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Free access

Christian Hölscher

The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) has many effects in the body. It is best known for the ‘incretin effect’, facilitating insulin release from the pancreas under hyperglycaemic conditions. Building on this, GLP-1 mimetics have been developed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In the course of monitoring of patients, it has become apparent that GLP-1 mimetics have a range of other physiological effects in the body. In preclinical trials, a substantial body of evidence has been built that these mimetics have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. GLP-1 also has very similar growth-factor-like properties to insulin, which is presumably the underlying basis of the neuroprotective effects. In preclinical studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders, it has been shown that most GLP-1 mimetics cross the blood–brain barrier and show impressive neuroprotective effects in numerous studies. In animal models of AD, GLP-1 mimetics such as exendin-4, liraglutide and lixisenatide have shown protective effects in the CNS by reducing β-amyloid plaques, preventing loss of synapses and memory impairments, and reducing oxidative stress and the chronic inflammatory response in the brain. In animal models of PD, exendin-4 showed protection of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and prevention of dopamine loss in the basal ganglia while preserving motor control. These encouraging findings have spawned several clinical trials, some of which have shown encouraging initial results. Therefore, GLP-1 mimetics show great promise as a novel treatment for neurodegenerative conditions.

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J. M. H. M. Reul, F. R. van den Bosch and E. R. de Kloet


The rat brain contains two receptor systems for corticosterone: the type-I corticosterone-preferring receptor and the classical type-II glucocorticoid receptor. The two receptor populations can be distinguished in binding studies with the 'pure' synthetic glucocorticoid 11β,17β-dihydroxy-6-methyl-17α (1-propynyl)-androsta-1,4,6-trione-3-one (RU 28362). In-vitro autoradiography and quantitative image analysis showed that the type-I receptor was localized almost exclusively in the hippocampus, whereas the type-II receptor extended throughout the brain, with the highest levels in the nucleus paraventricularis, nucleus supraopticus and in the thalamic, amygdaloid, hippocampal and septal regions. Unoccupied type-I and type-II receptor sites, as measured in vitro by cytosol binding of 3H-labelled steroids, displayed a large difference in the rate of appearance after adrenalectomy. The availability of type-I receptors exhibited a marked increase, reaching maximal levels within 4–7 h, and then remained constant until 2 weeks after adrenalectomy. The availability of type-II receptors did not change considerably during the first 24 h after adrenalectomy, but displayed a large increase in capacity during the subsequent 2 weeks. After adrenocortical activation as a consequence of exposure to a novel environment, plasma concentrations of corticosterone increased to reach a peak of 811 nmol/l after 30 min and attained the basal concentration (43 nmol/l) after 240 min. During this time, occupation of type-I receptors increased from 77·8% at 0 min to 97% at 30–60 min and then declined to 84·8% after 240 min. Occupation of the type-II receptors was 28·1% at 0 min, 74·5% after 30 min and 32·8% after 240 min. Injection of dexamethasone (25 μg/100 g body wt) at 08.00 h resulted in suppression of basal plasma concentrations of corticosterone and prevented the circadian-driven rise in circulating corticosterone. Occupation of type-I receptors did not change considerably as a result of injection of dexamethasone, but occupation of type-II receptors was markedly increased till 16.00 h compared with that after injection of vehicle.

It was concluded that the type-I and type-II receptors are not only localized differently in the rat brain, but also exhibit a striking difference in occupation after manipulation of the pituitary-adrenocortical system. The data further support the concept of a type-I receptor-mediated tonic activating influence and a type-II receptor-mediated feedback action of corticosterone on brain function.

J. Endocr. (1987) 115, 459–467

Free access

J Claustre, S Brechet, P Plaisancie, JA Chayvialle and JC Cuber

Postprandial release of peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) from L cells results from both nutrient transit in the ileal lumen and neural drive of endocrine cells. The adrenosympathetic system and its effectors have been shown to induce secretion of L cells in vivo or in vitro. Because these transmitters act through three receptors, beta, alpha1, alpha2, coupled to different intracellular pathways, we evaluated the responses of L cells to specific agonists, using the model of isolated vascularly perfused rat ileum. General stimulation of adrenergic receptors with epinephrine (10(-7) M) induced significant GLP-1 and PYY secretions (94+/-38 and 257+/-59 fmol/8 min respectively) which were abolished upon propranolol (10(-7) M) pretreatment and strongly decreased upon infusion with 10(-8) M prazosin. Blockade of alpha2-receptors with idazoxan (10(-8) M) did not alter epinephrine-induced peptide secretion. The beta-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (10(-6) M) infused for 30 min induced a transient release of GLP-1 and PYY (integrated release over the 8 min of the peak secretion: 38+/-16 and 214+/-69 fmol for GLP-1 and PYY respectively, P<0.05). Because terbutaline but not dobutamine or BRL 37,344 (10(-5) M) induced significant GLP-1 and PYY secretions (135+/-30 and 305+/-39 fmol/8 min respectively), isoproterenol-induced secretions are suggested to result mainly from stimulation of the beta2-isoreceptor type. In contrast, the alpha1-agonist phenylephrine (10(-7) M) did not stimulate peptide release. When co-infused with 10(-6) M or 10(-7) M isoproterenol, 10(-7) M phenylephrine raised GLP-1 release to 174+/-53 and 108+/-28 fmol/8 min respectively (vs 38+/-16 and 35+/-10 fmol/8 min for isoproterenol alone, P<0.05) whereas PYY secretion was not significantly increased. Clonidine (10(-7) M), an alpha2-agonist, induced a moderate and delayed increase of GLP-1 and PYY but abolished the isoproterenol-induced peptide secretion. Our results showed that general stimulation of adrenergic receptors stimulates the secretory activity of ileal endocrine L cells. The net peptide secretion results from the activation of the beta2-isoreceptor type. Additionally, GLP-1 and PYY secretions are positively modulated by alpha1-receptor stimulation and inhibited by alpha2-receptor activation upon beta-receptor occupation.

Free access

Thangiah Geetha, Paul Langlais, Michael Caruso and Zhengping Yi

Skeletal muscle insulin resistance is an early abnormality in individuals with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1) plays a key role in insulin signaling, the function of which is regulated by both phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of tyrosine and serine/threonine residues. Numerous studies have focused on kinases in IRS1 phosphorylation and insulin resistance; however, the mechanism for serine/threonine phosphatase action in insulin signaling is largely unknown. Recently, we identified protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) regulatory subunit 12A (PPP1R12A) as a novel endogenous insulin-stimulated interaction partner of IRS1 in L6 myotubes. The current study was undertaken to better understand PPP1R12A's role in insulin signaling. Insulin stimulation promoted an interaction between the IRS1/p85 complex and PPP1R12A; however, p85 and PPP1R12A did not interact independent of IRS1. Moreover, kinase inhibition experiments indicated that insulin-induced interaction between IRS1 and PPP1R12A was reduced by treatment with inhibitors of phosphatidylinositide 3 kinase, PDK1, Akt, and mTOR/raptor but not MAPK. Furthermore, a novel insulin-stimulated IRS1 interaction partner, PP1 catalytic subunit (PP1cδ), was identified, and its interaction with IRS1 was also disrupted by inhibitors of Akt and mTOR/raptor. These results indicate that PPP1R12A and PP1cδ are new members of the insulin-stimulated IRS1 signaling complex, and the interaction of PPP1R12A and PP1cδ with IRS1 is dependent on Akt and mTOR/raptor activation. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of a particular PP1 complex, PPP1R12A/PP1cδ, in insulin signaling and may lead to a better understanding of dysregulated IRS1 phosphorylation in insulin resistance and T2D.

Restricted access

Ziping Jiang, Junduo Wu, Fuzhe Ma, Jun Jiang, Linlin Xu, Lei Du, Wenlin Huang, Zhaohui Wang, Ye Jia, Laijin Lu and Hao Wu

Over a half of the diabetic individuals develop macrovascular complications that cause high mortality. Oxidative stress (OS) promotes endothelial dysfunction (ED) which is a critical early step toward diabetic macrovascular complications. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a master regulator of cellular antioxidant defense system and combats diabetes-induced OS. Previously, we found that impaired NRF2 antioxidant signaling contributed to diabetes-induced endothelial OS and dysfunction in mice. The present study has investigated the effect of microRNA-200a (miR-200a) on NRF2 signaling and diabetic ED. In aortic endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice, high glucose (HG) reduced miR-200a levels and increased the expression of kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) – a target of miR-200a and a negative regulator of NRF2. This led to the inactivation of NRF2 signaling and exacerbation of OS and inflammation. miR-200a mimic (miR-200a-M) or inhibitor modulated KEAP1/NRF2 antioxidant signaling and manipulated OS and inflammation under HG conditions. These effects were completely abolished by knockdown of Keap1, indicating that Keap1 mRNA is a major target of miR-200a. Moreover, the protective effect of miR-200a-M was completely abrogated in aortic ECs isolated from C57BL/6 Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice, demonstrating that NRF2 is required for miR-200a’s actions. In vivo, miR-200a-M inhibited aortic Keap1 expression, activated NRF2 signaling, and attenuated hyperglycemia-induced OS, inflammation and ED in the WT, but not Nrf2 KO, mice. Therefore, the present study has uncovered miR-200a/KEAP1/NRF2 signaling that controls aortic endothelial antioxidant capacity, which protects against diabetic ED.

Free access

Andreas Börjesson and Carina Carlsson

In order to elucidate a possible relationship between β-cell function and conversion of proinsulin to insulin, isolated rat pancreatic islets were maintained in tissue culture for 1 week at various glucose concentrations (5.6–56 mM). Studies were also conducted on islets cultured for 48 h with interleukin-1β (IL-1β). By pulse-chase labelling and immunoprecipitation, the relative contents of newly synthesized proinsulin and insulin were determined. ELISA was used to analyse insulin and proinsulin content in medium and within islets. Using real-time PCR, the mRNA levels of proinsulin converting enzymes (PC1 and PC2) were studied. Islets cultured at 56 mM glucose had an increased proportion of newly synthesized proinsulin when compared with islets cultured at 5.6 mM glucose after a 90-min chase periods, however, no difference was observed after culture at 11 and 28 mM glucose. ELISA measurements revealed that culture at increased glucose concentrations as well as islet exposure to IL-1β increased proinsulin accumulation in the culture media. The mRNA expression of PC1 was increased after culture at 11 and 28 mM glucose. Treatment for 48 h with IL-1β increased the proportion of proinsulin both at 45 and 90 min when compared with control islets. These islets also displayed a decreased mRNA level of PC1 as well as PC2. Calculations of the half-time for proinsulin demonstrated a significant prolongation after treatment with IL-1β. We conclude that a sustained functional stimulation by glucose of islets is coupled to a decreased conversion of proinsulin which is also true for islets treated with IL-1β. This may contribute to the elevated levels of proinsulin found both at the onset of type 1 diabetes as well as in type 2 diabetes.

Free access

M Nasu, T Sugimoto, H Kaji and K Chihara

Although there is clinical evidence showing that combined therapy with parathyroid hormone (PTH) and estrogen is additively effective in increasing the bone mass of patients with osteoporosis, the mechanism of the interaction between these hormones remains unclear. The present study was performed to determine whether estrogen would affect osteoblast proliferation and function modulated by PTH in human osteoblastic SaOS-2 cells. Human PTH-(1-34) significantly inhibited [(3)H]thymidine (TdR) incorporation, which was attenuated by 24 h pretreatment with 10(-10) to 10(-7) M 17 beta-estradiol (17 beta-E(2)) in a concentration-dependent manner. PTH significantly stimulated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, collagen synthesis and type-1 procollagen mRNA expression after pretreatment with 17 beta-E(2 )in these cells. Tamoxifen, an anti-estrogen, antagonized these 17 beta-E(2)-induced effects. Pretreatment with insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) mimicked estrogen action, and coincubation of 3 microg/ml anti-IGF-I antibody antagonized the effects of 17 beta-E(2 )as well as those of IGF-I. In the presence of 17 beta-E(2 )pretreatment, PTH strongly stimulated IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-5 mRNA expression in these cells, and recombinant IGFBP-5 increased type-1 procollagen mRNA expression and ALP activity. In conclusion, estrogen attenuates PTH-induced inhibition of osteoblast proliferation and PTH stimulates osteoblast function in the presence of estrogen pretreatment. IGF-I and/or IGFBP-5 seemed to be involved in the estrogen-induced modulation of PTH action on osteoblast proliferation and function.

Free access

GW Aberdeen, GJ Pepe and ED Albrecht

In the present study, we determined whether expression of the messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) for insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II), and its principal IGF type-1 receptor and IGF-binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2), as well as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), was developmentally regulated in the baboon fetal adrenal gland. In the second phase of this study, fetal pituitary ACTH was suppressed by the administration of betamethasone to determine the possible effect on the mRNA levels for those factors, i.e. IGF-II and IGFBP-2, shown to be expressed at high levels in the adrenal late in fetal development. Adrenals were obtained from fetuses delivered via Cesarean section on days 60 (early), 100 (mid), and 165 (late) of gestation (term=184 days) from untreated baboons and on day 165 from baboons in which betamethasone was administered to the fetus, or to fetus and mother, every other day between days 150 and 164 of gestation. Although the mRNA levels of IGF-II in the fetal adrenal were similar at early, mid and late gestation, IGF type-1 receptor mRNA levels were approximately 2- to 3-fold greater (P<0.01) at mid than at early or late gestation. In contrast, there was an increase (P<0.001) in fetal adrenal IGFBP-2 and bFGF mRNA levels in late gestation. Although fetal adrenal weights and width of the zone of definitive/transitional cells exhibiting immunocytochemical staining for Delta(5)-3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) were markedly suppressed (P<0.01) by the administration of betamethasone, IGF-II and IGFBP-2 mRNA expression was not decreased. In summary, very different patterns of mRNA levels for IGF-II, IGF type-1 receptor, IGFBP-2 and bFGF were exhibited in the developing baboon fetal adrenal gland, which may reflect functionally important differences in their respective cellular localization within the cortex, as well as a divergence in the functional development of the fetal, transitional and definitive zones of the baboon fetal adrenal cortex.

Free access

Wenpeng Dong, Ye Jia, Xiuxia Liu, Huan Zhang, Tie Li, Wenlin Huang, Xudong Chen, Fuchun Wang, Weixia Sun and Hao Wu

Oxidative stress contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) plays a key role in cellular defense against oxidative stress. NRF2 activators have shown promising preventive effects on DN. Sodium butyrate (NaB) is a known activator of NRF2. However, it is unknown whether NRF2 is required for NaB protection against DN. Therefore, streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6 Nrf2 knockout and their wild-type mice were treated in the presence or absence of NaB for 20 weeks. Diabetic mice, but not NaB-treated diabetic mice, developed significant renal oxidative damage, inflammation, apoptosis, fibrosis, pathological changes and albuminuria. NaB inhibited histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and elevated the expression of Nrf2 and its downstream targets heme oxygenase 1 and NAD(P)H dehydrogenase quinone 1. Notably, deletion of the Nrf2 gene completely abolished NaB activation of NRF2 signaling and protection against diabetes-induced renal injury. Interestingly, the expression of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, the negative regulator of NRF2, was not altered by NaB under both diabetic and non-diabetic conditions. Moreover, NRF2 nuclear translocation was not promoted by NaB. Therefore, the present study indicates, for the first time, that NRF2 plays a key role in NaB protection against DN. Other findings suggest that NaB may activate Nrf2 at the transcriptional level, possibly by the inhibition of HDAC activity.

Free access

Sanhua Leng, Wenshuo Zhang, Yanbin Zheng, Ziva Liberman, Christopher J Rhodes, Hagit Eldar-Finkelman and Xiao Jian Sun

High glucose (HG) has been shown to induce insulin resistance in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon is unknown. Insulin receptor substrate (IRS) proteins are the key signaling molecules that mediate insulin's intracellular actions. Genetic and biological studies have shown that reductions in IRS1 and/or IRS2 protein levels are associated with insulin resistance. In this study we have shown that proteasome degradation of IRS1, but not of IRS2, is involved in HG-induced insulin resistance in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as well as in primary hepatocytes. To further investigate the molecular mechanism by which HG induces insulin resistance, we examined various molecular candidates with respect to their involvement in the reduction in IRS1 protein levels. In contrast to the insulin-induced degradation of IRS1, HG-induced degradation of IRS1 did not require IR signaling or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt activity. We have identified glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β or GSK3B as listed in the MGI Database) as a kinase required for HG-induced serine332 phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and degradation of IRS1. Overexpression of IRS1 with mutation of serine332 to alanine partially prevents HG-induced IRS1 degradation. Furthermore, overexpression of constitutively active GSK3β was sufficient to induce IRS1 degradation. Our data reveal the molecular mechanism of HG-induced insulin resistance, and support the notion that activation of GSK3β contributes to the induction of insulin resistance via phosphorylation of IRS1, triggering the ubiquitination and degradation of IRS1.