The diurnal timing of starvation differently impacts murine hepatic gene expression and lipid metabolism – A systems biology analysis using self-organizing maps.

Rennert C, Vlaic S, Marbach-Breitrück E, Thiel C, Sales S, Shevchenko A, Gebhardt R, Matz-Soja M (2018) The diurnal timing of starvation differently impacts murine hepatic gene expression and lipid metabolism – A systems biology analysis using self-organizing maps. Front Physiol 9, 1180. PubMed Open Access

Abstract

Organisms adapt their metabolism and draw on reserves as a consequence of food deprivation. The central role of the liver in starvation response is to coordinate a sufficient energy supply for the entire organism, which has frequently been investigated. However, knowledge of how circadian rhythms impact on and alter this response is scarce. Therefore, we investigated the influence of different timings of starvation on global hepatic gene expression. Mice (n = 3 each) were challenged with 24-h food deprivation started in the morning or evening, coupled with refeeding for different lengths and compared with ad libitum fed control groups. Alterations in hepatocyte gene expression were quantified using microarrays and confirmed or complemented with qPCR, especially for lowly detectable transcription factors. Analysis was performed using self-organizing maps (SOMs), which bases on clustering genes with similar expression profiles. This provides an intuitive overview of expression trends and allows easier global comparisons between complex conditions. Transcriptome analysis revealed a strong circadian-driven response to fasting based on the diurnal expression of transcription factors (e.g., Ppara, Pparg). Starvation initiated in the morning produced known metabolic adaptations in the liver; e.g., switching from glucose storage to consumption and gluconeogenesis. However, starvation initiated in the evening produced a different expression signature that was controlled by yet unknown regulatory mechanisms. For example, the expression of genes involved in gluconeogenesis decreased and fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis genes were induced. The differential regulation after morning and evening starvation were also reflected at the lipidome level. The accumulation of hepatocellular storage lipids (triacylglycerides, cholesteryl esters) was significantly higher after the initiation of starvation in the morning compared to the evening. Concerning refeeding, the gene expression pattern after a 12 h refeeding period largely resembled that of the corresponding starvation state but approached the ad libitum control state after refeeding for 21 h. Some components of these regulatory circuits are discussed. Collectively, these data illustrate a highly time-dependent starvation response in the liver and suggest that a circadian influence cannot be neglected when starvation is the focus of research or medicine, e.g., in the case of treating victims of sudden starvation events.

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doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01180 PMID: 30271348