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Open access

Alessandro Pocai

Oxyntomodulin (OXM) is a peptide secreted from the L cells of the gut following nutrient ingestion. OXM is a dual agonist of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) and the glucagon receptor (GCGR) combining the effects of GLP1 and glucagon to act as a potentially more effective treatment for obesity than GLP1R agonists. Injections of OXM in humans cause a significant reduction in weight and appetite, as well as an increase in energy expenditure. Activation of GCGR is classically associated with an elevation in glucose levels, which would be deleterious in patients with T2DM, but the antidiabetic properties of GLP1R agonism would be expected to counteract this effect. Indeed, OXM administration improved glucose tolerance in diet-induced obese mice. Thus, dual agonists of the GCGR and GLP1R represent a new therapeutic approach for diabetes and obesity with the potential for enhanced weight loss and improvement in glycemic control beyond those of GLP1R agonists.

Open access

S J Brandt, M Kleinert, M H Tschöp and T D Müller

Obesity is a worldwide pandemic, which can be fatal for the most extremely affected individuals. Lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise are largely ineffective and current anti-obesity medications offer little in the way of significant or sustained weight loss. Bariatric surgery is effective, but largely restricted to only a small subset of extremely obese patients. While the hormonal factors mediating sustained weight loss and remission of diabetes by bariatric surgery remain elusive, a new class of polypharmacological drugs shows potential to shrink the gap in efficacy between a surgery and pharmacology. In essence, this new class of drugs combines the beneficial effects of several independent hormones into a single entity, thereby combining their metabolic efficacy to improve systems metabolism. Such unimolecular drugs include single molecules with agonism at the receptors for glucagon, glucagon-like peptide 1 and the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. In preclinical studies, these specially tailored multiagonists outperform both their mono-agonist components and current best in class anti-obesity medications. While clinical trials and vigorous safety analyses are ongoing, these drugs are poised to have a transformative effect in anti-obesity therapy and might hopefully lead the way to a new era in weight-loss pharmacology.

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

Eun Young Lee, Shuji Kaneko, Promsuk Jutabha, Xilin Zhang, Susumu Seino, Takahito Jomori, Naohiko Anzai and Takashi Miki

Oral ingestion of carbohydrate triggers glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) secretion, but the molecular mechanism remains elusive. By measuring GLP1 concentrations in murine portal vein, we found that the ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channel is not essential for glucose-induced GLP1 secretion from enteroendocrine L cells, while the sodium-glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) is required, at least in the early phase (5 min) of secretion. By contrast, co-administration of the α-glucosidase inhibitor (α-GI) miglitol plus maltose evoked late-phase secretion in a glucose transporter 2-dependent manner. We found that GLP1 secretion induced by miglitol plus maltose was significantly higher than that by another α-GI, acarbose, plus maltose, despite the fact that acarbose inhibits maltase more potently than miglitol. As miglitol activates SGLT3, we compared the effects of miglitol on GLP1 secretion with those of acarbose, which failed to depolarize the Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing human SGLT3. Oral administration of miglitol activated duodenal enterochromaffin (EC) cells as assessed by immunostaining of phosphorylated calcium–calmodulin kinase 2 (phospho-CaMK2). In contrast, acarbose activated much fewer enteroendocrine cells, having only modest phospho-CaMK2 immunoreactivity. Single administration of miglitol triggered no GLP1 secretion, and GLP1 secretion by miglitol plus maltose was significantly attenuated by atropine pretreatment, suggesting regulation via vagal nerve. Thus, while α-GIs generally delay carbohydrate absorption and potentiate GLP1 secretion, miglitol also activates duodenal EC cells, possibly via SGLT3, and potentiates GLP1 secretion through the parasympathetic nervous system.

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

David E Maridas, Victoria E DeMambro, Phuong T Le, Kenichi Nagano, Roland Baron, Subburaman Mohan and Clifford J Rosen

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its binding proteins are critical mediators of skeletal growth. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 4 (IGFBP-4) is highly expressed in osteoblasts and inhibits IGF-1 actions in vitro. Yet, in vivo studies suggest that it could potentiate IGF-1 and IGF-2 actions. In this study, we hypothesized that IGFBP-4 might potentiate the actions of IGF-1 on the skeleton. To test this, we comprehensively studied 8- and 16-week-old Igfbp4−/− mice. Both male and female adult Igfbp4−/− mice had marked growth retardation with reductions in body weight, body and femur lengths, fat proportion and lean mass at 8 and 16 weeks. Marked reductions in aBMD and aBMC were observed in 16-week-old Igfbp4−/− females, but not in males. Femoral trabecular BV/TV and thickness, cortical fraction and thickness in 16-week-old Igfbp4−/− females were significantly reduced. However, surprisingly, males had significantly more trabeculae with higher connectivity density than controls. Concordantly, histomorphometry revealed higher bone resorption and lower bone formation in Igfbp4−/− females. In contrast, Igfbp4−/− males had lower mineralized surface/bone surface. Femoral expression of Sost and circulating levels of sclerostin were reduced but only in Igfbp4−/− males. Bone marrow stromal cultures from mutants showed increased osteogenesis, whereas osteoclastogenesis was markedly increased in cells from Igfbp4−/− females but decreased in males. In sum, our results indicate that loss of Igfbp4 affects mesenchymal stromal cell differentiation, regulates osteoclastogenesis and influences both skeletal development and adult bone maintenance. Thus, IGFBP-4 modulates the skeleton in a gender-specific manner, acting as both a cell autonomous and cell non-autonomous factor.

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

Esther Nuñez-Durán, Belén Chanclón, Silva Sütt, Joana Real, Hanns-Ulrich Marschall, Ingrid Wernstedt Asterholm, Emmelie Cansby and Margit Mahlapuu

Characterising the molecular networks that negatively regulate pancreatic β-cell function is essential for understanding the underlying pathogenesis and developing new treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes. We recently identified serine/threonine protein kinase 25 (STK25) as a critical regulator of ectopic fat storage, meta-inflammation, and fibrosis in liver and skeletal muscle. Here, we assessed the role of STK25 in control of progression of non-alcoholic fatty pancreas disease in the context of chronic exposure to dietary lipids in mice. We found that overexpression of STK25 in high-fat-fed transgenic mice aggravated diet-induced lipid storage in the pancreas compared with that of wild-type controls, which was accompanied by exacerbated pancreatic inflammatory cell infiltration, stellate cell activation, fibrosis and apoptosis. Pancreas of Stk25 transgenic mice also displayed a marked decrease in islet β/α-cell ratio and alteration in the islet architecture with an increased presence of α-cells within the islet core, whereas islet size remained similar between genotypes. After a continued challenge with a high-fat diet, lower levels of fasting plasma insulin and C-peptide, and higher levels of plasma leptin, were detected in Stk25 transgenic vs wild-type mice. Furthermore, the glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was impaired in high-fat-fed Stk25 transgenic mice during glucose tolerance test, in spite of higher net change in blood glucose concentrations compared with wild-type controls, suggesting islet β-cell dysfunction. In summary, this study unravels a role for STK25 in determining the susceptibility to diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty pancreas disease in mice in connection to obesity. Our findings highlight STK25 as a potential drug target for metabolic disease.

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.