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Open access

Nami Kim, Jung Ok Lee, Hye Jeong Lee, Yong Woo Lee, Hyung Ip Kim, Su Jin Kim, Sun Hwa Park, Chul Su Lee, Sun Woo Ryoo, Geum-Sook Hwang and Hyeon Soo Kim

Isoeugenol exerts various beneficial effects on human health. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood. In this study, we observed that isoeugenol activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and increased glucose uptake in rat L6 myotubes. Isoeugenol-induced increase in intracellular calcium concentration and glucose uptake was inhibited by STO-609, an inhibitor of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase (CaMKK). Isoeugenol also increased the phosphorylation of protein kinase C-α (PKCα). Chelation of calcium with BAPTA-AM blocked isoeugenol-induced AMPK phosphorylation and glucose uptake. Isoeugenol stimulated p38MAPK phosphorylation that was inhibited after pretreatment with compound C, an AMPK inhibitor. Isoeugenol also increased glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) expression and its translocation to the plasma membrane. GLUT4 translocation was not observed after the inhibition of AMPK and CaMKK. In addition, isoeugenol activated the Akt substrate 160 (AS160) pathway, which is downstream of the p38MAPK pathway. Knockdown of the gene encoding AS160 inhibited isoeugenol-induced glucose uptake. Together, these results indicate that isoeugenol exerts beneficial health effects by activating the AMPK/p38MAPK/AS160 pathways in skeletal muscle.

Open access

Jin-Ran Chen, Oxana P Lazarenko, Haijun Zhao, Alexander W Alund and Kartik Shankar

Intrauterine or early postnatal high-fat diet (HFD) has substantial influences on adult offspring health; however, studies of HFD-induced maternal obesity on regulation of adult offspring bone formation are sparse. Here, we investigated the effects of HFD-induced maternal obesity on both fetal and adult offspring skeletal development. We found that HFD-induced maternal obesity significantly decreased fetal skeletal development, but enhanced fetal osteoblastic cell senescence signaling and significantly increased the expression of inflammatory factors of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in osteo-progenitors. It was found that p300/CBP activation led to H3K27 acetylation to increase the expression of senescence-related genes and PPARγ in embryonic mouse osteogenic calvarial cells from HFD obese dams. These results were recapitulated in human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UC MSCs) isolated from offspring of pregnant obese and lean mothers following delivery. Regardless of postnatal HFD challenge, adult offspring from HFD obese dams showed significantly suppressed bone formation. Such early involution of bone formation of adult offspring from HFD obese dams may at least in part due to histone acetylation, i.e., epigenetic regulation of genes involved in cell senescence signaling in pre-osteoblasts from prenatal development. These findings indicate fetal pre-osteoblastic cell senescence signaling is epigenetically regulated by maternal obesity to repress bone formation in adult offspring in rodents and suggest that at least some of these effects may also manifest in humans.

Open access

Gulizar Issa Ameen and Silvia Mora

Obesity leads to adipose tissue dysfunction, insulin resistance and diabetes. Adipose tissue produces adipokines that contribute to regulate insulin sensitivity. In turn, insulin stimulates the production and release of some adipokines. Casitas-b-lymphoma proteins (c-Cbl, Cbl-b and Cbl3) are intracellular adaptor signalling proteins that are rapidly phosphorylated by activation of tyrosine kinase receptors. c-Cbl is rapidly phosphorylated by insulin in adipocytes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that Cbl signalling regulates adipokine expression in adipose tissue. We determined the adipokine profile of WAT of Cbl−/− and Cbl+/+ mice in the C57BL6 background. Female Cbl−/− mice exhibited altered expression of adiponectin, leptin and RBP4 in visceral adipose tissue, while no significant changes were seen in male mice. TNFα and IL6 levels were unaffected by Cbl depletion. RBP4 expression was unchanged in liver. Adipose tissue of Cbl−/− animals showed increased basal activation of extracellular regulated kinases (ERK1/2) compared to Cbl+/+. c-Cbl knockdown in 3T3L1 adipocytes also increased basal ERK phosphorylation and RBP4 expression. Inhibition of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in Cbl-depleted 3T3L1 adipocytes or in adipose tissue explants of Cbl−/− mice reduced RBP4 mRNA. 17β-Estradiol increased RBP4 mRNA in adipocytes. Cbl depletion did not change ER expression but increased phosphorylation of ERα at S118, a target site for ERK1/2. ERK1/2 inhibition reduced phosphoER and RBP4 levels. These findings suggest that Cbl contributes to regulate RBP4 expression in adipose of female mice through ERK1/2-mediated activation of ERα. Since Cbl signalling is compromised in diabetes, these data highlight a novel mechanism that upregulates RBP4 locally.

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

Md Nurul Islam, Yuichiro Mita, Keisuke Maruyama, Ryota Tanida, Weidong Zhang, Hideyuki Sakoda and Masamitsu Nakazato

Ghrelin, a stomach-derived peptide, promotes feeding and growth hormone (GH) secretion. A recent study identified liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide 2 (LEAP2) as an endogenous inhibitor of ghrelin-induced GH secretion, but the effect of LEAP2 in the brain remained unknown. In this study, we showed that intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of LEAP2 to rats suppressed central ghrelin functions including Fos expression in the hypothalamic nuclei, promotion of food intake, blood glucose elevation, and body temperature reduction. LEAP2 did not inhibit neuropeptide Y (NPY)-induced food intake or des-acyl ghrelin-induced reduction in body temperature, indicating that the inhibitory effects of LEAP2 were specific for GHSR. Plasma LEAP2 levels varied according to feeding status and seemed to be dependent on the hepatic Leap2 expression. Furthermore, ghrelin suppressed the expression of hepatic Leap2 via AMPK activation. Together, these results reveal that LEAP2 inhibits central ghrelin functions and crosstalk between liver and stomach.

Open access

T Mracek, D Gao, T Tzanavari, Y Bao, X Xiao, C Stocker, P Trayhurn and C Bing

Zinc-α2-glycoprotein (ZAG, also listed as AZGP1 in the MGI Database), a lipid-mobilising factor, has recently been suggested as a potential candidate in the modulation of body weight. We investigated the effect of increased adiposity on ZAG expression in adipose tissue and the liver and on plasma levels in obese (ob/ob) mice compared with lean siblings. The study also examined the effect of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFα) on ZAG expression in adipocytes. Zag mRNA levels were significantly reduced in subcutaneous (fourfold) and epididymal (eightfold) fat of ob/ob mice. Consistently, ZAG protein content was decreased in both fat depots of ob/ob mice. In the liver of obese animals, steatosis was accompanied by the fall of both Zag mRNA (twofold) and ZAG protein content (2.5-fold). Plasma ZAG levels were also decreased in obese mice. In addition, Zag mRNA was reduced in epididymal (fivefold) and retroperitoneal (fivefold) adipose tissue of obese (fa/fa) Zucker rats. In contrast to Zag expression, Tnfα mRNA levels were elevated in adipose tissue (twofold) and the liver (2.5-fold) of ob/ob mice. Treatment with TNFα reduced Zag gene expression in differentiated adipocytes, and this inhibition was chronic, occurring at 24 and 48 h following TNFα treatment. It is concluded that ZAG synthesis in adipose tissue and the liver is downregulated, as are its circulating levels, in ob/ob mice. The reduced ZAG production may advance the susceptibility to lipid accumulation in these tissues in obesity, and this could be at least in part attributable to the inhibitory effect of TNFα.

Open access

T V Novoselova, R Larder, D Rimmington, C Lelliott, E H Wynn, R J Gorrigan, P H Tate, L Guasti, The Sanger Mouse Genetics Project, S O’Rahilly, A J L Clark, D W Logan, A P Coll and L F Chan

Melanocortin receptor accessory protein 2 (MRAP2) is a transmembrane accessory protein predominantly expressed in the brain. Both global and brain-specific deletion of Mrap2 in mice results in severe obesity. Loss-of-function MRAP2 mutations have also been associated with obesity in humans. Although MRAP2 has been shown to interact with MC4R, a G protein-coupled receptor with an established role in energy homeostasis, appetite regulation and lipid metabolism, the mechanisms through which loss of MRAP2 causes obesity remains uncertain. In this study, we used two independently derived lines of Mrap2 deficient mice (Mrap2 tm1a/tm1a) to further study the role of Mrap2 in the regulation of energy balance and peripheral lipid metabolism. Mrap2 tm1a/tm1a mice have a significant increase in body weight, with increased fat and lean mass, but without detectable changes in food intake or energy expenditure. Transcriptomic analysis showed significantly decreased expression of Sim1, Trh, Oxt and Crh within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of Mrap2 tm1a/tm1a mice. Circulating levels of both high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein were significantly increased in Mrap2 deficient mice. Taken together, these data corroborate the role of MRAP2 in metabolic regulation and indicate that, at least in part, this may be due to defective central melanocortin signalling.

Open access

Farhana Naznin, Koji Toshinai, T M Zaved Waise, Cherl NamKoong, Abu Saleh Md Moin, Hideyuki Sakoda and Masamitsu Nakazato

Ghrelin, a stomach-derived orexigenic peptide, transmits starvation signals to the hypothalamus via the vagus afferent nerve. Peripheral administration of ghrelin does not induce food intake in high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice. We investigated whether this ghrelin resistance was caused by dysfunction of the vagus afferent pathway. Administration (s.c.) of ghrelin did not induce food intake, suppression of oxygen consumption, electrical activity of the vagal afferent nerve, phosphorylation of ERK2 and AMP-activated protein kinase alpha in the nodose ganglion, or Fos expression in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of mice fed a HFD for 12 weeks. Administration of anti-ghrelin IgG did not induce suppression of food intake in HFD-fed mice. Expression levels of ghrelin receptor mRNA in the nodose ganglion and hypothalamus of HFD-fed mice were reduced. Inflammatory responses, including upregulation of macrophage/microglia markers and inflammatory cytokines, occurred in the nodose ganglion and hypothalamus of HFD-fed mice. A HFD blunted ghrelin signaling in the nodose ganglion via a mechanism involving in situ activation of inflammation. These results indicate that ghrelin resistance in the obese state may be caused by dysregulation of ghrelin signaling via the vagal afferent.

Open access

Nikolaos Nikolaou, Anastasia Arvaniti, Nathan Appanna, Anna Sharp, Beverly A Hughes, Dena Digweed, Martin J Whitaker, Richard Ross, Wiebke Arlt, Trevor M Penning, Karen Morris, Sherly George, Brian G Keevil, Leanne Hodson, Laura L Gathercole and Jeremy W Tomlinson

Steroid 5β-reductase (AKR1D1) is highly expressed in human liver where it inactivates endogenous glucocorticoids and catalyses an important step in bile acid synthesis. Endogenous and synthetic glucocorticoids are potent regulators of metabolic phenotype and play a crucial role in hepatic glucose metabolism. However, the potential of synthetic glucocorticoids to be metabolised by AKR1D1 as well as to regulate its expression and activity has not been investigated. The impact of glucocorticoids on AKR1D1 activity was assessed in human liver HepG2 and Huh7 cells; AKR1D1 expression was assessed by qPCR and Western blotting. Genetic manipulation of AKR1D1 expression was conducted in HepG2 and Huh7 cells and metabolic assessments were made using qPCR. Urinary steroid metabolite profiling in healthy volunteers was performed pre- and post-dexamethasone treatment, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. AKR1D1 metabolised endogenous cortisol, but cleared prednisolone and dexamethasone less efficiently. In vitro and in vivo, dexamethasone decreased AKR1D1 expression and activity, further limiting glucocorticoid clearance and augmenting action. Dexamethasone enhanced gluconeogenic and glycogen synthesis gene expression in liver cell models and these changes were mirrored by genetic knockdown of AKR1D1 expression. The effects of AKR1D1 knockdown were mediated through multiple nuclear hormone receptors, including the glucocorticoid, pregnane X and farnesoid X receptors. Glucocorticoids down-regulate AKR1D1 expression and activity and thereby reduce glucocorticoid clearance. In addition, AKR1D1 down-regulation alters the activation of multiple nuclear hormone receptors to drive changes in gluconeogenic and glycogen synthesis gene expression profiles, which may exacerbate the adverse impact of exogenous glucocorticoids.

Open access

Jeffrey Friedman

Historically, adipose tissue was considered to be a passive storage vessel discharging nutrients in times of famine and accumulating fat in times of surfeit. This view changed with the identification of leptin as an adipocyte hormone. Leptin functions as an afferent signal in a negative feedback loop that regulates food intake and metabolism to maintain homeostatic control of adipose tissue mass. Before this, the existence of a system maintaining homeostatic control of energy balance was unclear. The identification of leptin has thus uncovered a new endocrine system that also links changes in nutrition to adaptive responses in most if not all other physiologic systems. Further studies have revealed a set of clinical syndromes caused by leptin deficiency, including lipodystrophy and hypothalamic amenorrhea. This work has led to new therapeutic approaches for a number of human conditions and has also established a conceptual framework for studying the pathogenesis of obesity.