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Open access

K A Staines, A S Pollard, I M McGonnell, C Farquharson, and A A Pitsillides

Aberrant redeployment of the ‘transient’ events responsible for bone development and postnatal longitudinal growth has been reported in some diseases in what is otherwise inherently ‘stable’ cartilage. Lessons may be learnt from the molecular mechanisms underpinning transient chondrocyte differentiation and function, and their application may better identify disease aetiology. Here, we review the current evidence supporting this possibility. We firstly outline endochondral ossification and the cellular and physiological mechanisms by which it is controlled in the postnatal growth plate. We then compare the biology of these transient cartilaginous structures to the inherently stable articular cartilage. Finally, we highlight specific scenarios in which the redeployment of these embryonic processes may contribute to disease development, with the foresight that deciphering those mechanisms regulating pathological changes and loss of cartilage stability will aid future research into effective disease-modifying therapies.

Open access

Hyo Youl Moon, Parkyong Song, Cheol Soo Choi, Sung Ho Ryu, and Pann-Ghill Suh

Physical inactivity can lead to obesity and fat accumulation in various tissues. Critical complications of obesity include type II diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Exercise has been reported to have ameliorating effects on obesity and NAFLD. However, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. We showed that liver expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was increased after 4 weeks of treadmill exercise. Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase in human hepatocyte cell lines was enhanced after MIF treatment. These responses were accompanied by increases in lipid oxidation. Moreover, inhibition of either AMPK or cluster of differentiation 74 resulted in inhibition of MIF-induced lipid oxidation. Furthermore, the administration of MIF to a human hepatocyte cell line and mice liver reduced liver X receptor agonist-induced lipid accumulation. Taken together, these results indicate that MIF is highly expressed in the liver during physical exercise and may prevent hepatic steatosis by activating the AMPK pathway.

Open access

Kevin J P Ryan, Zoe C T R Daniel, Lucinda J L Craggs, Tim Parr, and John M Brameld

Fat infiltration within muscle is one of a number of features of vitamin D deficiency, which leads to a decline in muscle functionality. The origin of this fat is unclear, but one possibility is that it forms from myogenic precursor cells present in the muscle, which transdifferentiate into mature adipocytes. The current study examined the effect of the active form of vitamin D3, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), on the capacity of the C2C12 muscle cell line to differentiate towards the myogenic and adipogenic lineages. Cells were cultured in myogenic or adipogenic differentiation media containing increasing concentrations (0, 10−13, 10−11, 10−9, 10−7 or 10−5 M) of 1,25(OH)2D3 for up to 6 days and markers of muscle and fat development measured. Mature myofibres were formed in both adipogenic and myogenic media, but fat droplets were only observed in adipogenic media. Relative to controls, low physiological concentrations (10−13 and 10−11 M) of 1,25(OH)2D3 increased fat droplet accumulation, whereas high physiological (10−9 M) and supraphysiological concentrations (≥10−7 M) inhibited fat accumulation. This increased accumulation of fat with low physiological concentrations (10−13 and 10−11 M) was associated with a sequential up-regulation of PPARγ2 (PPARG) and FABP4 mRNA, indicating formation of adipocytes, whereas higher concentrations (≥10−9 M) reduced all these effects, and the highest concentration (10−5 M) appeared to have toxic effects. This is the first study to demonstrate dose-dependent effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 on the transdifferentiation of muscle cells into adipose cells. Low physiological concentrations (possibly mimicking a deficient state) induced adipogenesis, whereas higher (physiological and supraphysiological) concentrations attenuated this effect.

Open access

Sandra Pereira, Wen Qin Yu, María E Frigolet, Jacqueline L Beaudry, Yaniv Shpilberg, Edward Park, Cristina Dirlea, B L Grégoire Nyomba, Michael C Riddell, I George Fantus, and Adria Giacca

We have shown in rats that sodium salicylate (SS), which inhibits IkBa kinase B (IKKB), prevents hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance caused by short-term (7 h) i.v. administration of Intralipid and heparin (IH). We wished to further determine whether this beneficial effect of SS persisted after prolonged (48 h) IH infusion, which better mimics the chronic free fatty acid (FFA) elevation of obesity. Hence, we performed hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps with tritiated glucose methodology to determine hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in rats infused with saline, IH, IH and SS, or SS alone. SS prevented peripheral insulin resistance (P<0.05) caused by prolonged plasma FFA elevation; however, it did not prevent hepatic insulin resistance. In skeletal muscle, protein levels of phospho-IkBa were augmented by prolonged IH administration and this was prevented by SS, suggesting that IH activates while SS prevents the activation of IKKB. Markers of IKKB activation, namely protein levels of phospho-IkBa and IkBa, indicated that IKKB is not activated in the liver after prolonged FFA elevation. Phosphorylation of serine 307 at insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1, which is a marker of proximal insulin resistance, was not altered by IH administration in the liver, suggesting that this is not a site of hepatic insulin resistance in the prolonged lipid infusion model. Our results suggest that the role of IKKB in fat-induced insulin resistance is time and tissue dependent and that hepatic insulin resistance induced by prolonged lipid elevation is not due to an IRS-1 serine 307 kinase.

Open access

Xiang Xiao, C Yan Cheng, and Dolores D Mruk

In this study, we investigated the role of intercellular adhesion molecule-2 (ICAM2) in the testis. ICAM2 is a cell adhesion protein having important roles in cell migration, especially during inflammation when leukocytes cross the endothelium. Herein, we showed ICAM2 to be expressed by germ and Sertoli cells in the rat testis. When a monospecific antibody was used for immunolocalization experiments, ICAM2 was found to surround the heads of elongating/elongated spermatids in all stages of the seminiferous epithelial cycle. To determine whether ICAM2 is a constituent of apical ectoplasmic specialization (ES), co-immunoprecipitation and dual immunofluorescence staining were performed. Interestingly, ICAM2 was found to associate with β1-integrin, nectin-3, afadin, Src, proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2, annexin II, and actin. Following CdCl2 treatment, ICAM2 was found to be upregulated during restructuring of the seminiferous epithelium, with round spermatids becoming increasingly immunoreactive for ICAM2 by 6–16 h. Interestingly, there was a loss in the binding of ICAM2 to actin during CdCl2-induced germ cell loss, suggesting that a loss of ICAM2–actin interactions might have facilitated junction restructuring. Taken collectively, these results illustrate that ICAM2 plays an important role in apical ES dynamics during spermatogenesis.

Open access

M J F Newson, G R Pope, E M Roberts, S J Lolait, and A-M O'Carroll

The neuropeptide apelin is expressed in hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei and mediates its effects via activation of the apelin receptor (APJ). Evidence suggests a role for apelin and APJ in mediating the neuroendocrine response to stress. To understand the physiological role of APJ in regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, we measured ACTH and corticosterone (CORT) plasma levels in male and female mice lacking APJ (APJ knockout, APJ KO) and in wild-type controls, in response to a variety of acute stressors. Exposure to mild restraint, systemic injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), insulin-induced hypoglycaemia and forced swim (FS) stressors, elevated plasma ACTH and CORT levels in wild-type mice. Acute mild restraint significantly increased plasma ACTH and CORT to a similar level in APJ KO mice as in wild-type mice. However, an intact APJ was required for a conventional ACTH, but not CORT, response to LPS administration in male mice and to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in male and female mice. In contrast, APJ KO mice displayed an impaired CORT response to acute FS stress, regardless of gender. These data indicate that APJ has a role in regulation of the HPA axis response to some acute stressors and has a gender-specific function in peripheral immune activation of the HPA axis.

Open access

Alessandro Pocai

Oxyntomodulin (OXM) is a peptide secreted from the L cells of the gut following nutrient ingestion. OXM is a dual agonist of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) and the glucagon receptor (GCGR) combining the effects of GLP1 and glucagon to act as a potentially more effective treatment for obesity than GLP1R agonists. Injections of OXM in humans cause a significant reduction in weight and appetite, as well as an increase in energy expenditure. Activation of GCGR is classically associated with an elevation in glucose levels, which would be deleterious in patients with T2DM, but the antidiabetic properties of GLP1R agonism would be expected to counteract this effect. Indeed, OXM administration improved glucose tolerance in diet-induced obese mice. Thus, dual agonists of the GCGR and GLP1R represent a new therapeutic approach for diabetes and obesity with the potential for enhanced weight loss and improvement in glycemic control beyond those of GLP1R agonists.

Open access

Lianne Abrahams, Nina M Semjonous, Phil Guest, Agnieszka Zielinska, Beverly Hughes, Gareth G Lavery, and Paul M Stewart

Glucocorticoid concentrations are a balance between production under the negative feedback control and diurnal rhythm of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and peripheral metabolism, for example by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), which catalyses the reduction of inactive cortisone (11-dehydrocorticosterone (11-DHC) in mice) to cortisol (corticosterone in mice). Reductase activity is conferred upon 11β-HSD1 by hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH). 11β-HSD1 is implicated in the development of obesity, and selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitors are currently under development. We sought to address the concern regarding potential up-regulation of the HPA axis associated with inhibition of 11β-HSD1. We assessed biomarkers for allele combinations of 11β-HSD1 and H6PDH derived from double heterozygous mouse crosses. H6PDH knock out (KO) adrenals were 69% larger than WT while 11β-HSD1 KO and double KO (DKO) adrenals were ∼30% larger than WT – indicative of increased HPA axis drive in KO animals. ACTH-stimulated circulating corticosterone concentrations were 2.2-fold higher in H6PDH KO animals and ∼1.5-fold higher in 11β-HSD1 KO and DKO animals compared with WT, proportional to the observed adrenal hypertrophy. KO of H6PDH resulted in a substantial increase in urinary DHC metabolites in males (65%) and females (61%). KO of 11β-HSD1 alone or in combination with H6PDH led to significant increases (36 and 42% respectively) in urinary DHC metabolites in females only. Intermediate 11β-HSD1/H6PDH heterozygotes maintained a normal HPA axis. Urinary steroid metabolite profile by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry as a biomarker assay may be beneficial in assaying HPA axis status clinically in cases of congenital and acquired 11β-HSD1/H6PDH deficiency.

Open access

J Jeyabalan, M Shah, B Viollet, J P Roux, P Chavassieux, M Korbonits, and C Chenu

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key regulator of cellular and body energy homeostasis. We previously demonstrated that AMPK activation in osteoblasts increases in vitro bone formation while deletion of the Ampk α 1 (Prkaa1) subunit, the dominant catalytic subunit expressed in bone, leads to decreased bone mass in vivo. To investigate the cause of low bone mass in the Ampkα1 −/− mice, we analysed bone formation and resorption in the tibia of these mice by dynamic histomorphometry and determined whether bone turnover can be stimulated in the absence of the Ampkα1 subunit. We subjected 12-week-old Ampkα1 + / + and Ampkα1 −/− mice to ovariectomy (OVX), intermittent PTH (iPTH) administration (80 μg/kg per day, 5 days/week) or both OVX and iPTH hormonal challenges. Tibiae were harvested from these mice and bone micro-architecture was determined by micro-computed tomography. We show for the first time that Ampkα1 −/− mice have a high bone turnover at the basal level in favour of bone resorption. While both Ampkα1 + / + and Ampkα1 −/− mice lost bone mass after OVX, the bone loss in Ampkα1 −/− mice was lower compared with controls. iPTH increased trabecular and cortical bone indexes in both ovariectomised Ampkα1 + / + and Ampkα1 −/− mice. However, ovariectomised Ampkα1 −/− mice showed a smaller increase in bone parameters in response to iPTH compared with Ampkα1 + / + mice. By contrast, non-ovariectomised Ampkα1 −/− mice responded better to iPTH treatment than non-ovariectomised Ampkα1 + / + mice. Overall, these data demonstrate that Ampkα1 −/− mice are less affected by changes in bone turnover induced by OVX but respond better to the anabolic challenge induced by iPTH. These results suggest that AMPKα1 activation may play a role in the hormonal regulation of bone remodelling.

Open access

Judith E Cartwright and Paula Juliet Williams

Kisspeptin, originally identified as metastatin, important in preventing cancer metastasis, has more recently been shown to be important in pregnancy. Roles indicated for kisspeptin in pregnancy include regulating trophoblast invasion and migration during placentation. The pregnancy-specific disorder pre-eclampsia (PE) is now accepted to begin with inadequate trophoblast invasion and the current study therefore sets out to characterise placental expression of both kisspeptin (KISS1) and its receptor (KISS1R) throughout pregnancy and in PE. Placental tissue was obtained from women undergoing elective surgical termination of early pregnancy (n=10) and from women following Caesarean section at term in normal pregnancy (n=10) and with PE (n=10). Immunohistochemistry of paraffin embedded sections and western immunoblotting were performed to assess protein localisation and expression. Quantitative real-time PCR was carried out to evaluate mRNA expression of both KISS1 and KISS1R. Protein and mRNA expression was found to mirror each other with KISS1 expression found to be reduced in PE compared with that in normal term pregnancy. Interestingly, KISS1R expression at both the mRNA and protein levels was found to be increased in PE compared with that in normal term pregnancy. The current findings of increased KISS1R expression may represent a mechanism by which functional activity of KISS1 is higher in PE than in normal pregnancy. Higher levels of activity of KISS1R may be involved in inhibition of trophoblast invasion and angiogenesis, which are associated with PE.