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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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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.

Open access

Lina Lawenius, Hannah Colldén, Karin Horkeby, Jianyao Wu, Louise Grahnemo, Liesbeth Vandenput, Claes Ohlsson, and Klara Sjögren

Studies in postmenopausal women and ovariectomized mice show that the probiotic mix Lacticaseibacillus paracasei DSM13434, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum DSM 15312 and DSM 15313 (L. Mix) can protect from bone loss caused by sex steroid deficiency. Whether probiotic bacteria can protect bone also in sex steroid-deficient males is less studied. We used the orchiectomized mouse as a model for age-dependent bone loss caused by decreasing sex hormone levels in males. We treated 10-week-old male mice with either vehicle (veh) or L. Mix for 6 weeks, starting 2 weeks before orchiectomy (orx) or sham surgery. Importantly, mice treated with L. Mix had a general increase in total body bone mineral density (BMD) and lean mass (P ≤ 0.05) compared with veh-treated mice. Detailed computer tomography analysis of dissected bones showed increased trabecular BMD of the distal metaphyseal region of the femur in L. Mix compared to veh-treated orx mice (+8.0%, P ≤ 0.05). In the vertebra, L. Mix treatment increased trabecular bone volume fraction BV/TV (+11.5%, P ≤ 0.05) compared to veh in orx mice. Also, L. Mix increased the levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as propionate and acetate and important intermediates in SCFA synthesis such as succinate and lactate in the cecal content of male mice. In conclusion, L. Mix treatment resulted in a general increase in BMD in adult male mice and prevented trabecular bone loss in femur and vertebra of orx mice. These bone protective effects of L. Mix were associated with increased levels of SCFAs in the cecal content of male mice.

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Alok Tripathi, Pallavi Awasthi, Kundan Singh Rawat, Atma P Dwivedi, Krishna Bhan Singh, Kriti Sharma, Ravi Prakash, Divya Singh, and Atul Goel


Bone healing and regeneration is a complex process that recapitulates embryonic skeletal development and is delayed in diseases like osteoporosis. Bone healing therapies like recombinant bone morphogenetic-2 protein (rhBMP-2) and parathyroid hormone (PTH), an approved bone anabolic therapy reduces fracture risks but are fraught with high cost and several side effects. Thus, there is an unmet need for cost-effective bone healing agents. In this study, we have synthesized 3-piperidinylethoxypterocarpan (3-PEP) which is a hybrid of bone supplement ipriflavone and anti-resorptive drug raloxifene and evaluated its bone regeneration and healing potential. Prior to studies in animal models, the potency of 3-PEP was confirmed in calvarial osteoblast cells. Bromodeoxy uridine cell proliferation and cell viability assay revealed that 3-PEP at 100 pM concentration increased the proliferation and survival of osteoblasts simultaneously inhibiting the apoptosis by involving activation of BCL-2 by phosphorylation at Ser70 site through MEK-ERK pathway. In vivo studies were conducted in estrogen-deficient ovariectomized Balb/c mice and drill hole injury was generated in the mid diaphysis of the femur in all the animals. Treatment with 3-PEP commenced the next day onward and terminated at 7 and 15 days. Micro-CT analysis and calcein labeling of newly generated bone at the drill hole injury site showed that 3-PEP promotes bone healing and new bone formation at a dose of 5 mg/kg at the injury site. These data were also corroborated in non-ovariectomized Balb/c mice cortical defect model. Owing to the side effects associated with rhBMP-2 and PTH, along with the expenses involved, our study proposes an alternative therapeutic option for bone healing.

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Lucia Zhang, Kathy K Lee, Kim S Sugamori, Marc D Grynpas, and Jane Mitchell

GS, the stimulatory heterotrimeric G protein, is an essential regulator of osteogenesis and bone turnover. To determine if increasing GαS in osteoblasts alters bone responses to hyperparathyroidism, we used a transgenic mouse line overexpressing GαS in osteoblasts (GS-Tg mice). Primary osteoblasts from GS-Tg mice showed increased basal and parathyroid hormone (PTH)-stimulated cAMP and greater responses to PTH than cells from WT mice. Skeletal responses to 2-week continuous PTH administration (cPTH) in female mice resulted in trabecular bone loss in WT mice but 74% and 34% increase in trabecular bone mass in long bones and vertebrae, respectively, in GS-Tg mice. Vertebral biomechanical strength was compromised by cPTH treatment in WT mice but not in GS-Tg. Increased peritrabecular fibrosis was greatly increased by cPTH in Gs-Tg compared to WT mice and corresponded with greater increases in Wnt pathway proteins in trabecular bone. Cortical bone responded negatively to cPTH in WT and Gs-Tg mice with large increases in porosity, decreased cortical thickness and compromised biomechanical properties. These results demonstrate that hyperparathyroidism can increase trabecular bone when GS expression and cAMP stimulation in osteoblasts are increased but this is not the case in cortical bone where increased GS expression exacerbates cortical bone loss.

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Amrutha Bagivalu Lakshminarasimha, Madhuri Puvvada, Matthias Hammerschmidt, and Maximilian Michel

Loss of LEPR function (LOF) in mammals leads to diverse phenotypes including morbid obesity and infertility while zebrafish show relatively minor phenotypes. This however allows the study of LEPR LOF in the absence of the detrimental effects of hyperglycemia or obesity. Here, we show evidence that leptin plays a role in the central as well as peripheral regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis in zebrafish. Animals with a Lepr LOF show dysregulated pituitary HPG genes as well as evidence that oocytes mature slower and/or exhibit an increased rate of atresia. In culture, Lepr LOF attenuates the effect of 17α-20β-dihydroxy-4 pregnen-3-one in promoting germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) and increases the rate of GVBD as well as attenuates the rate of oocyte atresia.

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Daiana Fornes, Florencia Heinecke, Cintia Romina Gatti, Sabrina Lorena Roberti, Verónica White, Alicia Jawerbaum, and Evangelina Capobianco

The aim of this study was to evaluate the paternal programming of sex-dependent alterations in fetoplacental growth and placental lipid metabolism regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) target genes in F1 diabetic males born from F0 pregestational diabetic rats. F1 control and diabetic male rats were mated with control female rats. On day 21 of gestation, F2 male and female fetoplacental growth, placental lipid levels, and protein and mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism and transport were evaluated. Fetal but not placental weight was increased in the diabetic group. Triglyceride, cholesterol and free fatty acid levels were increased in placentas of male fetuses from the diabetic group. The mRNA levels of Pparα and Pparγ coactivator 1α (Pgc-1α) were increased only in placentas of male fetuses from the diabetic group. Protein levels of PPARα and PGC-1α were decreased only in placentas of male fetuses from the diabetic group. No differences were found in Pparγ mRNA and protein levels in placentas from the diabetic group. The mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid synthesis showed no differences between groups, whereas the mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid oxidation and transport were increased only in placentas of male fetuses from the diabetic group. In conclusion, paternal diabetes programs fetal overgrowth and sex-dependent effects on the regulation of lipid metabolism in the placenta, where only placentas of male fetuses show an increase in lipid accumulation and mRNA expression of enzymes involved in lipid oxidation and transport pathways.

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Kayo Mori, Akiko Mizokami, Tomomi Sano, Satoru Mukai, Fumitaka Hiura, Yasunori Ayukawa, Kiyoshi Koyano, Takashi Kanematsu, and Eijiro Jimi

Menopausal women are susceptible to visceral obesity, which increases the risk of metabolic disorders. However, the mechanisms of menopause-induced visceral fat accumulation are not fully understood. Circulating levels of receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL) are elevated in an animal model of menopause. RANKL, a multifunctional cytokine, activates the NF-κB pathway, which serves as a pivotal mediator of inflammatory responses. Here, we investigated whether RANKL-induced non-canonical NF-κB pathway activation induces inflammation and lipid accumulation in adipose tissues. RANKL induced Tnfa expression via the non-canonical NF-κB pathway in bone marrow cells. We therefore analyzed aly/aly mice, in which the non-canonical NF-κB pathway is not activated, owing to an inactive form of NF-κB-inducing kinase. A postmenopausal obesity model was generated by ovariectomy and subsequent high-fat and high-sucrose diet feeding. In aly/aly mice with postmenopausal obesity, serum RANKL levels were elevated, and hepatic lipid accumulation and adipocyte hypertrophy were suppressed, resulting in reduced macrophage infiltration and inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression in visceral adipose tissue. Furthermore, aly/aly mice showed protection from glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which were observed in ovariectomized WT obese mice. These findings indicate that non-canonical NF-κB pathway activation via serum RANKL elevation contributes to postmenopausal obesity.

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.

Open access

Laura L Gathercole, Nikolaos Nikolaou, Shelley E Harris, Anastasia Arvaniti, Toryn M Poolman, Jonathan M Hazlehurst, Denise V Kratschmar, Marijana Todorčević, Ahmad Moolla, Niall Dempster, Ryan C Pink, Michael F Saikali, Liz Bentley, Trevor M Penning, Claes Ohlsson, Carolyn L Cummins, Matti Poutanen, Alex Odermatt, Roger D Cox, and Jeremy W Tomlinson

Steroid 5β-reductase (AKR1D1) plays important role in hepatic bile acid synthesis and glucocorticoid clearance. Bile acids and glucocorticoids are potent metabolic regulators, but whether AKR1D1 controls metabolic phenotype in vivo is unknown. Akr1d1–/– mice were generated on a C57BL/6 background. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, metabolomic and transcriptomic approaches were used to determine effects on glucocorticoid and bile acid homeostasis. Metabolic phenotypes including body weight and composition, lipid homeostasis, glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance were evaluated. Molecular changes were assessed by RNA-Seq and Western blotting. Male Akr1d1–/– mice were challenged with a high fat diet (60% kcal from fat) for 20 weeks. Akr1d1–/– mice had a sex-specific metabolic phenotype. At 30 weeks of age, male, but not female, Akr1d1–/– mice were more insulin tolerant and had reduced lipid accumulation in the liver and adipose tissue yet had hypertriglyceridemia and increased intramuscular triacylglycerol. This phenotype was associated with sexually dimorphic changes in bile acid metabolism and composition but without overt effects on circulating glucocorticoid levels or glucocorticoid-regulated gene expression in the liver. Male Akr1d1–/– mice were not protected against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. In conclusion, this study shows that AKR1D1 controls bile acid homeostasis in vivo and that altering its activity can affect insulin tolerance and lipid homeostasis in a sex-dependent manner.