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Rebecca M Reynolds and Adrienne Gordon

Rates of obesity among women of reproductive age have risen dramatically in recent decades. Obesity impacts on health of women across their reproductive lifespan with adverse effects on not only fertility and short-term complications of pregnancy, but also on longer term health outcomes for both women and their children. This places considerable burden and cost on health services. Here, we review the evidence linking maternal obesity to adverse fertility, pregnancy and longer term health outcomes for women and their children. We discuss the outcomes of recent lifestyle, pharmacological and surgical intervention studies. As many of these studies have not shown a significant improvement in clinical outcomes, we discuss the need for better study design in future trials.

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Daniela Álvarez, Karina Ceballo, Sofía Olguín, Jonathan Martinez-Pinto, Manuel Maliqueo, Daniela Fernandois, Ramón Sotomayor-Zárate and Gonzalo Cruz

Maternal obesity causes a wide range of impairment in offspring, such as metabolic and reproductive dysfunctions. We previously demonstrated that female offspring of obese rats have increased serum estradiol levels during early postnatal life, probably because of decreased hepatic cytochrome P450 3A2 levels, which could lead to early onset of puberty and polycystic ovary condition in adulthood. Using metformin during pregnancy and nursing to improve the metabolic status of obese mothers could prevent the sequence of events that lead to an increase in postnatal serum estradiol levels in female offspring and, hence, reproductive dysfunction. We found that metformin prevented an increase in serum estradiol levels at postnatal day 14 in female offspring of obese mothers, which was associated with a restoration of hepatic cytochrome P450 3A2 levels to control values. Treatment using metformin could not prevent advanced puberty, but we observed that the number of antral follicles, follicular cysts and multi-oocyte follicles returned to control values in the female offspring of obese mothers treated with metformin. We also observed an increase in the levels of norepinephrine and the norepinephrine metabolite 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol in the ovaries, indicating increased sympathetic activity in female offspring induced by an obesogenic uterine environment. We found that this effect was prevented by metformin administration. From the results of this study, we concluded that metformin administration to obese mothers during pregnancy and nursing partially prevents ovarian dysfunction in female offspring during adulthood.

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Ya Pei, Honggui Li, Yuli Cai, Jing Zhou, Xianjun Luo, Linqiang Ma, Kelly McDaniel, Tianshu Zeng, Yanming Chen, Xiaoxian Qian, Yuqing Huo, Shannon Glaser, Fanyin Meng, Gianfranco Alpini, Lulu Chen and Chaodong Wu

Adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) exerts anti-inflammatory effects. However, the role of A2AR in obesity-associated adipose tissue inflammation remains to be elucidated. The present study examined the expression of A2AR in adipose tissue of mice with diet-induced obesity and determined the effect of A2AR disruption on the status of obesity-associated adipose tissue inflammation. WT C57BL/6J mice and A2AR-disrupted mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks to induce obesity and adipose tissue inflammation. In vitro, bone marrow-derived macrophages from A2AR-disrupted mice and WT control mice were treated with palmitate and examined for macrophage proinflammatory activation. Compared with that of low-fat diet (LFD)-fed WT mice, A2AR expression in adipose tissue of HFD-fed WT mice was increased significantly and was present predominantly in adipose tissue macrophages. The increase in adipose tissue A2AR expression in HFD-fed mice was accompanied with increased phosphorylation states of c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 p46 and nuclear factor kappa B p65 and mRNA levels of interleukin (Il)-1beta, Il6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha. In A2AR-disrupted mice, HFD feeding induced significant increases in adipose tissue inflammation, indicated by enhanced proinflammatory signaling and increased proinflammatory cytokine expression, and adipose tissue insulin resistance, indicated by a decrease in insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation relative to those in WT mice. Lastly, A2AR disruption enhanced palmitate-induced macrophage proinflammatory activation. Taken together, these results suggest that A2AR plays a protective role in obesity-associated adipose tissue inflammation, which is attributable to, in large part, A2AR suppression of macrophage proinflammatory activation.

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Jennifer A Yang, Jessica K Hughes, Ruby A Parra, Katrina M Volk and Alexander S Kauffman

Restraint stress is a psychosocial stressor that suppresses reproductive status, including LH pulsatile secretion, but the neuroendocrine mechanisms 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 significantly 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.

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Lewin Small, Henry Gong, Christian Yassmin, Gregory J Cooney and Amanda E 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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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. As a pre-clinical step, we explored if human mobilized mononuclear cells (hMNC) would have the same effects in rats. hMNC were injected into Rt. hind-limb muscles of streptozotocin-induced diabetic nude rats, and the grafts were monitored using with 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. 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 the 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 only 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 in the IMS32 cells. 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 in the hMNC-induced myelination activity, at least in part.

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Esther Paulo, Dongmei Wu, Peter Hecker, Yun Zhang and Biao Wang

Numerous studies have suggested that beige adipocyte abundance is correlated with improved metabolic performance, but direct evidence showing that beige adipocyte expansion protects animals from the development of obesity is missing. Previously, we have described that the liver kinase b1 (LKB1) regulates beige adipocyte renaissance in subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) through a class IIa histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4)-dependent mechanism. This study investigates the physiological impact of persistent beige adipocyte renaissance in energy homeostasis in mice. Here we present that the transgenic mice H4-TG, overexpressing constitutively active HDAC4 in adipocytes, showed beige adipocyte expansion in iWAT at room temperature. H4-TG mice exhibited increased energy expenditure due to beige adipocyte expansion. They also exhibited reduced adiposity under both normal chow and high-fat diet (HFD) feeding conditions. Specific ablation of beige adipocytes reversed the protection against HFD-induced obesity in H4-TG mice. Taken together, our results directly demonstrate that beige adipocyte expansion regulates adiposity in mice and targeting beige adipocyte renaissance may present a novel strategy to tackle obesity in humans.

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Tsukasa Nozu, Saori Miyagishi, Rintaro Nozu, Kaoru Takakusaki and Toshikatsu Okumura

Visceral allodynia and increased colonic permeability are considered to be crucial pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and immune-mediated mechanisms have been proposed to contribute to these changes in IBS, but the precise roles have not been determined. We explored these issues in rats in vivo. The threshold of visceromotor response, i.e., abdominal muscle contractions induced by colonic balloon distention was electrophysiologically measured. Colonic permeability was estimated by quantifying the absorbed Evans blue in colonic tissue. Intraperitoneal injection of CRF increased the permeability, which was blocked by astressin, a non-selective CRF receptor antagonist, but astressin2-B, a selective CRF receptor subtype 2 (CRF2) antagonist did not modify it. Urocortin 2, a selective CRF2 agonist inhibited the increased permeability by CRF. Eritoran, a toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) antagonist or anakinra, an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist blocked the visceral allodynia and the increased gut permeability induced by CRF. Subcutaneous injection of lipopolysaccharide (immune stress) or repeated water avoidance stress (WAS, psychological stress), 1 h daily for 3 days induced visceral allodynia and increased gut permeability (animal IBS models), which were also blocked by astressin, eritoran or anakinra. In conclusion, stress-induced visceral allodynia and increased colonic permeability were mediated via peripheral CRF receptors. CRF induced these visceral changes via TLR4 and cytokine system, which were CRF1 dependent, and activation of CRF2 inhibited these CRF1-triggered responses. CRF may modulate immune system to alter visceral changes, which are considered to be pivotal pathophysiology of IBS.

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Jennifer A Crookshank, Daniel Serrano, Gen-Sheng Wang, Christopher Patrick, Baylie S Morgan, Marie-France Paré and Fraser W Scott

It is unknown whether there is a gene signature in pancreas which is associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We performed partial pancreatectomies on 30-day preinsulitic, diabetes-prone BioBreeding (BBdp) rats to prospectively identify factors involved in early prediabetes. Microarrays of the biopsies revealed downregulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, metabolism and apoptosis. Based on these results, additional investigations compared gene expression in control (BBc) and BBdp rats age ~8, 30 and 60 days using RT-qPCR. Neonates had increased ER stress gene expression in pancreas. This was associated with decreased insulin, cleaved caspase-3 and Ins1 whereas Gcg and Pcsk2 were increased. The increase in ER stress was not sustained at 30 days and decreased by 60 days. In parallel, the liver gene profile showed a similar signature in neonates but with an early decrease of the unfolded protein response (UPR) at 30 days. This suggested that changes in the liver precede those in the pancreas. Tnf and Il1b expression was increased in BBdp pancreas in association with increased caspase-1, cleaved caspase-3 and decreased proinsulin area. Glucagon area was increased in both 30-day and 60-day BBdp rats. Increased colocalization of BIP and proinsulin was observed at 60 days in the pancreas, suggesting insulin-related ER dysfunction. We propose that dysregulated metabolism leads to ER stress in neonatal rats long before insulitis, creating a microenvironment in both pancreas and liver that promotes autoimmunity.

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Guillaume Mabilleau, Benoit Gobron, Aleksandra Mieczkowska, Rodolphe Perrot and Daniel Chappard

Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) has been recognized in the last decade as an important contributor of bone remodelling and is necessary for optimal bone quality. However, GIP receptors are expressed in several tissues in the body and little is known about the direct vs indirect effects of GIP on bone remodelling and quality. The aims of the present study were to validate two new GIP analogues, called [d-Ala2]-GIP-Tag and [d-Ala2]-GIP1–30, which specifically target either bone or whole-body GIP receptors, respectively; and to ascertain the beneficial effects of GIP therapy on bone in a mouse model of ovariectomy-induced bone loss. Both GIP analogues exhibited similar binding capacities at the GIP receptor and intracellular responses as full-length GIP1–42. Furthermore, only [d-Ala2]-GIP-Tag, but not [d-Ala2]-GIP1–30, was undoubtedly found exclusively in the bone matrix and released at acidic pH. In ovariectomized animals, [d-Ala2]-GIP1–30 but not [d-Ala2]-GIP-Tag ameliorated bone stiffness at the same magnitude than alendronate treatment. Only [d-Ala2]-GIP1–30 treatment led to significant ameliorations in cortical microarchitecture. Although alendronate treatment increased the hardness of the bone matrix and the type B carbonate substitution in the hydroxyapatite crystals, none of the GIP analogues modified bone matrix composition. Interestingly, in ovariectomy-induced bone loss, [d-Ala2]-GIP-Tag failed to alter bone strength, microarchitecture and bone matrix composition. Overall, this study shows that the use of a GIP analogue that target whole-body GIP receptors might be useful to improve bone strength in ovariectomized animals.