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Free access

M van de Vyver, E Andrag, I L Cockburn and W F Ferris

Chronic administration of the insulin-sensitising drugs, thiazolidinediones (TZDs), results in low bone mineral density and ‘fatty bones’. This is thought to be due, at least in part, to aberrant differentiation of progenitor mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) away from osteogenesis towards adipogenesis. This study directly compared the effects of rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and netoglitazone treatment on osteogenesis and adipogenesis in MSCs derived from subcutaneous (SC) or visceral (PV) white adipose tissue. MSCs were isolated from adipose tissue depots of male Wistar rats and characterised using flow cytometry. The effects of TZD treatment on osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation were assessed histologically (day 14) and by quantitative PCR analysis (Pparγ2 (Pparg2), Ap2 (Fabp4), Adipsin (Adps), Msx2, Collagen I (Col1a1), and Alp) on days 0, 7, and 10. Uniquely, lipid droplet formation and mineralisation were found to occur concurrently in response to TZD treatment during osteogenesis. Compared with SC MSCs, PV MSCs were more prone to lipid accumulation under controlled osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation conditions. This study demonstrated that the extent of lipid accumulation is dependent on the nature of the Ppar ligand and that SC and PV MSCs respond differently to in vitro TZD treatment, suggesting that metabolic status can contribute to the adverse effects associated with TZD treatment.

Free access

O Isozaki, T Tsushima, M Miyakawa, Y Nozoe, H Demura and H Seki

Growth hormone (GH) is known to interact with adipose tissue and to induce lipolysis. Adipocytes produce leptin which regulates appetite and energy expenditure. In order to elucidate the role of GH in leptin production, we studied the effect of GH on leptin gene expression and body fat in fatty Zucker rats, a model of obesity with resistance to both leptin and insulin. Recombinant human GH administered subcutaneously at 0.5 mg/kg per day (low dose) as well as at 1.65 mg/kg per day (high dose) reduced leptin mRNA levels in epididymal fat tissue but not in subcutaneous fat tissue after 7 days. GH administration only at the high dose reduced percentage body fat. Insulin-like growth factor-I infusion (200 microg/kg per day) did not change percentage body fat or leptin mRNA levels in epididymal fat. These observations suggest that GH directly interacts with adipose tissue and reduces leptin gene expression in visceral fat tissue.

Open access

Gisela Helfer and Qing-Feng Wu

Metabolic syndrome is a global public health problem and predisposes individuals to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated, accumulating evidence has uncovered a critical role of adipokines. Chemerin, encoded by the gene Rarres2, is a newly discovered adipokine involved in inflammation, adipogenesis, angiogenesis and energy metabolism. In humans, local and circulating levels of chemerin are positively correlated with BMI and obesity-related biomarkers. In this review, we discuss both peripheral and central roles of chemerin in regulating body metabolism. In general, chemerin is upregulated in obese and diabetic animals. Previous studies by gain or loss of function show an association of chemerin with adipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, food intake and body weight. In the brain, the hypothalamus integrates peripheral afferent signals including adipokines to regulate appetite and energy homeostasis. Chemerin increases food intake in seasonal animals by acting on hypothalamic stem cells, the tanycytes. In peripheral tissues, chemerin increases cell expansion, inflammation and angiogenesis in adipose tissue, collectively resulting in adiposity. While chemerin signalling enhances insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, contradictory results have been reported on how chemerin links to obesity and insulin resistance. Given the association of chemerin with obesity comorbidities in humans, advances in translational research targeting chemerin are expected to mitigate metabolic disorders. Together, the exciting findings gathered in the last decade clearly indicate a crucial multifaceted role for chemerin in the regulation of energy balance, making it a promising candidate for urgently needed pharmacological treatment strategies for obesity.

Free access

Ruben Rodriguez, Jacqueline N Minas, Jose Pablo Vazquez-Medina, Daisuke Nakano, David G Parkes, Akira Nishiyama and Rudy M Ortiz

Obesity is associated with the inappropriate activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which increases arterial pressure, impairs insulin secretion and decreases peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity. RAS blockade reverses these detriments; however, it is not clear whether the disease state of the organism and treatment duration determine the beneficial effects of RAS inhibition on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the benefits of acute vs chronic angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1) blockade started after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension on pancreatic function and peripheral insulin resistance. We assessed adipocyte morphology, glucose intolerance, pancreatic redox balance and insulin secretion after 2 and 11 weeks of AT1 blockade in the following groups of rats: (1) untreated Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (lean control; n = 10), (2) untreated Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF; n = 12) and (3) OLETF + ARB (ARB; 10 mg olmesartan/kg/day by oral gavage; n = 12). Regardless of treatment duration, AT1 blockade decreased systolic blood pressure and fasting plasma triglycerides, whereas chronic AT1 blockade decreased fasting plasma glucose, glucose intolerance and the relative abundance of large adipocytes by 22, 36 and 70%, respectively. AT1 blockade, however, did not improve pancreatic oxidative stress or reverse impaired insulin secretion. Collectively, these data show that AT1 blockade after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension improves peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity, but cannot completely reverse the metabolic derangement characterized by impaired insulin secretion once it has been compromised.

Free access

Piya Sen Gupta, Natalia V Prodromou and J Paul Chapple

Primary cilia are sensory organelles that protrude from the surface of most mammalian cell types. In humans and mice, mutations in proteins required for normal cilia function have been identified as causing a class of disorders with overlapping phenotypes known as ciliopathies. Recent evidence has linked obesity in ciliopathies to both the regulation of energy homeostasis in the hypothalamus and to adipogenesis. This article considers the role of cilia in these processes and whether cilia dysfunction may be relevant to more common forms of obesity.

Free access

Esther Paulo, Dongmei Wu, Peter Hecker, Yun Zhang and Biao Wang

Numerous studies have suggested that beige adipocyte abundance is correlated with improved metabolic performance, but direct evidence showing that beige adipocyte expansion protects animals from the development of obesity is missing. Previously, we have described that the liver kinase b1 (LKB1) regulates beige adipocyte renaissance in subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) through a class IIa histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4)-dependent mechanism. This study investigates the physiological impact of persistent beige adipocyte renaissance in energy homeostasis in mice. Here we present that the transgenic mice H4-TG, overexpressing constitutively active HDAC4 in adipocytes, showed beige adipocyte expansion in iWAT at room temperature. H4-TG mice exhibited increased energy expenditure due to beige adipocyte expansion. They also exhibited reduced adiposity under both normal chow and high-fat diet (HFD) feeding conditions. Specific ablation of beige adipocytes reversed the protection against HFD-induced obesity in H4-TG mice. Taken together, our results directly demonstrate that beige adipocyte expansion regulates adiposity in mice and targeting beige adipocyte renaissance may present a novel strategy to tackle obesity in humans.

Free access

Elena Maneschi, Linda Vignozzi, Annamaria Morelli, Tommaso Mello, Sandra Filippi, Ilaria Cellai, Paolo Comeglio, Erica Sarchielli, Alessandra Calcagno, Benedetta Mazzanti, Roberto Vettor, Gabriella Barbara Vannelli, Luciano Adorini and Mario Maggi

Insulin resistance is the putative key underlying mechanism linking adipose tissue (AT) dysfunction with liver inflammation and steatosis in metabolic syndrome (MetS). We have recently demonstrated that the selective farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist obeticholic acid (OCA) ameliorates insulin resistance and the metabolic profile with a marked reduction in the amount of visceral AT (VAT) in a high-fat diet (HFD)-induced rabbit model of MetS. These effects were mediated by the activation of FXR, since treatment with the selective TGR5 agonist INT-777 was not able to ameliorate the metabolic parameters evaluated. Herein, we report the effects of in vivo OCA dosing on the liver, the VAT, and the adipogenic capacity of VAT preadipocytes (rPADs) isolated from rabbits on a HFD compared with those on a control diet. VAT and liver were studied by immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, and RT-PCR. rPADs were exposed to a differentiating mixture to evaluate adipogenesis. Adipocyte size, hypoxia, and the expression of perilipin and cytosolic insulin-regulated glucose transporter GLUT4 (SLC2A4) were significantly increased in VAT isolated from the HFD rabbits, and normalized by OCA. The expression of steatosis and inflammation markers was increased in the liver of the HFD rabbits and normalized by OCA. rPADs isolated from the HFD rabbits were less sensitive to insulin, as demonstrated by the decreased insulin-induced glucose uptake, triglyceride synthesis, and adipogenic capacity, as well as by the impaired fusion of lipid droplets. OCA treatment preserved all the aforementioned metabolic functions. In conclusion, OCA dosing in a MetS rabbit model ameliorates liver and VAT functions. This could reflect the ability of OCA to restore insulin sensitivity in AT unable to finalize its storage function, counteracting MetS-induced metabolic alterations and pathological AT deposition.

Free access

Johanna L Barclay, Hadiya Agada, Christina Jang, Micheal Ward, Neil Wetzig and Ken K Y Ho

Clinical cases of glucocorticoid (GC) excess are characterized by increased fat mass and obesity through the accumulation of white adipocytes. The effects of GCs on growth and function of brown adipose tissue are unknown and may contribute to the negative energy balance observed clinically. This study aims to evaluate the effect of GCs on proliferation, differentiation, and metabolic function of brown adipocytes. Human brown adipocytes sourced from supraclavicular fat biopsies were grown in culture and differentiated to mature adipocytes. Human white adipocytes sourced from subcutaneous abdominal fat biopsies were cultured as controls. Effects of dexamethasone on growth, differentiation (UCP1, CIDEA, and PPARGC1A expression), and function (oxygen consumption rate (OCR)) of brown adipocytes were quantified. Dexamethasone (1 μM) significantly stimulated the proliferation of brown preadipocytes and reduced that of white preadipocytes. During differentiation, dexamethasone (at 0.1, 1, and 10 μM) stimulated the expression of UCP1, CIDEA, and PPARGC1A in a concentration-dependent manner and enhanced by fourfold to sixfold the OCR of brown adipocytes. Isoprenaline (100 nM) significantly increased (P<0.05) expression of UCP1 and OCR of brown adipocytes. These effects were significantly reduced (P<0.05) by dexamethasone. Thus, we show that dexamethasone stimulates the proliferation, differentiation, and function of human brown adipocytes but inhibits adrenergic stimulation of the functioning of brown adipocytes. We conclude that GCs exert complex effects on development and function of brown adipocytes. These findings provide strong evidence for an effect of GCs on the biology of human brown adipose tissue (BAT) and for the involvement of the BAT system in the metabolic manifestation of Cushing's syndrome.

Free access

Johannes Klein, Sören Westphal, Daniel Kraus, Britta Meier, Nina Perwitz, Volker Ott, Mathias Fasshauer and H Harald Klein

Metformin is an anti-diabetic drug with anorexigenic properties. The precise cellular mechanisms of its action are not entirely understood. Adipose tissue has recently been recognized as an important endocrine organ that is pivotal for the regulation of insulin resistance and energy homeostasis. Due to its thermogenic capacity brown adipose tissue contributes to the regulation of energy metabolism and is an attractive target tissue for pharmacological approaches to treating insulin resistance and obesity. Leptin is the prototypic adipocyte-derived hormone inducing a negative energy balance. We investigated effects of metformin on adipocyte metabolism, signalling, and leptin secretion in a brown adipocyte model. Metformin acutely stimulated p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in a dose- (3.2-fold at 1 mmol/l, P< 0.05) as well as time-dependent (3.8-fold at 5 min, P< 0.05) manner. This stimulation was highly selective since phosphorylation of intermediates in the stress kinase, janus kinase (JAK)–signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT), and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signalling pathways such as p38 MAP kinase, STAT3, and Akt was unaltered. Furthermore, chronic metformin treatment for 12 days dose-dependently inhibited leptin secretion by 35% and 75% at 500 μmol/l and 1 mmol/l metformin respectively (P< 0.01). This reduction was not caused by alterations in adipocyte differentiation. Moreover, the impairment in leptin secretion by metformin was reversible within 48 h after removal of the drug. Pharmacological inhibition of p44/p42 MAP kinase prevented the metformin-induced negative effect on leptin secretion. Taken together, our data demonstrate direct acute effects of metformin on adipocyte signalling and endocrine function with robust inhibition of leptin secretion. They suggest a selective molecular mechanism that may contribute to the anorexigenic effect of this antidiabetic compound.

Free access

Stefano Zanotti, Lisa Stadmeyer, Anna Smerdel-Ramoya, Deena Durant and Ernesto Canalis

CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins (C/EBPs) are expressed by osteoblasts and adipocytes during differentiation. C/EBPβ is critical for adipogenesis; however, its role in osteoblastogenesis is unclear, and its function in the postnatal skeleton is not known. To study C/EBPβ in osteoblasts in vivo, we created transgenic mice expressing full length C/EBPβ under the control of a 3.8 kb fragment of the human osteocalcin promoter. Two transgenic lines were established in a friend leukemia virus strain B genetic background, and compared with wild type littermate controls. Both C/EBPβ transgenic lines exhibited osteopenia, with a 30% decrease in bone volume, due to a decrease in trabecular number. The number of osteoblasts and osteoclasts per bone perimeter was not changed. Bone marrow stromal cells from C/EBPβ transgenics showed reduced mineralization, and reduced alkaline phosphatase mRNA levels. Calvarial osteoblasts from C/EBPβ transgenics displayed reduced alkaline phosphatase activity. To determine the consequences of the Cebpb deletion in vivo, the phenotype of Cebpb null mice was compared with that of wild type controls of identical genetic composition. Cebpb null mice exhibited reduced weight, body fat, and bone mineral density, and decreased bone volume, due to a decrease in trabecular number. The number of osteoblasts and osteoclasts per bone perimeter was not changed. C/EBPβ downregulation by RNA interference in calvarial osteoblasts had no effect on osteoblast differentiation/function. The phenotype of the Cebpb inactivation may be secondary to systemic indirect effects, and to direct effects of C/EBPβ in osteoblasts. In conclusion, C/EBPβ plays a role in mesenchymal cell differentiation and its misexpression in vivo causes osteopenia.