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Nutrient Energy Partition at the Gut-Liver Metabolic Node

A topical collection in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This collection belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

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Collection Editor
Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal, 635, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: differential metabolism of glucose isoforms; glucocorticoid control of liver glucose production and glycolytic disposal; testosterone and control of body glucose levels and utilization; estrogens and sex differences in 3c metabolites and fatty acid metabolism
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Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Energy triage and partition is a complex area of study with inputs from digestive physiology, body energy balance and handling of substrates, diet nutrients and their effects on metabolism; but, especially, on how this critical hub of energy and substrate availability metabolism is regulated in gut and liver.

After food selection and intake, the first part of ‘partition’: digestion, including the role of microbiota, breaks up foods to produce complex mixtures of (smaller molecular weight) nutrients in the gut. Then the second part: triage starts, by using different anatomical ways to separate lipophilic materials (largely lipid-related) from the hydrophilic ones (massively sugars, amino acids and other catabolites), which are carried to the liver through the porta vein. In the liver, the third phase, the actual nutrient partition takes place, with the transfer of glucose to the blood in a controlled way and massive oxidation of hexoses to pyruvate, and, eventually to acetyl-CoA. At this level there is considerable interconversion of metabolites for energy or plastic substrates, all depending on the needs, the timing and the supply received. Amino acids, when not reused for protein synthesis, are also eventually metabolized to acetyl-CoA and/or used to form a large number of other important biological molecules and structures. The excess energy is often oxidized or diverted to lipogenesis and synthesis of fat, which can be distributed too via the blood lipoproteins. Low energy availability elicits the inverse situation, when lipid reserves eventually fuel the liver engine of transformation, whilst other suitable compounds: amino acids, glycerol, are used to critically maintain glycaemia via gluconeogenesis.

The combined analysis of nutrient partition and the roles of diet, hormones and other regulatory systems is the core of the Topical Collection, the key is regulation, dietary or otherwise, but the incidence of diseases and disorders is the essential object of focus.

Dr. Marià Alemany
Collection Editor

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  • gluconeogenesis
  • metabolism in gut and liver
  • food intake
  • nutrient energy partition

Published Papers (1 paper)


90 pages, 4981 KiB  
The Metabolic Syndrome, a Human Disease
by Marià Alemany
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(4), 2251; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042251 - 13 Feb 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4453
This review focuses on the question of metabolic syndrome (MS) being a complex, but essentially monophyletic, galaxy of associated diseases/disorders, or just a syndrome of related but rather independent pathologies. The human nature of MS (its exceptionality in Nature and its close interdependence [...] Read more.
This review focuses on the question of metabolic syndrome (MS) being a complex, but essentially monophyletic, galaxy of associated diseases/disorders, or just a syndrome of related but rather independent pathologies. The human nature of MS (its exceptionality in Nature and its close interdependence with human action and evolution) is presented and discussed. The text also describes the close interdependence of its components, with special emphasis on the description of their interrelations (including their syndromic development and recruitment), as well as their consequences upon energy handling and partition. The main theories on MS’s origin and development are presented in relation to hepatic steatosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, but encompass most of the MS components described so far. The differential effects of sex and its biological consequences are considered under the light of human social needs and evolution, which are also directly related to MS epidemiology, severity, and relations with senescence. The triggering and maintenance factors of MS are discussed, with especial emphasis on inflammation, a complex process affecting different levels of organization and which is a critical element for MS development. Inflammation is also related to the operation of connective tissue (including the adipose organ) and the widely studied and acknowledged influence of diet. The role of diet composition, including the transcendence of the anaplerotic maintenance of the Krebs cycle from dietary amino acid supply (and its timing), is developed in the context of testosterone and β-estradiol control of the insulin-glycaemia hepatic core system of carbohydrate-triacylglycerol energy handling. The high probability of MS acting as a unique complex biological control system (essentially monophyletic) is presented, together with additional perspectives/considerations on the treatment of this ‘very’ human disease. Full article
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