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Feng Ye, Bingyin Shi, Xiaoyan Wu, Peng Hou, Lei Gao, Xiaodan Ma, Li Xu and Liping Wu

CD40 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Graves' disease (GD). Inhibition of CD40 expression may be a promising treatment for GD. In this study, we used an animal model to investigate whether lentivirus expressing siRNA for CD40 (LV-CD40-siRNA) could be useful for the therapy of GD. BALB/c mice were injected with PBS alone (PBS group), negative lentivirus (control siRNA group), or LV-CD40-siRNA (CD40 siRNA group), 3 days before being treated with adenovirus expressing human TSHR A subunit (Ad-TSHR289) three times at 3-week intervals to induce GD model. Sera thyroxine (T4) levels were assayed by RIA. The expression of CD40 was detected at the mRNA level by real-time PCR and protein level by flow cytometry. The expression of CD40, CD80, and CD86 was significantly decreased in the CD40 siRNA group (P<0.05), while FOXP3 expression was increased compared to the control siRNA group (P=0.05). Mean T4 levels were decreased 14% in the CD40 siRNA group compared to the control siRNA group. The rate of disease induction was similar among the three groups injected with Ad-TSHR289. LV-CD40-siRNA is a useful tool to inhibit the expression of CD40 in vivo, but it cannot decrease the incidence of hyperthyroidism in a limited period of time.

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Lei Ye, Xiaoying Li, Xiangyin Kong, Weiqing Wang, Yufang Bi, Landian Hu, Bin Cui, Xi Li and Guang Ning

The ectopic ACTH syndrome is caused by abnormal expression of the POMC gene product arising from non-pituitary tumors in response to the ectopic activation of the pituitary-specific promoter of this gene. It has been proved that methylation of the CpG island in the promoter region is associated with silencing of some genes. Using bisulphite sequencing, we identified hypermethylation in the 5′ promoter region of the POMC gene in three normal thymuses and one large cell lung cancer, and hypomethylation in five thymic carcinoid tumors resected from patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome. The region undergoing hypermethylation was narrowed to coordinates −417 to −260 of the POMC promoter. Furthermore, we observed that the levels of POMC expression correlated with the methylation density at −417 to −260 bp across the E2 transcription factor binding region of the POMC promoter. It is concluded that hypomethylation of the POMC promoter in thymic carcinoids correlates with POMC overexpression and the ectopic ACTH syndrome.

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Ya Liu, Xiaoqing Zhou, Ye Xiao, Changjun Li, Yan Huang, Qi Guo, Tian Su, Lei Fu and Liping Luo

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the most prevalent liver disease worldwide, is characterized by liver steatosis and is often accompanied with other pathological features such as insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, and specific pharmacological agents need to be developed. Here, we investigated the role of microRNA-188 (miR-188) as a negative regulator in hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism. miR-188 was upregulated in the liver of obese mice. Loss of miR-188 alleviated diet-induced hepatosteatosis and insulin resistance. In contrast, liver-specific overexpression of miR-188 aggravated hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance during high-fat diet feeding. Mechanistically, we found that the negative effects of miR-188 on lipid and glucose metabolism were mediated by the autophagy pathway via targeting autophagy-related gene 12 (Atg12). Furthermore, suppressing miR-188 in the liver of obese mice improved liver steatosis and insulin resistance. Taken together, our findings reveal a new regulatory role of miR-188 in glucose and lipid metabolism through the autophagy pathway, and provide a therapeutic insight for NAFLD.

Free access

Lei Li, Ping Ma, Chen Huang, Yongjun Liu, Ye Zhang, Chen Gao, Tianxia Xiao, Pei-Gen Ren, Brian A Zabel and Jian V Zhang

The novel adipokine chemerin plays a role in the regulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and recent reports of elevated chemerin levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome and preeclampsia have pointed to an emerging role of chemerin in reproduction. We hypothesised that chemerin, like other adipokines, may function to regulate male gonadal steroidogenesis. In this study, we show that chemerin and its three receptors chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1), G-protein-coupled receptor 1 (GPR1) and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor-like 2 were expressed in male reproductive tracts, liver and white adipose tissue. CMKLR1 and GPR1 proteins were localised specifically in the Leydig cells of human and rat testes by immunohistochemistry. The expression of chemerin and its receptors in rat testes was developmentally regulated and highly expressed in Leydig cells. In vitro treatment with chemerin suppressed the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced testosterone production from primary Leydig cells, which was accompanied by the inhibition of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase gene and protein expression. The hCG-activated p44/42 MAPK (Erk1/2) pathway in Leydig cells was also inhibited by chemerin cotreatment. Together, these data suggest that chemerin is a novel regulator of male gonadal steroidogenesis.

Open access

Qinglei Yin, Liyun Shen, Yicheng Qi, Dalong Song, Lei Ye, Ying Peng, Yanqiu Wang, Zhou Jin, Guang Ning, Weiqing Wang, Dongping Lin and Shu Wang

SIRT1, a class III histone/protein deacetylase (HDAC), has been associated with autoimmune diseases. There is a paucity of data about the role of SIRT1 in Graves’ disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of SIRT1 in the pathogenesis of GD. Here, we showed that SIRT1 expression and activity were significantly decreased in GD patients compared with healthy controls. The NF-κB pathway was activated in the peripheral blood of GD patients. The reduced SIRT1 levels correlated strongly with clinical parameters. In euthyroid patients, SIRT1 expression was markedly upregulated and NF-κB downstream target gene expression was significantly reduced. SIRT1 inhibited the NF-κB pathway activity by deacetylating P65. These results demonstrate that reduced SIRT1 expression and activity contribute to the activation of the NF-κB pathway and may be involved in the pathogenesis of GD.

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Ziping Jiang, Junduo Wu, Fuzhe Ma, Jun Jiang, Linlin Xu, Lei Du, Wenlin Huang, Zhaohui Wang, Ye Jia, Laijin Lu and Hao Wu

Over a half of the diabetic individuals develop macrovascular complications that cause high mortality. Oxidative stress (OS) promotes endothelial dysfunction (ED) which is a critical early step toward diabetic macrovascular complications. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a master regulator of cellular antioxidant defense system and combats diabetes-induced OS. Previously, we found that impaired NRF2 antioxidant signaling contributed to diabetes-induced endothelial OS and dysfunction in mice. The present study has investigated the effect of microRNA-200a (miR-200a) on NRF2 signaling and diabetic ED. In aortic endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice, high glucose (HG) reduced miR-200a levels and increased the expression of kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) – a target of miR-200a and a negative regulator of NRF2. This led to the inactivation of NRF2 signaling and exacerbation of OS and inflammation. miR-200a mimic (miR-200a-M) or inhibitor modulated KEAP1/NRF2 antioxidant signaling and manipulated OS and inflammation under HG conditions. These effects were completely abolished by knockdown of Keap1, indicating that Keap1 mRNA is a major target of miR-200a. Moreover, the protective effect of miR-200a-M was completely abrogated in aortic ECs isolated from C57BL/6 Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice, demonstrating that NRF2 is required for miR-200a’s actions. In vivo, miR-200a-M inhibited aortic Keap1 expression, activated NRF2 signaling, and attenuated hyperglycemia-induced OS, inflammation and ED in the WT, but not Nrf2 KO, mice. Therefore, the present study has uncovered miR-200a/KEAP1/NRF2 signaling that controls aortic endothelial antioxidant capacity, which protects against diabetic ED.