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Zhongyang Lu, Xiaoming Zhang, Yanchun Li, Junfei Jin, and Yan Huang

Although it has been reported that deficiency of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is associated with reduced atherosclerosis in atherosclerosis-prone mice and attenuated pro-inflammatory state in diabetic mice, it remains undetermined whether treatment with a TLR4 antagonist reduces atherosclerosis in nondiabetic or diabetic mice that have TLR4 expression. In this study, we determined the effect of Rhodobacter sphaeroides lipopolysaccharide (Rs-LPS), an established TLR4 antagonist, on early-stage atherosclerosis in nondiabetic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe−/−) mice. Analysis of atherosclerotic lesions of both en face aortas and cross sections of aortic roots showed that administration of Rs-LPS in 14-week-old diabetic Apoe−/− mice for 10 weeks significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesions. Although atherosclerotic lesions in nondiabetic Apoe−/− mice appeared to be decreased by Rs-LPS treatment, the difference was not statistically significant. Metabolic study showed that Rs-LPS significantly lowered serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in nondiabetic mice but not in diabetic mice. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry studies showed that Rs-LPS inhibited the expression of interleukin 6 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 and reduced the content of monocytes and macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques. Taken together, this study demonstrated for the first time that TLR4 antagonist inhibited vascular inflammation and atherogenesis in diabetic Apoe−/− mice and lowered serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in nondiabetic Apoe−/− mice.

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Corinne A Schuyler, Nga N Ta, Yanchun Li, Maria F Lopes-Virella, and Yan Huang

Patients with diabetes mellitus have increased mortality and morbidity of cardiovascular diseases compared with nondiabetic patients. Although clinical studies have shown that effective glycemic control with insulin treatment in patients with type 1 diabetes is associated with reduced cardiovascular events, the underlying mechanisms have not been well understood. In this study, we treated diabetic apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice with insulin for 20 weeks and studied the effect of insulin treatment on intimal lesion size and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 expression known to be involved in plaque destabilization. Results showed that insulin treatment, which effectively reduced plasma glucose level in diabetic mice, attenuated diabetes-increased intimal lesion size and significantly inhibited diabetes-increased MMP9 expression, but had no effect on tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 in atherosclerotic plaques. Furthermore, we observed that insulin treatment did not reduce diabetes-increased macrophage content but inhibited interleukin 6 expression, a stimulator for MMP expression. Taken together, this study has shown for the first time that insulin treatment in diabetic apoE−/− mice changes atherosclerotic lesions and gene expression to a state that favors plaque stability.

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Ming-sheng Ye, Liping Luo, Qi Guo, Tian Su, Peng Cheng, and Yan Huang

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is emerging as a target to beat obesity through the dissipation of chemical energy to heat. However, the molecular mechanisms of brown adipocyte thermogenesis remain to be further elucidated. Here, we show that KCTD10, a member of the polymerase delta-interacting protein 1 family, was reduced in BAT by cold stress and a β3 adrenoceptor agonist. Moreover, KCTD10 level increased in the BAT of obese mice, and KCTD10 overexpression attenuates uncoupling protein 1 expression in primary brown adipocytes. BAT-specific KCTD10 knockdown mice had increased thermogenesis and cold tolerance protecting from high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Conversely, overexpression of KCTD10 in BAT caused reduced thermogenesis, cold intolerance, and obesity. Mechanistically, inhibiting Notch signaling restored the KCTD10 overexpression-suppressed thermogenesis. Our study presents that KCTD10 serves as an upstream regulator of Notch signaling pathway to regulate BAT thermogenesis and whole-body metabolic function.

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Ya Liu, Xiaoqing Zhou, Ye Xiao, Changjun Li, Yan Huang, Qi Guo, Tian Su, Lei Fu, and Liping Luo

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the most prevalent liver disease worldwide, is characterized by liver steatosis and is often accompanied with other pathological features such as insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, and specific pharmacological agents need to be developed. Here, we investigated the role of microRNA-188 (miR-188) as a negative regulator in hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism. miR-188 was upregulated in the liver of obese mice. Loss of miR-188 alleviated diet-induced hepatosteatosis and insulin resistance. In contrast, liver-specific overexpression of miR-188 aggravated hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance during high-fat diet feeding. Mechanistically, we found that the negative effects of miR-188 on lipid and glucose metabolism were mediated by the autophagy pathway via targeting autophagy-related gene 12 (Atg12). Furthermore, suppressing miR-188 in the liver of obese mice improved liver steatosis and insulin resistance. Taken together, our findings reveal a new regulatory role of miR-188 in glucose and lipid metabolism through the autophagy pathway, and provide a therapeutic insight for NAFLD.

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Alena Nareika, Yeong-Bin Im, Bryan A Game, Elizabeth H Slate, John J Sanders, Steven D London, Maria F Lopes-Virella, and Yan Huang

We have demonstrated recently that high glucose augments lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and cytokine expression by U937 mononuclear cells and human monocyte-derived macrophages. Since CD14 is a receptor for LPS, one potential underlying mechanism is that high glucose enhances CD14 expression. In the present study, we determined the effect of high glucose on CD14 expression by U937 mononuclear cells. After being chronically exposed to normal or high glucose for 2 weeks or longer, cells were treated with LPS for 24 h. Real-time PCR showed that although high glucose by itself did not increase CD14 expression significantly, it augmented LPS-stimulated CD14 expression by 15-fold. Immunoassay showed a marked enhancement of both membrane-associated and soluble CD14 protein levels by high glucose. Further investigations using transcription factor activity assays and gel shift assays revealed that high glucose augmented LPS-stimulated CD14 expression by enhancing transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NFκB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) activities. Finally, studies using anti-CD14 neutralizing antibody showed that CD14 expression is essential for the enhancement of LPS-stimulated MMP-1 expression by high glucose. Taken together, this study has demonstrated a robust augmentation by high glucose of LPS-stimulated CD14 expression through AP-1 and NFκB transcriptional activity enhancement, elucidating a new mechanism by which hyperglycemia boosts LPS-elicited gene expression involved in inflammation and tissue destruction.

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Yan-Hong Bu, Yu-Ling He, Hou-De Zhou, Wei Liu, Dan Peng, Ai-Guo Tang, Ling-Li Tang, Hui Xie, Qiu-Xia Huang, Xiang-Hang Luo, and Er-Yuan Liao

Insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) is an essential molecule for the intracellular signaling of IGF1 and insulin, which are potent anabolic regulators of bone metabolism. Osteoblastic IRS1 is essential for maintaining bone turnover; however, the mechanism underlying this regulation remains unclear. To clarify the role of IRS1 in bone metabolism, we employed RNA interference to inhibit IRS1 gene expression and observed the effects of silencing this gene on the proliferation and differentiation of and the expression of matrix metallopeptidase (MMP) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, member 11b (TNFRSF11B) in MC3T3-E1 cells. Our results showed that IRS1 short hairpin RNAs can effectively suppress the expression of IRS1, and inhibit the phosphorylation of AKT in IRS1 pathway; reduce the expression of MMP2, MMP3, MMP13, and MMP14, decrease the expression of TNFRSF11B and RANKL (also known as tumor necrosis factor (ligand) superfamily, member 11), however increase the RANKL/TNFRSF11B ratio; decrease cell survival, proliferation, and mineralization, and impair the differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells. The downregulation of IRS1 had no effect on the expression of MMP1. Our findings suggest that IRS1 not only promotes bone formation and mineralization but also might play roles in bone resorption partly via the regulation of MMPs and RANKL/TNFRSF11B ratio, thus regulates the bone turnover.