Cover Story Current Issue

White adipose tissue (WAT) is a complex organ that plays a central role in systemic energy balance through its interrelated metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions. Adipocytes, the parenchymal cells of adipose tissue, have diverse functions that include storage and mobilization of lipids. They also release endocrine signals that report energy status to the brain, regulating metabolic functions in peripheral organs. Importantly, the metabolic character of white adipocytes is flexible, with cells capable of assuming distinct anabolic and catabolic/thermogenic phenotypes, often within the same adipose tissue depot

Elizabeth A. Rondini, Vanesa D. Ramseyer, Rayanne B. Burl, Roger Pique-Regi, James G. Granneman

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Current Issue

Physiological impact of in vivo stable isotope tracing on cancer metabolism

Manuel Grima-Reyes, Adriana Martinez-Turtos, Ifat Abramovich, Eyal Gottlieb, ... Jean-Ehrland Ricci

Background

There is growing interest in the analysis of tumor metabolism to identify cancer-specific metabolic vulnerabilities and therapeutic targets. Finding of such candidate metabolic pathways mainly relies on the highly sensitive identification and quantitation of numerous metabolites and metabolic fluxes using metabolomicsand isotope tracing analyses. However, nutritional requirements and metabolic routes used by cancer cells cultivated in vitro do not always reflect the metabolic demands of malignant cells within the tumor milieu. Therefore, to understand how the metabolism of tumor cells in its physiological environment differs from that of normal cells, these analyses must be performed in vivo.

Scope of Review

This review covers the physiological impact of the exogenous administration of a stable isotope tracer into cancer animal models. We discuss specific aspects of in vivo isotope tracing protocols based on discrete bolus injections of a labeled metabolite: the tracer administration per se and the fasting period prior to it. In addition, we illustrate the complex physiological scenarios that arise when studying tumor metabolism – by isotopic labeling in animal models fed with a specific amino acid restricted diet. Finally, we provide strategies to minimize these limitations.

Major Conclusions

There is growing evidence that metabolic dependencies in cancers are influenced by tissue environment, cancer lineage, and genetic events. An increasing number of studies describe discrepancies in tumor metabolic dependencies when studied in in vitro settings or in vivo models, including cancer patients. Therefore, in-depth in vivo profiling of tumor metabolic routes within the appropriate pathophysiological environment will be key to identify relevant alterations that contribute to cancer onset and progression.

Physiological impact of in vivo stable isotope tracing on cancer metabolism

Manuel Grima-Reyes, Adriana Martinez-Turtos, Ifat Abramovich, Eyal Gottlieb, ... Jean-Ehrland Ricci

Background

There is growing interest in the analysis of tumor metabolism to identify cancer-specific metabolic vulnerabilities and therapeutic targets. Finding of such candidate metabolic pathways mainly relies on the highly sensitive identification and quantitation of numerous metabolites and metabolic fluxes using metabolomicsand isotope tracing analyses. However, nutritional requirements and metabolic routes used by cancer cells cultivated in vitro do not always reflect the metabolic demands of malignant cells within the tumor milieu. Therefore, to understand how the metabolism of tumor cells in its physiological environment differs from that of normal cells, these analyses must be performed in vivo.

Scope of Review

This review covers the physiological impact of the exogenous administration of a stable isotope tracer into cancer animal models. We discuss specific aspects of in vivo isotope tracing protocols based on discrete bolus injections of a labeled metabolite: the tracer administration per se and the fasting period prior to it. In addition, we illustrate the complex physiological scenarios that arise when studying tumor metabolism – by isotopic labeling in animal models fed with a specific amino acid restricted diet. Finally, we provide strategies to minimize these limitations.

Major Conclusions

There is growing evidence that metabolic dependencies in cancers are influenced by tissue environment, cancer lineage, and genetic events. An increasing number of studies describe discrepancies in tumor metabolic dependencies when studied in in vitro settings or in vivo models, including cancer patients. Therefore, in-depth in vivo profiling of tumor metabolic routes within the appropriate pathophysiological environment will be key to identify relevant alterations that contribute to cancer onset and progression.

2020 impact factor: 7.4

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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