1. Monochloroacetate, dichloroacetate, trichloroacetate, difluoroacetate, 2-chloropropionate, 2,2′-dichloropropionate and 3-chloropropionate were inhibitors of pig heart pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. Dichloroacetate was also shown to inhibit rat heart pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. The inhibition was mainly non-competitive with respect to ATP. The concentration required for 50% inhibition was approx. 100μm for the three chloroacetates, difluoroacetate and 2-chloropropionate and 2,2′-dichloropropionate. Dichloroacetamide was not inhibitory. 2. Dichloroacetate had no significant effect on the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase when this was maximally activated by Ca2+and Mg2+. 3. Dichloroacetate did not increase the catalytic activity of purified pig heart pyruvate dehydrogenase. 4. Dichloroacetate, difluoroacetate, 2-chloropropionate and 2,2′-dichloropropionate increased the proportion of the active (dephosphorylated) form of pyruvate dehydrogenase in rat heart mitochondria with 2-oxoglutarate and malate as respiratory substrates. Similar effects of dichloroacetate were shown with kidney and fat-cell mitochondria. Glyoxylate, monochloroacetate and dichloroacetamide were inactive. 5. Dichloroacetate increased the proportion of active pyruvate dehydrogenase in the perfused rat heart, isolated rat diaphragm and rat epididymal fat-pads. Difluoroacetate and dichloroacetamide were also active in the perfused heart, but glyoxylate, monochloroacetate and trichloroacetate were inactive. 6. Injection of dichloroacetate into rats starved overnight led within 60 min to activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase in extracts from heart, psoas muscle, adipose tissue, kidney and liver. The blood concentration of lactate fell within 15 min to reach a minimum after 60 min. The blood concentration of glucose fell after 90 min and reached a minimum after 120 min. There was no significant change in plasma glycerol concentration. 7. In epididymal fatpads dichloroacetate inhibited incorporation of14C from [U-14C]glucose, [U-14C]fructose and from [U-14C]lactate into CO2 and glyceride fatty acid. 8. It is concluded that the inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase by dichloroacetate may account for the activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase and pyruvate oxidation which it induces in isolated rat heart and diaphragm muscles, subject to certain assumptions as to the distribution of dichloroacetate across the plasma membrane and the mitochondrial membrane. 9. It is suggested that activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase by dichloroacetate could contribute to its hypoglycaemic effect by interruption of the Cori and alanine cycles. 10. It is suggested that the inhibitory effect of dichloroacetate on fatty acid synthesis in adipose tissue may involve an additional effect or effects of the compound.

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