Threonine-deficient diets induced changes in hepatic bioenergetics

Catherine M. Ross-Inta, Yi Fan Zhang, Andrew Almendares, Cecilia R Giulivi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Diets deficient in an indispensable amino acid are known to suppress food intake in rats. Few studies were focused at understanding how amino acid-deficient diets may elicit biochemical changes at the mitochondrial level. The goal of this study was to evaluate mitochondrial function in rats fed diets with 0.00, 0.18, 0.36, and 0.88% threonine (Thr) (set at 0, 30, 60, and 140% of Thr requirement for growth). Here, it is described for the first time that Thr-deficient diets induce a specific uncoupling of mitochondria in liver, especially with NADH-linked substrates, not observed in heart (except for Thr-devoid diet). The advantage of this situation would be to provide ATP to support growth and maintenance when high-quality protein food (or wealth of high-quality food in general) is available, whereas Thr-deficient diets (or deficient-quality protein food) promote the opposite, increasing mitochondrial uncoupling in liver. The uncoupling with NADH substrates would favor the use of nutrients as energy sources with higher FADH-to-NADH ratios, such as fat, minimizing the first irreversible NADH-dependent catabolism of many amino acids, including Thr, thus enhancing the use of the limiting amino acid for protein synthesis when a low quality protein source is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Amino acid deficiency
  • Amino acid imbalance
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Hepatology


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