Stabilization of the hypoxia-inducible transcription Factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) in thiamine deficiency is mediated by pyruvate accumulation

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Abstract

Vitamin B1, or thiamine is a critical enzyme cofactor required for metabolic function and energy production. Thiamine deficiency (TD) is common in various diseases, and results in severe neurological complications due to diminished mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, excitotoxicity and inflammation. These pathological sequelae result in apoptotic cell death in both neurons and astrocytes in distinct regions, in particular the thalamus and mammillary bodies. Comparable histological injuries in patients with hypoxia/ischemia (H/I) have also been described, suggesting a congruency between the cellular responses to these stresses. Analogous to H/I, TD stabilizes and activates Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α (HIF-1α) even without changes in physiological oxygen levels. However, the mechanism of HIF-1α stabilization in TD is currently unknown. Using a pyruvate assay, we have demonstrated that TD induces pyruvate accumulation in mouse primary astrocytes which correlates to an increase in HIF-1α expression. Additionally, we utilized an enzymatic assay for pyruvate dehydrogenase to demonstrate a reduction in catalytic activity during TD due to lack of available thiamine pyrophosphate cofactor, resulting in the observed pyruvate accumulation. Finally, a pyruvate kinase inhibitor which limited pyruvate accumulation was utilized to demonstrate the role of pyruvate accumulation in HIF-1α stabilization during TD. These results reveal that stabilization of HIF-1α protein in TD centralizes on pyruvate accumulation in mouse primary astrocytes due to metabolic disruption of PDH.

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