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Yue Yu, Rui Guo, Yunjin Zhang, Hongbo Shi, Haoran Sun, Xia Chu, Xiaoyan Wu, Huimin Lu and Changhao Sun

Chronic exposure of pancreatic β-cells to saturated fatty acid (palmitic or stearic acid) is a leading cause of impaired insulin secretion. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction remain poorly understood. Emerging evidence indicates that miRNAs are involved in various biological functions. The aim of this study was to explore the differential expression of miRNAs and mRNAs, specifically in stearic-acid-treated- relative to palmitic-acid-treated β-cells, and to establish their co-expression networks. β-TC-6 cells were treated with stearic acid, palmitic acid or normal medium for 24 h. Differentially expressed miRNAs and mRNAs were identified by high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Co-expression network, gene ontology (GO) and pathway analyses were then conducted. Changes in the expression of selected miRNAs and mRNAs were verified in β-TC-6 cells and mouse islets. Sequencing analysis detected 656 known and 1729 novel miRNAs. miRNA-mRNA network and Venn-diagram analysis yielded two differentially expressed miRNAs and 63 mRNAs exclusively in the stearic-acid group. miR-374c-5p was up-regulated by a 1.801 log2(fold-change) and miR-297b-5p was down-regulated by a −4.669 log2(fold-change). We found that miR-297b-5p and miR-374c-5p were involved in stearic-acid-induced lipotoxicity to β-TC-6 cells. Moreover, the effects of miR-297b-5p and miR-374c-5p on the alterations of candidate mRNAs expressions were verified. This study indicates that expression changes of specific miRNAs and mRNAs may contribute to stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction, which provides a preliminary basis for further functional and molecular mechanism studies of stearic-acid-induced β-cell dysfunction in the development of type 2 diabetes.

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Jie Wei, Xia Sun, Yajie Chen, Yuanyuan Li, Liqiong Song, Zhao Zhou, Bing Xu, Yi Lin and Shunqing Xu

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals, which is present ubiquitously in daily life. Accumulating evidence indicates that exposure to BPA contributes to metabolic syndrome. In this study, we examined whether perinatal exposure to BPA predisposed offspring to fatty liver disease: the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Wistar rats were exposed to 50 μg/kg per day BPA or corn oil throughout gestation and lactation by oral gavage. Offspring were fed a standard chow diet (SD) or a high-fat diet (HFD) after weaning. Effects of BPA were assessed by examination of hepatic morphology, biochemical analysis, and the hepatic expression of genes and/or proteins involved in lipogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, gluconeogenesis, insulin signaling, inflammation, and fibrosis. On a SD, the offspring of rats exposed to BPA exhibited moderate hepatic steatosis and altered expression of insulin signaling elements in the liver, but with normal liver function. On a HFD, the offspring of rats exposed to BPA showed a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-like phenotype, characterized by extensive accumulation of lipids, large lipid droplets, profound ballooning degeneration, impaired liver function, increased inflammation, and even mild fibrosis in the liver. Perinatal exposure to BPA worsened the hepatic damage caused by the HFD in the rat offspring. The additive effects of BPA correlated with higher levels of hepatic oxidative stress. Collectively, exposure to BPA may be a new risk factor for the development of fatty liver disease and further studies should assess whether this finding is also relevant to the human population.

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.