Perturbed branched-chain amino acid homeostasis is a feature of obesity, insulin-resistance and type 2 diabetes. Induction of the branched-chain keto acid dehydrogenase kinase (BDK) in liver is one mechanism that is thought to contribute to elevated BCAA levels in these conditions. Whether higher levels of BDK in liver are sufficient to disturb systemic BCAA homeostasis and promote glucose intolerance in the absence of obesity or insulin resistance has never been directly tested. We treated 12 week-old C57BL6/J mice with adeno-associated virus, serotype 8 (AAV8) -BDK or control AAV8-GFP to promote long term expression of BDK specifically in liver of lean mice. Mice were then maintained on a standard low-fat chow diet for 8 weeks (n= 9 AAV8-GFP and n=AAV8-BDK) . AAV8-BDK significantly raised BDK protein and mRNA expression in liver but not adipose, skeletal muscle, or cardiac tissue compared to AAV8-GFP control mice. The higher expression of BDK in liver was associated with robust inhibitory phosphorylation of the branched-chain keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) on ser293. AAV8-mediated induction of BDK expression in liver in our study was sufficient to promote significant elevations in circulating levels of the direct substrate of BCKDH, the branched chain α-keto acids as well as their cognate BCAA. There was no effect of AAV8-BDK to alter food intake, weight gain or adiposity. However, glucose tolerance measured by a 1g/kg intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test at week 7 was significantly impaired in mice receiving AAV8-BDK compared to AAV8-GFP control. These data demonstrate for the first time that induction of BDK in liver, as occurs with obesity, is sufficient to disturb systemic BCAA and glucose homeostasis in lean mice.


J.Walejko: None. R.W.Mcgarrah: None. P.J.White: None.


American Diabetes Association (1-16-INI-17)

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