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Open access

Ashley Patton, Tyler Church, Caroline Wilson, Jean Thuma, Douglas J Goetz, Darlene E Berryman, Edward O List, Frank Schwartz and Kelly D McCall

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of both metabolic and inflammatory diseases and has become the leading chronic liver disease worldwide. High-fat (HF) diets promote an increased uptake and storage of free fatty acids (FFAs) and triglycerides (TGs) in hepatocytes, which initiates steatosis and induces lipotoxicity, inflammation and insulin resistance. Activation and signaling of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) by FFAs induces inflammation evident in NAFLD and insulin resistance. Currently, there are no effective treatments to specifically target inflammation associated with this disease. We have established the efficacy of phenylmethimazole (C10) to prevent lipopolysaccharide and palmitate-induced TLR4 signaling. Because TLR4 is a key mediator in pro-inflammatory responses, it is a potential therapeutic target for NAFLD. Here, we show that treatment with C10 inhibits HF diet-induced inflammation in both liver and mesenteric adipose tissue measured by a decrease in mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, C10 treatment improves glucose tolerance and hepatic steatosis despite the development of obesity due to HF diet feeding. Administration of C10 after 16 weeks of HF diet feeding reversed glucose intolerance, hepatic inflammation, and improved hepatic steatosis. Thus, our findings establish C10 as a potential therapeutic for the treatment of NAFLD.

Free access

Nicoleta C Olarescu, Darlene E Berryman, Lara A Householder, Ellen R Lubbers, Edward O List, Fabian Benencia, John J Kopchick and Jens Bollerslev

GH influences adipocyte differentiation, but both stimulatory and inhibitory effects have been described. Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs) are multipotent and are able to differentiate into adipocytes, among other cells. Canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation impairs adipogenesis. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the role of GH on AT-MSC adipogenesis using cells isolated from male GH receptor knockout (GHRKO), bovine GH transgenic (bGH) mice, and wild-type littermate control (WT) mice. AT-MSCs from subcutaneous (sc), epididiymal (epi), and mesenteric (mes) AT depots were identified and isolated by flow cytometry (Pdgfrα + Sca1 + Cd45 Ter119 cells). Their in vitro adipogenic differentiation capacity was determined by cell morphology and real-time RT-PCR. Using identical in vitro conditions, adipogenic differentiation of AT-MSCs was only achieved in the sc depot, and not in epi and mes depots. Notably, we observed an increased differentiation in cells isolated from sc-GHRKO and an impaired differentiation of sc-bGH cells as compared to sc-WT cells. Axin2, a marker of Wnt/β-catenin activation, was increased in mature sc-bGH adipocytes, which suggests that activation of this pathway may be responsible for the decreased adipogenesis. Thus, the present study demonstrates that i) adipose tissue in mice has a well-defined population of Pdgfrα + Sca1 + MSCs; ii) the differentiation capacity of AT-MSCs varies from depot to depot regardless of GH genotype; iii) the lack of GH action increases adipogenesis in the sc depot; and iv) activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway might mediate the GH effect on AT-MSCs. Taken together, the present results suggest that GH diminishes fat mass in part by altering adipogenesis of MSCs.

Free access

Ellen R Lubbers, Edward O List, Adam Jara, Lucila Sackman-Sala, Jose Cordoba-Chacon, Manuel D Gahete, Rhonda D Kineman, Ravneet Boparai, Andrzej Bartke, John J Kopchick and Darlene E Berryman

Adiponectin is positively correlated with longevity and negatively correlated with many obesity-related diseases. While there are several circulating forms of adiponectin, the high-molecular-weight (HMW) version has been suggested to have the predominant bioactivity. Adiponectin gene expression and cognate serum protein levels are of particular interest in mice with altered GH signaling as these mice exhibit extremes in obesity that are positively associated with insulin sensitivity and lifespan as opposed to the typical negative association of these factors. While a few studies have reported total adiponectin levels in young adult mice with altered GH signaling, much remains unresolved, including changes in adiponectin levels with advancing age, proportion of total adiponectin in the HMW form, adipose depot of origin, and differential effects of GH vs IGF1. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to address these issues using assorted mouse lines with altered GH signaling. Our results show that adiponectin is generally negatively associated with GH activity, regardless of age. Further, the amount of HMW adiponectin is consistently linked with the level of total adiponectin and not necessarily with previously reported lifespan or insulin sensitivity of these mice. Interestingly, circulating adiponectin levels correlated strongly with inguinal fat mass, implying that the effects of GH on adiponectin are depot specific. Interestingly, rbGH, but not IGF1, decreased circulating total and HMW adiponectin levels. Taken together, these results fill important gaps in the literature related to GH and adiponectin and question the frequently reported associations of total and HMW adiponectin with insulin sensitivity and longevity.

Restricted access

Tabata M Bohlen, Thais T Zampieri, Isadora C Furigo, Pryscila D S Teixeira, Edward O List, John J Kopchick, Jose Donato Jr and Renata Frazao

Growth hormone (GH) is a key factor in the regulation of body growth, as well as a variety of other cellular and metabolic processes. Neurons expressing kisspeptin and leptin receptors (LepR) have been shown to modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and are considered GH responsive. The presence of functional GH receptors (GHR) in these neural populations suggests that GH may regulate the HPG axis via a central mechanism. However, there have been no studies evaluating whether or not GH-induced intracellular signaling in the brain plays a role in the timing of puberty or mediates the ovulatory cycle. Toward the goal of understanding the influence of GH on the central nervous system as a mediator of reproductive functions, GHR ablation was induced in kisspeptin and LepR-expressing cells or in the entire brain. The results demonstrated that GH signaling in specific neural populations can potentially modulate the hypothalamic expression of genes related to the reproductive system or indirectly contribute to the progression of puberty. GH action in kisspeptin cells or in the entire brain was not required for sexual maturation. On the other hand, GHR ablation in LepR cells delayed puberty progression, reduced serum leptin levels, decreased body weight gain and compromised the ovulatory cycle in some individuals, while the lack of GH effects in the entire brain prompted shorter estrous cycles. These findings suggest that GH can modulate brain components of the HPG axis, although central GH signaling is not required for the timing of puberty.