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Min Lu and Reigh-Yi Lin

Although TSH is the main regulator of thyroid growth and function, TSH binding activity in fat has long been reported. Since the TSH receptor (TSHR) has been detected in both preadipocytes and adipocytes, we hypothesized that it may play a role in adipose differentiation. Here, we use an in vitro model of adipogenesis from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells to define TSH function. Directed differentiation of ES cells into the adipose lineage can be achieved over a 3-week period. Although adipocyte differentiation is initiated early in the development of cultured ES cells, TSHR up-regulation is precisely correlated with terminal differentiation of those adipocytes. The adipocytes express TSHR on the cell surface and respond to TSH with increased intracellular cAMP production, suggesting the activation of the protein kinase A signaling pathway. To determine whether TSH impacts adipogenesis, we examined how adipocytes responded to TSH at various points during their differentiation from cultured ES cells. We found that TSH greatly increases adipogenesis when added in the presence of adipogenic factors. More importantly, our data suggest that TSH also stimulates adipogenesis in cultured ES cells even in the absence of adipogenic factors. This finding provides the first evidence of TSH being a pro-adipogenic factor that converts ES cells into adipocytes. It further highlights the potential of ES cells as a model system for use in the study of TSH's role in the regulation of physiologically relevant adipose tissue.

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Laura E Pascal, Khalid Z Masoodi, June Liu, Xiaonan Qiu, Qiong Song, Yujuan Wang, Yachen Zang, Tiejun Yang, Yao Wang, Lora H Rigatti, Uma Chandran, Leandro M Colli, Ricardo Z N Vencio, Yi Lu, Jian Zhang and Zhou Wang

Elongation factor, RNA polymerase II, 2 (ELL2) is an RNA Pol II elongation factor with functional properties similar to ELL that can interact with the prostate tumor suppressor EAF2. In the prostate, ELL2 is an androgen response gene that is upregulated in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). We recently showed that ELL2 loss could enhance prostate cancer cell proliferation and migration, and that ELL2 gene expression was downregulated in high Gleason score prostate cancer specimens. Here, prostate-specific deletion of ELL2 in a mouse model revealed a potential role for ELL2 as a prostate tumor suppressor in vivo. Ell2-knockout mice exhibited prostatic defects including increased epithelial proliferation, vascularity and PIN lesions similar to the previously determined prostate phenotype in Eaf2-knockout mice. Microarray analysis of prostates from Ell2-knockout and wild-type mice on a C57BL/6J background at age 3 months and qPCR validation at 17 months of age revealed a number of differentially expressed genes associated with proliferation, cellular motility and epithelial and neural differentiation. OncoPrint analysis identified combined downregulation or deletion in prostate adenocarcinoma cases from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data portal. These results suggest that ELL2 and its pathway genes likely play an important role in the development and progression of prostate cancer.

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Li Zhao, Chunfang Zhu, Meng Lu, Chi Chen, Xiaomin Nie, Buatikamu Abudukerimu, Kun Zhang, Zhiyuan Ning, Yi Chen, Jing Cheng, Fangzhen Xia, Ningjian Wang, Michael D Jensen and Yingli Lu

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) are an ideal therapy for type 2 diabetes and, as of recently, for obesity. In contrast to visceral fat, subcutaneous fat appears to be protective against metabolic diseases. Here, we aimed to explore whether liraglutide, a GLP-1RA, could redistribute body fat via regulating lipid metabolism in different fat depots. After being fed a high-fat diet for 8 weeks, 50 male Wistar and Goto-Kakizaki rats were randomly divided into a normal control group, a diabetic control group, low- and high-dose liraglutide-treated groups and a diet-control group. Different doses of liraglutide (400 μg/kg/day or 1200 μg/kg/day) or an equal volume of normal saline were administered to the rats subcutaneously once a day for 12 weeks. Body composition and body fat deposition were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and MRI. Isotope tracers were infused to explore lipid metabolism in different fat depots. Quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analyses were conducted to evaluate the expression of adipose-related genes. The results showed that liraglutide decreased visceral fat and relatively increased subcutaneous fat. Lipogenesis was reduced in visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) but was elevated in subcutaneous WAT. Lipolysis was also attenuated, and fatty acid oxidation was enhanced. The mRNA expression levels of adipose-related genes in different tissues displayed similar trends after liraglutide treatment. In addition, the expression of browning-related genes was upregulated in subcutaneous WAT. Taken together, the results suggested that liraglutide potentially redistributes body fat and promotes browning remodeling in subcutaneous WAT to improve metabolic disorders.

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Qiongge Zhang, Chaoqun Wang, Yehua Tang, Qiangqiang Zhu, Yongcheng Li, Haiyan Chen, Yi Bao, Song Xue, Liangliang Sun, Wei Tang, Xiangfang Chen, Yongquan Shi, Lefeng Qu, Bin Lu and Jiaoyang Zheng

Hyperglycemia plays a major role in the development of diabetic macrovascular complications, including atherosclerosis and restenosis, which are responsible for the most of disability and mortality in diabetic patients. Osteopontin (OPN) is an important factor involved in atherogenesis, and hyperglycemia enhances the transcriptional activity of FoxO1 which is closely association with insulin resistance and diabetes. Here, we showed that plasma OPN levels were significantly elevated in type 2 diabetic patients and positively correlated with glycated albumin (GA). The more atherosclerotic lesions were observed in the aorta of diabetic ApoE−/− mice analyzed by Sudan IV staining. High glucose increased both the mRNA and protein expression levels of OPN and inhibited the phosphorylation of FoxO1 in RAW 264.7 cells. Overexpression of WT or constitutively active mutant FoxO1 promoted the expression levels of OPN, while the dominant-negative mutant FoxO1 decreased slightly the expression of OPN. Conversely, knockdown of FoxO1 reduced the expression of OPN. Luciferase reporter assay revealed that high glucose and overexpression of FoxO1 enhanced the activities of the OPN promoter region nt −1918 ~ −713. Furthermore, the interactions between FoxO1 and the OPN promoter were confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP). Our results suggest that high glucose upregulates OPN expression via FoxO1 activation, which would play a critical role in the development of diabetic atherogenesis.