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Stephan Werth, Helge Müller-Fielitz, and Walter Raasch

Aldosterone has been identified as an important factor in obesity-associated hypertension. Here, we investigated whether sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which has previously been linked to obesity, increases aldosterone release. S1P-induced aldosterone release was determined in NCI H295R cells in the presence of S1P receptor (S1PR) antagonists. In vivo release of S1P (100–300 µg/kgbw) was investigated in pithed, lean Sprague Dawley (SD) rats, diet-obese spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHRs), as well as in lean or obese Zucker rats. Aldosterone secretion was increased in NCI H295R cells by S1P, the selective S1PR1 agonist SEW2871 and the selective S1PR2 antagonist JTE013. Treatment with the S1PR1 antagonist W146 or fingolimod and the S1PR1/3 antagonist VPbib2319 decreased baseline and/or S1P-stimulated aldosterone release. Compared to saline-treated SD rats, plasma aldosterone increased by ~50 pg/mL after infusing S1P. Baseline levels of S1P and aldosterone were higher in obese than in lean SHRs. Adrenal S1PR expression did not differ between chow- or CD-fed rats that had the highest S1PR1 and lowest S1PR4 levels. S1P induced a short-lasting increase in plasma aldosterone in obese, but not in lean SHRs. However, 2-ANOVA did not demonstrate any difference between lean and obese rats. S1P-induced aldosterone release was also similar between obese and lean Zucker rats. We conclude that S1P is a local regulator of aldosterone production. S1PR1 agonism induces an increase in aldosterone secretion, while stimulating adrenal S1PR2 receptor suppresses aldosterone production. A significant role of S1P in influencing aldosterone secretion in states of obesity seems unlikely.

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Viktorija Gustaityte, Martina Winkler, Ines Stölting, and Walter Raasch

Based on findings that treatment with AT1 receptor blocker (ARB) prevents diet-induced obesity and that the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis is stimulated by AngII and blocked by ARBs, we aimed to investigate whether ARB treatment can reduce stress-induced eating of cafeteria diet (CD), thus contributing to alterations in eating behavior. Sprague–Dawley rats were fed with chow or CD and treated with telmisartan (TEL, 8 mg/kg/day) or vehicle. At weeks 2 and 12, rats were stressed over five consecutive days by restraint stress (RS, 4 h) and by additional shaking at d5. Tail blood was sampled during RS to determine hormone levels. During the first period of RS, ACTH and corticosterone responses were diminished at d5 in CD- compared to chow-fed rats. Independently of feeding, TEL did not reduce stress hormones. Compared to food behavior before RS, the stress-induced CD eating increased in controls but remained unchanged in TEL-treated rats. After 12 weeks, TEL reduced weight gain and energy intake, particularly in CD-fed rats. Similar to the first RS period, corticosterone response was reduced in CD-fed rats at d5 during the second RS period. TEL did not further reduce stress hormones and did not lessen the CD eating upon RS. We conclude that CD feeding compensates for stress reactions. However, stress-induced CD eating was only reduced by TEL after short term, but not after long-term drug treatment. Thus, the potency of ARBs to lower HPA activity only plays a minor role in reducing energy intake to prevent obesity.

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Helge Müller, Juliane Kröger, Olaf Jöhren, Silke Szymczak, Michael Bader, Peter Dominiak, and Walter Raasch

AT1 blockers attenuate hypothalamo-pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity in hypertension independently of their potency to lower blood pressure. A reduced pituitary sensitivity to CRH and a downregulation of hypothalamic CRH expression have been suggested to influence HPA axis activity during chronic AT1 blockade. This study was aimed at confirming the role of central angiotensin II in regulating HPA reactivity by using the transgenic rat TGR(ASrAOGEN), a model featuring low levels of brain angiotensinogen. Different stress tests were performed to determine HPA reactivity in TGR(ASrAOGEN) and appropriate controls. In TGR(ASrAOGEN), blood pressure was diminished compared to controls. The corticosterone response to a CRH or ACTH challenge and a forced swim test was more distinct in TGR(ASrAOGEN) than it was in controls and occurred independently of a concurrent enhancement in ACTH. Using quantitative real-time PCR, we found increased mRNA levels of melanocortin 2 (Mc2r) and AT2 receptors (Agtr2) in the adrenals of TGR(ASrAOGEN), whereas mRNA levels of Crh, Pomc, and AT1 receptors (Agtr1) remained unchanged in hypothalami and pituitary glands. Since stress responses were increased rather than attenuated in TGR(ASrAOGEN), we conclude that the reduced HPA reactivity during AT1 blockade could not be mimicked in a specific transgenic rat model featuring a centrally inactivated renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. The ACTH independency of the enhanced corticosterone release during CRH test and the enhanced corticosterone response to ACTH rather indicates an adrenal mechanism. The upregulation of adrenal MC2 and AT2 receptors seems to be involved in the stimulated facilitation of adrenal corticosterone release for effectuating the stimulated stress responses.

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Elias Rawish, Laura Nickel, Franziska Schuster, Ines Stölting, Alex Frydrychowicz, Kathrin Saar, Norbert Hübner, Alaa Othman, Lars Kuerschner, and Walter Raasch

The AT1 receptor blocker telmisartan (TEL) prevents diet-induced obesity. Hypothalamic lipid metabolism is functionally important for energy homeostasis, as a surplus of lipids induces an inflammatory response in the hypothalamus, thus promoting the development of central leptin resistance. However, it is unclear as to whether TEL treatment affects the lipid status in the hypothalamus. C57BL/6N mice were fed with chow (CONchow) or high-fat diet (CONHFD). HFD-fed mice were gavaged with TEL (8 mg/kg/day, 12 weeks, TELHFD). Mice were phenotyped regarding weight gain, energy homeostasis, and glucose control. Hypothalamic lipid droplets were analyzed by fluorescence microscopy. Lipidomics were assessed by performing liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in plasma and hypothalami. Adipokines were investigated using immunosorbent assays. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was determined by Western blotting and immunohistochemical imaging. We found that body weight, energy homeostasis, and glucose control of TEL-treated mice remained normal while CONHFD became obese. Hypothalamic ceramide and triglyceride levels as well as alkyne oleate distribution were normalized in TELHFD. The lipid droplet signal in the tanycyte layer was higher in CONHFD than in CONchow and returned to normal under TELHFD conditions. High hypothalamic levels of GFAP protein indicate astrogliosis of CONHFD mice while normalized GFAP, TNFα, and IL1α levels of TELHFD mice suggest that TEL prevents hypothalamic inflammation. In conclusion, TEL has anti-obese efficacy and prevented lipid accumulation and lipotoxicity, which is accompanied by an anti-inflammatory effect in the murine hypothalamus. Our findings support the notion that a brain-related mechanism is involved in TEL-induced weight loss.