Membrane-initiated cortisol action modulates early pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 2 (pdk2) expression in fish skeletal muscle

Jorge E. Aedo, Rodrigo Zuloaga, Sebastián Boltaña, Alfredo Molina, Juan Antonio Valdés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Cortisol is the main glucocorticoid hormone in teleosts involved in the regulation of metabolic adjustments under both normal and stressful physiological conditions. In the skeletal muscle, cortisol modulates the energetic metabolism promoting the mobilization of glucose and other energetic substrates to overcome the stress stimulus. The effects of cortisol-mediated stress response are attributed to canonical/genomic mechanisms which involve the interaction of the hormone with its intracellular glucocorticoid receptor and, consequently, modulation of target genes. However, cortisol also can interact with membrane components, activating rapid signaling pathways with unknown contribution during the early stress response. In the present work, we evaluated the impact of membrane-initiated cortisol action over the expression of the critical modulator of energetic metabolism, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 2 (pdk2), in fish skeletal muscle. Juvenile rainbow trout were intraperitoneally administered with stress-related doses of cortisol and cortisol-BSA, and the expression of pdk2 was assayed by using RT-qPCR. Our results reveal that pdk2 mRNA levels increased in the skeletal muscle at one hour in both cortisol- and cortisol-BSA-treated fish. Moreover, in vitro studies revealed a biphasic response over the pdk2 regulation in myotubes mediated first through membrane-cortisol signaling pathways followed by the classic cortisol action. Finally, pdk2 up-regulation owing to cortisol and cortisol-BSA is reverted in RU486 treated myotubes, suggesting that GR signaling participates in both cortisol signaling pathways. This work suggests that non-classical cortisol pathways contribute to regulate the early metabolic response to stress in fish skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Cortisol
  • Membrane-initiated cortisol action
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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