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Open access

F Wahab, M Shahab, and R Behr

Recently, kisspeptin (KP) and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH), two counteracting neuropeptides, have been acknowledged as significant regulators of reproductive function. KP stimulates reproduction while GnIH inhibits it. These two neuropeptides seem to be pivotal for the modulation of reproductive activity in response to internal and external cues. It is well-documented that the current metabolic status of the body is closely linked to its reproductive output. However, how reproductive function is regulated by the body's energy status is less clear. Recent studies have suggested an active participation of hypothalamic KP and GnIH in the modulation of reproductive function according to available metabolic cues. Expression of KISS1, the KP encoding gene, is decreased while expression of RFRP (NPVF), the gene encoding GnIH, is increased in metabolic deficiency conditions. The lower levels of KP, as suggested by a decrease in KISS1 gene mRNA expression, during metabolic deficiency can be corrected by administration of exogenous KP, which leads to an increase in reproductive hormone levels. Likewise, administration of RF9, a GnIH receptor antagonist, can reverse the inhibitory effect of fasting on testosterone in monkeys. Together, it is likely that the integrated function of both these hypothalamic neuropeptides works as a reproductive output regulator in response to a change in metabolic status. In this review, we have summarized literature from nonprimate and primate studies that demonstrate the involvement of KP and GnIH in the metabolic regulation of reproduction.

Open access

Young Hoon Son, Seok-Jin Lee, Ki-Baek Lee, Jin-Haeng Lee, Eui Man Jeong, Sun Gun Chung, Sang-Chul Park, and In-Gyu Kim

Glucocorticoids play a major role in the development of muscle atrophy in various medical conditions, such as cancer, burn injury, and sepsis, by inhibiting insulin signaling. In this study, we report a new pathway in which glucocorticoids reduce the levels of upstream insulin signaling components by downregulating the transcription of the gene encoding caveolin-1 (CAV1), a scaffolding protein present in the caveolar membrane. Treatment with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX) decreased CAV1 protein and Cav1 mRNA expression, with a concomitant reduction in insulin receptor alpha (IRα) and IR substrate 1 (IRS1) levels in C2C12 myotubes. On the basis of the results of promoter analysis using deletion mutants and site-directed mutagenesis a negative glucocorticoid-response element in the regulatory region of the Cav1 gene was identified, confirming that Cav1 is a glucocorticoid-target gene. Cav1 knockdown using siRNA decreased the protein levels of IRα and IRS1, and overexpression of Cav1 prevented the DEX-induced decrease in IRα and IRS1 proteins, demonstrating a causal role of Cav1 in the inhibition of insulin signaling. Moreover, injection of adenovirus expressing Cav1 into the gastrocnemius muscle of mice prevented DEX-induced atrophy. These results indicate that CAV1 is a critical regulator of muscle homeostasis, linking glucocorticoid signaling to the insulin signaling pathway, thereby providing a novel target for the prevention of glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy.

Open access

Eun Young Lee, Shuji Kaneko, Promsuk Jutabha, Xilin Zhang, Susumu Seino, Takahito Jomori, Naohiko Anzai, and Takashi Miki

Oral ingestion of carbohydrate triggers glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) secretion, but the molecular mechanism remains elusive. By measuring GLP1 concentrations in murine portal vein, we found that the ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channel is not essential for glucose-induced GLP1 secretion from enteroendocrine L cells, while the sodium-glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) is required, at least in the early phase (5 min) of secretion. By contrast, co-administration of the α-glucosidase inhibitor (α-GI) miglitol plus maltose evoked late-phase secretion in a glucose transporter 2-dependent manner. We found that GLP1 secretion induced by miglitol plus maltose was significantly higher than that by another α-GI, acarbose, plus maltose, despite the fact that acarbose inhibits maltase more potently than miglitol. As miglitol activates SGLT3, we compared the effects of miglitol on GLP1 secretion with those of acarbose, which failed to depolarize the Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing human SGLT3. Oral administration of miglitol activated duodenal enterochromaffin (EC) cells as assessed by immunostaining of phosphorylated calcium–calmodulin kinase 2 (phospho-CaMK2). In contrast, acarbose activated much fewer enteroendocrine cells, having only modest phospho-CaMK2 immunoreactivity. Single administration of miglitol triggered no GLP1 secretion, and GLP1 secretion by miglitol plus maltose was significantly attenuated by atropine pretreatment, suggesting regulation via vagal nerve. Thus, while α-GIs generally delay carbohydrate absorption and potentiate GLP1 secretion, miglitol also activates duodenal EC cells, possibly via SGLT3, and potentiates GLP1 secretion through the parasympathetic nervous system.

Open access

Louise Grahnemo, Caroline Jochems, Annica Andersson, Cecilia Engdahl, Claes Ohlsson, Ulrika Islander, and Hans Carlsten

Treatment with anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids is associated with osteoporosis. Many of the treated patients are postmenopausal women, who even without treatment have an increased risk of osteoporosis. Lymphocytes have been shown to play a role in postmenopausal and arthritis-induced osteoporosis, and they are targeted by glucocorticoids. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms behind effects of glucocorticoids on bone during health and menopause, focusing on lymphocytes. Female C57BL/6 or SCID mice were therefore sham-operated or ovariectomized and 2 weeks later treatment with dexamethasone (dex), the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug carprofen, or vehicle was started and continued for 2.5 weeks. At the termination of experiments, femurs were phenotyped using peripheral quantitative computed tomography and high-resolution micro-computed tomography, and markers of bone turnover were analyzed in serum. T and B lymphocyte populations in bone marrow and spleen were analyzed by flow cytometry. Dex-treated C57BL/6 mice had increased trabecular bone mineral density, but lower cortical content and thickness compared with vehicle-treated mice. The dex-treated mice also had lower levels of bone turnover markers and markedly decreased numbers of spleen T and B lymphocytes. In contrast, these effects could not be repeated when mice were treated with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug carprofen. In addition, dex did not increase trabecular bone in ovariectomized SCID mice lacking functional T and B lymphocytes. In contrast to most literature, the results from this study indicate that treatment with dex increased trabecular bone density, which may indicate that this effect is associated with corticosteroid-induced alterations of the lymphocyte populations.

Open access

Yoshihiro Joshua Ono, Yoshito Terai, Akiko Tanabe, Atsushi Hayashi, Masami Hayashi, Yoshiki Yamashita, Satoru Kyo, and Masahide Ohmichi

Dienogest, a synthetic progestin, has been shown to be effective against endometriosis, although it is still unclear as to how it affects the ectopic endometrial cells. Decorin has been shown to be a powerful endogenous tumor repressor acting in a paracrine fashion to limit tumor growth. Our objectives were to examine the direct effects of progesterone and dienogest on the in vitro proliferation of the human ectopic endometrial epithelial and stromal cell lines, and evaluate as to how decorin contributes to this effect. We also examined DCN mRNA expression in 50 endometriosis patients. The growth of both cell lines was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by both decorin and dienogest. Using a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, it was noted that progesterone and dienogest directly induced the binding of the decorin promoter in the EMOsis cc/TERT cells (immortalized human ovarian epithelial cells) and CRL-4003 cells (immortalized human endometrial stromal cells). Progesterone and dienogest also led to significant induced cell cycle arrest via decorin by promoting production of p21 in both cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Decorin also suppressed the expression of MET in both cell lines. We confirmed that DCN mRNA expression in patients treated with dienogest was higher than that in the control group. In conclusion, decorin induced by dienogest appears to play a crucial role in suppressing endometriosis by exerting anti-proliferative effects and inducing cell cycle arrest via the production of p21 human ectopic endometrial cells and eutopic endometrial stromal cells.

Open access

Michael Rouse, Antoine Younès, and Josephine M Egan

Resveratrol (RES) and curcumin (CUR) are polyphenols that are found in fruits and turmeric, and possess medicinal properties that are beneficial in various diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Results from recent studies have indicated that their therapeutic properties can be attributed to their anti-inflammatory effects. Owing to reports stating that they protect against β-cell dysfunction, we studied their mechanism(s) of action in β-cells. In T2DM, cAMP plays a critical role in glucose- and incretin-stimulated insulin secretion as well as overall pancreatic β-cell health. A potential therapeutic target in the management of T2DM lies in regulating the activity of phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which degrade cAMP. Both RES and CUR have been reported to act as PDE inhibitors in various cell types, but it remains unknown if they do so in pancreatic β-cells. In our current study, we found that both RES (0.1–10 μmol/l) and CUR (1–100 pmol/l)-regulated insulin secretion under glucose-stimulated conditions. Additionally, treating β-cell lines and human islets with these polyphenols led to increased intracellular cAMP levels in a manner similar to 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine, a classic PDE inhibitor. When we investigated the effects of RES and CUR on PDEs, we found that treatment significantly downregulated the mRNA expression of most of the 11 PDE isozymes, including PDE3B, PDE8A, and PDE10A, which have been linked previously to regulation of insulin secretion in islets. Furthermore, RES and CUR inhibited PDE activity in a dose-dependent manner in β-cell lines and human islets. Collectively, we demonstrate a novel role for natural-occurring polyphenols as PDE inhibitors that enhance pancreatic β-cell function.

Open access

Nan Yang, Giorgio Caratti, Louise M Ince, Toryn M Poolman, Peter J Trebble, Cathy M Holt, David W Ray, and Laura C Matthews

Glucocorticoids (Gc) are potent anti-inflammatory agents with wide clinical application. We have previously shown that increased serum concentration significantly attenuates regulation of a simple Gc-responsive reporter. We now find that glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulation of some endogenous transactivated but not transrepressed genes is impaired, suggesting template specificity. Serum did not directly affect GR expression, activity or trafficking, implicating GR crosstalk with other signalling pathways. Indeed, a JNK inhibitor completely abolished the serum effect. We identified the Gc modulating serum component as cholesterol. Cholesterol loading mimicked the serum effect, which was readily reversed by JNK inhibition. Chelation of serum cholesterol with methyl-β-cyclodextrin or inhibition of cellular cholesterol synthesis with simvastatin potentiated the Gc response. To explore the effect in vivo we used ApoE −/− mice, a model of hypercholesterolaemia. Consistent with our in vitro studies, we find no impact of elevated cholesterol on the expression of GR, or on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, measured by dexamethasone suppression test. Instead we find selective Gc resistance on some hepatic target genes in ApoE −/− mice. Therefore, we have discovered an unexpected role for cholesterol as a selective modulator of Gc action in vivo. Taken together these findings reveal a new environmental constraint on Gc action with relevance to both inflammation and cancer.

Open access

Manon M Roustit, Joan M Vaughan, Pauline M Jamieson, and Mark E Cleasby

Insulin resistance (IR) in skeletal muscle is an important component of both type 2 diabetes and the syndrome of sarcopaenic obesity, for which there are no effective therapies. Urocortins (UCNs) are not only well established as neuropeptides but also have their roles in metabolism in peripheral tissues. We have shown recently that global overexpression of UCN3 resulted in muscular hypertrophy and resistance to the adverse metabolic effects of a high-fat diet. Herein, we aimed to establish whether short-term local UCN3 expression could enhance glucose disposal and insulin signalling in skeletal muscle. UCN3 was found to be expressed in right tibialis cranialis and extensor digitorum longus muscles of rats by in vivo electrotransfer and the effects studied vs the contralateral muscles after 1 week. No increase in muscle mass was detected, but test muscles showed 19% larger muscle fibre diameter (P=0.030), associated with increased IGF1 and IGF1 receptor mRNA and increased SER256 phosphorylation of forkhead transcription factor. Glucose clearance into the test muscles after an intraperitoneal glucose load was increased by 23% (P=0.018) per unit mass, associated with increased GLUT1 (34% increase; P=0.026) and GLUT4 (48% increase; P=0.0009) proteins, and significantly increased phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1, AKT, AKT substrate of 160 kDa, glycogen synthase kinase-3β, AMP-activated protein kinase and its substrate acetyl coA carboxylase. Thus, UCN3 expression enhances glucose disposal and signalling in muscle by an autocrine/paracrine mechanism that is separate from its pro-hypertrophic effects, implying that such a manipulation may have promised for the treatment of IR syndromes including sarcopaenic obesity.

Open access

Jeffrey Friedman

Historically, adipose tissue was considered to be a passive storage vessel discharging nutrients in times of famine and accumulating fat in times of surfeit. This view changed with the identification of leptin as an adipocyte hormone. Leptin functions as an afferent signal in a negative feedback loop that regulates food intake and metabolism to maintain homeostatic control of adipose tissue mass. Before this, the existence of a system maintaining homeostatic control of energy balance was unclear. The identification of leptin has thus uncovered a new endocrine system that also links changes in nutrition to adaptive responses in most if not all other physiologic systems. Further studies have revealed a set of clinical syndromes caused by leptin deficiency, including lipodystrophy and hypothalamic amenorrhea. This work has led to new therapeutic approaches for a number of human conditions and has also established a conceptual framework for studying the pathogenesis of obesity.

Open access

R Dobie, V E MacRae, C Huesa, R van't Hof, S F Ahmed, and C Farquharson

The suppressor of cytokine signalling (Socs2 −/−)-knockout mouse is characterised by an overgrowth phenotype due to enhanced GH signalling. The objective of this study was to define the Socs2 −/− bone phenotype and determine whether GH promotes bone mass via IGF1-dependent mechanisms. Despite no elevation in systemic IGF1 levels, increased body weight in 4-week-old Socs2 −/− mice following GH treatment was associated with increased cortical bone area (Ct.Ar) (P<0.01). Furthermore, detailed bone analysis of male and female juvenile and adult Socs2 −/− mice revealed an altered cortical and trabecular phenotype consistent with the known anabolic effects of GH. Indeed, male Socs2 −/− mice had increased Ct.Ar (P<0.05) and thickness associated with increased strength. Despite this, there was no elevation in hepatic Igf1 expression, suggesting that the anabolic bone phenotype was the result of increased local GH action. Mechanistic studies showed that in osteoblasts and bone of Socs2 −/− mice, STAT5 phosphorylation was significantly increased in response to GH. Conversely, overexpression of SOCS2 decreased GH-induced STAT5 signalling. Although an increase in Igf1 expression was observed in Socs2 −/− osteoblasts following GH, it was not evident in vivo. Igf1 expression levels were not elevated in response to GH in 4-week-old mice and no alterations in expression was observed in bone samples of 6-week-old Socs2 −/− mice. These studies emphasise the critical role of SOCS2 in controlling the local GH anabolic bone effects. We provide compelling evidence implicating SOCS2 in the regulation of GH osteoblast signalling and ultimately bone accrual, which maybe via mechanisms that are independent of IGF1 production in vivo.