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Open access

Ya-Li Yang, Li-Rong Ren, Li-Feng Sun, Chen Huang, Tian-Xia Xiao, Bao-Bei Wang, Jie Chen, Brian A Zabel, Peigen Ren and Jian V Zhang

Chemerin, a chemokine, plays important roles in immune responses, inflammation, adipogenesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. Our recent research has shown that chemerin has an inhibitory effect on hormone secretion from the testis and ovary. However, whether G protein-coupled receptor 1 (GPR1), the active receptor for chemerin, regulates steroidogenesis and luteolysis in the corpus luteum is still unknown. In this study, we established a pregnant mare serum gonadotropin-human chorionic gonadotropin (PMSG-hCG) superovulation model, a prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) luteolysis model, and follicle and corpus luteum culture models to analyze the role of chemerin signaling through GPR1 in the synthesis and secretion of gonadal hormones during follicular/luteal development and luteolysis. Our results, for the first time, show that chemerin and GPR1 are both differentially expressed in the ovary over the course of the estrous cycle, with highest levels in estrus and metestrus. GPR1 has been localized to granulosa cells, cumulus cells, and the corpus luteum by immunohistochemistry (IHC). In vitro, we found that chemerin suppresses hCG-induced progesterone production in cultured follicle and corpus luteum and that this effect is attenuated significantly by anti-GPR1 MAB treatment. Furthermore, when the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway was blocked, the attenuating effect of GPR1 MAB was abrogated. Interestingly, PGF2α induces luteolysis through activation of caspase-3, leading to a reduction in progesterone secretion. Treatment with GPR1 MAB blocked the PGF2α effect on caspase-3 expression and progesterone secretion. This study indicates that chemerin/GPR1 signaling directly or indirectly regulates progesterone synthesis and secretion during the processes of follicular development, corpus luteum formation, and PGF2α-induced luteolysis.

Free access

Ida Alenkvist, Oleg Dyachok, Geng Tian, Jia Li, Saba Mehrabanfar, Yang Jin, Bryndis Birnir, Anders Tengholm and Michael Welsh

The Src homology-2 domain containing protein B (SHB) has previously been shown to function as a pleiotropic adapter protein, conveying signals from receptor tyrosine kinases to intracellular signaling intermediates. The overexpression of Shb in β-cells promotes β-cell proliferation by increased insulin receptor substrate (IRS) and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activity, whereas Shb deficiency causes moderate glucose intolerance and impaired first-peak insulin secretion. Using an array of techniques, including live-cell imaging, patch-clamping, immunoblotting, and semi-quantitative PCR, we presently investigated the causes of the abnormal insulin secretory characteristics in Shb-knockout mice. Shb-knockout islets displayed an abnormal signaling signature with increased activities of FAK, IRS, and AKT. β-catenin protein expression was elevated and it showed increased nuclear localization. However, there were no major alterations in the gene expression of various proteins involved in the β-cell secretory machinery. Nor was Shb deficiency associated with changes in glucose-induced ATP generation or cytoplasmic Ca2 + handling. In contrast, the glucose-induced rise in cAMP, known to be important for the insulin secretory response, was delayed in the Shb-knockout compared with WT control. Inhibition of FAK increased the submembrane cAMP concentration, implicating FAK activity in the regulation of insulin exocytosis. In conclusion, Shb deficiency causes a chronic increase in β-cell FAK activity that perturbs the normal insulin secretory characteristics of β-cells, suggesting multi-faceted effects of FAK on insulin secretion depending on the mechanism of FAK activation.

Free access

Shibin Ding, Ying Fan, Nana Zhao, Huiqin Yang, Xiaolei Ye, Dongliang He, Xin Jin, Jian Liu, Chong Tian, Hongyu Li, Shunqing Xu and Chenjiang Ying

Epidemiological findings on the association between bisphenol A (BPA, 2,2-bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane) exposure and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are paradoxical. In animal studies, BPA has been shown to disrupt pancreatic function and blood glucose homeostasis even at a reference ‘safe’ level during perinatal period. In this study, we explored the effects of long-term paternal exposure to a ‘safe’ level of BPA on parents themselves and their offspring. Adult male genitor rats fed with either standard chow diet (STD) or high-fat diet (HFD) were treated respectively with either vehicle or BPA (50 μg/kg per day) for 35 weeks. The male rats treated with vehicle or BPA for 21 weeks were then used as sires, and the adult female rats were fed with STD during the gestation and lactation. Offspring rats were weaned on postnatal day 21 and fed with STD in later life. Metabolic parameters were recorded on the adult male rats and their adult offspring. BPA exposure disrupted glucose homeostasis and pancreatic function, and HFD aggravated these adverse effects. However, BPA exposure did not alter body weight, body fat percentage, or serum lipid. In addition, the paternal BPA exposure did not cause adverse reproductive consequence or metabolic disorder in the adult offspring. Our findings indicate that chronic exposure to a predicted ‘safe’ dose of BPA contributes to glucose metabolic disorders, and that HFD aggravates these adverse effects in paternal rats.

Free access

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.

Restricted access

Jing Zhou, Honggui Li, Yuli Cai, Linqiang Ma, Destiny Matthews, Bangchao Lu, Bilian Zhu, Yanming Chen, Xiaoxian Qian, Xiaoqiu Xiao, Qifu Li, Shaodong Guo, Yuqing Huo, Liang Zhao, Yanan Tian, Qingsheng Li and Chaodong Wu

Adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) exerts a protective role in obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Here, we examined whether A2AR protects against non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In C57BL/6J mice, feeding a methionine- and choline-deficient diet (MCD) resulted in significant weight loss, overt hepatic steatosis, and massive aggregation of macrophages in the liver compared with mice fed a chow diet. MCD feeding also significantly increased the numbers of A2AR-positive macrophages/Kupffer cells in liver sections although decreasing A2AR amount in liver lysates compared with chow diet feeding. Next, MCD-induced NASH phenotype was examined in A2AR-disrupted mice and control mice. Upon MCD feeding, A2AR-disruptd mice and control mice displayed comparable decreases in body weight and fat mass. However, MCD-fed A2AR-disrupted mice revealed greater liver weight and increased severity of hepatic steatosis compared with MCD-fed control mice. Moreover, A2AR-disupted mice displayed increased severity of MCD-induced liver inflammation, indicated by massive aggregation of macrophages and increased phosphorylation states of Jun-N terminal kinase (JNK) p46 and nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) p65 and mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1 beta, and interleukin-6. In vitro, incubation with MCD-mimicking media increased lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced phosphorylation states of JNK p46 and/or NFκB p65 and cytokine mRNAs in control macrophages and RAW264.7 cells, but not primary hepatocytes. Additionally, MCD-mimicking media significantly increased lipopolysaccharide-induced phosphorylation states of p38 and NFκB p65 in A2AR-deficient macrophages, but insignificantly decreased lipopolysaccharide-induced phosphorylation states of JNK p46 and NFκB p65 in A2AR-deficient hepatocytes. Collectively, these results suggest that A2AR disruption exacerbates MCD-induced NASH, which is attributable to, in large part, increased inflammatory responses in macrophages.

Restricted access

Dan Wang, Chu-Dan Liu, Meng-Li Tian, Cheng-Quan Tan, Gang Shu, Qing-Yan Jiang, Lin Zhang and Yu-Long Yin

Dietary fibers and their microbial fermentation products short-chain fatty acids promote metabolic benefits, but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Recent studies indicate that intestinal lipid handling is under regulatory control and has broad influence on whole body energy homeostasis. Here we reported that dietary inulin and propionate significantly decreased whole body fat mass without affecting food intake in mice fed with chow diet. Meanwhile, triglyceride (TG) content was decreased and lipolysis gene expression, such as adipose triglyceride lipase (A tgl), hormone-sensitive lipase (H sl) and lysosomal acid lipase (L al) was elevated in the jejunum and ileum of inulin- and propionate-treated mice. In vitro studies on Caco-2 cells showed propionate directly induced enterocyte Atgl, Hsl and Lal gene expression and decreased TG content, via activation of phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (p-AMPK) and lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). Moreover, inulin and propionate could increase intestinal lipolysis under high-fat diet (HFD)-fed condition which contributed to the prevention of HFD-induced obesity. Our study suggests that dietary fiber inulin and its microbial fermentation product propionate can regulate metabolic homeostasis through regulating intestinal lipid handling, which may provide a novel therapeutic target for both prevention and treatment of obesity.

Open access

Shisan Xu, Fangjing Xie, Li Tian, Samane Fallah, Fatemeh Babaei, Sinai HC Manno, Francis A. M. Manno III, Lina Zhu, Kin Fung Wong, Yimin Liang, Rajkumar Ramalingam, Lei Sun, Xin Wang, Rorbert Plumb, Lee Gethings, Yun Wah Lam and Skuk Han Cheng

Sexual differences have been observed in the onset and prognosis of human cardiovascular diseases, but the underlying mechanisms are not clear. Here, we found that zebrafish heart regeneration is faster in females, can be accelerated by estrogen and is suppressed by the estrogen-antagonist tamoxifen. Injuries to the zebrafish heart, but not other tissues, increased plasma estrogen levels and the expression of estrogen receptors, especially esr2a. The resulting endocrine disruption induces the expression of the female-specific protein vitellogenin in male zebrafish. Transcriptomic analyses suggested heart injuries triggered pronounced immune and inflammatory responses in females. These responses, previously shown to elicit heart regeneration, could be enhanced by estrogen treatment in males and reduced by tamoxifen in females. Furthermore, a prior exposure to estrogen preconditioned the zebrafish heart for an accelerated regeneration. Altogether, this study reveals that heart regeneration is modulated by an estrogen-inducible inflammatory response to cardiac injury. These findings elucidate a previously unknown layer of control in zebrafish heart regeneration and provide a new model system for the study of sexual differences in human cardiac repair.