1. The proportion of active (dephosphorylated) pyruvate dehydrogenase in rat heart mitochondria was correlated with total concentration ratios of ATP/ADP, NADH/NAD+ and acetyl-CoA/CoA. These metabolites were measured with ATP-dependent and NADH-dependent luciferases. 2. Increase in the concentration ratio of NADH/NAD+ at constant [ATP]/[ADP] and [acetyl-CoA]/[CoA] was associated with increased phosphorylation and inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase. This was based on comparison between mitochondria incubated with 0.4mM- or 1mM-succinate and mitochondria incubated with 0.4mM-succinate+/-rotenone. 3. Increase in the concentration ratio acetyl-CoA/CoA at constant [ATP]/[ADP] and [NADH][NAD+] was associated with increased phosphorylation and inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase. This was based on comparison between incubations in 50 micrometer-palmitotoyl-L-carnitine and in 250 micrometer-2-oxoglutarate +50 micrometer-L-malate. 4. These findings are consistent with activation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase reaction by high ratios of [NADH]/[NAD+] and of [acetyl-CoA]/[CoA]. 5. Comparison between mitochondria from hearts of diabetic and non-diabetic rats shows that phosphorylation and inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase is enhanced in alloxan-diabetes by some factor other than concentration ratios of ATP/ADP, NADH/NAD+ or acetyl-CoA/CoA.

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