A Study to Assess in Vivo the Cellular Metabolism of Humans


About this study

The purpose of this study is to establish an arterial/venous method to measure the activity of the Tricarboxylic Acid or cell metabolism cycle directly in the tissues of human beings. There will also be correlative studies on the proteome, metabolome, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production and exosomes related to TCA cycle activity.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Ages 18-45
  • Able to provide written consent

Exclusion Criteria

  • Diabetes mellitus or impaired fasting glucose levels (fasting blood glucose >110mg/dl)
  • Renal Failure
  • Pregnancy
  • Steroid use
  • Muscle Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Anemia
  • History of alcohol use
  • Medications which may affect metabolism
  • BMI of 30 or greater

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

K Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Heather LaBrec



More information


  • Mass isotopomer multi-ordinate spectral analysis (MIMOSA) is a step-wise flux analysis platform to measure discrete glycolytic and mitochondrial metabolic rates. Importantly, direct citrate synthesis rates were obtained by deconvolving the mass spectra generated from [U-(13)C6]-D-glucose labeling for position-specific enrichments of mitochondrial acetyl-CoA, oxaloacetate, and citrate. Comprehensive steady-state and dynamic analyses of key metabolic rates (pyruvate dehydrogenase, β-oxidation, pyruvate carboxylase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, and PEP/pyruvate cycling) were calculated from the position-specific transfer of (13)C from sequential precursors to their products. Important limitations of previous techniques were identified. In INS-1 cells, citrate synthase rates correlated with both insulin secretion and oxygen consumption. Pyruvate carboxylase rates were substantially lower than previously reported but showed the highest fold change in response to glucose stimulation. In conclusion, MIMOSA measures key metabolic rates from the precursor/product position-specific transfer of (13)C-label between metabolites and has broad applicability to any glucose-oxidizing cell. Read More on PubMed
  • The citric acid cycle is the final common oxidative pathway for carbohydrates, fats and amino acids. It is the most important metabolic pathway for the energy supply to the body. TCA is the most important central pathway connecting almost all the individual metabolic pathways. In this review article, introduction, regulation and energetics of TCA cycle have been discussed. The present study was carried out to review literature on TCA cycle. Read More on PubMed
  • Despite the central role of the liver in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism, there are currently no methods to directly assess hepatic oxidative metabolism in humans in vivo. By using a new (13)C-labeling strategy in combination with (13)C magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we show that rates of mitochondrial oxidation and anaplerosis in human liver can be directly determined noninvasively. Using this approach, we found the mean rates of hepatic tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux (VTCA) and anaplerotic flux (VANA) to be 0.43 ± 0.04 μmol g(-1) min(-1) and 0.60 ± 0.11 μmol g(-1) min(-1), respectively, in twelve healthy, lean individuals. We also found the VANA/VTCA ratio to be 1.39 ± 0.22, which is severalfold lower than recently published estimates using an indirect approach. This method will be useful for understanding the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as for assessing the effectiveness of new therapies targeting these pathways in humans. Read More on PubMed
  • Approximately one-third of the U.S. population has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition closely associated with insulin resistance and increased risk of liver injury. Dysregulated mitochondrial metabolism is central in these disorders, but the manner and degree of dysregulation are disputed. This study tested whether humans with NAFLD have abnormal in vivo hepatic mitochondrial metabolism. Subjects with low (3.0%) and high (17%) intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) were studied using (2)H and (13)C tracers to evaluate systemic lipolysis, hepatic glucose production, and mitochondrial pathways (TCA cycle, anaplerosis, and ketogenesis). Individuals with NAFLD had 50% higher rates of lipolysis and 30% higher rates of gluconeogenesis. There was a positive correlation between IHTG content and both mitochondrial oxidative and anaplerotic fluxes. These data indicate that mitochondrial oxidative metabolism is ~2-fold greater in those with NAFLD, providing a potential link between IHTG content, oxidative stress, and liver damage. Read More on PubMed
  • Hepatic glucose synthesis from glycogen, glycerol, and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was measured in five overnight-fasted subjects by (1)H, (2)H, and (13)C NMR analysis of blood glucose, urinary acetaminophen glucuronide, and urinary phenylacetylglutamine after administration of [1,6-(13)C(2)]glucose, (2)H(2)O, and [U-(13)C(3)]propionate. This combination of tracers allows three separate elements of hepatic glucose production (GP) to be probed simultaneously in a single study: 1) endogenous GP, 2) the contribution of glycogen, phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), and glycerol to GP, and 3) flux through PEP carboxykinase, pyruvate recycling, and the TCA cycle. Isotope-dilution measurements of [1,6-(13)C(2)] glucose by (1)H and (13)C NMR indicated that GP in 16-h-fasted humans was 10.7 +/- 0.9 micromol.kg(-1).min(-1). (2)H NMR spectra of monoacetone glucose (derived from plasma glucose) provided the relative (2)H enrichment at glucose H-2, H-5, and H-6S, which, in turn, reflects the contribution of glycogen, PEP, and glycerol to total GP (5.5 +/- 0.7, 4.8 +/- 1.0, and 0.4 +/- 0.3 micromol.kg(-1).min(-1), respectively). Interestingly, (13)C NMR isotopomer analysis of phenylacetylglutamine and acetaminophen glucuronide reported different values for PEP carboxykinase flux (68.8 +/- 9.8 vs. 37.5 +/- 7.9 micromol.kg(-1).min(-1)), PEP recycling flux (59.1 +/- 9.8 vs. 27.8 +/- 6.8 micromol.kg(-1).min(-1)), and TCA cycle flux (10.9 +/- 1.4 vs. 5.4 +/- 1.4 micromol.kg(-1).min(-1)). These differences may reflect zonation of propionate metabolism in the liver. Read More on PubMed
  • To examine the fate of the carbons of acetate and to evaluate the usefulness of labeled acetate in assessing intrahepatic metabolic processes during gluconeogenesis, [2-14C]acetate, [2-14C]ethanol, and [1-14C]ethanol were infused into normal subjects fasted 60 h and given phenyl acetate. Distributions of 14C in the carbons of blood glucose and glutamate from urinary phenylacetylglutamine were determined. With [2-14C]acetate and [2-14C]ethanol, carbon 1 of glucose had about twice as much 14C as carbon 3. Carbon 2 of glutamate had about twice as much 14C as carbon 1 and one-half to one-third as much as carbon 4. There was only a small amount in carbon 5. These distributions are incompatible with the metabolism of [2-14C]acetate being primarily in liver. Therefore, [2-14C]acetate cannot be used to study Krebs cycle metabolism in liver and in relationship to gluconeogenesis, as has been done. The distributions can be explained by: (a) fixation of 14CO2 from [2-14C]acetate in the formation of the 14C-labeled glucose and glutamate in liver and (b) the formation of 14C-labeled glutamate in a second site, proposed to be muscle. [1,3-14C]Acetone formation from the [2-14C]acetate does not contribute to the distributions, as evidenced by the absence of 14C in carbons 2-4 of glutamate after [1-14C]ethanol administration. Read More on PubMed

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