Thetransmethylation pathway as a source for adenosine in the isolated guinea-pig heart

Author(s): Lloyd HG, Deussen A, Wuppermann H, Schrader J


In order to quantify adenosine production from the transmethylation pathway [S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet)----S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy) in equilibrium adenosine + L-homocysteine] in the isolated guinea-pig heart under basal conditions (normoxic perfusion with 95% O2) and during elevated adenosine production (hypoxic perfusion with 30% O2), two methods were used. (1) Hearts were perfused with normoxic medium containing [2,5,8-3H]adenosine (5 microM) and L-homocysteine thiolactone (0.1 mM), which brings about net AdoHcy synthesis via reversal of the AdoHcy hydrolase reaction and labels the intracellular pool of AdoHcy. From the decrease in AdoHcy pool size and specific radioactivity of AdoHcy in the post-labelling period, the rate of transmethylation, which is equivalent to the rate of adenosine production, was calculated to be 0.98 nmol/min per g. Adenosine release from the hearts was 40-50 pmol/min per g. (2) Hearts were perfused with hypoxic medium containing [35S]homocysteine (50 microM). Owing to the hypoxia-induced increase in adenosine production, this procedure also results in expansion and labelling of the AdoHcy pool. From the dilution of the specific radioactivity of AdoHcy relative to that of [35S]homocysteine, the rate of AdoHcy synthesis from AdoMet (transmethylation) was calculated to be 1.12 nmol/min per g. It is concluded that in the oxygenated heart the transmethylation pathway is quantitatively an important intracellular source of adenosine, which exceeds the rate of adenosine wash-out by the coronary system by about 15-fold. Most of the adenosine formed by this pathway is re-incorporated into the ATP pool, most likely by adenosine kinase. The transmethylation pathway is essentially O2-independent, and the known hypoxia-induced production of adenosine must be derived from an increase in 5'-AMP hydrolysis.

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