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Marta Toral, Rosario Jimenez, Sebastián Montoro-Molina, Miguel Romero, Rosemary Wangensteen, Juan Duarte and Félix Vargas

Thyroid hormone activity is associated with L-arginine metabolism and nitric oxide (NO) production, which participate in the cardiovascular manifestations of thyroid disorders. L-arginine transporters play an important role in activating L-arginine uptake and NO production. However, the effects of thyroid hormones on L-arginine transporters in endothelial cells have not yet been evaluated. The following methods were used. We measured L-arginine uptake, mRNA expression of L-arginine transporters, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) mRNA and NO generation after the administration of T3, T4 and the T3 analog, 3,3′,5-triiodothyroacetic acid TRIAC in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We also analyzed the role of αvβ3 integrin and of phosphatidyl-inositol-3 kinase (PI3K), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs: ERK1/2, p38 and SAPK-JNK) and intracellular calcium signaling pathways as underlying mechanisms. To this end, αvβ3 integrin was pharmacologically inhibited by tetraiodothyroacetic acid (TETRAC) or genetically blocked by silencing αv mRNA and PI3K, MAPKs and intracellular calcium by selective inhibitors. The following results were obtained. Thyroid hormones and the T3 analog TRIAC increased L-arginine uptake in HUVECs, the sodium-independent y+/CAT isoforms, except CAT2b, sodium-dependent y+L system and sodium-independent system b0,+L-arginine transporters, eNOS mRNA and NO production. These effects were suppressed by αvβ3 integrin inhibition with TETRAC or αv integrin downregulation or by PI3K, MAPK or intracellular Ca2+ signaling inhibitors. In conclusion, we report for the first time that activation of L-arginine uptake by thyroid hormones is related to an upregulation of L-arginine transporters. This effect seems to be mediated by activation of αvβ3 integrin receptor and subsequent PI3K, MAPK and intracellular Ca2+ signaling pathways.

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Sujith Rajan, Ganesh Panzade, Ankita Srivastava, Kripa Shankar, Rajesh Pandey, Durgesh Kumar, Sanchita Gupta, Abhishek Gupta, Salil Varshney, Muheeb Beg, Raj Kumar Mishra, Ravi Shankar and Anil Gaikwad

miRNA has been known to regulate diverse cellular and molecular functions. In the earlier study, we have reported that adipocytes differentiated from human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) on 72-h chronic insulin (CI) treatment exhibit insulin resistance (IR). Present study has further explored above model to investigate the role of early expressed miRNAs within human adipocytes to modulate differential adipokine expression as observed during IR. Our results highlight that miR-876-3p regulate glucose homeostasis and its dysregulation leads to IR. We found that miR-876-3p level is a critical determinant of adiponectin expression by virtue of its target within adiponectin 3′UTR. Regulatory effect of miR-876-3p impacts crosstalk between adiponectin and insulin signaling. Rosiglitazone treatment in CI-induced IR adipocytes drastically reduced miR-876-3p expression and increased adiponectin level. In line with this, lentiviral-mediated inhibition of miR-876-3p expression ameliorated CI and high-fat diet (HFD)-induced IR in adipocytes differentiated from hMSC and C57BL/6 mice, respectively. Our findings thus suggest that modulating miR-876-3p expression could provide novel opportunities for therapeutic intervention of obesity-associated metabolic syndrome.

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Jin-Ran Chen, Oxana P Lazarenko, Haijun Zhao, Alexander W Alund and Kartik Shankar

Intrauterine or early postnatal high-fat diet (HFD) has substantial influences on adult offspring health; however, studies of HFD-induced maternal obesity on regulation of adult offspring bone formation are sparse. Here, we investigated the effects of HFD-induced maternal obesity on both fetal and adult offspring skeletal development. We found that HFD-induced maternal obesity significantly decreased fetal skeletal development, but enhanced fetal osteoblastic cell senescence signaling and significantly increased the expression of inflammatory factors of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in osteo-progenitors. It was found that p300/CBP activation led to H3K27 acetylation to increase the expression of senescence-related genes and PPARγ in embryonic mouse osteogenic calvarial cells from HFD obese dams. These results were recapitulated in human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UC MSCs) isolated from offspring of pregnant obese and lean mothers following delivery. Regardless of postnatal HFD challenge, adult offspring from HFD obese dams showed significantly suppressed bone formation. Such early involution of bone formation of adult offspring from HFD obese dams may at least in part due to histone acetylation, i.e., epigenetic regulation of genes involved in cell senescence signaling in pre-osteoblasts from prenatal development. These findings indicate fetal pre-osteoblastic cell senescence signaling is epigenetically regulated by maternal obesity to repress bone formation in adult offspring in rodents and suggest that at least some of these effects may also manifest in humans.

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Edouard G A Mills, Waljit S Dhillo and Alexander N Comninos

Reproduction is fundamental for the survival of all species and requires meticulous synchronisation of a diverse complement of neural, endocrine and related behaviours. The reproductive hormone kisspeptin (encoded by the KISS1/Kiss1 gene) is now a well-established orchestrator of reproductive hormones, acting upstream of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) at the apex of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) reproductive axis. Beyond the hypothalamus, kisspeptin is also expressed in limbic and paralimbic brain regions, which are areas of the neurobiological network implicated in sexual and emotional behaviours. We are now forming a more comprehensive appreciation of extra-hypothalamic kisspeptin signalling and the complex role of kisspeptin as an upstream mediator of reproductive behaviours, including olfactory-driven partner preference, copulatory behaviour, audition, mood and emotion. An increasing body of research from zebrafish to humans has implicated kisspeptin in the integration of reproductive hormones with an overall positive influence on these reproductive behaviours. In this review, we critically appraise the current literature regarding kisspeptin and its control of reproductive behaviour. Collectively, these data significantly enhance our understanding of the integration of reproductive hormones and behaviour and provide the foundation for kisspeptin-based therapies to treat related disorders of body and mind.

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Tomoaki Hayakawa, Tomomi Minemura, Toshiharu Onodera, Jihoon Shin, Yosuke Okuno, Atsunori Fukuhara, Michio Otsuki and Iichiro Shimomura

Active glucocorticoid levels are elevated in the adipose tissue of obesity due to the enzyme 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1. Glucocorticoids can bind and activate both glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), and pharmacological blockades of MR prevent high-fat diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance. To determine the significance of MR in adipocytes, we generated adipocyte-specific MR-knockout mice (AdipoMR-KO) and fed them high-fat/high-sucrose diet. We found that adipocyte-specific deletion of MR did not affect the body weight, fat weight, glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity. While liver weight was slightly reduced in AdipoMR-KO, there were no significant differences in the mRNA expression levels of genes associated with lipogenesis, lipolysis, adipocytokines and oxidative stress in adipose tissues between the control and AdipoMR-KO mice. The results indicated that MR in mature adipocytes plays a minor role in the regulation of insulin resistance and inflammation in high-fat/high-sucrose diet-induced obese mice.

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K Eerola, S Virtanen, L Vähätalo, L Ailanen, M Cai, V Hruby, M Savontaus and E Savontaus

γ-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (γ-MSH) is an endogenous agonist of the melanocortin 3-receptor (MC3R). Genetic disruption of MC3Rs increases adiposity and blunts responses to fasting, suggesting that increased MC3R signaling could be physiologically beneficial in the long term. Interestingly, several studies have concluded that activation of MC3Rs is orexigenic in the short term. Therefore, we aimed to examine the short- and long-term effects of γ-MSH in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) on energy homeostasis and hypothesized that the effect of MC3R agonism is dependent on the state of energy balance and nutrition. Lentiviral gene delivery was used to induce a continuous expression of γ-Msh only in the ARC of male C57Bl/6N mice. Parameters of body energy homeostasis were monitored as food was changed from chow (6 weeks) to Western diet (13 weeks) and back to chow (7 weeks). The γ-MSH treatment decreased the fat mass to lean mass ratio on chow, but the effect was attenuated on Western diet. After the switch back to chow, an enhanced loss in weight (−15% vs −6%) and fat mass (−37% vs −12%) and reduced cumulative food intake were observed in γ-MSH-treated animals. Fasting-induced feeding was increased on chow diet only; however, voluntary running wheel activity on Western diet was increased. The γ-MSH treatment also modulated the expression of key neuropeptides in the ARC favoring weight loss. We have shown that a chronic treatment intended to target ARC MC3Rs modulates energy balance in nutritional state-dependent manner. Enhancement of diet-induced weight loss could be beneficial in treatment of obesity.

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Se Hee Min, Jung Hee Kim, Yu Mi Kang, Seung Hak Lee, Byung-Mo Oh, Kyou-Sup Han, Meihua Zhang, Hoe Suk Kim, Woo Kyung Moon, Hakmo Lee, Kyong Soo Park and Hye Seung Jung

Rodent stem cells demonstrated regenerative effects in diabetic neuropathy via improvement in nerve perfusion. We explored if human mobilized mononuclear cells (hMNC) would have the same effects. hMNC were injected into Rt. hind-limb muscles of streptozotocin-induced diabetic nude rats, and the grafts were monitored using MRI. After 4 weeks, the effects were compared with those in the vehicle-injected Lt. hind-limbs. Nerve conduction, muscle perfusion, and gene expression of sciatic nerves were assessed. hMNC were co-cultured with IMS32 cells to examine effects on myelination. Induction of diabetes decreased nerve function and expression of Mpz and Met in the sciatic nerves, which are related with myelination. hMNC injection significantly improved amplitude of compound muscle action potentials along with muscle perfusion and sciatic nerve Mpz expression. On MRI, hypointense signals were observed for 4 weeks at the graft site, but their correlation with the presence of hMNC was detectable for 1 week. To evaluate paracrine effects of hMNC, IMS32 cells were tested with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) which had been reported as a myelination-related factor from stem cells. We could observe that HGF enhanced Mpz expression. Because hMNC secreted HGF, IMS32 cells were co-cultured with hMNC, and the expression of Mpz increased along with morphologic maturation. The hMNC-induced Mpz expression was abrogated by treatment of anti-HGF. These results suggest that hMNC could improve diabetic neuropathy, possibly through enhancement of myelination as well as perfusion. According to in vitro studies, HGF was involved to the hMNC-induced myelination activity, at least in part.

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Sara Della Torre, Gianpaolo Rando, Clara Meda, Paolo Ciana, Luisa Ottobrini and Adriana Maggi

Oestrogens are well-known proliferation and differentiation factors that play an essential role in the correct development of sex-related organs and behaviour in mammals. With the use of the ERE-Luc reporter mouse model, we show herein that throughout mouse development, oestrogen receptors (ERs) are active starting from day 12 post conception. Most interestingly, we show that prenatal luciferase expression in each organ is proportionally different in relation to the germ layer of the origin. The luciferase content is highest in ectoderm-derived organs (such as brain and skin) and is lowest in endoderm-derived organs (such as liver, lung, thymus and intestine). Consistent with the testosterone surge occurring in male mice at the end of pregnancy, in the first 2 days after birth, we observed a significant increase in the luciferase content in several organs, including the liver, bone, gonads and hindbrain. The results of the present study show a widespread transcriptional activity of ERs in developing embryos, pointing to the potential contribution of these receptors in the development of non-reproductive as well as reproductive organs. Consequently, the findings reported here might be relevant in explaining the significant differences in male and female physiopathology reported by a growing number of studies and may underline the necessity for more systematic analyses aimed at the identification of the prenatal effects of drugs interfering with ER signalling, such as aromatase inhibitors or endocrine disrupter chemicals.

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Lewin Small, Henry Gong, Christian Yassmin, Gregory J Cooney and Amanda Brandon

One major factor affecting physiology often overlooked when comparing data from animal models and humans is the effect of ambient temperature. The majority of rodent housing is maintained at ~22°C, the thermoneutral temperature for lightly clothed humans. However, mice have a much higher thermoneutral temperature of ~30°C, consequently data collected at 22°C in mice could be influenced by animals being exposed to a chronic cold stress. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of housing temperature on glucose homeostasis and energy metabolism of mice fed normal chow or a high fat, obesogenic diet (HFD). Male C57BL/6J(Arc) mice were housed at standard temperature (22°C) or at thermoneutrality (29°C) and fed either chow or a 60% HFD for 13 weeks. The HFD increased fat mass and produced glucose intolerance as expected but this was not exacerbated in mice housed at thermoneutrality. Changing the ambient temperature however, did alter energy expenditure, food intake, lipid content and glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle, liver and brown adipose tissue. Collectively these findings demonstrate that mice regulate energy balance at different housing temperatures to maintain whole body glucose tolerance and adiposity irrespective of the diet. Despite this, metabolic differences in individual tissues were apparent. In conclusion, dietary intervention in mice has a greater impact on adiposity and glucose metabolism than housing temperature although temperature is still a significant factor in regulating metabolic parameters in individual tissues.

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Jennifer Yang, Jessica Hughes, Ruby Parra, Katrina Volk and Alexander Kauffman

Restraint stress is a psychosocial stressor that suppresses reproductive status, including LH pulsatile secretion, but the neuroendocrine mechamisms underlying this inhibition remains unclear. Reproductive neural populations upstream of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, such as kisspeptin, neurokinin B, and RFRP-3 (GnIH) neurons, are possible targets for psychosocial stress to inhibit LH pulses, but this has not been well-examined, especially in mice in which prior technical limitations prevented assessment of in vivo LH pulse secretion dynamics. Here we examined whether one-time acute restraint stress alters in vivo LH pulsatility and reproductive neural populations in male mice, and what the time-course is for such alterations. We found that endogenous LH pulses in castrated male mice are robustly and rapidly suppressed by one-time, acute restraint stress, with suppression observed as quickly as 12-18 min. This rapid LH suppression parallels with increased in vivo corticosterone levels within 15 min of restraint stress. Although Kiss1, Tac2, and Rfrp gene expression in the hypothalamus did not significantly change after 90 or 180 min restraint stress, arcuate Kiss1 neural activation was sigmnifciantly decreased after 180 min. Interestingly, hypothalamic Rfrp neuronal activation was strongly increased at early times after restraint stress initiation, but was attenuated to levels lower than controls by 180 min of restraint stress. Thus, the male neuroendocrine reproductive axis is quite sensitive to short-term stress exposure, with significantly decreased pulsatile LH secretion and increased hypothalamic Rfrp neuronal activation occurring rapidly, within minutes, and decreased Kiss1 neuronal activation also occurring after longer stress durations.