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L E Nicol, W R Grant, S M Comstock, M L Nguyen, M S Smith, K L Grove and D L Marks

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L E Nicol, W F Grant, S M Comstock, M L Nguyen, M S Smith, K L Grove and D L Marks

Chronic high caloric intake has contributed to the increased prevalence of pediatric obesity and related morbidities. Most overweight or obese children, however, do not present with frank metabolic disease but rather insulin resistance or subclinical precursors. The innate immune system plays a role in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes but how it contributes to early metabolic dysfunction in children on chronic high-fat diet (HFD) is unclear. We hypothesize that such inflammation is present in the pancreas of children and is associated with early insulin resistance. We used nonhuman primate (NHP) juveniles exposed to chronic HFD as a model of early pediatric metabolic disease to demonstrate increased pancreatic inflammatory markers before the onset of significant obesity or glucose dysregulation. Pancreata from 13-month-old Japanese macaques exposed to a HFD from in utero to necropsy were analyzed for expression of cytokines and islet-associated macrophages. Parameters from an intravenous glucose tolerance test were correlated with cytokine expression. Before significant glucose dysregulation, the HFD cohort had a twofold increase in interleukin 6 (IL6), associated with decreased first-phase insulin response and a sexually dimorphic (male) increase in IL1β correlating with increased fasting glucose levels. The number of islet-associated macrophages was also increased. Pancreata from juvenile NHP exposed to HFD have increased inflammatory markers and evidence of innate immune infiltration before the onset of significant obesity or glucose dysregulation. Given the parallel development of metabolic disease between humans and NHPs, these findings have strong relevance to the early metabolic disease driven by a chronic HFD in children.

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Lisa D Madison, Jarrad M Scarlett, Peter Levasseur, XinXia Zhu, Kenneth Newcomb, Ayesha Batra, Darren Bowe and Daniel L Marks

Ghrelin is an octanoylated 28 amino acid peptide predominantly secreted by the stomach, and has potent stimulatory effects on appetite. Several laboratories, including our own, have demonstrated that ghrelin levels fall in states of acute inflammation brought about by injection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We now demonstrate that the decrease in circulating ghrelin is not due to a decrease in ghrelin gene expression, but is instead likely to be due to an acute decrease in ghrelin secretion. Furthermore, we have found that the change in circulating ghrelin during acute inflammation required a prostaglandin second messenger, but did not require the synthesis of nitric oxide. Interestingly, i.v. injection of prostaglandin E2 failed to decrease circulating ghrelin levels, whereas prostacyclin decreased circulating ghrelin to a similar extent as did LPS. We also provide anatomical evidence for the mechanism of the regulation of ghrelin by inflammation. We demonstrate that the type 1 interleukin-1β (IL-1β) receptor is expressed within the gastric mucosa, but is not expressed by ghrelin cells. The prostacyclin receptor was also expressed in the gastric mucosa, and the majority of ghrelin-producing cells were found to co-express this receptor. Mice with genetic deletion of the type 1 IL-1 receptor do not suppress circulating ghrelin levels with LPS administration. Collectively, these data support a model in which the mechanism of inflammation induced decreases in ghrelin are due to the action of IL-1β on cells within the gastric mucosa that in turn produce prostacyclin as a second messenger. These data provide further support for the potential role of ghrelin as a therapeutic agent in acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Open access

Jarrad M Scarlett, Darren D Bowe, Xinxia Zhu, Ayesha K Batra, Wilmon F Grant and Daniel L Marks

The central melanocortin system plays a key role in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis. We investigated whether genetic or pharmacologic blockade of central melanocortin signaling attenuates cardiac cachexia in mice and rats with heart failure. Permanent ligation of the left coronary artery (myocardial infarction (MI)) or sham operation was performed in wild-type (WT) or melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) knockout mice. Eight weeks after surgery, WT-Sham mice had significant increases in lean body mass (LBM; P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05), whereas WT-MI did not gain significant amounts of LBM or fat mass. Resting basal metabolic rate (BMR) was significantly lower in WT-Sham mice compared to WT-MI mice (P<0.001). In contrast, both MC4-Sham and MC4-MI mice gained significant amounts of LBM (P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05) over the study period. There was no significant difference in the BMR between MC4-Sham and MC4-MI mice. In the second experiment, rats received aortic bands or sham operations, and after recovery received i.c.v. injections of either artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) or the melanocortin antagonist agouti-related protein (AGRP) for 2 weeks. Banded rats receiving AGRP gained significant amount of LBM (P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05) over the treatment period, whereas banded rats receiving aCSF did not gain significant amounts of LBM or fat mass. These results demonstrated that genetic and pharmacologic blockade of melanocortin signaling attenuated the metabolic manifestations of cardiac cachexia in murine and rat models of heart failure.

Free access

Srinivasulu Chigurupati, Tae Gen Son, Dong-Hoon Hyun, Justin D Lathia, Mohamed R Mughal, Jason Savell, Shuan C Li, G P C Nagaraju, Sic L Chan, Thiruma V Arumugam and Mark P Mattson

Regular exercise can counteract the adverse effects of aging on the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. In males, the normal aging process is associated with reductions in testosterone production and impaired spermatogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms and their potential modification by exercise are unknown. Here, we report that lifelong regular exercise (running) protects the testes against the adverse effects of advancing age, and that this effect of running is associated with decreased amounts of oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA in spermatogenic and Leydig cells. Six-month-old male mice were divided into a sedentary group and a group that ran an average of 1.75 km/day, until the mice reached the age of 20 months. Seminiferous tubules of runners exhibited a full complement of cells at different stages of the spermatogenic process and a clear central lumen with large numbers of spermatozoa, in contrast to sedentary mice that exhibited disorganized spermatogenic cells and lacked spermatocytes in a central lumen. Levels of protein carbonyls, nitrotyrosine, lipid peroxidation products, and oxidatively modified DNA were significantly greater in spermatogenic and Leydig cells of sedentary mice compared with runners. These findings suggest that lifelong regular exercise suppresses aging of testes by a mechanism that involves reduced oxidative damage to spermatogenic and Leydig cells.