Distinct Metabolic States Are Observed in Hypoglycemia Induced in Mice by Ricin Toxin or by Fasting


Hypoglycemia may be induced by a variety of physiologic and pathologic stimuli and can result in life-threatening consequences if untreated. However, hypoglycemia may also play a role in the purported health benefits of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction. Previously, we demonstrated that systemic administration of ricin toxin induced fatal hypoglycemia in mice. Here, we examine the metabolic landscape of the hypoglycemic state induced in the liver of mice by two different stimuli: systemic ricin administration and fasting. Each stimulus produced the same decrease in blood glucose and weight loss. The polar metabolome was studied using 1H NMR, quantifying 59 specific metabolites, and untargeted LC-MS on approximately 5000 features. Results were analyzed by multivariate analyses, using both principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), to identify global metabolic patterns, and by univariate analyses (ANOVA) to assess individual metabolites. The results demonstrated that while there were some similarities in the responses to the two stimuli including decreased glucose, ADP, and glutathione, they elicited distinct metabolic states. The metabolite showing the greatest difference was O-phosphocholine, elevated in ricin-treated animals and known to be affected by the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α. Another difference was the alternative fuel source utilized, with fasting-induced hypoglycemia primarily ketotic, while the response to ricin-induced hypoglycemia involves protein and amino acid catabolism.



hypoglycemia, liver, ricin, toxin, fasting, metabolomics, H-NMR, Kennedy pathway, multivariate analysis


Kempa J, O’Shea-Stone G, Moss CE, Peters T, Marcotte TK, Tripet B, Eilers B, Bothner B, Copié V, Pincus SH. Distinct Metabolic States Are Observed in Hypoglycemia Induced in Mice by Ricin Toxin or by Fasting. Toxins. 2022; 14(12):815. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14120815
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