Supplementary Methods from Cardiac metabolomic profile of the naked mole-rat—glycogen to the rescue

The African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is unique among mammals, displaying extreme longevity, resistance to cardiovascular disease and an ability to survive long periods of extreme hypoxia. The metabolic adaptations required for resistance to hypoxia are hotly debated and a recent report provides evidence that they are able to switch from glucose to fructose driven glycolysis in the brain. However, other systemic alterations in their metabolism are largely unknown. In the current study, a semi-targeted high resolution 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) metabolomics investigation was performed on cardiac tissue from the naked mole-rat (NMR) and wild-type C57/BL6 mice to better understand these adaptations. A range of metabolic differences was observed in the NMR including increased lactate, consistent with enhanced rates of glycolysis previously reported, increased glutathione, suggesting increased resistance to oxidative stress and decreased succinate/fumarate ratio suggesting reduced oxidative phosphorylation and ROS production. Surprisingly, the most significant difference was an elevation of glycogen stores and glucose-1-phosphate resulting from glycogen turnover, that were completely absent in the mouse heart and above the levels found in the mouse liver. Thus, we identified a range of metabolic adaptations in the NMR heart that are relevant to their ability to survive extreme environmental pressures and metabolic stress. Our study underscores the plasticity of energetic pathways and the need for compensatory strategies to adapt in response to the physiological and pathological stress including ageing and ischaemic heart pathologies.