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The mobilization of triacylglycerides from storage in adipocytes to the liver is a vital response to the fasting state in mammalian metabolism. This is accompanied by a rapid translational activation of genes encoding mitochondrial, microsomal, and peroxisomal beta-oxidation in the liver, in part under the regulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha). A failure to express PPAR-alpha results in profound metabolic perturbations in muscle tissue as well as the liver. These changes represent a number of deficits that accompany diabetes, dyslipidemia, and the metabolic syndrome. In this study, the metabolic role of PPAR-alpha has been investigated in heart, skeletal muscle, liver, and adipose tissue of PPAR-alpha null mice at 1 mo of age using metabolomics. To maximize the coverage of the metabolome in these tissues, (1)H-NMR spectroscopy, magic angle spinning (1)H-NMR spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry were used to examine metabolites in aqueous tissue extracts and intact tissue. The data were analyzed by the multivariate approaches of principal components analysis and partial least squares. Across all tissues, there was a profound decrease in glucose and a number of amino acids, including glutamine and alanine, and an increase in lactate, demonstrating that a failure to express PPAR-alpha results in perturbations in glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and gluconeogenesis. Furthermore, despite PPAR-alpha being weakly expressed in adipose tissue, a profound metabolic perturbation was detected in this tissue.

Original publication




Journal article


Physiol Genomics

Publication Date





178 - 186


Adipose Tissue, Amino Acids, Animals, Chromatography, Liquid, Citric Acid Cycle, Computational Biology, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, Genomics, Gluconeogenesis, Glycolysis, Lactates, Liver, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Metabolic Syndrome X, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Muscle, Skeletal, Myocardium, Organ Specificity, PPAR alpha, Protein Biosynthesis, Triglycerides