A comparison of LKB1/AMPK/mTOR metabolic axis response to global ischaemia in brain, heart, liver and kidney in a rat model of cardiac arrest

Shohreh Majd, John Power, Timothy Chataway, Hugh Grantham

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Cellular energy failure in high metabolic rate organs is one of the underlying causes for many disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiomyopathies, liver and renal failures. In the past decade, numerous studies have discovered the cellular axis of LKB1/AMPK/mTOR as an essential modulator of cell homeostasis in response to energy stress. Through regulating adaptive mechanisms, this axis adjusts the energy availability to its demand by a systematized control on metabolism. Energy stress, however, could be sensed at different levels in various tissues, leading to applying different strategies in response to hypoxic insults. Methods: Here the immediate strategies of high metabolic rate organs to time-dependent short episodes of ischaemia were studied by using a rat model (n = 6/group) of cardiac arrest (CA) (15 and 30 s, 1, 2, 4 and 8 min CA). Using western blot analysis, we examined the responses of LKB1/AMPK/mTOR pathway in brain, heart, liver and kidney from 15 s up to 8 min of global ischaemia. The ratio of ADP/ATP was assessed in all ischemic and control groups, using ApoSENSOR bioluminescent assay kit. Results: Brain, followed by kidney showed the early dephosphorylation response in AMPK (Thr172) and LKB1 (Ser431); in the absence of ATP decline (ADP/ATP elevation). Dephosphorylation of AMPK was followed by rephosphorylation and hyperphosphorylation, which was associated with a significant ATP decline. While heart's activity of AMPK and LKB1 remained at the same level during short episodes of ischaemia, liver's LKB1 was dephosphorylated after 2 min. AMPK response to ischaemia in liver was mainly based on an early alternative and a late constant hyperphosphorylation. No significant changes was observed in mTOR activity in all groups. Conclusion: Together our results suggest that early AMPK dephosphorylation followed by late hyperphosphorylation is the strategy of brain and kidney in response to ischaemia. While the liver seemed to get benefit of its AMPK system in early ischameia, possibly to stabilize ATP, the level of LKB1/AMPK activity in heart remained unchanged in short ischaemic episodes up to 8 min. Further researches must be conducted to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying LKB1/AMPK response to oxygen supply.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • Adenosine monophosphate kinase protein kinase
  • AMPK
  • Bioluminescent assay
  • Brain
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cell energy stress
  • Heart
  • Ischaemia
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Liver kinase b1
  • LKB
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin
  • MTOR
  • Sprague Dawley rat
  • Western blot


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