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Open access

Sandra Pereira, Wen Qin Yu, María E Frigolet, Jacqueline L Beaudry, Yaniv Shpilberg, Edward Park, Cristina Dirlea, B L Grégoire Nyomba, Michael C Riddell, I George Fantus and Adria Giacca

We have shown in rats that sodium salicylate (SS), which inhibits IkBa kinase B (IKKB), prevents hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance caused by short-term (7 h) i.v. administration of Intralipid and heparin (IH). We wished to further determine whether this beneficial effect of SS persisted after prolonged (48 h) IH infusion, which better mimics the chronic free fatty acid (FFA) elevation of obesity. Hence, we performed hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps with tritiated glucose methodology to determine hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in rats infused with saline, IH, IH and SS, or SS alone. SS prevented peripheral insulin resistance (P<0.05) caused by prolonged plasma FFA elevation; however, it did not prevent hepatic insulin resistance. In skeletal muscle, protein levels of phospho-IkBa were augmented by prolonged IH administration and this was prevented by SS, suggesting that IH activates while SS prevents the activation of IKKB. Markers of IKKB activation, namely protein levels of phospho-IkBa and IkBa, indicated that IKKB is not activated in the liver after prolonged FFA elevation. Phosphorylation of serine 307 at insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1, which is a marker of proximal insulin resistance, was not altered by IH administration in the liver, suggesting that this is not a site of hepatic insulin resistance in the prolonged lipid infusion model. Our results suggest that the role of IKKB in fat-induced insulin resistance is time and tissue dependent and that hepatic insulin resistance induced by prolonged lipid elevation is not due to an IRS-1 serine 307 kinase.

Open access

Dawn E W Livingstone, Emma M Di Rollo, Tracy C-S Mak, Karen Sooy, Brian R Walker and Ruth Andrew

5α-Reductases irreversibly catalyse A-ring reduction of pregnene steroids, including glucocorticoids and androgens. Genetic disruption of 5α-reductase 1 in male mice impairs glucocorticoid clearance and predisposes to glucose intolerance and hepatic steatosis upon metabolic challenge. However, it is unclear whether this is driven by changes in androgen and/or glucocorticoid action. Female mice with transgenic disruption of 5α-reductase 1 (5αR1-KO) were studied, representing a ‘low androgen’ state. Glucocorticoid clearance and stress responses were studied in mice aged 6 months. Metabolism was assessed in mice on normal chow (aged 6 and 12 m) and also in a separate cohort following 1-month high-fat diet (aged 3 m). Female 5αR1-KO mice had adrenal suppression (44% lower AUC corticosterone after stress), and upon corticosterone infusion, accumulated hepatic glucocorticoids (~27% increased corticosterone). Female 5αR1-KO mice aged 6 m fed normal chow demonstrated insulin resistance (~35% increased area under curve (AUC) for insulin upon glucose tolerance testing) and hepatic steatosis (~33% increased hepatic triglycerides) compared with controls. This progressed to obesity (~12% increased body weight) and sustained insulin resistance (~38% increased AUC insulin) by age 12 m. Hepatic transcript profiles supported impaired lipid β-oxidation and increased triglyceride storage. Female 5αR1-KO mice were also predisposed to develop high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance. Exaggerated predisposition to metabolic disorders in female mice, compared with that seen in male mice, after disruption of 5αR1 suggests phenotypic changes may be underpinned by altered metabolism of glucocorticoids rather than androgens.

Open access

Saeed Alshahrani, Mohammed Mashari Almutairi, Shams Kursan, Eduardo Dias-Junior, Mohamed Mahmoud Almiahuob, Lydia Aguilar-Bryan and Mauricio Di Fulvio

The products of the Slc12a1 and Slc12a2 genes, commonly known as Na+-dependent K+2Cl co-transporters NKCC2 and NKCC1, respectively, are the targets for the diuretic bumetanide. NKCCs are implicated in the regulation of intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl]i) in pancreatic β-cells, and as such, they may play a role in glucose-stimulated plasma membrane depolarization and insulin secretion. Unexpectedly, permanent elimination of NKCC1 does not preclude insulin secretion, an event potentially linked to the homeostatic regulation of additional Cl transporters expressed in β-cells. In this report we provide evidence for such a mechanism. Mice lacking a single allele of Slc12a2 exhibit lower fasting glycemia, increased acute insulin response (AIR) and lower blood glucose levels 15–30 min after a glucose load when compared to mice harboring both alleles of the gene. Furthermore, heterozygous expression or complete absence of Slc12a2 associates with increased NKCC2 protein expression in rodent pancreatic β-cells. This has been confirmed by using chronic pharmacological down-regulation of NKCC1 with bumetanide in the mouse MIN6 β-cell line or permanent molecular silencing of NKCC1 in COS7 cells, which results in increased NKCC2 expression. Furthermore, MIN6 cells chronically pretreated with bumetanide exhibit increased initial rates of Cl uptake while preserving glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Together, our results suggest that NKCCs are involved in insulin secretion and that a single Slc12a2 allele may protect β-cells from failure due to increased homeostatic expression of Slc12a1.

Open access

Alyce M Martin, Emily W Sun and Damien J Keating

The homoeostatic regulation of metabolism is highly complex and involves multiple inputs from both the nervous and endocrine systems. The gut is the largest endocrine organ in our body and synthesises and secretes over 20 different hormones from enteroendocrine cells that are dispersed throughout the gut epithelium. These hormones include GLP-1, PYY, GIP, serotonin, and CCK, each of which play pivotal roles in maintaining energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Some are now the basis of several clinically used glucose-lowering and weight loss therapies. The environment in which these enteroendocrine cells exist is also complex, as they are exposed to numerous physiological inputs including ingested nutrients, circulating factors and metabolites produced from neighbouring gut microbiome. In this review, we examine the diverse means by which gut-derived hormones carry out their metabolic functions through their interactions with different metabolically important organs including the liver, pancreas, adipose tissue and brain. Furthermore, we discuss how nutrients and microbial metabolites affect gut hormone secretion and the mechanisms underlying these interactions.

Open access

Sian J S Simpson, Lorna I F Smith, Peter M Jones and James E Bowe

The corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) family of peptides, including urocortin (UCN) 1, 2 and 3, are established hypothalamic neuroendocrine peptides, regulating the physiological and behaviour responses to stress indirectly, via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. More recently, these peptides have been implicated in diverse roles in peripheral organs through direct signalling, including in placental and pancreatic islet physiology. CRH has been shown to stimulate insulin release through activation of its cognate receptors, CRH receptor 1 (CRHR1) and 2. However, the physiological significance of this is unknown. We have previously reported that during mouse pregnancy, expression of CRH peptides increase in mouse placenta suggesting that these peptides may play a role in various biological functions associated with pregnancy, particularly the pancreatic islet adaptations that occur in the pregnant state to compensate for the physiological increase in maternal insulin resistance. In the current study, we show that mouse pregnancy is associated with increased circulating levels of UCN2 and that when we pharmacologically block endogenous CRHR signalling in pregnant mice, impairment of glucose tolerance is observed. This effect on glucose tolerance was comparable to that displayed with specific CRHR2 blockade and not with specific CRHR1 blockade. No effects on insulin sensitivity or the proliferative capacity of β-cells were detected. Thus, CRHR2 signalling appears to be involved in β-cell adaptive responses to pregnancy in the mouse, with endogenous placental UCN2 being the likely signal mediating this.

Open access

M E Cleasby, Q Lau, E Polkinghorne, S A Patel, S J Leslie, N Turner, G J Cooney, A Xu and E W Kraegen

APPL1 is an adaptor protein that binds to both AKT and adiponectin receptors and is hypothesised to mediate the effects of adiponectin in activating downstream effectors such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We aimed to establish whether APPL1 plays a physiological role in mediating glycogen accumulation and insulin sensitivity in muscle and the signalling pathways involved. In vivo electrotransfer of cDNA- and shRNA-expressing constructs was used to over-express or silence APPL1 for 1 week in single tibialis cranialis muscles of rats. Resulting changes in glucose and lipid metabolism and signalling pathway activation were investigated under basal conditions and in high-fat diet (HFD)- or chow-fed rats under hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp conditions. APPL1 over-expression (OE) caused an increase in glycogen storage and insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis in muscle, accompanied by a modest increase in glucose uptake. Glycogen synthesis during the clamp was reduced by HFD but normalised by APPL1 OE. These effects are likely explained by APPL1 OE-induced increase in basal and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS1, AKT, GSK3β and TBC1D4. On the contrary, APPL1 OE, such as HFD, reduced AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation and PPARγ coactivator-1α and uncoupling protein 3 expression. Furthermore, APPL1 silencing caused complementary changes in glycogen storage and phosphorylation of AMPK and PI3-kinase pathway intermediates. Thus, APPL1 may provide a means for crosstalk between adiponectin and insulin signalling pathways, mediating the insulin-sensitising effects of adiponectin on muscle glucose disposal. These effects do not appear to require AMPK. Activation of signalling mediated via APPL1 may be beneficial in overcoming muscle insulin resistance.

Open access

A Tsuchiya, T Kanno and T Nishizaki

Insulin stimulated translocation of the glucose transporter GLUT4 from the cytosol to the plasma membrane in a concentration (1 nM–1 μM)-dependent manner and increased glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation to the cell surface was prevented by the phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin, the 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) inhibitor BX912 or the Akt1/2 inhibitor MK2206, and by knocking-down PI3K, PDK1 or Akt1/2. Insulin increased phosphorylation of Akt1/2 at Thr308/309 and Ser473/474, to activate Akt1/2, in the adipocytes. Insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt1/2 was suppressed by wortmannin and knocking-down PI3K, while no significant inhibition of the phosphorylation was obtained with BX912 or knocking-down PDK1. In the cell-free Akt assay, PI3K phosphorylated Akt1 both at Thr308 and Ser473 and Akt2 at Ser474 alone. In contrast, PDK1 phosphorylates Akt1 at Thr308 and Akt2 at Thr309. The results of this study indicate that PI3K activates Akt1, independently of PDK1, and Akt2 by cooperating with PDK1 in the insulin signal transduction pathway linked to GLUT4 translocation.

Open access

Bernadette M Trojanowski, Heba H Salem, Heike Neubauer, Eric Simon, Martin Wagner, Rajkumar Dorajoo, Bernhard O Boehm, Leticia Labriola, Thomas Wirth and Bernd Baumann

Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is a group of monogenetic forms of diabetes mellitus caused by mutations in genes regulating β-cell development and function. MODY represents a heterogeneous group of non-insulin-dependent diabetes arising in childhood or adult life. Interestingly, clinical heterogeneity in MODY patients like variable disease onset and severity is observed even among individual family members sharing the same mutation, an issue that is not well understood. As high blood glucose levels are a well-known factor promoting β-cell stress and ultimately leading to cell death, we asked whether additional β-cell stress might account for the occurrence of disease heterogeneity in mice carrying a MODY4 mutation. In order to challenge β-cells, we established a MODY4 animal model based on Pdx1 (pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1) haploinsufficiency, which allows conditional modulation of cell stress by genetic inhibition of the stress-responsive IKK/NF-κB signalling pathway. While Pdx1+/− mice were found glucose intolerant without progressing to diabetes, additional challenge of β-cell function by IKK/NF-κB inhibition promoted rapid diabetes development showing hyperglycaemia, hypoinsulinemia and loss of β-cell mass. Disease pathogenesis was characterized by deregulation of genes controlling β-cell homeostasis and function. Importantly, restoration of normal IKK/NF-κB signalling reverted the diabetic phenotype including normalization of glycaemia and β-cell mass. Our findings implicate that the avoidance of additional β-cell stress can delay a detrimental disease progression in MODY4 diabetes. Remarkably, an already present diabetic phenotype can be reversed when β-cell stress is normalized.

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

Hyo Youl Moon, Parkyong Song, Cheol Soo Choi, Sung Ho Ryu and Pann-Ghill Suh

Physical inactivity can lead to obesity and fat accumulation in various tissues. Critical complications of obesity include type II diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Exercise has been reported to have ameliorating effects on obesity and NAFLD. However, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. We showed that liver expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was increased after 4 weeks of treadmill exercise. Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase in human hepatocyte cell lines was enhanced after MIF treatment. These responses were accompanied by increases in lipid oxidation. Moreover, inhibition of either AMPK or cluster of differentiation 74 resulted in inhibition of MIF-induced lipid oxidation. Furthermore, the administration of MIF to a human hepatocyte cell line and mice liver reduced liver X receptor agonist-induced lipid accumulation. Taken together, these results indicate that MIF is highly expressed in the liver during physical exercise and may prevent hepatic steatosis by activating the AMPK pathway.