Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences






Centre for Integrative Metabolomics and Computational Biology




Australian Catholic University research funding awarded to NH


Belhaj, M. R., Lawler, N. G., Hawley, J. A., Broadhurst, D. I., Hoffman, N. J., & Reinke, S. N. (2022). Metabolomics reveals mouse plasma metabolite responses to acute exercise and effects of disrupting AMPK-glycogen interactions. Frontiers in molecular biosciences, 9, Article 957549.


Introduction: The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of energy homeostasis that becomes activated by exercise and binds glycogen, an important energy store required to meet exercise-induced energy demands. Disruption of AMPK-glycogen interactions in mice reduces exercise capacity and impairs whole-body metabolism. However, the mechanisms underlying these phenotypic effects at rest and following exercise are unknown. Furthermore, the plasma metabolite responses to an acute exercise challenge in mice remain largely uncharacterized. Methods : Plasma samples were collected from wild type (WT) and AMPK double knock-in (DKI) mice with disrupted AMPK-glycogen binding at rest and following 30-min submaximal treadmill running. An untargeted metabolomics approach was utilized to determine the breadth of plasma metabolite changes occurring in response to acute exercise and the effects of disrupting AMPK-glycogen binding. Results: Relative to WT mice, DKI mice had reduced maximal running speed (p < 0.0001) concomitant with increased body mass (p < 0.01) and adiposity (p < 0.001). A total of 83 plasma metabolites were identified/annotated, with 17 metabolites significantly different (p < 0.05; FDR < 0.1) in exercised (↑ 6; ↓ 11) versus rested mice, including amino acids, acylcarnitines and steroid hormones. Pantothenic acid was reduced in DKI mice versus WT. Distinct plasma metabolite profiles were observed between the rest and exercise conditions and between WT and DKI mice at rest, while metabolite profiles of both genotypes converged following exercise. These differences in metabolite profiles were primarily explained by exercise-associated increases in acylcarnitines and steroid hormones as well as decreases in amino acids and derivatives following exercise. DKI plasma showed greater decreases in amino acids following exercise versus WT. Conclusion : This is the first study to map mouse plasma metabolomic changes following a bout of acute exercise in WT mice and the effects of disrupting AMPK-glycogen interactions in DKI mice. Untargeted metabolomics revealed alterations in metabolite profiles between rested and exercised mice in both genotypes, and between genotypes at rest. This study has uncovered known and previously unreported plasma metabolite responses to acute exercise in WT mice, as well as greater decreases in amino acids following exercise in DKI plasma. Reduced pantothenic acid levels may contribute to differences in fuel utilization in DKI mice.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.