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Jacob Jelsing, Niels Vrang, Søren B van Witteloostuijn, Michael Mark, and Thomas Klein

Recent data indicate that dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitors have anti-inflammatory and β-cell-sparing effects in animal models of type 1 diabetes. To evaluate the effects of the DPP4 inhibitor linagliptin on β-cell mass and insulinitis, we examined the progression of diabetes (blood glucose >11 mmol/l) in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice with terminal stereological assessment of cellular pancreatic changes. Female NOD mice were fed a normal chow diet or a diet containing linagliptin 0.083 g/kg chow for 60 days. At study end, the incidence of diabetes in linagliptin-treated mice was reduced by almost 50% compared with vehicle (10 of 31 mice vs 18 of 30 mice, P=0.021). The total islet mass and total β-cell mass, identified by insulin immunoreactivity, were greater in non-diabetic linagliptin-treated mice compared with non-diabetic vehicle-treated mice (P<0.01 for both) but were greatly reduced in diabetic mice irrespective of treatment. No changes were seen in the α, δ and γ endocrine cell pool. Moreover, the total mass of lymphocyte insulinitis was significantly reduced in linagliptin-treated mice compared with vehicle. The data indicate that linagliptin treatment delays the onset of diabetes in NOD mice by protecting β-cell mass.

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Cun Li, Thomas J McDonald, Guoyao Wu, Mark J Nijland, and Peter W Nathanielsz

Neurons controlling appetite are located in the hypothalamic arcuate nuclei (ARH). Offspring appetite regulation has been shown to be modified by dysregulation of ARH nuclear development. Most ARH developmental studies have been in altricial rodents whose hypothalamic development is predominantly postnatal. In primates including humans, much development of hypothalamic appetite regulatory centers occurs before birth. We hypothesized that i) appetitive peptides are abundantly expressed by 90 percent gestation (0.9G), ready for postnatal function; ii) by 0.9G, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) increases the orexigenic:anorexigenic peptide ratio; iii) IUGR increases fetal glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression; and iv) IUGR decreases STAT3, which signals inhibition of appetite. We developed a fetal baboon IUGR model resulting from reduced maternal nutrition. Pregnant baboons were fed ad libitum, controls (CTR; n=24), or 70% CTR diet to produce IUGR (n=14). C-section was performed at 0.9G. In CTR (n=7) and IUGR (n=6) fetal brains, ARH appetite regulatory peptides (neuropeptide Y (NPY) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC)) were quantified immunohistochemically. Fetal plasma cortisol was raised in IUGR fetuses. We observed that NPY and POMC were well expressed by 0.9G. IUGR increased NPY, GR, and active phosphorylated GR and decreased POMC and phosphorylated form of STAT3. We conclude that IUGR dysregulates ARH development in ways that will reset the appetitive neuropeptide balance in favor of increased appetite drive in postnatal life. We postulate that changes in peptide abundance are in part due to increased fetal cortisol and ARH GR. These changes may contribute to predisposition to obesity in IUGR offspring.

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Ryan G Paul, Kim Whiteman, Shelley J Falconer, Jenny Oldham, Ferenc Jeanplong, Kenneth G Matthews, Heather K Smith, Mark Thomas, Trevor Watson, and Christopher D McMahon

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) is crucial for regulating post-natal growth and, along with myostatin, regulates muscle size. Here, we sought to clarify the roles of these two genes in regulating sexually dimorphic growth of body and muscle mass. In the first study, we established that Igf1 mRNA was increased to a greater extent and Igf1 receptor mRNA increased earlier in male, than in female, gastrocnemius muscles during the rapid phase of growth (2 to 6 weeks), but were unchanged, thereafter, to 32 weeks of age in wild-type mice (P<0.001). In the second study, we sought to determine if supplemental IGF1 could overcome the sexual dimorphism of muscle and body mass, when myostatin is absent. We crossed myostatin null (Mstn-/-) mice with mice over-expressing Igf1 in skeletal muscle (Igf1+) to generate six genotypes; control (Mstn+/+), Mstn+/-, Mstn-/-, Mstn+/+:Igf1+, Mstn+/-:Igf1+ and Mstn-/-:Igf1+ (n=8 per genotype and sex). In both sexes, body mass at 12 weeks was increased by at least 1.6-fold and muscle mass by at least 3-fold in Mstn-/-:Igf1+ compared with Mstn+/+ mice (P<0.001). The abundance of Akt was increased in muscles of mice transgenic for Mstn, while phosphorylation of AktS473 was increased in both male and female mice transgenic for Igf1+. The ratio of phosphorylated to total Akt was 1.9-fold greater in male mice (P<0.001). Thus, despite increased growth of skeletal muscle and body size when myostatin was absent and IGF1 was in excess, sexual dimorphism persisted, an effect consistent with greater IGF1-induced activation of Akt in skeletal muscles of males.