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Quan Wu, Ying Zhou, Linfeng Chen, Jiandang Shi, Chun-Yu Wang, Lin Miao, Helmut Klocker, Irwin Park, Chung Lee, and Ju Zhang

Estradiol (E2) level in stroma of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) increases with age, and this increase was associated with an elevated expression of aromatase in prostatic stromal cells (PrSCs). Here, we showed that conditioned medium (CM) of BPH-1 (a benign hyperplastic prostatic epithelial cell line), but not of prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, DU-145, and PC-3), stimulates aromatase expression in PrSCs. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA level in BPH-1, as well as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) concentration in BPH-1 CM, was significantly higher than that of prostate cancer cell lines. CM of BPH-1 treated with NS-398 (a specific inhibitor of COX-2) failed to stimulate aromatase expression in PrSCs. And PGE2 can stimulate aromatase expression in PrSCs. Our data suggested that BPH-1 induced aromatase expression in PrSCs through the production of PGE2 in a paracrine mechanism.

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Can Liu, Mian Zhang, Meng-yue Hu, Hai-fang Guo, Jia Li, Yun-li Yu, Shi Jin, Xin-ting Wang, Li Liu, and Xiao-dong Liu

Panax ginseng is one of the most popular herbal remedies. Ginsenosides, major bioactive constituents in P. ginseng, have shown good antidiabetic action, but the precise mechanism was not fully understood. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) is considered to be an important incretin that can regulate glucose homeostasis in the gastrointestinal tract after meals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ginseng total saponins (GTS) exerts its antidiabetic effects via modulating GLP1 release. Ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1), the most abundant constituent in GTS, was selected to further explore the underlying mechanisms in cultured NCI-H716 cells. Diabetic rats were developed by a combination of high-fat diet and low-dose streptozotocin injection. The diabetic rats orally received GTS (150 or 300 mg/kg) daily for 4 weeks. It was found that GTS treatment significantly ameliorated hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, accompanied by a significant increase in glucose-induced GLP1 secretion and upregulation of proglucagon gene expression. Data from NCI-H716 cells showed that both GTS and Rb1 promoted GLP1 secretion. It was observed that Rb1 increased the ratio of intracellular ATP to ADP concentration and intracellular Ca2 + concentration. The metabolic inhibitor azide (3 mM), the KATP channel opener diazoxide (340 μM), and the Ca2 + channel blocker nifedipine (20 μM) significantly reversed Rb1-mediated GLP1 secretion. All these results drew a conclusion that ginsenosides stimulated GLP1 secretion both in vivo and in vitro. The antidiabetic effects of ginsenosides may be a result of enhanced GLP1 secretion.

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Chunxia Yu, Sujuan Liu, Liqin Chen, Jun Shen, Yanmei Niu, Tianyi Wang, Wanqi Zhang, and Li Fu

The composition and activity of the gut microbiota depend on the host genome, nutrition, and lifestyle. Exercise and sodium butyrate (NaB) exert metabolic benefits in both mice and humans. However, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. This study aimed to examine the effect of exercise training and dietary supplementation of butyrate on the composition of gut microbiota and whether the altered gut microbiota can stimulate differential production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which promote the expression of SESN2 and CRTC2 to improve metabolic health and protect against obesity. C57BL/6J mice were used to study the effect of exercise and high-fat diet (HFD) with or without NaB on gut microbiota. Bacterial communities were assayed in fecal samples using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Western blot was performed using relevant antibodies to detect the protein expressions in liver and HepG2 cell extracts. Exercise and butyrate administration significantly reversed metabolic dysfunctions induced by HFD (P < 0.05). The number of Firmicutes and the proportion of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes order were predominant in all HFD groups (P = 0.001). Exercise and butyrate supplementation significantly inhibited the relative abundance of lipopolysaccharide-producing phyla (P = 0.001). SESN2 and CRTC2 expression in the liver of mice were significantly increased after exercise (P < 0.05) and/or supplementation of butyrate (P < 0.05). Exercise enhances butyrate-producing fecal bacteria and increases butyrate production and consequently improves lipid metabolism through the butyrate-SESN2/CRTC2 pathway. Excess butyrate may reduce the proportion of probiotics and reverse the metabolic effects.

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Lei Yu, Haoran Wang, Xiaoxue Han, Honghui Liu, Dalong Zhu, Wenhuan Feng, Jinhui Wu, and Yan Bi

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is difficult to manage due to the lack of effective treatments. Increased oxygen consumption caused by overnutrition, along with reduced oxygen delivery to liver cells induces hepatic steatosis. Here, we investigated the efficacy of oxygen therapy (OT) to alleviate hepatic steatosis. The effect of OT on hepatic steatosis was evaluated in high-fat-diet (HFD)-fed mice and palmitic acid (PA)-treated primary hepatocytes. Liver biopsy tissue samples were used to determine the relationship between the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) and the progression of NAFLD. The role of HIF-2α in the OT group was determined based on the overexpression of HIF-2α in vitro. OT safely alleviated hepatic hypoxia and improved hepatic steatosis by inhibiting hepatic de novo lipogenesis in HFD-fed mice and PA-treated primary hepatocytes, and this was accompanied by reduced expression of HIF-2α and hepatic de novo lipogenesis. The analysis of liver tissues from individuals with or without NAFLD revealed a positive correlation between hepatic HIF-2α expression and NAFLD progression. Overexpression of HIF-2α in vitro inhibited the beneficial effect of OT against hepatic lipogenesis and steatosis. OT might be a viable treatment option for NAFLD and functions by alleviating hypoxia and inhibiting the liver HIF-2α signaling pathway.

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Dan Wang, Chu-Dan Liu, Meng-Li Tian, Cheng-Quan Tan, Gang Shu, Qing-Yan Jiang, Lin Zhang, and Yu-Long Yin

Dietary fibers and their microbial fermentation products short-chain fatty acids promote metabolic benefits, but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Recent studies indicate that intestinal lipid handling is under regulatory control and has broad influence on whole body energy homeostasis. Here we reported that dietary inulin and propionate significantly decreased whole body fat mass without affecting food intake in mice fed with chow diet. Meanwhile, triglyceride (TG) content was decreased and lipolysis gene expression, such as adipose triglyceride lipase (A tgl), hormone-sensitive lipase (H sl) and lysosomal acid lipase (L al) was elevated in the jejunum and ileum of inulin- and propionate-treated mice. In vitro studies on Caco-2 cells showed propionate directly induced enterocyte Atgl, Hsl and Lal gene expression and decreased TG content, via activation of phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (p-AMPK) and lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). Moreover, inulin and propionate could increase intestinal lipolysis under high-fat diet (HFD)-fed condition which contributed to the prevention of HFD-induced obesity. Our study suggests that dietary fiber inulin and its microbial fermentation product propionate can regulate metabolic homeostasis through regulating intestinal lipid handling, which may provide a novel therapeutic target for both prevention and treatment of obesity.