The presence of palmitoyl-L-carnitine and acetoacetate (separately) decreased flux through pyruvate dehydrogenase in isolated mitochondria from rat hind-limb muscle. The effect of acetoacetate was dependent on the presence of 2-oxoglutarate and Ca2+. Palmitoylcarnitine, but not acetoacetate, also decreased the mitochondrial content of active dephospho-pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDHA). This effect was large only in the presence of EGTA. Addition of Ca2+-EGTA buffers stabilizing pCa values of 6.48 or lower gave near-maximal values of PDHA content, irrespective of the presence of fatty acids or ketones when mitochondria were incubated under the same conditions used for the flux studies, i.e. at low concentrations of pyruvate. There was, however, a minor decrement in PDHA content in response to palmitoylcarnitine oxidation when the substrate was L-glutamate plus L-malate. Measurement of NAD+, NADH, CoA and acetyl-CoA in mitochondrial extracts in general showed decreases in [NAD+]/[NADH] and [CoA]/[acetyl-CoA] ratios in response to the oxidation of palmitoylcarnitine and acetoacetate, providing a mechanism for both decreased PDHA content and feedback inhibition of the enzyme in the PDHA form. However, only changes in [CoA]/[acetyl-CoA] ratio appear to underlie the decreased PDHA content on addition of palmitoylcarnitine when mitochondria are incubated with L-glutamate plus L-malate (and no pyruvate) as substrate. The effect of palmitoylcarnitine oxidation on flux through pyruvate dehydrogenase and on PDHA content is less marked in skeletal-muscle mitochondria than in cardiac-muscle mitochondria. This may reflect the less active oxidation of palmitoylcarnitine by skeletal-muscle mitochondria, as judged by State-3 rates of O2 uptake. In addition, Ca2+ concentration is of even greater significance in pyruvate dehydrogenase interconversion in skeletal-muscle mitochondria than in cardiac-muscle mitochondria.

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