The study aimed to investigate the role of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) in regulating glycolysis and proliferation of perimysial orbital fibroblasts (pOFs) during the pathogenesis of thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO). EdU and BrdU incorporation assays were performed to examine cell proliferation. Lactate production and oxygen consumption assays were conducted to evaluate glycolysis. Real-time PCR was adapted to quantify PDK mRNA levels. Capillary Western immunoassay was adapted to quantify PDK2, Akt, pAkt308 and GAPDH in protein samples. The TAO pOFs exhibited stronger proliferation activity, higher intracellular lactate concentration, and lower oxygen consumption rate than the control pOFs. The PDK inhibitor dichloroacetic acid (DCA) dose-dependently suppressed the proliferation of both TAO and control pOFs. DCA reduced lactate production and promoted oxygen consumption in the TAO pOFs but showed no significant effects on glycolysis in the control pOFs. Among four PDK isotypes, PDK2 was overexpressed in the TAO pOFs. The potential PDK signaling mediator, cytoplasmic Akt, was more abundant in TAO pOFs than control pOFs. Knockdown of PDK2 resulted in lower lactate production, stronger oxygen consumption, weaker proliferation activity, and less cytoplasmic Akt in the TAO pOFs but showed no significant effects in the control pOFs. The Akt inhibitor MK2206 suppressed proliferation in both TAO and control pOFs, and lactate production was inhibited by MK2206 in the TAO OFs but not the control pOFs. To conclude, PDK2 overexpression enhances glycolysis and promotes proliferation via Akt signaling in the TAO pOFs. These findings yield insights that PDK2 is a potential therapeutic target for TAO treatment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 81970835, 81800867) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (grant number 20ZR1409500).
- Orbital fibroblasts
- Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy