Plasma concentrations of several amino acids are elevated in human obesity and insulin resistance, but there is no conclusive evidence on whether the amino acid alterations are causal. Dietary restriction of the essential SAA methionine (MR) in rats produces a hypermetabolic phenotype, with an integrated set of transcriptional changes in lipid enzymes in liver and adipose tissue. MR also induces an array of changes in methionine metabolites, including elevated plasma homocysteine and decreased cystathionine, cysteine, glutathione, and taurine. Several knockouts of enzymes acting downstream of methionine recapitulate the phenotypic results of MR, suggesting that the MR phenotype may be driven by changes distal to methionine. Here we review the changes in SAA and body composition in seven relevant knockout mouse models. All seven models feature decreased body weight, which in five of these have been further explored and shown to result from predominantly decreased fat mass. Common to several models is increased energy expenditure, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and protection against dietary obesity, as occurs in MR. A decrease in plasma total cysteine concentrations is also seen in most models. The lean phenotype could often be reversed by dietary supplementation of cysteine or choline, but not taurine, betaine or a H2S donor. Importantly, the plasma concentrations of both cysteine and choline are positively associated with fat mass in large populations studies, while taurine, betaine, and H2S are not. Collectively, the emerging data from dietary and knockout models are in harmony with human epidemiologic data, suggesting that the availability of key nutrients in the SAA pathway regulates fat storage pathways.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 21, 2014
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