The relationship between human skeletal muscle pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase activity and muscle aerobic capacity
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Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is a mitochondrial enzyme responsible for regulating the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA for use in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. PDH is regulated through phosphorylation and inactivation by PDH kinase (PDK) and dephosphorylation and activation by PDH phosphatase (PDP). The effect of endurance training on PDK in humans has been investigated; however, to date no study has examined the effect of endurance training on PDP in humans. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine differences in PDP activity and PDP1 protein content in human skeletal muscle across a range of muscle aerobic capacities. This association is important as higher PDP activity and protein content will allow for increased activation of PDH, and carbohydrate oxidation. The main findings of this study were that 1) PDP activity (r(2) = 0.399, P = 0.001) and PDP1 protein expression (r(2) = 0.153, P = 0.039) were positively correlated with citrate synthase (CS) activity as a marker for muscle aerobic capacity; 2) E1α (r(2) = 0.310, P = 0.002) and PDK2 protein (r(2) = 0.229, P =0.012) are positively correlated with muscle CS activity; and 3) although it is the most abundant isoform, PDP1 protein content only explained ∼ 18% of the variance in PDP activity (r(2) = 0.184, P = 0.033). In addition, PDP1 in combination with E1α explained ∼ 38% of the variance in PDP activity (r(2) = 0.383, P = 0.005), suggesting that there may be alternative regulatory mechanisms of this enzyme other than protein content. These data suggest that with higher muscle aerobic capacity (CS activity) there is a greater capacity for carbohydrate oxidation (E1α), in concert with higher potential for PDH activation (PDP activity).
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