Synthesis of GAA and creatine in pancreas
Creatine is an important molecule involved in cellular energy metabolism. Creatine is spontaneously converted to creatinine at a rate of 1·7% per d; creatinine is lost in the urine. Creatine can be obtained from the diet or synthesised from endogenous amino acids via the enzymes arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) and guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT). The liver has high GAMT activity and the kidney has high AGAT activity. Although the pancreas has both AGAT and GAMT activities, its possible role in creatine synthesis has not been characterised. In the present study, we examined the enzymes involved in creatine synthesis in the pancreas as well as the synthesis of guanidinoacetate (GAA) and creatine by isolated pancreatic acini. We found significant AGAT activity and somewhat lower GAMT activity in the pancreas and that pancreatic acini had measurable activities of both AGAT and GAMT and the capacity to synthesise GAA and creatine from amino acids. Creatine supplementation led to a decrease in AGAT activity in the pancreas, though it did not affect its mRNA or protein abundance. This was in contrast with the reduction of AGAT activity and mRNA and protein abundance in the kidney, suggesting that the regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of this enzyme in the pancreas are different from those in the kidney. Dietary creatine increased the concentrations of GAA, creatine and phosphocreatine in the pancreas. Unexpectedly, creatine supplementation decreased the concentrations of S-adenosylmethionine, while those of S-adenosylhomocysteine were not altered significantly.