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Xiaojun Zhou, Jianjun Dong, Li Zhang, Ju Liu, Xiaofeng Dong, Qing Yang, Fupeng Liu, and Lin Liao

It is well known that hyperglycemia is a trigger of atherosclerosis in patients with diabetes mellitus. However, the role of hyperglycemia in restenosis remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of hyperglycemia on restenosis. Stenosis was evaluated in two sets of diabetic rabbit models: i) diabetic restenosis versus nondiabetic restenosis and ii) diabetic atherosclerosis versus nondiabetic atherosclerosis. Our results indicated that there was no difference in rates of stenosis between the diabetic and the nondiabetic groups in restenosis rabbit models. However, the incidence of stenosis was significantly higher in the diabetic atherosclerosis group compared with the nondiabetic atherosclerosis group. Similarly, the intima–media thickness and cell proliferation rate were significantly increased in the diabetic atherosclerosis group compared with the nondiabetic atherosclerosis group, but there was no difference between the diabetic restenosis and the nondiabetic restenosis groups. Our results indicate that hyperglycemia is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis, but it has no evident effect on restenosis. These findings indicate that the processes of atherosclerosis and restenosis may involve different pathological mechanisms.

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Xiwen Xiong, Cuicui Zhang, Yang Zhang, Rui Fan, Xinlai Qian, and X Charlie Dong

SIRT6 is a member of sirtuin family of deacetylases involved in diverse processes including genome stability, metabolic homeostasis and anti-inflammation. However, its function in the adipose tissue is not well understood. To examine the metabolic function of SIRT6 in the adipose tissue, we generated two mouse models that are deficient in Sirt6 using the Cre-lox approach. Two commonly used Cre lines that are driven by either the mouse Fabp4 or Adipoq gene promoter were chosen for this study. The Sirt6-knockout mice generated by the Fabp4-Cre line (Sirt6 f/f :Fabp4-Cre) had a significant increase in both body weight and fat mass and exhibited glucose intolerance and insulin resistance as compared with the control wild-type mice. At the molecular levels, the Sirt6 f/f:Fabp4-Cre-knockout mice had increased expression of inflammatory genes including F4/80, TNFα, IL-6 and MCP-1 in both white and brown adipose tissues. Moreover, the knockout mice showed decreased expression of the adiponectin gene in the white adipose tissue and UCP1 in the brown adipose tissue, respectively. In contrast, the Sirt6 knockout mice generated by the Adipoq-Cre line (Sirt6 f/f:Adipoq-Cre) only had modest insulin resistance. In conclusion, our data suggest that the function of SIRT6 in the Fabp4-Cre-expressing cells in addition to mature adipocytes plays a critical role in body weight maintenance and metabolic homeostasis.

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F Dong, X Zhang, X Yang, L B Esberg, H Yang, Z Zhang, B Culver, and J Ren

The level of the obese gene product leptin is often positively correlated with body weight, supporting the notion that hyperleptinemia contributes to obesity-associated cardiac dysfunction. However, a link between leptin levels and cardiac function has not been elucidated. This study was designed to examine the role of leptin deficiency (resulting from a point mutation of the leptin gene) in cardiomyocyte contractile function. Mechanical properties and intracellular Ca2 + transients were evaluated in ventricular myocytes from lean control and leptin-deficient ob/ob obese mice at 12 weeks of age. Cardiac ultrastructure was evaluated using transmission electron microscopy. ob/ob mice were overtly obese, hyperinsulinemic, hypertriglycemic, hypoleptinemic and euglycemic. Ultrastructural examination revealed swelling and disorganization of cristae in mitochondria from ob/ob mouse ventricular tissues. Cardiomyocytes from ob/ob mice displayed reduced expression of the leptin receptor Ob-R, larger cross-sectional area, decreased peak shortening and maximal velocity of shortening/relengthening, and prolonged relengthening but not shortening duration compared with lean counterparts. Consistent with mechanical characteristics, myocytes from ob/ob mice displayed reduced intracellular Ca2 + release upon electrical stimulus associated with a slowed intracellular Ca2 + decay rate. Interestingly, the contractile aberrations seen in ob/ob myocytes were significantly improved by in vitro leptin incubation. Contractile dysfunction was not seen in age- and gender-matched high fat-induced obese mice. These results suggested that leptin deficiency contributes to cardiac contractile dysfunction characterized by both systolic and diastolic dysfunction, impaired intracellular Ca2 + hemostasis and ultrastructural derangement in ventricular myocytes.

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Xiwen Xiong, Xupeng Sun, Qingzhi Wang, Xinlai Qian, Yang Zhang, Xiaoyan Pan, and X Charlie Dong

Chronic exposure of pancreatic β-cells to abnormally elevated levels of free fatty acids can lead to β-cell dysfunction and even apoptosis, contributing to type 2 diabetes pathogenesis. In pancreatic β-cells, sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) has been shown to regulate insulin secretion in response to glucose stimulation. However, the roles played by SIRT6 in β-cells in response to lipotoxicity remain poorly understood. Our data indicated that SIRT6 protein and mRNA levels were reduced in islets from diabetic and aged mice. High concentrations of palmitate (PA) also led to a decrease in SIRT6 expression in MIN6 β-cells and resulted in cell dysfunction and apoptosis. Knockdown of Sirt6 caused an increase in cell apoptosis and impairment in insulin secretion in response to glucose in MIN6 cells even in the absence of PA exposure. Furthermore, overexpression of SIRT6 alleviated the palmitate-induced lipotoxicity with improved cell viability and increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In summary, our data suggest that SIRT6 can protect against palmitate-induced β-cell dysfunction and apoptosis.

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Hong-Wei Wang, Michelle Muguira, Wei-Dong Liu, Tao Zhang, Chiachen Chen, Rebecca Aucoin, Mary B Breslin, and Michael S Lan

In this study, an insulinoma-associated antigen-1 (INSM1)-binding site in the proximal promoter sequence of the insulin gene was identified. The co-transfection of INSM1 with rat insulin I/II promoter-driven reporter genes exhibited a 40–50% inhibitory effect on the reporter activity. Mutational experiments were performed by introducing a substitution, GG to AT, into the INSM1 core binding site of the rat insulin I/II promoters. The mutated insulin promoter exhibited a three- to 20-fold increase in the promoter activity over the wild-type promoter in several insulinoma cell lines. Moreover, INSM1 overexpression exhibited no inhibitory effect on the mutated insulin promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays using βTC-1, mouse fetal pancreas, and Ad-INSM1-transduced human islets demonstrated that INSM1 occupies the endogenous insulin promoter sequence containing the INSM1-binding site in vivo. The binding of the INSM1 to the insulin promoter could suppress ∼50% of insulin message in human islets. The mechanism for transcriptional repression of the insulin gene by INSM1 is mediated through the recruitment of cyclin D1 and histone deacetylase-3 to the insulin promoter. Anti-INSM1 or anti-cyclin D1 morpholino treatment of fetal mouse pancreas enhances the insulin promoter activity. These data strongly support the view that INSM1 is a new zinc-finger transcription factor that modulates insulin gene transcription during early pancreas development.

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Wenjuan Liu, Harry Kevin Lau, Dong Ok Son, Tianru Jin, Yehong Yang, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yiming Li, Gerald Prudhomme, and Qinghua Wang

γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) improve rodent β-cell survival and function. In human β-cells, GABA exerts stimulatory effects on proliferation and anti-apoptotic effects, whereas GLP-1RA drugs have only limited effects on proliferation. We previously demonstrated that GABA and sitagliptin (Sita), a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor which increases endogenous GLP-1 levels, mediated a synergistic β-cell protective effect in mice islets. However, it remains unclear whether this combination has similar effects on human β-cell. To address this question, we transplanted a suboptimal mass of human islets into immunodeficient NOD-scid-gamma mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, and then treated them with GABA, Sita, or both. The oral administration of either GABA or Sita ameliorated blood glucose levels, increased transplanted human β-cell counts and plasma human insulin levels. Importantly, combined administration of the drugs generated significantly superior results in all these responses, as compared to the monotherapy with either one of them. Proliferation and/or regeneration, improved by the combination, were demonstrated by increased Ki67+, PDX-1+, or Nkx6.1+ β-cell numbers. Protection against apoptosis was also significantly improved by the drug combination. The expression level of α-Klotho, a protein with protective and stimulatory effects on β cells, was also augmented. Our study indicates that combined use of GABA and Sita produced greater therapeutic benefits, which are likely due to an enhancement of β-cell proliferation and a decrease in apoptosis.

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.

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Dong-Xu Han, Chang-Jiang Wang, Xu-Lei Sun, Jian-Bo Liu, Hao Jiang, Yan Gao, Cheng-Zhen Chen, Bao Yuan, and Jia-Bao Zhang

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a new class of RNA that have a stable structure characterized by covalently closed circular molecules and are involved in invasive pituitary adenomas and recurrent clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas. However, information on circRNAs in the normal pituitary, especially in rats, is limited. In this study, we identified 4123 circRNAs in the immature (D15) and mature (D120) rat anterior pituitary using the Illumina platform, and 32 differentially expressed circRNAs were found. A total of 150 Gene Ontology terms were significantly enriched, and 16 KEGG pathways were found to contain differentially expressed genes. Moreover, we randomly selected eight highly expressed circRNAs and detected their relative expression levels in the mature and immature rat pituitary by qPCR. In addition, we predicted 90 interactions between 53 circRNAs and 57 miRNAs using miRanda. Notably, circ_0000964 and circ_0001303 are potential miRNA sponges that may regulate the Fshb gene. The expression profile of circRNAs in the immature and mature rat anterior pituitary may provide more information about the roles of circRNAs in the development and reproduction in mammals.

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Hong-Hui Wang, Qian Cui, Teng Zhang, Lei Guo, Ming-Zhe Dong, Yi Hou, Zhen-Bo Wang, Wei Shen, Jun-Yu Ma, and Qing-Yuan Sun

As a fat storage organ, adipose tissue is distributed widely all over the body and is important for energy supply, body temperature maintenance, organ protection, immune regulation and so on. In humans, both underweight and overweight women find it hard to become pregnant, which suggests that appropriate fat storage can guarantee the female reproductive capacity. In fact, a large mass of adipose tissue distributes around the reproductive system both in the male and female. However, the functions of ovary fat pad (the nearest adipose tissue to ovary) are not known. In our study, we found that the ovary fat pad-removed female mice showed decreased fertility and less ovulated mature eggs. We further identified that only a small proportion of follicles developed to antral follicle, and many follicles were blocked at the secondary follicle stage. The overall secretion levels of estrogen and FSH were lower in the whole estrus cycle (especially at proestrus); however, the LH level was higher in ovary fat pad-removed mice than that in control groups. Moreover, the estrus cycle of ovary fat pad-removed mice showed significant disorder. Besides, the expression of FSH receptor decreased, but the LH receptor increased in ovary fat pad-removed mice. These results suggest that ovary fat pad is important for mouse reproduction.

Free access

Can Liu, Mian Zhang, Meng-yue Hu, Hai-fang Guo, Jia Li, Yun-li Yu, Shi Jin, Xin-ting Wang, Li Liu, and Xiao-dong Liu

Panax ginseng is one of the most popular herbal remedies. Ginsenosides, major bioactive constituents in P. ginseng, have shown good antidiabetic action, but the precise mechanism was not fully understood. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) is considered to be an important incretin that can regulate glucose homeostasis in the gastrointestinal tract after meals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ginseng total saponins (GTS) exerts its antidiabetic effects via modulating GLP1 release. Ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1), the most abundant constituent in GTS, was selected to further explore the underlying mechanisms in cultured NCI-H716 cells. Diabetic rats were developed by a combination of high-fat diet and low-dose streptozotocin injection. The diabetic rats orally received GTS (150 or 300 mg/kg) daily for 4 weeks. It was found that GTS treatment significantly ameliorated hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, accompanied by a significant increase in glucose-induced GLP1 secretion and upregulation of proglucagon gene expression. Data from NCI-H716 cells showed that both GTS and Rb1 promoted GLP1 secretion. It was observed that Rb1 increased the ratio of intracellular ATP to ADP concentration and intracellular Ca2 + concentration. The metabolic inhibitor azide (3 mM), the KATP channel opener diazoxide (340 μM), and the Ca2 + channel blocker nifedipine (20 μM) significantly reversed Rb1-mediated GLP1 secretion. All these results drew a conclusion that ginsenosides stimulated GLP1 secretion both in vivo and in vitro. The antidiabetic effects of ginsenosides may be a result of enhanced GLP1 secretion.