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Eun Soo Lee, Mi-Hye Kwon, Hong Min Kim, Nami Kim, You Mi Kim, Hyeon Soo Kim, Eun Young Lee and Choon Hee Chung

Dibenzoylmethane (DBM) is a beta-diketone analog of curcumin. Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects of curcumin on diabetes, obesity and diabetic complications including diabetic nephropathy. Recently, we investigated the beneficial metabolic effects of DBM on high-fat diet-induced obesity. However, the effects and mechanisms of action of DBM in the kidney are currently unknown. To investigate the renoprotective effects of DBM in type 2 diabetes, we administered DBM (100 mg/kg) orally for 12 weeks to high-fat diet-induced diabetic model mice. We used mouse renal mesangial (MES13) and macrophage (RAW 264.7) cells to examine the mechanism of action of DBM (20 μM). After DBM treatment, the albumin-to-creatinine ratio was significantly decreased compared to that of the high-fat-diet group. Moreover, damaged renal ultra-structures and functions including increased glomerular volume, glomerular basement membrane thickness and inflammatory signals were ameliorated after DBM treatment. Stimulation of MES13 and RAW264.7 cells by palmitate or high-dose glucose with lipopolysaccharides increased inflammatory signals and macrophage migration. However, these changes were reversed by DBM treatment. In addition, DBM inhibited NADPH oxidase 2 and 4 expression and oxidative DNA damage. Collectively, these data suggested that DBM prevented diabetes-induced renal injury through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

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Liliana del V Sosa, Juan P Petiti, Florencia Picech, Sabrina Chumpen, Juan P Nicola, Pablo Perez, Ana De Paul, Javier Valdez-Taubas, Silvina Gutierrez and Alicia I Torres

The molecular mechanisms underlying the ERα nuclear/cytoplasmic pool that modulates pituitary cell proliferation have been widely described, but it is still not clear how ERα is targeted to the plasma membrane. The aim of this study was to analyse ERα palmitoylation and the plasma membrane ERα (mERα) pool, and their participation in E2-triggered membrane-initiated signalling in normal and pituitary tumour cell growth. Cell cultures were prepared from anterior pituitaries of female Wistar rats and tumour GH3 cells, and treated with 10 nM of oestradiol (E2). The basal expression of ERα was higher in tumour GH3 than in normal pituitary cells. Full-length palmitoylated ERα was observed in normal and pituitary tumour cells, demonstrating that E2 stimulation increased both, ERα in plasma membrane and ERα and caveolin-1 interaction after short-term treatment. In addition, the Dhhc7 and Dhhc21 palmitoylases were negatively regulated after sustained stimulation of E2 for 3 h. Although the uptake of BrdU into the nucleus in normal pituitary cells was not modified by E2, a significant increase in the GH3 tumoural cell, as well as ERK1/2 activation, with this effect being mimicked by PPT, a selective antagonist of ERα. These proliferative effects were blocked by ICI 182780 and the global inhibitor of palmitoylation. These findings indicate that ERα palmitoylation modulated the mERα pool and consequently the ERK1/2 pathway, thereby contributing to pituitary tumour cell proliferation. These results suggest that the plasma membrane ERα pool might be related to the proliferative behaviour of prolactinoma and may be a marker of pituitary tumour growth.

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Miriam Thomalla, Andreas Schmid, Elena Neumann, Petra Ina Pfefferle, Ulf Müller-Ladner, Andreas Schäffler and Thomas Karrasch

Adipocytes express various pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and actively participate in anti-bacterial and anti-viral host defence. Obesity is associated with adipose tissue PRR expression. The potential role of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) in adipocytes has not yet been investigated. Here, we evaluated TLR9 expression during adipocyte differentiation (AD) of 3T3-L1 adipocytes, in primary murine adipocytes and in different murine and human adipose tissue depots by real-time PCR, immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry. TLR9 expression was inhibited using specific siRNA-mediated knockdown, and TLR9 signaling was induced using specific class A, B and C agonistic CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) treatment vs ODN controls in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and in primary murine adipocytes from Tlr9wt/wt vs Tlr9−/− mice. We found that TLR9 gene expression is induced during AD and that TLR9 protein is expressed in murine gonadal and human visceral adipocytes. AD depends on intact TLR9 expression. Tlr9−/− mice demonstrate significantly reduced adiponectin serum levels, while siRNA-mediated TLR9 knockdown led to reduced adiponectin mRNA expression in adipocytes. TLR9 ligands (CpG-ODNs) inhibit pro-inflammatory resistin secretion in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Tlr9−/− as compared to Tlr9wt/wt adipocytes exhibit increased resistin and MCP1 secretion and reduced adiponectin secretion into cell culture supernatants, while TLR9 ligands (ODNs) show differential effects in Tlr9−/− vs Tlr9wt/wt primary murine adipocytes. TLR9 expression is significantly increased in visceral compared to subcutaneous adipose tissue depots in non-diabetic obese patients and correlates with systemic resistin levels in a compartment-specific manner. Thus, adipocytic TLR9 is a putative, new protective factor during (obesity-associated) adipose tissue inflammation.

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Ana P Pinto, Alisson L da Rocha, Eike B Kohama, Rafael C Gaspar, Fernando M Simabuco, Fabiani G Frantz, Leandro P de Moura, José R Pauli, Dennys E Cintra, Eduardo R Ropelle, Ellen C de Freitas and Adelino S R da Silva

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and inflammation relationship occurs at different levels and is essential for the adequate homeostatic function of cellular systems, becoming harmful when chronically engaged. Intense physical exercise enhances serum levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6). In response to a chronic exhaustive physical exercise protocol, our research group verified an increase of the IL-6 concentration and ER stress proteins in extensor digitorium longus (EDL) and soleus. Based on these results, we hypothesized that IL-6-knockout mice would demonstrate a lower modulation in the ER stress proteins compared to the wild-type mice. To clarify the relationship between exercise-induced IL-6 increased and ER stress, we studied the effects of an acute exhaustive physical exercise protocol on the levels of ER stress proteins in the skeletal muscles of IL-6-knockout (KO) mice. The WT group displayed a higher exhaustion time compared to the IL-6 KO group. After 1 h of the acute exercise protocol, the serum levels of IL-6 and IL-10 were enhanced in the WT group. Independent of the experimental group, the CHOP and cleaved caspase 12/total caspase 12 ratio in EDL as well as ATF6 and CHOP in soleus were sensitive to the acute exercise protocol. Compared to the WT group, the oscillation patterns over time of BiP in EDL and soleus as well as of peIF2-alpha/eIF2-alpha ratio in soleus were attenuated for the IL-6 KO group. In conclusion, IL-6 seems to be related with the ER stress homeostasis, once knockout mice presented attenuation of BiP in EDL and soleus as well as of pEiF2-alpha/EiF2-alpha ratio in soleus after the acute exhaustive physical exercise protocol.

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Marie M Devillers, Florence Petit, Victoria Cluzet, Charlotte M François, Frank Giton, Ghislaine Garrel, Joëlle Cohen-Tannoudji and Céline J Guigon

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) regulates ovarian function in cyclic females, notably by preventing premature follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-mediated follicular growth and steroidogenesis. Its expression in growing follicles is controlled by FSH and by estradiol (E2). In infantile females, there is a transient increase in the activity of the gonadotrope axis, as reflected by elevated levels of both gonadotropins and E2. We previously demonstrated in mice that elevated FSH concentrations are necessary to induce E2 production by preantral/early antral follicles through the stimulation of aromatase expression without supporting their growth. However, whether this action of FSH could involve AMH is unknown. Here, we show that Amh mRNA and protein abundance and serum AMH levels are elevated in infantile mouse females, compared with those in adults. By experimentally manipulating FSH and E2 levels in infantile mice, we demonstrate that high FSH concentrations lower Amh expression specifically in preantral/early antral follicles, whereas E2 has no effect. Importantly, treatment of infantile ovaries in organotypic cultures with AMH decreases FSH-mediated expression of Cyp19a1 aromatase, but it does not alter the expression of cyclin D2-mediating granulosa cell proliferation. Overall, our data indicate that the infantile elevation in FSH levels suppresses Amh expression in preantral/early antral follicles, thereby favoring Cyp19a1 aromatase expression and E2 production. Together with recent discoveries that AMH can act on both the hypothalamus and the pituitary to increase gonadotropin levels, this work suggests that AMH is a critical regulator of the gonadotrope axis during the infantile period, thereby contributing to adult reproductive function programming.

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Sara Pepe, Márta Korbonits and Donato Iacovazzo

While 95% of pituitary adenomas arise sporadically without a known inheritable predisposing mutation, in about 5% of the cases they can arise in a familial setting, either isolated (familial isolated pituitary adenoma or FIPA) or as part of a syndrome. FIPA is caused, in 15–30% of all kindreds, by inactivating mutations in the AIP gene, encoding a co-chaperone with a vast array of interacting partners and causing most commonly growth hormone excess. While the mechanisms linking AIP with pituitary tumorigenesis have not been fully understood, they are likely to involve several pathways, including the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A pathway via defective G inhibitory protein signalling or altered interaction with phosphodiesterases. The cAMP pathway is also affected by other conditions predisposing to pituitary tumours, including X-linked acrogigantism caused by duplications of the GPR101 gene, encoding an orphan G stimulatory protein-coupled receptor. Activating mosaic mutations in the GNAS gene, coding for the Gα stimulatory protein, cause McCune–Albright syndrome, while inactivating mutations in the regulatory type 1α subunit of protein kinase A represent the most frequent genetic cause of Carney complex, a syndromic condition with multi-organ manifestations also involving the pituitary gland. In this review, we discuss the genetic and molecular aspects of isolated and syndromic familial pituitary adenomas due to germline or mosaic mutations, including those secondary to AIP and GPR101 mutations, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and 4, Carney complex, McCune–Albright syndrome, DICER1 syndrome and mutations in the SDHx genes underlying the association of familial paragangliomas and phaeochromocytomas with pituitary adenomas.

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Jose Casasnovas, Yunhee Jo, Xi Rao, Xiaoling Xuei, Mary E Brown and Kok Lim Kua

Offspring of diabetic mothers are susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes due to pancreatic islet dysfunction. However, the initiating molecular pathways leading to offspring pancreatic islet dysfunction are unknown. We hypothesized that maternal hyperglycemia alters offspring pancreatic islet transcriptome and negatively impacts offspring islet function. We employed an infusion model capable of inducing localized hyperglycemia in fetal rats residing in the left uterine horn, thus avoiding other factors involved in programming offspring pancreatic islet health. While maintaining euglycemia in maternal dams and right uterine horn control fetuses, hyperglycemic fetuses in the left uterine horn had higher serum insulin and pancreatic beta cell area. Upon completing infusion from GD20 to 22, RNA sequencing was performed on GD22 islets to identify the hyperglycemia-induced altered gene expression. Ingenuity pathway analysis of the altered transcriptome found that diabetes mellitus and inflammation/cell death pathways were enriched. Interestingly, the downregulated genes modulate more diverse biological processes, which includes responses to stimuli and developmental processes. Next, we performed ex and in vivo studies to evaluate islet cell viability and insulin secretory function in weanling and adult offspring. Pancreatic islets of weanlings exposed to late gestation hyperglycemia had decreased cell viability in basal state and glucose-induced insulin secretion. Lastly, adult offspring exposed to in utero hyperglycemia also exhibited glucose intolerance and insulin secretory dysfunction. Together, our results demonstrate that late gestational hyperglycemia alters the fetal pancreatic islet transcriptome and increases offspring susceptibility to developing pancreatic islet dysfunction.

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Yuefei Huang, Pei Yee Ting, Tham M Yao, Tsuyoshi Homma, Danielle Brooks, Isis Katayama Rangel, Gail K Adler, Jose R Romero, Jonathan S Williams, Luminita H Pojoga and Gordon H Williams

Human risk allele carriers of lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) and LSD1-deficient mice have salt-sensitive hypertension for unclear reasons. We hypothesized that LSD1 deficiency causes dysregulation of aldosterone’s response to salt intake resulting in increased cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure and microalbumin). Furthermore, we determined the effect of biological sex on these potential abnormalities. To test our hypotheses, LSD1 male and female heterozygote-knockout (LSD1+/−) and WT mice were assigned to two age groups: 18 weeks and 36 weeks. Plasma aldosterone levels and aldosterone production from zona glomerulosa cells studied ex vivo were greater in both male and female LSD1+/− mice consuming a liberal salt diet as compared to WT mice consuming the same diet. However, salt-sensitive blood pressure elevation and increased microalbuminuria were only observed in male LSD1+/− mice. These data suggest that LSD1 interacts with aldosterone’s secretory response to salt intake. Lack of LSD1 causes inappropriate aldosterone production on a liberal salt diet; males appear to be more sensitive to this aldosterone increase as males, but not females, develop salt sensitivity of blood pressure and increased microalbuminuria. The mechanism responsible for the cardiovascular protective effect in females is uncertain but may be related to estrogen modulating the effect of mineralocorticoid receptor activation.

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Lenka Maletínská, Andrea Popelová, Blanka Železná, Michal Bencze and Jaroslav Kuneš

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder in the elderly population. Numerous epidemiological and experimental studies have demonstrated that patients who suffer from obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus have a higher risk of cognitive dysfunction and AD. Several recent studies demonstrated that food intake-lowering (anorexigenic) peptides have the potential to improve metabolic disorders and that they may also potentially be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, the neuroprotective effects of anorexigenic peptides of both peripheral and central origins are discussed. Moreover, the role of leptin as a key modulator of energy homeostasis is discussed in relation to its interaction with anorexigenic peptides and their analogs in AD-like pathology. Although there is no perfect experimental model of human AD pathology, animal studies have already proven that anorexigenic peptides exhibit neuroprotective properties. This phenomenon is extremely important for the potential development of new drugs in view of the aging of the human population and of the significantly increasing incidence of AD.

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Yi Luan, Maxwell E Edmonds, Teresa K Woodruff and So-Youn Kim

Cancer therapy can cause off-target effects including ovarian damage, which may result in primary ovarian insufficiency in girls and premenopausal women. Loss of ovarian follicles within the ovarian reserve leads to ovarian endocrine dysfunction and impaired fertility. Cyclophosphamide (CPA), a commonly used chemotherapeutic and immunosuppressant agent, is a gonadotoxic agent that destroys ovarian cells by crosslinking DNA. To protect the ovary against CPA damage, we sought to precisely map the mechanism by which the ovarian reserve is depleted by CPA. We found that CPA specifically depletes primordial follicles without affecting primary and secondary follicles in three independent murine strains (CD-1, C57BL/6J and BALB/cJ) in vivo. We directly tested the effect of the active metabolite of CPA, 1 μM 4-hydroxyperoxycyclophophamide (4-HC), in vitro and confirmed the loss of primordial oocytes but no change in the number of primary and secondary follicles. We demonstrated that phospho-AKT (p-AKT) and cleaved PARP (cPARP) are present in primordial oocytes 3 days after CPA injection, consistent with the role of these markers as part of the apoptotic cascade. Interestingly, p-AKT positive primordial oocytes co-expressed cPARP. Treatment of animals with specific inhibitors of apoptotic pathway components, ETP46464 and CHK2, blocked 4-HC‒induced DNA damage in vitro. These data suggest that CPA targets primordial germ cells in the ovarian reserve by stimulating apoptosis pathways. Adjuvant therapies to protect primordial germ cells from the off-target effects of CPA may reduce the risk of POI.