The resting zone houses a group of slowly proliferating ‘reserve’ chondrocytes and has long been speculated to serve as the stem cell niche of the postnatal growth plate. But are these resting chondrocytes bona fide stem cells? Recent technological advances in lineage tracing and next-generation sequencing have finally allowed researchers to answer this question. Several recent studies have also shed light into the signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of resting chondrocytes, thus providing us with important new insights into the role of the resting zone in the paracrine and endocrine regulation of childhood bone growth.
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Kehinde Samuel Olaniyi and Lawrence Aderemi Olatunji
Adipose dysfunction and inflammation with or without hepatic defects underlie metabolic obesity. Glutamine (GLU) improves glucoregulation and metabolic indices but its effects on adipose function and hepatic lipid deposition in estrogen-progestin oral contraceptive (EPOC) users are unknown. Therefore, we hypothesized that GLUT supplementation would protect against adipose dysfunction and excess hepatic lipid influx and deposition in EPOC-treated animals by suppressing adenosine deaminase/xanthine oxidase (ADA/XO) activity and improving glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)-dependent antioxidant defense. Female Wistar rats weighing 150–180 g were allotted into control, GLUT, EPOC and EPOC + GLUT groups (six rats/group). The groups received vehicle (distilled water, p.o.), GLUT (1 g/kg), EPOC containing 1.0 µg ethinylestradiol plus 5.0 µg levonorgestrel and EPOC plus GLUT, respectively, daily for 8 weeks. Results showed that the administration of EPOC caused glucose dysregulation and increased triglyceride-glucose index and visceral adiposity, but the body weight and liver weight were not affected. However, EPOC significantly decreased adipose lipid, G6PD and glutathione and increased glycogen synthesis, ADA, XO, uric acid, lipid peroxidation, lactate production and gamma-glutamyl transferase activity (GGT). On the other hand, EPOC increased hepatic lipid, ADA, XO, uric acid, lipid peroxidation and lactate production and decreased glycogen synthesis, G6PD and glutathione. Nevertheless, supplementation with glutamine attenuated these alterations. Collectively, the present results indicate that EPOC causes metabolically induced obesity which is associated with adipose dysfunction and hepatic metabolic disturbance. The findings also suggest that glutamine confers metabo-protection with corresponding improvement in adipose and hepatic metabolic function by suppression of ADA/XO activity and enhancement of G6PD-dependent antioxidant defense.
Yue Yu, Rui Guo, Yunjin Zhang, Hongbo Shi, Haoran Sun, Xia Chu, Xiaoyan Wu, Huimin Lu and Changhao Sun
Chronic exposure of pancreatic β-cells to saturated fatty acid (palmitic or stearic acid) is a leading cause of impaired insulin secretion. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction remain poorly understood. Emerging evidence indicates that miRNAs are involved in various biological functions. The aim of this study was to explore the differential expression of miRNAs and mRNAs, specifically in stearic-acid-treated- relative to palmitic-acid-treated β-cells, and to establish their co-expression networks. β-TC-6 cells were treated with stearic acid, palmitic acid or normal medium for 24 h. Differentially expressed miRNAs and mRNAs were identified by high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Co-expression network, gene ontology (GO) and pathway analyses were then conducted. Changes in the expression of selected miRNAs and mRNAs were verified in β-TC-6 cells and mouse islets. Sequencing analysis detected 656 known and 1729 novel miRNAs. miRNA-mRNA network and Venn-diagram analysis yielded two differentially expressed miRNAs and 63 mRNAs exclusively in the stearic-acid group. miR-374c-5p was up-regulated by a 1.801 log2(fold-change) and miR-297b-5p was down-regulated by a −4.669 log2(fold-change). We found that miR-297b-5p and miR-374c-5p were involved in stearic-acid-induced lipotoxicity to β-TC-6 cells. Moreover, the effects of miR-297b-5p and miR-374c-5p on the alterations of candidate mRNAs expressions were verified. This study indicates that expression changes of specific miRNAs and mRNAs may contribute to stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction, which provides a preliminary basis for further functional and molecular mechanism studies of stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Alejandra Abeledo-Machado, Pablo Anibal Pérez, María Andrea Camilletti, Erika Yanil Faraoni, Florencia Picech, Juan Pablo Petiti, Silvina Gutiérrez and Graciela Diaz-Torga
Serum prolactin levels gradually increase from birth to puberty in both male and female rats, with higher levels observed in female since the first days of life. The increase in lactotroph secretion was attributed to the maturation of prolactin-inhibiting and prolactin-releasing factors; however, those mechanisms could not fully explain the gender differences observed. Prolactin secretion from isolated lactotrophs, in the absence of hypothalamic control, also increases during the first weeks of life, suggesting the involvement of intra-pituitary factors. We postulate that pituitary transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) is involved in the regulation of prolactin secretion as well as in the gender differences observed at early postnatal age. Several components of the local TGFβ1 system were evaluated during postnatal development (11, 23, and 45 days) in female and male Sprague–Dawley rats. In vivo assays were performed to study local TGFβ1 activation and its impact on prolactin secretion. At day 11, female pituitaries present high levels of active TGFβ1, concomitant with the highest expression of TGFβ1 target genes and the phospho-Smad3 immunostaining in lactotrophs. The steady increase in prolactin secretion inversely correlates with active TGFβ1 levels only in females. Dopamine and estradiol induce TGFβ1 activation at day 11, in both genders, but its activation induces the inhibition of prolactin secretion only in females. Our findings demonstrate that: (1) TGFβ1 activation is regulated by dopamine and estradiol; (2) the inhibitory regulation of local TGFβ1 on prolactin secretion is gender specific; and (3) this mechanism is responsible, at least partially, for the gender differences observed being relevant during postnatal development.
Sisi Luan, Wenkai Bi, Shulong Shi, Li Peng, Zhanbin Li, Jie Jiang, Ling Gao, Yifeng Du, Xu Hou, Zhao He and Jiajun Zhao
Subclinical hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by decreased thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and normal concentration of thyroid hormone, is associated with an elevated risk for cognitive impairment. TSH is the major endogenous ligand of the TSH receptor (TSHR) and its role is dependent on signal transduction of TSHR. It has not, however, been established whether TSHR signaling is involved in the regulation of cognition. Here, we utilized Tshr knockout mice and found that Tshr deletion led to significantly compromised performance in learning and memory tests. Reduced dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic density as well as altered synaptic structure in CA1 subfield of the hippocampus were also noted. Furthermore, the synapse-related gene expression was altered in the hippocampus of Tshr -/- mice. These findings suggest that TSHR signaling deficiency impairs spatial learning and memory, which discloses a novel role of TSHR signaling in brain function.
Ali Aflatounian, Melissa C Edwards, Valentina Rodriguez Paris, Michael J Bertoldo, Reena Desai, Robert B Gilchrist, William L Ledger, David J Handelsman and Kirsty A Walters
As the mechanistic basis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) remains unknown, current management relies on symptomatic treatment. Hyperandrogenism is a major PCOS characteristic and evidence supports it playing a key role in PCOS pathogenesis. Classically, androgens can act directly through the androgen receptor (AR) or, indirectly, following aromatization, via the estrogen receptor (ER). We investigated the mechanism of androgenic actions driving PCOS by comparing the capacity of non-aromatizable dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and aromatizable testosterone to induce PCOS traits in WT and Ar-knockout (ARKO) mice. DHT and testosterone induced the reproductive PCOS-like features of acyclicity and anovulation in WT females. In ARKO mice, DHT did not cause reproductive dysfunction; however, testosterone treatment induced irregular cycles and ovulatory disruption. These findings indicate that direct AR actions and indirect, likely ER, actions of androgens are important mediators of PCOS reproductive traits. DHT, but not testosterone, induced an increase in body weight, body fat, serum cholesterol and adipocyte hypertrophy in WT mice, but neither androgen induced these metabolic features in ARKO mice. These data infer that direct AR-driven mechanisms are key in driving the development of PCOS metabolic traits. Overall, these findings demonstrate that differing PCOS traits can be mediated via different steroid signaling pathways and indicate that a phenotype-based treatment approach would ensure effective targeting of the underlying mechanisms.
Chunchun Wei, Xianhua Ma, Kai Su, Shasha Qi, Yuangang Zhu, Junjian Lin, Chenxin Wang, Rui Yang, Xiaowei Chen, Weizhong Wang and Weiping J Zhang
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays a critical role in energy expenditure by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-mediated thermogenesis. Carbohydrate response element-binding protein (ChREBP) is one of the key transcription factors regulating de novo lipogenesis (DNL). As a constitutively active form, ChREBP-β is expressed at extremely low levels. Up to date, its functional relevance in BAT remains unclear. In this study, we show that ChREBP-β inhibits BAT thermogenesis. BAT ChREBP-β mRNA levels were elevated upon cold exposure, which prompted us to generate a mouse model overexpressing ChREBP-β specifically in BAT using the Cre/LoxP approach. ChREBP-β overexpression led to a whitening phenotype of BAT at room temperature, as evidenced by increased lipid droplet size and decreased mitochondrion content. Moreover, BAT thermogenesis was inhibited upon acute cold exposure, and its metabolic remodeling induced by long-term cold adaptation was significantly impaired by ChREBP-β overexpression. Mechanistically, ChREBP-β overexpression downregulated expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, autophagy, and respiration. Furthermore, thermogenic gene expression (e.g. Dio2, UCP1) was markedly inhibited in BAT by the overexpressed ChREBP-β. Put together, our work points to ChREBP-β as a negative regulator of thermogenesis in brown adipocytes.
Muraly Puttabyatappa, Robert M Sargis and Vasantha Padmanabhan
Insulin resistance is a common feature of many metabolic disorders. The dramatic rise in the incidence of insulin resistance over the past decade has enhanced focus on its developmental origins. Since various developmental insults ranging from maternal disease, stress, over/undernutrition, and exposure to environmental chemicals can all program the development of insulin resistance, common mechanisms may be involved. This review discusses the possibility that increases in maternal androgens associated with these various insults are key mediators in programming insulin resistance. Additionally, the intermediaries through which androgens misprogram tissue insulin sensitivity, such as changes in inflammatory, oxidative, and lipotoxic states, epigenetic, gut microbiome and insulin, as well as data gaps to be filled are also discussed.
Yan Su, Sujuan Guo, Chunyan Liu, Na Li, Shuang Zhang, Yubin Ding, Xuemei Chen, Junlin He, Xueqing Liu, Yingxiong Wang and Rufei Gao
Embryo implantation is essential for normal pregnancy. Decidualization is known to facilitate embryo implantation and maintain pregnancy. Uterine stromal cells undergo transformation into decidual cells after embryo attachment to the endometrium. Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) is a rate limiting enzyme in the glycolysis process which catalyzes phosphoenolpyruvic acid into pyruvate. However, little is known regarding the role of PKM2 during endometrial decidualization. In this study, PKM2 was found to be mainly located in the uterine glandular epithelium and luminal epithelium on day 1 and day 4 of pregnancy and strongly expressed in the decidual zone after embryo implantation. PKM2 was dramatically increased with the onset of decidualization. Upon further exploration, PKM2 was found to be more highly expressed at the implantation sites than at the inter-implantation sites on days 5 to 7 of pregnancy. PKM2 expression was also significantly increased after artificial decidualization both in vivo and in vitro. After PKM2 expression was knocked down by siRNA, the number of embryo implantation sites in mice on day 7 of pregnancy was significantly reduced, and the decidualization markers BMP2 and Hoxa10 were also obviously downregulated in vivo and in vitro. Downregulated PKM2 could also compromise cell proliferation in primary endometrial stromal cells and in Ishikawa cells. The migration rate of Ishikawa cells was also obviously suppressed by si-PKM2 according to the wound healing assay. In conclusion, PKM2 might play an important role in decidualization during early pregnancy, and cell proliferation might be one pathway for PKM2 regulated decidualization.
Breno Picin Casagrande, Daniel Vitor de Souza, Daniel Araki Ribeiro, Alessandra Medeiros, Luciana Pellegrini Pisani and Debora Estadella
The negative aspects of unhealthy eating on obesity and hepatic health are well described. The axis between the adipose tissue and the liver participates in most of the damage caused to this tissue regarding obesogenic diets (OD). At the same time that the effects of consuming simple carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids are known, the effects of the cessation of its intake are scarce. Withdrawing from OD is thought to improve health; despite some studies had shown improvement in hepatic conditions in the long-term, short-term studies were not found. Therefore, we aimed to determine how OD intake and withdrawal would influence visceral and hepatic fat accumulation and inflammation. To this end, male 60-days-old Wistar rats received standard chow (n = 16) or a high-sugar/high-fat diet (HSHF) for 30 days (n = 32), a cohort of the HSHF-fed animals was then kept 48 h on standard chow (n = 16). In opposition to the generally reported, the results indicate that hepatic inflammation preceded hepatic steatosis. Additionally, inflammatory markers on the liver positively correlated visceral adipokines and visceral fat accumulation mediated them in a deposit-dependent manner. At the same time, a 48-h withdrawal was capable of reverting most of the risen inflammatory mediators, although MyD88 and TNFα persisted and serum non-HDL cholesterol was higher than control levels.