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Free access

Jonathan M Mudry, Julie Massart, Ferenc L M Szekeres and Anna Krook

TWIST proteins are important for development of embryonic skeletal muscle and play a role in the metabolism of tumor and white adipose tissue. The impact of TWIST on metabolism in skeletal muscle is incompletely studied. Our aim was to assess the impact of TWIST1 and TWIST2 overexpression on glucose and lipid metabolism. In intact mouse muscle, overexpression of Twist reduced total glycogen content without altering glucose uptake. Expression of TWIST1 or TWIST2 reduced Pdk4 mRNA, while increasing mRNA levels of Il6, Tnf α, and Il1 β. Phosphorylation of AKT was increased and protein abundance of acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC) was decreased in skeletal muscle overexpressing TWIST1 or TWIST2. Glycogen synthesis and fatty acid oxidation remained stable in C2C12 cells overexpressing TWIST1 or TWIST2. Finally, skeletal muscle mRNA levels remain unaltered in ob/ob mice, type 2 diabetic patients, or in healthy subjects before and after 3 months of exercise training. Collectively, our results indicate that TWIST1 and TWIST2 are expressed in skeletal muscle. Overexpression of these proteins impacts proteins in metabolic pathways and mRNA level of cytokines. However, skeletal muscle levels of TWIST transcripts are unaltered in metabolic diseases.

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Saeed Alshahrani and Mauricio Di Fulvio

The intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl]i) in β-cells plays an important role in glucose-stimulated plasma membrane depolarisation and insulin secretion. [Cl]i is maintained above equilibrium in β-cells by the action of Cl co-transporters of the solute carrier family 12 group A (Slc12a). β-Cells express Slc12a1 and Slc12a2, which are known as the bumetanide (BTD)-sensitive Na+-dependent K+2Cl co-transporters 2 and 1 respectively. We show that mice lacking functional alleles of the Slc12a2 gene exhibit better fasting glycaemia, increased insulin secretion in response to glucose, and improved glucose tolerance when compared with wild-type (WT). This phenomenon correlated with increased sensitivity of β-cells to glucose in vitro and with increased β-cell mass. Further, administration of low doses of BTD to mice deficient in Slc12a2 worsened their glucose tolerance, and low concentrations of BTD directly inhibited glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from β-cells deficient in Slc12a2 but expressing intact Slc12a1 genes. Together, our results suggest for the first time that the Slc12a2 gene is not necessary for insulin secretion and that its absence increases β-cell secretory capacity. Further, impairment of insulin secretion with BTD in vivo and in vitro in islets lacking Slc12a2 genes unmasks a potential new role for Slc12a1 in β-cell physiology.

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Sharon H Chou and Christos Mantzoros

Leptin, as a key hormone in energy homeostasis, regulates neuroendocrine function, including reproduction. It has a permissive role in the initiation of puberty and maintenance of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis. This is notable in patients with either congenital or acquired leptin deficiency from a state of chronic energy insufficiency. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is the best-studied, with clinical trials confirming a causative role of leptin in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Implications of leptin deficiency have also emerged in the pathophysiology of hypogonadism in type 1 diabetes. At the other end of the spectrum, hyperleptinemia may play a role in hypogonadism associated with obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. In these conditions of energy excess, mechanisms of reproductive dysfunction include central leptin resistance as well as direct effects at the gonadal level. Thus, reproductive dysfunction due to energy imbalance at both ends can be linked to leptin.

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PS Leung, WP Chan, TP Wong and C Sernia

The possibility of an intrinsic renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in the pancreas has been raised by previous studies in which immunohistochemical examination showed the presence of angiotensin II and its receptor subtypes, type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2). In the present study, gene expression of several key RAS components was investigated by reverse-transcription PCR. mRNA expression for angiotensinogen, renin and angiotensin II receptor subtypes, AT1a, AT1b and AT2 was shown. The presence of angiotensinogen protein, the mandatory component for an intrinsic RAS, was demonstrated by Western blotting and localized by immunohistochemistry to the epithelia and endothelia of pancreatic ducts and blood vessels respectively. Immunoblot analysis detected a predominant protein band of about 60 kDa in the pancreas. This was consistent with the predicted value for angiotensinogen as reported in other tissues. Together with previous findings, the present study shows that the rat pancreas expresses the major RAS component genes, notably angiotensinogen and renin, required for intracellular formation of angiotensin II. The data support the notion of an intrinsic RAS in the rat pancreas which may play a role in the regulation of pancreatic functions.

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Yoko Fujiwara, Masami Hiroyama, Atsushi Sanbe, Junji Yamauchi, Gozoh Tsujimoto and Akito Tanoue

[Arg8]-vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) are neurohypophysial hormones which exert various actions, including the control of blood glucose, in some peripheral tissues. To investigate the type of receptors involved in AVP- and OT-induced glucagon secretion, we investigated the effect of these peptides on glucagon secretion in islets of wild-type (V1bR+/+) and vasopressin V1b receptor knockout (V1bR/−) mice. AVP-induced glucagon secretion was significantly inhibited by the selective V1b receptor antagonist, SSR149415 (30%), and OT-induced glucagon secretion by the specific OT receptor antagonist, d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2, Thr4, Tyr-NH2 9]OVT (CL-14-26) (45%), in islets of V1bR+/+mice. AVP- and OT-induced glucagon secretions were not by the antagonist of each, but co-incubation with both 10−6 M SSR149415 and 10−6 M CL-14-26 further inhibited AVP- and OT-induced glucagon secretions in islets of V1bR+/+ mice (57 and 69% of the stimulation values respectively). In addition, both AVP and OT stimulated glucagon secretion with the same efficacy in V1bR/− mice as in V1bR+/+ mice. AVP- and OT-induced glucagon secretion in V1bR/− mice was significantly inhibited by CL-14-26. These results demonstrate that V1b receptors can mediate OT-induced glucagon secretion and OT receptors can mediate AVP-induced glucagon secretion in islets from V1bR+/+mice in the presence of a heterologous antagonist, while AVP and OT can stimulate glucagon secretion through the OT receptors in V1bR/−mice, suggesting that the other receptor can compensate when one receptor is absent.

Free access

Almas R Juma, Pauliina E Damdimopoulou, Sylvia V H Grommen, Wim J M Van de Ven and Bert De Groef

Pleomorphic adenoma gene 1 (PLAG1) belongs to the PLAG family of zinc finger transcription factors along with PLAG-like 1 and PLAG-like 2. The PLAG1 gene is best known as an oncogene associated with certain types of cancer, most notably pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary gland. While the mechanisms of PLAG1-induced tumorigenesis are reasonably well understood, the role of PLAG1 in normal physiology is less clear. It is known that PLAG1 is involved in cell proliferation by directly regulating a wide array of target genes, including a number of growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor 2. This is likely to be a central mode of action for PLAG1 both in embryonic development and in cancer. The phenotype of Plag1 knockout mice suggests an important role for PLAG1 also in postnatal growth and reproduction, as PLAG1 deficiency causes growth retardation and reduced fertility. A role for PLAG1 in growth and reproduction is further corroborated by genome-wide association studies in humans and domestic animals in which polymorphisms in the PLAG1 genomic region are associated with body growth and reproductive traits. Here we review the current evidence for PLAG1 as a regulator of growth and fertility and discuss possible endocrine mechanisms involved.

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Hui-Fang Wang, Qing-Qing Yu, Rui-Fang Zheng and Ming Xu

Cardiovascular complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are associated with vascular remodeling in the arteries. Perivascular sympathetic neurons release an abundance of trophic factors to regulate vascular function via a paracrine signaling. Netrin-1, a diffusible protein that can be secreted outside the cell, is one of common signals of ‘conversation’ between nerve and vessel. The present study investigated whether netrin-1 is a novel modulator of sympathetic neurons paracrine signaling and played a critical role in vascular adventitial remodeling under T2DM. Vascular adventitial remodeling was observed in adventitial fibroblasts (AFs) responding to netrin-1 deficiency in the supernatant from primary rat superior cervical ganglia (SCG) neurons, shown as AFs proliferation, migration, and collagen deposition. Conditioned medium from the high glucose (HG)-treated SCG neurons contributed to AFs remodeling, which was effectively alleviated by exogenous netrin-1 supplementation. Further, it was found that uncoordinated-5-B (Unc5b) was mainly expressed in AFs among netrin-1 specific receptors. Treatment of netrin-1 inhibited H2O2 production derived from NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) through the UNC5b/CAMP/PKA signal pathway in AFs remodeling. In vivo, aorta adventitial remodeling was accompanied with the downregulation of netrin-1 in the perivascular sympathetic nerve in T2DM rats. Such abnormalities were restored by netrin-1 intervention, which was associated with the inhibition of NOX4 expression in the aorta adventitia. In conclusion, netrin-1 is a novel modulator of sympathetic neurons paracrine signaling to maintain AFs function. Vascular adventitial remodeling was aggravated by sympathetic neurons paracrine signaling under hyperglycemia, which was ameliorated by netrin-1 treatment through the UNC5b/CAMP/PKA/NOX4 pathway.

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Globulin preparations (41) from patients with Graves's disease (positive to thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins; TSI) and 12 from healthy persons (TSI-negative) were tested for their specific thyrotrophin (TSH)-binding properties. Globulins from both groups possessed binding sites for 131I-labelled TSH. The mean dissociation constant (K d) was 6·8 pmol/l per mg globulin and the maximum specific binding (B max) was 3·0 pmol/mg globulin per 1 for the TSI-negative control group. Twenty-four (58·5%) globulin preparations from the TSI-positive group had similar TSH-binding characteristics with mean K d of 7·2 pmol/l per mg globulin and B max of 3·6 pmol/mg globulin per 1 (A-type binding) but the remaining 17 (41·5%) bound TSH in a different fashion with K d of 71·5 pmol/l per mg globulin and B max of 13·6 pmol/mg globulin per 1 (B-type binding).

Both types of specific TSH binding reached the maximal level within 1 h of incubation and had an optimum pH of 7–8. There was a linear correlation between the amount of bound TSH and the globulin content of the samples. Both types of binding were reversible by the addition of an excess of TSH and gonadotrophins, ACTH, prolactin and insulin competed with TSH for the binding sites only when in relatively high concentrations. The binding sites were associated with macromolecules; they emerged with the void volume after chromatography on Sephadex G-200 and migrated with immunoglobulin G (IgG) on paper electrophoresis. The binding capacity of the globulin preparations could be decreased by preincubation with antiserum to human IgG or with human thyroid membranes.

Free access

Bohan Wang, I Stuart Wood and Paul Trayhurn

The effect of hypoxia on the expression and secretion of major adipokines by human preadipocytes has been examined. Hypoxia (1% O2) led to an increase in the HIF-1α transcription factor subunit in cultured preadipocytes, as did incubation with the hypoxia mimetic CoCl2. Leptin mRNA was essentially undetectable in preadipocytes incubated under normoxia (21% O2), but exposure to 1% O2, or CoCl2, for 4 or 24 h resulted in an induction of leptin gene expression (measured by real-time PCR). Immunoreactive leptin was not detected in the medium from normoxic preadipocytes, but was present in the medium from the hypoxic cells. Hypoxia stimulated expression of the GLUT-1 facilitative glucose transporter gene and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene in preadipocytes, as in adipocytes. PPARγ and aP2 mRNA levels, markers of adipocyte differentiation, were reduced by hypoxia in both cell types. In marked contrast to adipocytes, interleukin-6 (IL-6), angiopoietin-like protein 4, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expression by preadipocytes was not stimulated by low O2 tension. Consistent with the gene expression results, VEGF release into the medium from preadipocytes was increased by hypoxia, but there was no change in IL-6 secretion. It is concluded that hypoxia induces human preadipocytes to synthesize and secrete leptin. Preadipocytes and adipocytes differ in their responsiveness to low O2 tension, maturation of the response to hypoxia developing on differentiation.

Free access

VA Gault, PR Flatt, P Harriott, MH Mooney, CJ Bailey and FP O'Harte

The therapeutic potential of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in improving glycaemic control in diabetes has been widely studied, but the potential beneficial effects of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) have until recently been almost overlooked. One of the major problems, however, in exploiting either GIP or GLP-1 as potential therapeutic agents is their short duration of action, due to enzymatic degradation in vivo by dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPP IV). Therefore, this study examined the plasma stability, biological activity and antidiabetic potential of two novel NH2-terminal Ala2-substituted analogues of GIP, containing glycine (Gly) or serine (Ser). Following incubation in plasma, (Ser2)GIP had a reduced hydrolysis rate compared with native GIP, while (Gly2)GIP was completely stable. In Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts stably transfected with the human GIP receptor, GIP, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP stimulated cAMP production with EC(50) values of 18.2, 14.9 and 15.0 nM respectively. In the pancreatic BRIN-BD11 beta-cell line, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP (10(-8) M) evoked significant increases (1.2- and 1.5-fold respectively; P<0.01 to P<0.001) in insulinotropic activity compared with GIP. In obese diabetic ob/ob mice, both analogues significantly lowered (P<0.001) the glycaemic excursion in response to i.p. glucose. This enhanced glucose-lowering ability was coupled to a significantly raised (P<0.01) and more protracted insulin response compared with GIP. These data indicate that substitution of the penultimate Ala2 in GIP by Gly or Ser confers resistance to plasma DPP IV degradation, resulting in enhanced biological activity, therefore raising the possibility of their use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.