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Wanying Qin, Ting Zhang, Mingxia Ge, Huimin Zhou, Yuhui Xu, Rongfang Mu, Chaoguang Huang, Daowei Liu, Bangrui Huang, Qian Wang, Qinghua Kong, Qingpeng Kong, Fei Li, and Wenyong Xiong

Receptor for activated C kinase 1 (RACK1) is a versatile protein involved in multiple biological processes. In a previous study by Zhao et al., hepatic RACK1 deletion in mice led to an inhibition of autophagy, blocked autophagy-dependent lipolysis, and caused steatosis. Using the same mouse model (RACK1hep−/−), we revealed new roles of RACK1 in maintaining bile acid homeostasis and hepatic glucose uptake, which further affected circulatory lipid and glucose levels. To be specific, even under hepatic steatosis, the plasma lipids were generally reduced in RACK1hep−/− mouse, which was due to the suppression of intestinal lipid absorption. Accordingly, a decrease in total bile acid level was found in RACK1hep−/− livers, gallbladders, and small intestine tissues, and specific decrease of 12-hydroxylated bile acids was detected by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Consistently, reduced expression of CYP8B1 was found. A decrease in hepatic glycogen storage was also observed, which might be due to the inhibited glucose uptake by GLUT2 insufficiency. Interestingly, RACK1-KO-inducing hepatic steatosis did not raise insulin resistance (IR) nor IR-inducing factors like endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation. In summary, this study uncovers that hepatic RACK1 might be required in maintaining bile acid homeostasis and glucose uptake in hepatocytes. This study also provides an additional case of hepatic steatosis disassociation with insulin resistance.

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Farrah L Saleh, Aditi A Joshi, Aya Tal, Patricia Xu, Julie R Hens, Serena L Wong, and Clare A Flannery

Girls with obesity are at increased risk of early puberty. Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. We hypothesized that insulin plays a physiological role in pubertal transition, and super-imposed hyperinsulinemia due to childhood obesity promotes early initiation of puberty in girls. To isolate the effect of hyperinsulinemia from adiposity, we compared pre-pubertal and pubertal states in hyperinsulinemic, lean muscle (M)-insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R)-lysine (K)-arginine (R) (MKR) mice to normoinsulinemic WT, with puberty onset defined by vaginal opening (VO). Our results show MKR had greater insulin resistance and higher insulin levels (P <  0.05) than WT despite lower body weight (P < 0.0001) and similar IGF-1 levels (P = NS). Serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were higher in hyperinsulinemic MKR (P = 0.005), and insulin stimulation induced an increase in LH levels in WT. VO was earlier in hyperinsulinemic MKR vs WT (P < 0.0001). When compared on the day of VO, kisspeptin expression was higher in hyperinsulinemic MKR vs WT (P < 0.05), and gonadotropin-releasing hormone and insulin receptor isoform expression was similar (P = NS). Despite accelerated VO, MKR had delayed, disordered ovarian follicle and mammary gland development. In conclusion, we found that hyperinsulinemia alone without adiposity triggers earlier puberty. In our study, hyperinsulinemia also promoted dyssynchrony between pubertal initiation and progression, urging future studies in girls with obesity to assess alterations in transition to adulthood.

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Shun-Neng Hsu, Louise A Stephen, Scott Dillon, Elspeth Milne, Behzad Javaheri, Andrew A Pitsillides, Amanda Novak, Jose Luis Millán, Vicky E MacRae, Katherine A Staines, and Colin Farquharson

Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) often present with skeletal abnormalities, a condition known as renal osteodystrophy (ROD). While tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) and PHOSPHO1 are critical for bone mineralization, their role in the etiology of ROD is unclear. To address this, ROD was induced in both WT and Phospho1 knockout (P1KO) mice through dietary adenine supplementation. The mice presented with hyperphosphatemia, hyperparathyroidism, and elevated levels of FGF23 and bone turnover markers. In particular, we noted that in CKD mice, bone mineral density (BMD) was increased in cortical bone (P  < 0.05) but decreased in trabecular bone (P  < 0.05). These changes were accompanied by decreased TNAP (P  < 0.01) and increased PHOSPHO1 (P  < 0.001) expression in WT CKD bones. In P1KO CKD mice, the cortical BMD phenotype was rescued, suggesting that the increased cortical BMD of CKD mice was driven by increased PHOSPHO1 expression. Other structural parameters were also improved in P1KO CKD mice. We further investigated the driver of the mineralization defects, by studying the effects of FGF23, PTH, and phosphate administration on PHOSPHO1 and TNAP expression by primary murine osteoblasts. We found both PHOSPHO1 and TNAP expressions to be downregulated in response to phosphate and PTH. The in vitro data suggest that the TNAP reduction in CKD-MBD is driven by the hyperphosphatemia and/or hyperparathyroidism noted in these mice, while the higher PHOSPHO1 expression may be a compensatory mechanism. Increased PHOSPHO1 expression in ROD may contribute to the disordered skeletal mineralization characteristic of this progressive disorder.

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Aryane Cruz Oliveira Pinho, Diana Santos, Inês Baldeiras, Ana Burgeiro, Emelindo C Leal, and Eugenia Carvalho


Thoracic perivascular adipose tissue (tPVAT) has a phenotype resembling brown AT. Dysfunctional tPVAT appears to be linked to vascular dysfunction.


We evaluated uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression by Western blot, oxidative stress by measuring lipid peroxidation, the antioxidant capacity by HPLC and spectrophotometry, and mitochondrial respiration by high-resolution respirometry (HRR) in tPVAT, compared to inguinal white AT (iWAT), obtained from non-diabetic (NDM) and streptozocin-induced diabetic (STZ-DM) mice. Mitochondrial respiration was assessed by HRR using protocol 1: complex I and II oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and protocol 2: fatty acid oxidation (FAO) OXPHOS. OXPHOS capacity in tPVAT was also evaluated after UCP1 inhibition by guanosine 5'-diphosphate (GDP).


UCP1 expression was higher in tPVAT when compared with iWAT in both NDM and STZ-DM mice. The malondialdehyde concentration was elevated in tPVAT from STZ-DM compared to NDM mice. Glutathione peroxidase and reductase activities, as well as reduced glutathione levels, were not different between tPVAT from NDM and STZ-DM mice but were lower compared to iWAT of STZ-DM mice. OXPHOS capacity of tPVAT was significantly decreased after UCP1 inhibition by GDP in protocol 1. While there were no differences in the OXPHOS capacity between NDM and STZ-DM mice in protocol 1, it was increased in STZ-DM compared to NDM mice in protocol 2. Moreover, complex II- and FAO-linked respiration were elevated in STZ-DM mice under UCP1 inhibition.


Pharmacological therapies could be targeted to modulate UCP1 activity with a significant impact in the uncoupling of mitochondrial bioenergetics in tPVAT.

Open access

Taira Wada, Yukiko Yamamoto, Yukiko Takasugi, Hirotake Ishii, Taketo Uchiyama, Kaori Saitoh, Masahiro Suzuki, Makoto Uchiyama, Hikari Yoshitane, Yoshitaka Fukada, and Shigeki Shimba

Adiponectin is a cytokine secreted from adipocytes and regulates metabolism. Although serum adiponectin levels show diurnal variations, it is not clear if the effects of adiponectin are time-dependent. Therefore, this study conducted locomotor activity analyses and various metabolic studies using the adiponectin knockout (APN (−/−)) and the APN (+/+) mice to understand whether adiponectin regulates the circadian rhythm of glucose and lipid metabolism. We observed that the adiponectin gene deficiency does not affect the rhythmicity of core circadian clock genes expression in several peripheral tissues. In contrast, the adiponectin gene deficiency alters the circadian rhythms of liver and serum lipid levels and results in the loss of the time dependency of very-low-density lipoprotein-triglyceride secretion from the liver. In addition, the whole-body glucose tolerance of the APN (−/−) mice was normal at CT10 but reduced at CT22, compared to the APN (+/+) mice. The decreased glucose tolerance at CT22 was associated with insulin hyposecretion in vivo. In contrast, the gluconeogenesis activity was higher in the APN (−/−) mice than in the APN (+/+) mice throughout the day. These results indicate that adiponectin regulates part of the circadian rhythm of metabolism in the liver.

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Ling Cui, Chunlu Tan, Lili Huang, Weihao Wang, Zhengxiang Huang, Fang Geng, Mengjun Wu, Xiaolin Chen, Michael Cowley, Ferdinand Roelfsema, and Chen Chen

Obese women often have certain degree of reproductive dysfunction with infertility. Although the clinical impact of obesity on female infertility has been extensively studied, the effective and targeted treatment is still lacking. Melanocortin-4-receptor knock-out (MC4R KO) mouse is an over-eating obese model with hyperphagia, hyperinsulinemia, reduced growth hormone (GH), and insulin resistance. Dapagliflozin improved the metabolic and hormonal parameters in MC4R KO mice. MC4R KO female mice were treated with dapagliflozin for 14 weeks from 14-week age. Age-matched WT littermates and non-treated MC4R KO mice were used as control groups. Food intake was measured daily. Body weight was measured twice a week. Estrous cycles, GH, and luteinizing hormone (LH) profiles were measured. Selected tissues were collected at the end of experiments for gene expression profiles and hematoxylin–eosin staining. Regularity and mode of hormonal profiles were restored by the dapagliflozin treatment. Estrous cycle was partially normalized, number of CL was significantly increased, and the expression of Kiss1 and Gnrh1 in the hypothalamus and LH in the pituitary was markedly increased by the dapagliflozin treatment. It is conclsuded that dapagliflozin may recover LH and GH profiles partially through modification of relevant gene expression in the hypothalamus and pituitary, and result in an improved ovulation rate in obese mouse model. Dapagliflozin may therefore improve fertility in obese patients.

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Jordan E Hamden, Katherine M. Gray, Melody Salehzadeh, and Kiran K Soma

The profound programming effects of early life stress (ELS) on brain and behaviour are thought to be primarily mediated by adrenal glucocorticoids (GCs). However, in mice, stressors are often administered between postnatal days 2-12 (PND2-12), during the stress hyporesponsive period (SHRP), when adrenal GC production is greatly reduced at baseline and in response to stressors. During the SHRP, specific brain regions produce GCs at baseline, but it is unknown if brain GC production increases in response to stressors. We treated mice at PND1 (pre-SHRP), PND5 (SHRP), PND9 (SHRP), and PND13 (post-SHRP) with an acute stressor (isoflurane anesthesia), vehicle control (oxygen), or neither (baseline). We measured a panel of progesterone and 6 GCs in the blood, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and hypothalamus via liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. At PND1, baseline corticosterone levels were high and did not increase in response to stress. At PND5, baseline corticosterone levels were very low; increases in brain corticosterone levels were greater than the increase in blood corticosterone levels; and stress had region-specific effects. At PND9, baseline corticosterone levels were low and increased similarly and moderately in response to stress. At PND13, blood corticosterone levels were higher than those at PND9, and corticosterone levels were higher in blood than in brain regions. These data illustrate the rapid and profound changes in stress physiology during neonatal development and suggest that neurosteroid production is a possible mechanism by which ELS has enduring effects on brain and behaviour.

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Natalie Ky Wee, Thaísa Fc de Lima, Narelle E McGregor, Emma C Walker, Ingrid Poulton, Martha A Blank, and Natalie A Sims

Bone strength is partially determined during cortical bone consolidation, a process comprising coalescence of peripheral trabecular bone and its progressive mineralisation. Mice with genetic deletion of suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (Socs3), an inhibitor of STAT3 signalling, exhibit delayed cortical bone consolidation, indicated by high cortical porosity, low mineral content, and low bone strength. Since leptin receptor (LepR) is expressed in the osteoblast lineage and is suppressed by SOCS3, we evaluated whether LepR deletion in osteocytes would rectify the Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl bone defect. First, we tested LepR deletion in osteocytes by generating Dmp1cre.LepRfl/fl mice and detected no significant bone phenotype. We then generated Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl.LepRfl/fl mice, and compared them to Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl controls. Between 6 and 12 weeks of age, both Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl.LepRfl/fl and control (Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl) mice showed an increasing proportion of more heavily mineralised bone, indicating some cortical consolidation with time. However, at 12 weeks of age, rather than resolving the phenotype, delayed consolidation was extended in female Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl.LepRfl/fl mice. This was indicated in both metaphysis and diaphysis by greater proportions of low density bone, lower proportions of high density bone, and greater cortical porosity than Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl controls. There was also no change in the proportion of osteocytes staining positive for phospho-STAT3, suggesting the effect of LepR deletion in Dmp1cre.Socs3fl/fl mice is STAT3 independent. This identifies a new role for leptin signalling in bone which opposes our original hypothesis. Although LepR in osteocytes has no irreplaceable physiological role in normal bone maturation, when STAT3 is hyperactive, LepR in Dmp1Cre-expressing cells supports cortical consolidation.

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Simin Younesi, Alita Soch, Luba Sominsky, and Sarah J Spencer

Early life microglia are essential for brain development, and developmental disruption in microglial activity may have long-term implications for the neuroendocrine control of reproduction. We and others have previously shown that early life immune activation compromises the long-term potential for reproductive function in females. However, the supportive role of microglia in female reproductive development is still unknown. Here, we examined the long-term programming effects of transient neonatal microglial and monocyte ablation on hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis function in female rats. We employed a Cx3cr1-Dtr transgenic Wistar rat model to acutely ablate microglia and monocytes, commencing on either postnatal day (P) 7 or 14, since the development of the HPG axis in female rodents primarily occurs during the first two to three postnatal weeks. After an acutely diminished expression of microglia and monocyte genes in the brain and ovaries, respectively, microglia had repopulated the brain by P21, albeit that cellular complexity was still reduced in both groups at this time. Removal of microglia and monocytes on P7, but not P14 reduced circulating luteinising hormone levels in adulthood and ovarian gonadotropin receptors mRNA. These changes were notably associated with fewer primary and antral follicles in these rats. These data suggest that transient ablation of microglia and monocytes at the start of the second but not the third postnatal week has long-term effects on ovarian health. The findings highlight the important developmental role of a healthy immune system for female potential reproductive capacity and the importance of critical developmental periods to adult ovarian health.

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Daniele Leão Ignacio, Rodrigo Soares Fortunato, Diego Silvestre, Leonardo Matta, Andressa Lima de Vansconcelos, Denise Pires Carvalho, Antonio Galina, João Pedro Werneck-de-Castro, and João Paulo Cavalcanti-de-Albuquerque

Estrogen deficiency causes metabolic disorders in humans and rodents, including in part due to changes in energy expenditure. We have shown previously that skeletal muscle mitochondrial function is compromised in ovariectomized (Ovx) rats. Since physical exercise is a powerful strategy to improve skeletal muscle mitochondrial content and function, we hypothesize that exercise training would counteract the deficiency-induced skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction in Ovx rats. We report that exercised Ovx rats, at 60–65% of maximal exercise capacity for 8 weeks, exhibited less fat accumulation and body weight gain compared with sedentary controls. Treadmill exercise training decreased muscle lactate production, indicating a shift to mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. Furthermore, reduced soleus muscle mitochondrial oxygen consumption confirmed that estrogen deficiency is detrimental to mitochondrial function. However, exercise restored mitochondrial oxygen consumption in Ovx rats, achieving similar levels as in exercised control rats. Exercise-induced skeletal muscle peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α expression was similar in both groups. Therefore, the mechanisms by which exercise improves mitochondrial oxygen consumption appears to be different in Ovx-exercised and sham-exercised rats. While there was an increase in mitochondrial content in sham-exercised rats, demonstrated by a greater citrate synthase activity, no induction was observed in Ovx-exercised rats. Normalizing mitochondrial respiratory capacity by citrate synthase activity indicates a better oxidative phosphorylation efficiency in the Ovx-exercised group. In conclusion, physical exercise sustains mitochondrial function in ovarian hormone-deficient rats through a non-conventional mitochondrial content-independent manner.