There is currently no evidence that the intervertebral discs (IVDs) can respond positively to exercise in humans. Some authors have argued that IVD metabolism in humans is too slow to respond anabolically to exercise within the human lifespan. Here we show that chronic running exercise in men and women is associated with better IVD composition (hydration and proteoglycan content) and with IVD hypertrophy. Via quantitative assessment of physical activity we further find that accelerations at fast walking and slow running (2 m/s), but not high-impact tasks, lower intensity walking or static positions, correlated to positive IVD characteristics. These findings represent the first evidence in humans that exercise can be beneficial for the IVD and provide support for the notion that specific exercise protocols may improve IVD material properties in the spine. We anticipate that our findings will be a starting point to better define exercise protocols and physical activity profiles for IVD anabolism in humans.
BACKGROUND: Shifts in intracellular arginine (Arg) and sulfur amino acid (SAA) redox metabolism modulate macrophage activation, polarization and phenotype. Despite their importance in inflammation and redox regulatory pathways, comprehensive analysis of these metabolic networks was not previously possible with existing analytical methods. METHODS: The Arg/thiol redox LC-MS/MS metabolomics assay permits simultaneous assessment of amino acids and derivative products generated from Arg and SAA metabolism. Using this assay, LPS-induced changes in macrophage amino acid metabolism were monitored to identify pathway shifts during activation and their linkage to cellular redox regulation. RESULTS: Metabolite concentrations most significantly changed after treatment of a macrophage-like cell line (RAW) with LPS for 24 hrs were citrulline (Cit) (48-fold increase), ornithine (Orn) (8.5-fold increase), arginine (Arg) (66% decrease), and aspartic acid (Asp) (73% decrease). The ratio Cit + Orn/Arg + Asp (CO/AA) was more sensitive to LPS stimulation than other amino acid ratios commonly used to measure LPS-dependent inflammation (e.g., SAM/SAH, GSH/GSSG) and total media NOx. The CO/AA ratio was also the first ratio to change significantly after LPS treatment (4 hrs). Changes in the overall metabolomic profile over time indicated that metabolic pathways shifted from Arg catabolism to thiol oxidation. CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous quantification of Arg and SAA metabolic pathway shifts following LPS challenge of macrophage indicate that, in this system, the Arg-Citrulline/NO cycle and arginase pathways are the amino acid metabolic pathways most sensitive to LPS-challenge. The cellular (Cit + Orn)/(Arg + Asp) ratio, which summarizes this pathway, was more responsive to lower concentrations of LPS and responded earlier than other metabolic biomarkers of macrophage activation including GSH redox. It is suggested that the CO/AA ratio is a redox- independent early biomarker of macrophage activation. The ability to measure both the CO/AA and GSH-redox ratios simultaneously permits quantification of the relative effects of LPS challenge on macrophage inflammation and oxidative stress pathways. The use of this assay in humans is discussed, as are clinical implications.
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- Published 9 months ago
The branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are leucine, valine and isoleucine. A multi-million dollar industry of nutritional supplements has grown around the concept that dietary supplements of BCAAs alone produce an anabolic response in humans driven by a stimulation of muscle protein synthesis. In this brief review the theoretical and empirical bases for that claim are discussed. Theoretically, the maximal stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in the post-absorptive state in response to BCAAs alone is the difference between muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis (about 30% greater than synthesis), because the other EAAs required for synthesis of new protein can only be derived from muscle protein breakdown. Realistically, a maximal increase in muscle protein synthesis of 30% is an over-estimate because the obligatory oxidation of EAAs can never be completely suppressed. An extensive search of the literature has revealed no studies in human subjects in which the response of muscle protein synthesis to orally-ingested BCAAs alone was quantified, and only two studies in which the effect of intravenously infused BCAAs alone was assessed. Both of these intravenous infusion studies found that BCAAs decreased muscle protein synthesis as well as protein breakdown, meaning a decrease in muscle protein turnover. The catabolic state in which the rate of muscle protein breakdown exceeded the rate of muscle protein synthesis persisted during BCAA infusion. We conclude that the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.
Metabolism is important for cartilage and synovial joint function. Under adverse microenvironmental conditions, mammalian cells undergo a switch in cell metabolism from a resting regulatory state to a highly metabolically activate state to maintain energy homeostasis. This phenomenon also leads to an increase in metabolic intermediates for the biosynthesis of inflammatory and degradative proteins, which in turn activate key transcription factors and inflammatory signalling pathways involved in catabolic processes, and the persistent perpetuation of drivers of pathogenesis. In the past few years, several studies have demonstrated that metabolism has a key role in inflammatory joint diseases. In particular, metabolism is drastically altered in osteoarthritis (OA) and aberrant immunometabolism may be a key feature of many phenotypes of OA. This Review focuses on aberrant metabolism in the pathogenesis of OA, summarizing the current state of knowledge on the role of impaired metabolism in the cells of the osteoarthritic joint. We also highlight areas for future research, such as the potential to target metabolic pathways and mediators therapeutically.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published 7 months ago
In my PNAS Inaugural Article, I describe the development of the mTOR field, starting with efforts to understand the mechanism of action of the drug rapamycin, which ∼25 y ago led to the discovery of the mTOR protein kinase. I focus on insights that we have contributed and on work that has been particularly influential to me, as well as provide some personal reflections and stories. We now appreciate that, as part of two distinct complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, mTOR is the major regulator of growth (mass accumulation) in animals and is the key link between the availability of nutrients in the environment and the control of most anabolic and catabolic processes. Nutrients signal to mTORC1 through the lysosome-associated Rag GTPases and their many regulators and associated cytosolic and lysosomal nutrient sensors. mTOR signaling is deregulated in common diseases, like cancer and epilepsy, and mTORC1 is a well-validated modulator of aging in multiple model organisms. There is significant excitement around using mTORC1 inhibitors to treat cancer and neurological disease and, potentially, to improve healthspan and lifespan.
While diet-induced obesity has been exclusively attributed to increased caloric intake from fat, animals fed a high-fat diet (HFD) ad libitum (ad lib) eat frequently throughout day and night, disrupting the normal feeding cycle. To test whether obesity and metabolic diseases result from HFD or disruption of metabolic cycles, we subjected mice to either ad lib or time-restricted feeding (tRF) of a HFD for 8 hr per day. Mice under tRF consume equivalent calories from HFD as those with ad lib access yet are protected against obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation and have improved motor coordination. The tRF regimen improved CREB, mTOR, and AMPK pathway function and oscillations of the circadian clock and their target genes' expression. These changes in catabolic and anabolic pathways altered liver metabolome and improved nutrient utilization and energy expenditure. We demonstrate in mice that tRF regimen is a nonpharmacological strategy against obesity and associated diseases.
Exercise-induced stress behavior, gut-microbiota-brain axis and diet: a systematic review for athletes
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- Published over 1 year ago
Fatigue, mood disturbances, under performance and gastrointestinal distress are common among athletes during training and competition. The psychosocial and physical demands during intense exercise can initiate a stress response activating the sympathetic-adrenomedullary and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axes, resulting in the release of stress and catabolic hormones, inflammatory cytokines and microbial molecules. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that have fundamental roles in many aspects of human biology, including metabolism, endocrine, neuronal and immune function. The gut microbiome and its influence on host behavior, intestinal barrier and immune function are believed to be a critical aspect of the brain-gut axis. Recent evidence in murine models shows that there is a high correlation between physical and emotional stress during exercise and changes in gastrointestinal microbiota composition. For instance, induced exercise-stress decreased cecal levels of Turicibacter spp and increased Ruminococcus gnavus, which have well defined roles in intestinal mucus degradation and immune function. Diet is known to dramatically modulate the composition of the gut microbiota. Due to the considerable complexity of stress responses in elite athletes (from leaky gut to increased catabolism and depression), defining standard diet regimes is difficult. However, some preliminary experimental data obtained from studies using probiotics and prebiotics studies show some interesting results, indicating that the microbiota acts like an endocrine organ (e.g. secreting serotonin, dopamine or other neurotransmitters) and may control the HPA axis in athletes. What is troubling is that dietary recommendations for elite athletes are primarily based on a low consumption of plant polysaccharides, which is associated with reduced microbiota diversity and functionality (e.g. less synthesis of byproducts such as short chain fatty acids and neurotransmitters). As more elite athletes suffer from psychological and gastrointestinal conditions that can be linked to the gut, targeting the microbiota therapeutically may need to be incorporated in athletes' diets that take into consideration dietary fiber as well as microbial taxa not currently present in athlete’s gut.
- Journal of cystic fibrosis : official journal of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society
- Published over 5 years ago
BACKGROUND: Current nutritional approaches have been partially successful in Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Essential amino acids mixtures with high Leucine levels (EAA) have anabolic properties in catabolic conditions, however data in CF are lacking. METHODS: On two days according a randomized crossover design, 15 pediatric CF patients ingested 6.7g EAA versus mixture of total amino acids as present in whey. Whole body protein and Arginine metabolism (as EAA lack Arginine) were assessed by stable isotope methodology. RESULTS: Protein synthesis (P<0.05) but not protein breakdown was higher after EAA and 70% higher values for net anabolism (P<0.001)were found both in patients with and without nutritional failure. Arginine turnover was lower (P<0.001) and de novo Arginine synthesis tended lower (P=0.09) after EAA. Nitric oxide synthesis was not different. CONCLUSIONS: CF patients are highly responsive to EAA intake independent of their nutritional status. Addition of Arginine to the EAA mixture may be warranted in CF.
Cells constantly adapt their metabolism to meet their energy needs and respond to nutrient availability. Eukaryotes have evolved a very sophisticated system to sense low cellular ATP levels via the serine/threonine kinase AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) complex. Under conditions of low energy, AMPK phosphorylates specific enzymes and growth control nodes to increase ATP generation and decrease ATP consumption. In the past decade, the discovery of numerous new AMPK substrates has led to a more complete understanding of the minimal number of steps required to reprogramme cellular metabolism from anabolism to catabolism. This energy switch controls cell growth and several other cellular processes, including lipid and glucose metabolism and autophagy. Recent studies have revealed that one ancestral function of AMPK is to promote mitochondrial health, and multiple newly discovered targets of AMPK are involved in various aspects of mitochondrial homeostasis, including mitophagy. This Review discusses how AMPK functions as a central mediator of the cellular response to energetic stress and mitochondrial insults and coordinates multiple features of autophagy and mitochondrial biology.
Nischarin (Nisch) is a key protein functioning as a molecular scaffold and thereby hosting interactions with several protein partners. To explore the physiological importance of Nisch, here we generated Nisch loss-of-function mutant mice and analyzed their metabolic phenotype. Nisch mutant embryos exhibited delayed development, characterized by small size and attenuated weight gain. We uncovered the reason for this phenotype by showing that Nisch binds to and inhibits the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which regulates energy homeostasis by suppressing anabolic and activating catabolic processes. The Nisch mutations enhanced AMPK activation and inhibited mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) as well as in muscle and liver tissues of mutant mice. Nisch-mutant mice also exhibited increased rates of glucose oxidation with increased energy expenditure, despite reduced overall food intake. Moreover, the Nisch-mutant mice had reduced expression of liver markers of gluconeogenesis associated with increased glucose tolerance. As a result, these mice displayed decreased growth and body weight. Taken together, our results indicate that Nisch is an important AMPK inhibitor and a critical regulator of energy homeostasis, including lipid and glucose metabolism.