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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.

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Cecilia Brännmark, Emma I Kay, Unn Örtegren Kugelberg, Belén Chanclón, Man Mohan Shrestha, Ingrid Wernstedt Asterholm, Peter Strålfors, and Charlotta S Olofsson

Here we have investigated the role of the protein caveolin 1 (Cav1) and caveolae in the secretion of the white adipocyte hormone adiponectin. Using mouse primary subcutaneous adipocytes genetically depleted of Cav1, we show that the adiponectin secretion, stimulated either adrenergically or by insulin, is abrogated while basal (unstimulated) release of adiponectin is elevated. Adiponectin secretion is similarly affected in wildtype mouse and human adipocytes where the caveolae structure was chemically disrupted. The altered ex vivo secretion in adipocytes isolated from Cav1 null mice is accompanied by lowered serum levels of the high-molecular weight (HMW) form of adiponectin, whereas the total concentration of adiponectin is unaltered. Interestingly, levels of HMW adiponectin are maintained in adipose tissue from Cav1-depleted mice, signifying that a secretory defect is present. The gene expression of key regulatory proteins known to be involved in cAMP/adrenergically triggered adiponectin exocytosis (the beta-3-adrenergic receptor and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP) remains intact in Cav1 null adipocytes. Microscopy and fractionation studies indicate that adiponectin vesicles do not co-localise with Cav1 but that some vesicles are associated with a specific fraction of caveolae. Our studies propose that Cav1 has an important role in secretion of HMW adiponectin, even though adiponectin-containing vesicles are not obviously associated with this protein. We suggest that Cav1, and/or the caveolae domain, is essential for the organisation of signalling pathways involved in the regulation of HMW adiponectin exocytosis, a function that is disrupted in Cav1/caveolae-depleted adipocytes.