Mice with the hypomorphic AIF-Harlequin mutation exhibit a highly heterogeneous mitochondriopathy that mostly affects respiratory chain complex I, causing a cerebral pathology that resembles that found in patients with AIF loss-of-function mutations. Here we describe that the antidiabetic drug pioglitazone (PIO) can improve the phenotype of a mouse Harlequin (Hq) subgroup, presumably due to an inhibition of glycolysis that causes an increase in blood glucose levels. This glycolysis-inhibitory PIO effect was observed in cultured astrocytes from Hq mice, as well as in human skin fibroblasts from patients with AIF mutation. Glycolysis inhibition by PIO resulted from direct competitive inhibition of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Moreover, GAPDH protein levels were reduced in the cerebellum and in the muscle from Hq mice that exhibited an improved phenotype upon PIO treatment. Altogether, our results suggest that excessive glycolysis participates to the pathogenesis of mitochondriopathies and that pharmacological inhibition of glycolysis may have beneficial effects in this condition.
Keywords: AIFM1; Bezafibrate; Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH); Melatonin; Pre-clinical trial; X-linked mitochondrial encephalomyelopathy.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.