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Open access

Shuang-Xia Zhao, Shanli Tsui, Anthony Cheung, Raymond S Douglas, Terry J Smith and J Paul Banga

The TSH receptor (TSHR) is the critical target for antibody production in Graves' disease (GD). Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) has been proposed as a second autoantigen in complications of GD such as orbitopathy. We attempted to induce orbital tissue remodeling in mice undergoing immunizations with plasmids encoding TSHR and IGF1R delivered by in vivo skeletal muscle electroporation, a procedure known to give a sustained, long-term antibody response. Female BALB/c mice were challenged with TSHR A-subunit or IGF1Rα subunit plasmid by injection and electroporation. Mice challenged with TSHR A-subunit plasmid resulted in high frequency (75%) of hyperthyroidism and thyroid-stimulating antibodies. But strikingly, immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid also elicited antibody to IGF1Rα subunit. Mice challenged in the same manner with IGF1Rα subunit plasmid produced strong antibody responses to IGF1R, but did not undergo any changes in phenotype. Simultaneous challenge by double antigen immunization with the two plasmids in distant anatomical sites reduced the incidence of hyperthyroidism, potentially as a consequence of antigenic competition. Thyroid glands from the TSHR A-subunit plasmid-challenged group were enlarged with patchy microscopic infiltrates. Histological analysis of the orbital tissues demonstrated moderate connective tissue fibrosis and deposition of Masson's trichrome staining material. Our findings imply that immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid leads to generation of IGF1R antibodies, which together with thyroid-stimulating antibodies may precipitate remodeling of orbital tissue, raising our understanding of its close association with GD.

Open access

Lisa Rice, Charlotte E Waters, Jennifer Eccles, Helen Garside, Paula Sommer, Paul Kay, Fiona H Blackhall, Leo Zeef, Brian Telfer, Ian Stratford, Rob Clarke, Dave Singh, Adam Stevens, Anne White and David W Ray

Glucocorticoid (GC) receptors (GRs) have profound anti-survival effects on human small cell lung cancer (SCLC). To explore the basis of these effects, protein partners for GRs were sought using a yeast two-hybrid screen. We discovered a novel gene, FAM33A, subsequently identified as a SKA1 partner and involved in mitosis, and so renamed Ska2. We produced an anti-peptide antibody that specifically recognized full-length human SKA2 to measure expression in human cell lines and tissues. There was a wide variation in expression across multiple cell lines, but none was detected in the liver cell line HepG2. A xenograft model of human SCLC had intense staining and archival tissue revealed SKA2 in several human lung and breast tumours. SKA2 was found in the cytoplasm, where it co-localized with GR, but nuclear expression of SKA2 was seen in breast tumours. SKA2 overexpression increased GC transactivation in HepG2 cells while SKA2 knockdown in A549 human lung epithelial cells decreased transactivation and prevented dexamethasone inhibition of proliferation. GC treatment decreased SKA2 protein levels in A549 cells, as did Staurosporine, phorbol ester and trichostatin A; all agents that inhibit cell proliferation. Overexpression of SKA2 potentiated the proliferative response to IGF-I exposure, and knockdown with shRNA caused cells to arrest in mitosis. SKA2 has recently been identified in HeLa S3 cells as part of a complex, which is critical for spindle checkpoint silencing and exit from mitosis. Our new data show involvement in cell proliferation and GC signalling, with implications for understanding how GCs impact on cell fate.

Open access

R Dobie, V E MacRae, C Huesa, R van't Hof, S F Ahmed and C Farquharson

The suppressor of cytokine signalling (Socs2 −/−)-knockout mouse is characterised by an overgrowth phenotype due to enhanced GH signalling. The objective of this study was to define the Socs2 −/− bone phenotype and determine whether GH promotes bone mass via IGF1-dependent mechanisms. Despite no elevation in systemic IGF1 levels, increased body weight in 4-week-old Socs2 −/− mice following GH treatment was associated with increased cortical bone area (Ct.Ar) (P<0.01). Furthermore, detailed bone analysis of male and female juvenile and adult Socs2 −/− mice revealed an altered cortical and trabecular phenotype consistent with the known anabolic effects of GH. Indeed, male Socs2 −/− mice had increased Ct.Ar (P<0.05) and thickness associated with increased strength. Despite this, there was no elevation in hepatic Igf1 expression, suggesting that the anabolic bone phenotype was the result of increased local GH action. Mechanistic studies showed that in osteoblasts and bone of Socs2 −/− mice, STAT5 phosphorylation was significantly increased in response to GH. Conversely, overexpression of SOCS2 decreased GH-induced STAT5 signalling. Although an increase in Igf1 expression was observed in Socs2 −/− osteoblasts following GH, it was not evident in vivo. Igf1 expression levels were not elevated in response to GH in 4-week-old mice and no alterations in expression was observed in bone samples of 6-week-old Socs2 −/− mice. These studies emphasise the critical role of SOCS2 in controlling the local GH anabolic bone effects. We provide compelling evidence implicating SOCS2 in the regulation of GH osteoblast signalling and ultimately bone accrual, which maybe via mechanisms that are independent of IGF1 production in vivo.

Open access

Gisela Helfer and Qing-Feng Wu

Metabolic syndrome is a global public health problem and predisposes individuals to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated, accumulating evidence has uncovered a critical role of adipokines. Chemerin, encoded by the gene Rarres2, is a newly discovered adipokine involved in inflammation, adipogenesis, angiogenesis and energy metabolism. In humans, local and circulating levels of chemerin are positively correlated with BMI and obesity-related biomarkers. In this review, we discuss both peripheral and central roles of chemerin in regulating body metabolism. In general, chemerin is upregulated in obese and diabetic animals. Previous studies by gain or loss of function show an association of chemerin with adipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, food intake and body weight. In the brain, the hypothalamus integrates peripheral afferent signals including adipokines to regulate appetite and energy homeostasis. Chemerin increases food intake in seasonal animals by acting on hypothalamic stem cells, the tanycytes. In peripheral tissues, chemerin increases cell expansion, inflammation and angiogenesis in adipose tissue, collectively resulting in adiposity. While chemerin signalling enhances insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, contradictory results have been reported on how chemerin links to obesity and insulin resistance. Given the association of chemerin with obesity comorbidities in humans, advances in translational research targeting chemerin are expected to mitigate metabolic disorders. Together, the exciting findings gathered in the last decade clearly indicate a crucial multifaceted role for chemerin in the regulation of energy balance, making it a promising candidate for urgently needed pharmacological treatment strategies for obesity.

Open access

Maayan Vatarescu, Sapir Bechor, Yulia Haim, Tal Pecht, Tanya Tarnovscki, Noa Slutsky, Ori Nov, Hagit Shapiro, Avishai Shemesh, Angel Porgador, Nava Bashan and Assaf Rudich

Adipose tissue inflammation and dysfunction are considered central in the pathogenesis of obesity-related dysmetabolism, but their role in the rapid metabolic recovery upon obesity reversal is less well defined. We hypothesized that changes in adipose tissue endocrine and paracrine mechanisms may support the rapid improvement of obesity-induced impairment in cellular lipid handling. C57Bl-6J mice were fed ad libitum either normal chow (NC) or high-fat diet (HFF) for 10 weeks. A dietary obesity reversal group was fed HFF for 8 weeks and then switched to NC for 2 weeks (HFF→NC). Whole-body glucose homeostasis rapidly nearly normalized in the HFF→NC mice (fasting glucose and insulin fully normalized, glucose and insulin tolerance tests reversed 82% to the NC group levels). During 2 weeks of the dietary reversal, the liver was significantly cleared from ectopic fat, and functionally, glucose production from pyruvate, alanine or fructose was normalized. In contrast, adipose tissue inflammation (macrophage infiltration and polarization) largely remained as in HFF, though obesity-induced adipose tissue macrophage lipid accumulation decreased by ~50%, and adipose tissue MAP kinase hyperactivation was reversed. Ex vivo, mild changes in adipose tissue adipocytokine secretion profile were noted. These corresponded to partial or full reversal of the excess cellular lipid droplet accumulation induced by HFF adipose tissue conditioned media in hepatoma or macrophage cells, respectively. We propose that early after initiating reversal of nutritional obesity, rapid metabolic normalization largely precedes resolution of adipose tissue inflammation. Nevertheless, we demonstrate a hitherto unrecognized contribution of adipose tissue to the rapid improvement in lipid handling by the liver and by macrophages.

Open access

Kunihisa Hamano, Yuko Nakagawa, Yoshiaki Ohtsu, Longfei Li, Johan Medina, Yuji Tanaka, Katsuyoshi Masuda, Mitsuhisa Komatsu and Itaru Kojima

Glucose activates the glucose-sensing receptor T1R3 and facilitates its own metabolism in pancreatic β-cells. An inhibitor of this receptor would be helpful in elucidating the physiological function of the glucose-sensing receptor. The present study was conducted to examine whether or not lactisole can be used as an inhibitor of the glucose-sensing receptor. In MIN6 cells, in a dose-dependent manner, lactisole inhibited insulin secretion induced by sweeteners, acesulfame-K, sucralose and glycyrrhizin. The IC50 was ∼4 mmol/l. Lactisole attenuated the elevation of cytoplasmic Ca2 + concentration ([Ca2 +]c) evoked by sucralose and acesulfame-K but did not affect the elevation of intracellular cAMP concentration ([cAMP]c) induced by these sweeteners. Lactisole also inhibited the action of glucose in MIN6 cells. Thus, lactisole significantly reduced elevations of intracellular [NADH] and intracellular [ATP] induced by glucose, and also inhibited glucose-induced insulin secretion. To further examine the effect of lactisole on T1R3, we prepared HEK293 cells stably expressing mouse T1R3. In these cells, sucralose elevated both [Ca2 +]c and [cAMP]c. Lactisole attenuated the sucralose-induced increase in [Ca2 +]c but did not affect the elevation of [cAMP]c. Finally, lactisole inhibited insulin secretion induced by a high concentration of glucose in mouse islets. These results indicate that the mouse glucose-sensing receptor was inhibited by lactisole. Lactisole may be useful in assessing the role of the glucose-sensing receptor in mouse pancreatic β-cells.

Open access

Yoshinori Kanemaru, Norio Harada, Satoko Shimazu-Kuwahara, Shunsuke Yamane, Eri Ikeguchi, Yuki Murata, Sakura Kiyobayashi, Tomonobu Hatoko and Nobuya Inagaki

Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) is an incretin secreted from enteroendocine K cells after nutrient ingestion. Fat strongly induces GIP secretion, and GIP hypersecretion is involved in high-fat diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Aging also induces GIP hypersecretion, but its effect on body weight gain and insulin sensitivity remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effect of GIP on age-related body weight gain and insulin resistance using GIP-knockout homozygous (GIP−/) and heterozygous (GIP+/) mice, which have entirely absent and 50% reduced GIP secretion compared to wild-type (WT) mice, respectively. Under 12% fat-containing normal diet feeding condition, body weight was significantly lower in GIP−/ mice compared to that in WT and GIP+/ mice from 38 weeks of age, while there was no significant difference between WT and GIP+/ mice. Visceral and s.c. fat mass were also significantly lower in GIP−/ mice compared to those in WT and GIP+/ mice. During oral glucose tolerance test, blood glucose levels did not differ among the three groups. Insulin levels were significantly lower in GIP−/ mice than those in WT and GIP+/ mice. During insulin tolerance test, GIP−/mice showed higher insulin sensitivity than that of WT and GIP+/ mice. Adiponectin mRNA levels were increased and leptin mRNA levels tended to be decreased in adipose tissue of GIP−/ mice. These results demonstrate that GIP is involved in age-related obesity and insulin resistance and that inhibition of GIP secretion alleviates age-related fat mass gain and insulin resistance under carbohydrate-based diet feeding condition.

Open access

Keld Fosgerau, Kirsten Raun, Cecilia Nilsson, Kirsten Dahl and Birgitte S Wulff

Obesity is a major burden to people and to health care systems around the world. The aim of the study was to characterize the effect of a novel selective α-MSH analog on obesity and insulin sensitivity. The subchronic effects of the selective MC4-R peptide agonist MC4-NN1-0182 were investigated in diet-induced obese (DIO) rats and DIO minipigs by assessing the effects on food intake, energy consumption, and body weight. The acute effect of MC4-NN1-0182 on insulin sensitivity was assessed by a euglycemic–hyperinsulinemic clamp study in normal rats. Three weeks of treatment of DIO rats with MC4-NN1-0182 caused a decrease in food intake and a significant decrease in body weight 7±1%, P<0.05 compared with 3±1% increase with the vehicle control. In DIO minipigs, 8 weeks of treatment with MC4-NN1-0182 resulted in a body weight loss of 13.3±2.5 kg (13±3%), whereas the vehicle control group had gained 3.7±1.4 kg (4±1%). Finally, clamp studies in normal rats showed that acute treatment with MC4-NN1-0182 caused a significant increase in glucose disposal (Rd) compared with vehicle control (Rd, mg/kg per min, 17.0±0.7 vs 13.9±0.6, P<0.01). We demonstrate that treatment of DIO rats or minipigs with a selective MC4-R peptide agonist causes weight loss. Moreover, we have demonstrated weight-independent effects on insulin sensitivity. Our observations identify MC4 agonism as a viable target for the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance.

Open access

Ashley Patton, Tyler Church, Caroline Wilson, Jean Thuma, Douglas J Goetz, Darlene E Berryman, Edward O List, Frank Schwartz and Kelly D McCall

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of both metabolic and inflammatory diseases and has become the leading chronic liver disease worldwide. High-fat (HF) diets promote an increased uptake and storage of free fatty acids (FFAs) and triglycerides (TGs) in hepatocytes, which initiates steatosis and induces lipotoxicity, inflammation and insulin resistance. Activation and signaling of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) by FFAs induces inflammation evident in NAFLD and insulin resistance. Currently, there are no effective treatments to specifically target inflammation associated with this disease. We have established the efficacy of phenylmethimazole (C10) to prevent lipopolysaccharide and palmitate-induced TLR4 signaling. Because TLR4 is a key mediator in pro-inflammatory responses, it is a potential therapeutic target for NAFLD. Here, we show that treatment with C10 inhibits HF diet-induced inflammation in both liver and mesenteric adipose tissue measured by a decrease in mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, C10 treatment improves glucose tolerance and hepatic steatosis despite the development of obesity due to HF diet feeding. Administration of C10 after 16 weeks of HF diet feeding reversed glucose intolerance, hepatic inflammation, and improved hepatic steatosis. Thus, our findings establish C10 as a potential therapeutic for the treatment of NAFLD.

Open access

Corinne Caillaud, Mie Mechta, Heidi Ainge, Andreas N Madsen, Patricia Ruell, Emilie Mas, Catherine Bisbal, Jacques Mercier, Stephen Twigg, Trevor A Mori, David Simar and Romain Barrès

Erythropoietin (EPO) ameliorates glucose metabolism through mechanisms not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the effect of EPO on glucose metabolism and insulin signaling in skeletal muscle. A 2-week EPO treatment of rats fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) improved fasting glucose levels and glucose tolerance, without altering total body weight or retroperitoneal fat mass. Concomitantly, EPO partially rescued insulin-stimulated AKT activation, reduced markers of oxidative stress, and restored heat-shock protein 72 expression in soleus muscles from HFD-fed rats. Incubation of skeletal muscle cell cultures with EPO failed to induce AKT phosphorylation and had no effect on glucose uptake or glycogen synthesis. We found that the EPO receptor gene was expressed in myotubes, but was undetectable in soleus. Together, our results indicate that EPO treatment improves glucose tolerance but does not directly activate the phosphorylation of AKT in muscle cells. We propose that the reduced systemic inflammation or oxidative stress that we observed after treatment with EPO could contribute to the improvement of whole-body glucose metabolism.