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Open access

K E Lines, P J Newey, C J Yates, M Stevenson, R Dyar, G V Walls, M R Bowl, and R V Thakker

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined occurrence of parathyroid, pituitary and pancreatic islet tumours, and is due to mutations of the MEN1 gene, which encodes the tumour suppressor protein menin. Menin has multiple roles in genome stability, transcription, cell division and proliferation, but its mechanistic roles in tumourigenesis remain to be fully elucidated. miRNAs are non-coding single-stranded RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and have been associated with tumour development, although the contribution of miRNAs to MEN1-associated tumourigenesis and their relationship with menin expression are not fully understood. Alterations in miRNA expression, including downregulation of three putative ‘tumour suppressor’ miRNAs, miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a, have been reported in several tumour types including non-MEN1 pituitary adenomas. We have therefore investigated the expression of miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a in pituitary tumours that developed after 12 months of age in female mice with heterozygous knockout of the Men1 gene (Men1 +/ mice). The miRNAs miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a were significantly downregulated in pituitary tumours (by 2.3-fold, P < 0.05; 2.1-fold P < 0.01 and 1.6-fold P < 0.05, respectively) of Men1 +/ mice, compared to normal WT pituitaries. miR-15a and miR-16-1 expression inversely correlated with expression of cyclin D1, a known pro-tumourigenic target of these miRNAs, and knockdown of menin in a human cancer cell line (HeLa), and AtT20 mouse pituitary cell line resulted in significantly decreased expression of miR-15a (P < 0.05), indicating that the decrease in miR-15a may be a direct result of lost menin expression.

Open access

Zhenguang Zhang, Agnes E Coutinho, Tak Yung Man, Tiina M J Kipari, Patrick W F Hadoke, Donald M Salter, Jonathan R Seckl, and Karen E Chapman

11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 (11β-HSD1) predominantly converts inert glucocorticoids into active forms, thereby contributing to intracellular glucocorticoid levels. 11β-HSD1 is dynamically regulated during inflammation, including in macrophages where it regulates phagocytic capacity. The resolution of inflammation in some disease models including inflammatory arthritis is impaired by 11β-HSD1 deficiency or inhibition. However, 11β-HSD1 deficiency/inhibition also promotes angiogenesis, which is beneficial in mouse models of surgical wound healing, myocardial infarction or obesity. The cell types responsible for the anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic roles of 11β-HSD1 have not been characterised. Here, we generated Hsd11b1 MKO mice with LysM-Cre mediated deletion of Hsd11b1 to investigate whether 11β-HSD1 deficiency in myeloid phagocytes is pro-angiogenic and/or affects the resolution of inflammation. Resolution of inflammatory K/BxN-induced arthritis was impaired in Hsd11b1 MKO mice to a similar extent as in mice globally deficient in 11β-HSD1. This was associated with >2-fold elevation in levels of the endothelial marker Cdh5 mRNA, suggesting increased angiogenesis in joints of Hsd11b1 MKO mice following arthritis. A pro-angiogenic phenotype was confirmed by measuring angiogenesis in subcutaneously implanted polyurethane sponges, in which Hsd11b1 MKO mice showed 20% greater vessel density than their littermate controls, associated with higher expression of Cdh5. Thus, 11β-HSD1 deficiency in myeloid phagocytes promotes angiogenesis. Targeting 11β-HSD1 in macrophages may be beneficial in tissue repair.

Open access

A Edlund, M Barghouth, M Hühn, M Abels, J S E Esguerra, I G Mollet, E Svedin, A Wendt, E Renström, E Zhang, N Wierup, B J Scholte, M Flodström-Tullberg, and L Eliasson

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is a common complication for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The cause of CFRD is unclear, but a commonly observed reduction in first-phase insulin secretion suggests defects at the beta cell level. Here we aimed to examine alpha and beta cell function in the Cftr tm1 EUR/F508del mouse model (C57BL/6J), which carries the most common human mutation in CFTR, the F508del mutation. CFTR expression, beta cell mass, insulin granule distribution, hormone secretion and single cell capacitance changes were evaluated using islets (or beta cells) from F508del mice and age-matched wild type (WT) mice aged 7–10 weeks. Granular pH was measured with DND-189 fluorescence. Serum glucose, insulin and glucagon levels were measured in vivo, and glucose tolerance was assessed using IPGTT. We show increased secretion of proinsulin and concomitant reduced secretion of C-peptide in islets from F508del mice compared to WT mice. Exocytosis and number of docked granules was reduced. We confirmed reduced granular pH by CFTR stimulation. We detected decreased pancreatic beta cell area, but unchanged beta cell number. Moreover, the F508del mutation caused failure to suppress glucagon secretion leading to hyperglucagonemia. In conclusion, F508del mice have beta cell defects resulting in (1) reduced number of docked insulin granules and reduced exocytosis and (2) potential defective proinsulin cleavage and secretion of immature insulin. These observations provide insight into the functional role of CFTR in pancreatic islets and contribute to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of CFRD.

Open access

Dawn E W Livingstone, Sarah L Grassick, Gillian L Currie, Brian R Walker, and Ruth Andrew

In obese humans, metabolism of glucocorticoids by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) and A-ring reduction (by 5α- and 5β-reductases) is dysregulated in a tissue specific manner. These changes have been recapitulated in leptin resistant obese Zucker rats but were not observed in high-fat fed Wistar rats. Recent data from mouse models suggest that such discrepancies may reflect differences in leptin signalling. We therefore compared glucocorticoid metabolism in murine models of leptin deficiency and resistance. Male ob/ob and db/db mice and their respective littermate controls (n=10–12/group) were studied at the age of 12 weeks. Enzyme activities and mRNA expression were quantified in snap-frozen tissues. The patterns of altered pathways of steroid metabolism in obesity were similar in ob/ob and db/db mice. In liver, 5β-reductase activity and mRNA were increased and 11β-HSD1 decreased in obese mice, whereas 5α-reductase 1 (5αR1) mRNA was not altered. In visceral adipose depots, 5β-reductase was not expressed, 11β-HSD1 activity was increased and 5αR1 mRNA was not altered in obesity. By contrast, in subcutaneous adipose tissue 11β-HSD1 and 5αR1 mRNA were decreased. Systematic differences were not found between ob/ob and db/db murine models of obesity, suggesting that variations in leptin signalling through the short splice variant of the Ob receptor do not contribute to dysregulation of glucocorticoid metabolism.

Open access

Lianne Abrahams, Nina M Semjonous, Phil Guest, Agnieszka Zielinska, Beverly Hughes, Gareth G Lavery, and Paul M Stewart

Glucocorticoid concentrations are a balance between production under the negative feedback control and diurnal rhythm of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and peripheral metabolism, for example by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), which catalyses the reduction of inactive cortisone (11-dehydrocorticosterone (11-DHC) in mice) to cortisol (corticosterone in mice). Reductase activity is conferred upon 11β-HSD1 by hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH). 11β-HSD1 is implicated in the development of obesity, and selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitors are currently under development. We sought to address the concern regarding potential up-regulation of the HPA axis associated with inhibition of 11β-HSD1. We assessed biomarkers for allele combinations of 11β-HSD1 and H6PDH derived from double heterozygous mouse crosses. H6PDH knock out (KO) adrenals were 69% larger than WT while 11β-HSD1 KO and double KO (DKO) adrenals were ∼30% larger than WT – indicative of increased HPA axis drive in KO animals. ACTH-stimulated circulating corticosterone concentrations were 2.2-fold higher in H6PDH KO animals and ∼1.5-fold higher in 11β-HSD1 KO and DKO animals compared with WT, proportional to the observed adrenal hypertrophy. KO of H6PDH resulted in a substantial increase in urinary DHC metabolites in males (65%) and females (61%). KO of 11β-HSD1 alone or in combination with H6PDH led to significant increases (36 and 42% respectively) in urinary DHC metabolites in females only. Intermediate 11β-HSD1/H6PDH heterozygotes maintained a normal HPA axis. Urinary steroid metabolite profile by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry as a biomarker assay may be beneficial in assaying HPA axis status clinically in cases of congenital and acquired 11β-HSD1/H6PDH deficiency.

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

I J Bujalska, L L Gathercole, J W Tomlinson, C Darimont, J Ermolieff, A N Fanjul, P A Rejto, and P M Stewart

Glucocorticoid excess increases fat mass, preferentially within omental depots; yet circulating cortisol concentrations are normal in most patients with metabolic syndrome (MS). At a pre-receptor level, 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) activates cortisol from cortisone locally within adipose tissue, and inhibition of 11β-HSD1 in liver and adipose tissue has been proposed as a novel therapy to treat MS by reducing hepatic glucose output and adiposity. Using a transformed human subcutaneous preadipocyte cell line (Chub-S7) and human primary preadipocytes, we have defined the role of glucocorticoids and 11β-HSD1 in regulating adipose tissue differentiation. Human cells were differentiated with 1.0 μM cortisol (F), or cortisone (E) with or without 100 nM of a highly selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitor PF-877423. 11β-HSD1 mRNA expression increased across adipocyte differentiation (P<0.001, n=4), which was paralleled by an increase in 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity (from nil on day 0 to 5.9±1.9 pmol/mg per h on day 16, P<0.01, n=7). Cortisone enhanced adipocyte differentiation; fatty acid-binding protein 4 expression increased 312-fold (P<0.001) and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 47-fold (P<0.001) versus controls. This was abolished by co-incubation with PF-877423. In addition, cellular lipid content decreased significantly. These findings were confirmed in the primary cultures of human subcutaneous preadipocytes. The increase in 11β-HSD1 mRNA expression and activity is essential for the induction of human adipogenesis. Blocking adipogenesis with a novel and specific 11β-HSD1 inhibitor may represent a novel approach to treat obesity in patients with MS.

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

Tingting Yang, Min He, Hailiang Zhang, Paula Q Barrett, and Changlong Hu

Aldosterone, which plays a key role in the regulation of blood pressure, is produced by zona glomerulosa (ZG) cells of the adrenal cortex. Exaggerated overproduction of aldosterone from ZG cells causes primary hyperaldosteronism. In ZG cells, calcium entry through voltage-gated calcium channels plays a central role in the regulation of aldosterone secretion. Previous studies in animal adrenals and human adrenal adrenocortical cell lines suggest that the T-type but not the L-type calcium channel activity drives aldosterone production. However, recent clinical studies show that somatic mutations in L-type calcium channels are the second most prevalent cause of aldosterone-producing adenoma. Our objective was to define the roles of T and L-type calcium channels in regulating aldosterone secretion from human adrenals. We find that human adrenal ZG cells mainly express T-type CaV3.2/3.3 and L-type CaV1.2/1.3 calcium channels. TTA-P2, a specific inhibitor of T-type calcium channel subtypes, reduced basal aldosterone secretion from acutely prepared slices of human adrenals. Surprisingly, nifedipine, the prototypic inhibitor of L-type calcium channels, also decreased basal aldosterone secretion, suggesting that L-type calcium channels are active under basal conditions. In addition, TTA-P2 or nifedipine also inhibited aldosterone secretion stimulated by angiotensin II- or elevations in extracellular K+. Remarkably, blockade of either L- or T-type calcium channels inhibits basal and stimulated aldosterone production to a similar extent. Low concentrations of TTA-P2 and nifedipine showed additive inhibitory effect on aldosterone secretion. We conclude that T- and L-type calcium channels play equally important roles in controlling aldosterone production from human adrenals.

Open access

E Meimaridou, M Goldsworthy, V Chortis, E Fragouli, P A Foster, W Arlt, R Cox, and L A Metherell

Nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase, NNT, is a ubiquitous protein of the inner mitochondrial membrane with a key role in mitochondrial redox balance. NNT produces high concentrations of NADPH for detoxification of reactive oxygen species by glutathione and thioredoxin pathways. In humans, NNT dysfunction leads to an adrenal-specific disorder, glucocorticoid deficiency. Certain substrains of C57BL/6 mice contain a spontaneously occurring inactivating Nnt mutation and display glucocorticoid deficiency along with glucose intolerance and reduced insulin secretion. To understand the underlying mechanism(s) behind the glucocorticoid deficiency, we performed comprehensive RNA-seq on adrenals from wild-type (C57BL/6N), mutant (C57BL/6J) and BAC transgenic mice overexpressing Nnt (C57BL/6JBAC). The following results were obtained. Our data suggest that Nnt deletion (or overexpression) reduces adrenal steroidogenic output by decreasing the expression of crucial, mitochondrial antioxidant (Prdx3 and Txnrd2) and steroidogenic (Cyp11a1) enzymes. Pathway analysis also revealed upregulation of heat shock protein machinery and haemoglobins possibly in response to the oxidative stress initiated by NNT ablation. In conclusion, using transcriptomic profiling in adrenals from three mouse models, we showed that disturbances in adrenal redox homeostasis are mediated not only by under expression of NNT but also by its overexpression. Further, we demonstrated that both under expression or overexpression of NNT reduced corticosterone output implying a central role for it in the control of steroidogenesis. This is likely due to a reduction in the expression of a key steroidogenic enzyme, Cyp11a1, which mirrored the reduction in corticosterone output.