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Seiji Tsutsumi, Xi Zhang, Keiko Takata, Kazuhiro Takahashi, Richard H Karas, Hirohisa Kurachi and Michael E Mendelsohn

Estrogen has both rapid and longer term direct effects on cardiovascular tissues mediated by the two estrogen receptors, ESR1 and ESR2. Previous work identified that estrogen regulates the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2A) in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). ESR2 knockout mice have vascular dysfunction due to dysregulation of NOS2A expression and these mice are hypertensive (Zhu et al. Science 2002 295 505–508). Here, we report studies to examine the differential regulation of NOS2A gene expression by ESR1 and 2. Immunoblotting and RT-PCR studies revealed that different VSMC lines expressed different levels of ESR1 and ESR2 protein and mRNA. VSMC from different vascular beds were studied, including aortic VSMC expressing ESR1 and radial (Rad) VSMC expressing ESR2. E2 inhibited NO production and NOS2A protein expression in aortic VSMC. Human NOS2A promoter–reporter studies revealed suppression of NOS2A reporter activity by E2 in aortic VSMC, and stimulation of NOS2A reporter activity by E2 in Rad arterial VSMC. In heterologous expression studies of COS-7 cells lacking endogenous ER, E2 treatment of COS-7 cells did not alter NOS2A reporter activity in the presence of ESR1, while reporter activity increased 2.3-fold in the presence of ESR2. Similar experiments in COS-7 cells using the selective estrogen receptor modulator raloxifene showed that raloxifene caused a reduction in NOS2A reporter activity with ESR1 coexpression and an increase with ESR2 coexpression. Rat VSMC expressing ESR2 but not ESR1 also showed increased NOS2A reporter activity with E2 treatment, an effect lost when ESR1 was introduced into the cells. Taken together, these data support that hNOS2A transcription is regulated positively by ESR2 and negatively by ESR1 in VSMC, supporting differential actions of these two estrogen receptors on a physiologically relevant gene in VSMC.

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Wang Xiao, Fei Beibei, Shen Guangsi, Jiang Yu, Zhang Wen, Huang Xi and Xu Youjia

Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a metabolic disease associated with estrogen deficiency. The results of numerous studies have revealed the positive correlation between iron accumulation and postmenopausal osteoporotic status. Although the results of previous studies have indicated that estrogen or iron alone have an effect on bone metabolism, their combined effects are not well defined. Using an in vivo mouse model, we found that bone mass was minimally affected by an excess of iron in the presence of estrogen. Once the source of estrogen was removed (ovariectomy), iron accumulation significantly decreased bone mass. These effects were accompanied by fluctuations in the level of oxidative stress. To determine whether these effects were related to bone formation or bone resorption, primary osteoblasts (OBs), RAW264.7 cells, and bone-marrow-derived macrophages were used for i n vitro experiments. We found that iron accumulation did inhibit the activity of OBs. However, estrogen had little effect on this inhibition. In contrast, iron promoted osteoclast differentiation through the production of reactive oxygen species. Estrogen, a powerful reactive oxygen scavenger, suppressed this effect in osteoclasts. Our data provided direct evidence that iron affected the bone mass only in the absence of estrogen. The inhibitory effect of estrogen on iron-induced osteopenia was particularly relevant to bone resorption rather than bone formation.

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Jiali Liu, Yue Li, Xiaoyan Zhou, Xi Zhang, Hao Meng, Sanyuan Liu, Lei Zhang, Juntao He, Qian He and Yan Geng

High-fat diet (HFD) not only induces insulin resistance in liver, but also causes autophagic imbalance and metabolic disorders, increases chronic inflammatory response and induces mitochondrial dysfunction. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) has recently emerged as an important regulator of glucose metabolism and skeletal muscle insulin action. Its activation has been involved in the improvement of hepatic and adipose insulin action. But the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. In the present study, we aimed to address the direct effects of CaMKIV in vivo and to evaluate the potential interaction of impaired insulin sensitivity and autophagic disorders in hepatic insulin resistance. Our results indicated obese mice receiving CaMKIV showed decreased blood glucose and serum insulin and improved insulin sensitivity as well as increased glucose tolerance compared with vehicle injection. Meanwhile, defective hepatic autophagy activity, impaired insulin signaling, increased inflammatory response and mitochondrial dysfunction in liver tissues which are induced by high-fat diet were also effectively alleviated by injection of CaMKIV. Consistent with these results, the addition of CaMKIV to the culture medium of BNL cl.2 hepatocytes markedly restored palmitate-induced hepatic insulin resistance and autophagic imbalance. These effects were nullified by blockade of cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB), indicating the causative role of CREB in action of CaMKIV. Our findings suggested that CaMKIV restores hepatic autophagic imbalance and improves impaired insulin sensitivity via phosphorylated CREB signaling pathway, which may offer novel opportunities for treatment of obesity and diabetes.