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Qiong You, Zijun Wu, Bin Wu, Chang Liu, Ruina Huang, Li Yang, Runmin Guo, Keng Wu, and Jingfu Chen

We previously reported that naringin (NRG) protects cardiomyocytes against high glucose (HG)-induced injuries by inhibiting the MAPK pathway. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that NRG prevents cardiomyocytes from hyperglycemia-induced insult through the inhibition of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway and the upregulation of ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels. Our results showed that exposure of cardiomyocytes to HG for 24h markedly induced injuries, as evidenced by a decrease in cell viability and oxidative stress, and increases in apoptotic cells as well as the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). These injuries were markedly attenuated by the pretreatment of cells with either NRG or pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) before exposure to HG. Furthermore, in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats and in HG-induced cardiomyocytes, the expression levels of caspase-3, bax and phosphorylated (p)-NF-κB p65 were increased. The increased protein levels were ameliorated by pretreatment with both NRG and PDTC. However, the expression levels of bcl-2 and KATP and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were decreased by hyperglycemia; the expression level of Nox4 and the ADP/ATP ratio were increased by hyperglycemia. These hyperglycemia-induced indexes were inhibited by the pretreatment of cardiomyocytes with NRG or PDTC. In addition, in STZ-induced diabetic rats, we also observed that NRG or PDTC contributed to protecting mitochondrial injury and myocardium damage. This study demonstrated that NRG protects cardiomyocytes against hyperglycemia-induced injury by upregulating KATP channels in vitro and inhibiting the NF-κB pathway in vivo and in vitro.

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Hai-Fan Yu, Zhan-Peng Yue, Kai Wang, Zhan-Qing Yang, Hong-Liang Zhang, Shuang Geng, and Bin Guo

Although Gja1 has been proved to play an important role in uterine decidualization, its regulatory mechanism remains largely unknown. Here, we showed that Gja1 was highly expressed in the decidual cells and promoted the proliferation of uterine stromal cells and expression of Prl8a2 and Prl3c1, which were two well-known differentiation markers for decidualization. Further analysis revealed that Gja1 might act downstream of Acvr1 and cAMP to regulate the differentiation of uterine stromal cells. Administration of cAMP analog 8-Br-cAMP to Acvr1 siRNA-transfected stromal cells resulted in an obvious increase of Gja1 expression, whereas PKA inhibitor H89 impeded the induction of Gja1 elicited by Acvr1 overexpression, indicating that cAMP–PKA signal mediates the regulation of Acvr1 on Gja1 expression. In uterine stromal cells, knockdown of Gja1 blocked the cAMP induction of Hand2. Moreover, siRNA-mediated downregulation of Hand2 impaired the stimulatory effects of Gja1 overexpression on the expression of Prl8a2 and Prl3c1, whereas constitutive expression of Hand2 reversed the inhibitory effects of Gja1 siRNA on stromal differentiation. Meanwhile, Gja1 might play a vital role in the crosstalk between Acvr1 and Hand2. Collectively, Gja1 may act downstream of cAMP–PKA signal to mediate the effects of Acvr1 on the differentiation of uterine stromal cells through targeting Hand2.

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Weihua Liu, Yuqiang Ji, Haiping Chu, Mo Wang, Bin Yang, and Chunyan Yin

This study investigated the effects of Wnt5a/caveolin/JNK signaling pathway and SFRP5 protein on ox-LDL-induced apoptosis of HUVEC cells. The difference of serological indexes between healthy average weight and obese children and the expression of Wnt 5a and SFRP5 was detected by clinical examination, and the correlation between serum SFRP5, Wnt 5a and the vascular endothelial injury was detected. HUVEC cells were induced by ox-LDL to construct an endothelial injury model, siRNA-transfected cells were used to construct downregulated SFRP5 and Wnt 5a expression groups, and recombination methods were used to construct upregulated Wnt5a and SFRP5 expression groups. The expression of Wnt 5a, caveolin-1, JNK and apoptosis-related proteins under different treatments were detected by the Western blot method, and apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry. Serological results showed that the level of Sfrp5 in obese children was significantly lower than that in healthy children, and the level of Wnt5a was significantly higher than that in healthy children. Moreover, Ln Sfrp5 was significantly negatively correlated with Ang-2 in blood circulation, ICAM-1 and E-selectin selectin, but not with VCAM-1. When Wnt5a was upregulated, the expression of caveolin-1 and JNK increased significantly, Bcl-2 decreased significantly, and the apoptotic rate increased significantly. Nevertheless, when Sfrp5 expression was upregulated, the result was the opposite. SFRP5 and Wnt5a are involved in the vascular endothelial injury. Wnt5a can promote apoptosis of HUVEC cells through Wnt5a/JNK/Caveolin-1 pathway, while SFRP5 can inhibit apoptosis by interfering with this pathway.

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Chao Li, Bin Yang, Zhihao Xu, Eric Boivin, Mazzen Black, Wenlong Huang, Baoyou Xu, Ping Wu, Bo Zhang, Xian Li, Kunsong Chen, Yulian Wu, and Gina R Rayat

Oxidative stress is a major cause of islet injury and dysfunction during isolation and transplantation procedures. Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (C3G), which is present in various fruits and vegetables especially in Chinese bayberry, shows a potent antioxidant property. In this study, we determined whether C3G could protect neonatal porcine islets (NPI) from reactive oxygen species (H2O2)-induced injury in vitro and promote the function of NPI in diabetic mice. We found that C3G had no deleterious effect on NPI and that C3G protected NPI from damage induced by H2O2. Significantly higher hemeoxygenase-1 (HO1) gene expression was detected in C3G-treated NPI compared to untreated islets before and after transplantation (P < 0.05). Western blot analysis showed a significant increase in the levels of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K/Akt) proteins in C3G-treated NPI compared to untreated islets. C3G induced the nuclear translocation of nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and the significant elevation of HO1 protein. Recipients of C3G-treated NPI with or without C3G-supplemented drinking water achieved normoglycemia earlier compared to recipients of untreated islets. Mice that received C3G-treated islets with or without C3G-supplemented water displayed significantly lower blood glucose levels at 5–10 weeks post-transplantation compared to mice that received untreated islets. Mice that received C3G-treated NPI and C3G-supplemented drinking water had significantly (P < 0.05) lower blood glucose levels at 7 and 8 weeks post-transplantation compared to mice that received C3G-treated islets. These findings suggest that C3G has a beneficial effect on NPI through the activation of ERK1/2- and PI3K/AKT-induced NRF2-mediated HO1 signaling pathway.

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Jung-Hoon Kang, Seo-Yoon Chang, Hyun-Jong Jang, Dong-Bin Kim, Gyeong Ryul Ryu, Seung Hyun Ko, In-Kyung Jeong, Yang-Hyeok Jo, and Myung-Jun Kim

Cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β) stimulate inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and nitric oxide overproduction leading to β-cell damage. Meanwhile, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its potent analog exendin-4 (EX-4) were well known for β-cell proliferation. However, the protective mechanisms of GLP-1 in β-cells exposed to cytokines were not fully elucidated. Therefore, the effects of EX-4 on the IL-1β-induced iNOS gene expression were investigated employing RINm5F β-cells. EX-4 inhibited IL-1β-induced iNOS protein expression and nitrite production. However, northern blot and promoter analyses showed that EX-4 failed to inhibit IL-1β-induced iNOS mRNA expression and iNOS promoter activity. By electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), EX-4 did not alter the binding activity of NF-κB to the iNOS promoter. Consistent with the EMSA result, EX-4 did not inhibit nuclear translocation of p65. We also tested the effect of EX-4 on iNOS mRNA stability. Actinomycin D chase experiments showed that EX-4 did not affect the decay rate of iNOS mRNA and the promoter assay using the construct containing 3′-untranslated region of iNOS showed that EX-4 did not alter the stability of iNOS mRNA. Meanwhile, forskolin significantly inhibited IL-1β-induced iNOS protein, which was reversed by H-89, a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor. Moreover, EX-4 pretreatment restored IL-1β-induced decrease in cAMP toward control level. Additionally, the cycloheximide chase study demonstrated that EX-4 significantly accelerated iNOS protein degradation. We therefore concluded that EX-4 inhibited IL-1β-induced iNOS protein and nitrite production via cAMP/PKA system irrespective of both transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms of iNOS gene, and this inhibitory effect of EX-4 appears to be regulated at posttranslational level.

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Dang-Dang Li, Ying-Jie Gao, Xue-Chao Tian, Zhan-Qing Yang, Hang Cao, Qiao-Ling Zhang, Bin Guo, and Zhan-Peng Yue

Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (T do 2) is a rate-limiting enzyme which directs the conversion of tryptophan to kynurenine. The aim of this study was to examine the expression and regulation of T do 2 in mouse uterus during decidualization. T do 2 mRNA was mainly expressed in the decidua on days 6–8 of pregnancy. By real-time PCR, a high level of T do 2 expression was observed in the uteri from days 6 to 8 of pregnancy, although T do 2 expression was observed on days 1–8. Simultaneously, T do 2 mRNA was also detected under in vivo and in vitro artificial decidualization. Estrogen, progesterone, and 8-bromoadenosine-cAMP could induce the expression of T do 2 in the ovariectomized mouse uterus and uterine stromal cells. T do 2 could regulate cell proliferation and stimulate the expression of decidual marker Dtprp in the uterine stromal cells and decidual cells. Overexpression of T do 2 could upregulate the expression of Ahr, Cox2, and Vegf genes in uterine stromal cells, while T do 2 inhibitor 680C91 could downregulate the expression of Cox2 and Vegf genes in uterine decidual cells. These data indicate that T do 2 may play an important role during mouse decidualization and be regulated by estrogen, progesterone, and cAMP.

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Tong Sun, Wen-Bo Deng, Hong-Lu Diao, Hua Ni, Yu-Yan Bai, Xing-Hong Ma, Li-Bin Xu, and Zeng-Ming Yang

Prostaglandin (PGE) 2 is the most common prostanoid and plays an important role in female reproduction. The aim of this study was to examine the expression and regulation of microsomal (m) PGE synthase (PGES)-1 and cytosolic (c) PGES in the mouse ovary during sexual maturation, gonadotropin treatment and luteal development by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Both mPGES-1 mRNA signals and immunostaining were localized in the granulosa cells, but not in the thecal cells and oocytes. cPGES mRNA signals were localized in both granulosa cells and oocytes, whereas cPGES immunostaining was exclusively localized in the oocytes. In our superovulated model of immature mice, there was a basal level of mPGES-1 mRNA signals in the granulosa cells at 48 h after equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) treatment. mPGES-1 mRNA level was induced by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment for 0.5 h, whereas mPGES-1 immunostaining was slightly induced at 0.5 h after hCG treatment and reached a maximal level at 3 h after hCG treatment. eCG treatment had no obvious effects on either cPGES mRNA signals or immunostaining. A strong level of cPGES immunostaining was present in both unstimulated and eCG-treated groups. Both mPGES-1 mRNA signals and immunostaining were highly detected in the corpus luteum 2 days post-hCG injection and declined from days 3 to 7 post-hCG injection. cPGES immunostaining was at a basal level or not detectable from days 1 to 7 after hCG injection and was highly expressed in the corpus luteum from days 9 to 15 post-hCG injection. PGE2 biosynthesized through the mPGES-1 pathway may be important for follicular development, ovulation and luteal formation.