeabilized cells in situ, this coupling is reinforced by limited permeability of the outer membrane of the mitochondria for adenine nucleotides due to the contacts with cytoskeletal proteins. Due to these mechanisms, at least 80% of total energy is exported from mitochondria by PCr molecules. Mathematical modelling of intracellular diffusion and energy transfer shows that the main function of the PCr-CK pathway is to connect different pools (compartments) of ATP and, by this way, to overcome the local restrictions and diffusion limitation of adenine nucleotides due to the high degree of structural organization of cardiac cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6486-9_3DOI Listing
August 2008

Introduction--creatine: cheap ergogenic supplement with great potential for health and disease.

Authors:
Theo Wallimann

Subcell Biochem 2007 ;46:1-16

Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg HPM-D24.1, Schafmattstrasse 18, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6486-9_1DOI Listing
August 2008

European research needs a dash of anarchy.

Authors:
Theo Wallimann

Nature 2008 Jun;453(7197):850

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/453850cDOI Listing
June 2008