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Claudia E Robert-Cooperman, Grace C Dougan, Shari L Moak, Mark G Athanason, Melanie N Kuehl, Harris Bell-Temin, Stanley M Stevens Jr and Brant R Burkhardt

PANcreatic-DERived factor (PANDER, FAM3B) is a novel protein that is highly expressed within the endocrine pancreas and to a lesser degree in other tissues. Under glucose stimulation, PANDER is co-secreted with insulin from the β-cell. Despite prior creation and characterization of acute hepatic PANDER animal models, the physiologic function remains to be elucidated from pancreas-secreted PANDER. To determine this, in this study, a transgenic mouse exclusively overexpressing PANDER from the endocrine pancreas was generated. PANDER was selectively expressed by the pancreatic-duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX1) promoter. The PANDER transgenic (PANTG) mice were metabolically and proteomically characterized to evaluate effects on glucose homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism. Fasting glucose, insulin and C-peptide levels were elevated in the PANTG compared with matched WT mice. Younger PANTG mice also displayed glucose intolerance in the absence of peripheral insulin sensitivity. Hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp studies revealed that hepatic glucose production and insulin resistance were significantly increased in the PANTG with no difference in either glucose infusion rate or rate of disappearance. Fasting glucagon, corticosterones, resistin and leptin levels were also similar between PANTG and WT. Stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture revealed increased gluconeogenic and lipogenic proteomic profiles within the liver of the PANTG with phosphoenol-pyruvate carboxykinase demonstrating a 3.5-fold increase in expression. This was matched with increased hepatic triglyceride content and decreased p-AMPK and p-acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase-1 signaling in the PANTG. Overall, our findings support a role of pancreatic β-cell-secreted PANDER in the regulation of hepatic insulin and lipogenenic signaling with subsequent impact on overall glycemia.

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Mingyu Li, E Danielle Dean, Liyuan Zhao, Wendell E Nicholson, Alvin C Powers and Wenbiao Chen

Glucagon antagonism is a potential treatment for diabetes. One potential side effect is α-cell hyperplasia, which has been noted in several approaches to antagonize glucagon action. To investigate the molecular mechanism of the α-cell hyperplasia and to identify the responsible factor, we created a zebrafish model in which glucagon receptor (gcgr) signaling has been interrupted. The genetically and chemically tractable zebrafish, which provides a robust discovery platform, has two gcgr genes (gcgra and gcgrb) in its genome. Sequence, phylogenetic, and synteny analyses suggest that these are co-orthologs of the human GCGR. Similar to its mammalian counterparts, gcgra and gcgrb are mainly expressed in the liver. We inactivated the zebrafish gcgra and gcgrb using transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) first individually and then both genes, and assessed the number of α-cells using an α-cell reporter line, Tg(gcga:GFP). Compared to WT fish at 7 days postfertilization, there were more α-cells in gcgra / , gcgrb / , and gcgra / ;gcgrb / fish and there was an increased rate of α-cell proliferation in the gcgra / ;gcgrb / fish. Glucagon levels were higher but free glucose levels were lower in gcgra / , gcgrb / , and gcgra / ;gcgrb / fish, similar to Gcgr / mice. These results indicate that the compensatory α-cell hyperplasia in response to interruption of glucagon signaling is conserved in zebrafish. The robust α-cell hyperplasia in gcgra / ;gcgrb / larvae provides a platform to screen for chemical and genetic suppressors, and ultimately to identify the stimulus of α-cell hyperplasia and its signaling mechanism.

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Ian S McLennan and Michael W Pankhurst

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a multi-faceted gonadal cytokine. It is present in all vertebrates with its original function in phylogeny being as a regulator of germ cells in both sexes, and as a prime inducer of the male phenotype. Its ancient functions appear to be broadly conserved in mammals, but with this being obscured by its overt role in triggering the regression of the Müllerian ducts in male embryos. Sertoli and ovarian follicular cells primarily release AMH as a prohormone (proAMH), which forms a stable complex (AMHN,C) after cleavage by subtilisin/kexin-type proprotein convertases or serine proteinases. Circulating AMH is a mixture of proAMH and AMHN,C, suggesting that proAMH is activated within the gonads and putatively by its endocrine target-cells. The gonadal expression of the cleavage enzymes is subject to complex regulation, and the preliminary data suggest that this influences the relative proportions of proAMH and AMHN,C in the circulation. AMH shares an intracellular pathway with the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and growth differentiation factor (GDF) ligands. AMH is male specific during the initial stage of development, and theoretically should produce male biases throughout the body by adding a male-specific amplification of BMP/GDF signalling. Consistent with this, some of the male biases in neuron number and the non-sexual behaviours of mice are dependent on AMH. After puberty, circulating levels of AMH are similar in men and women. Putatively, the function of AMH in adulthood maybe to add a gonadal influence to BMP/GDF-regulated homeostasis.

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Stephanie L Clookey, Rebecca J Welly, Terese M Zidon, Michelle L Gastecki, Makenzie L Woodford, Zachary I Grunewald, Nathan C Winn, Dusti Eaton, Natalia G Karasseva, Harold S Sacks, Jaume Padilla and Victoria J Vieira-Potter

Premenopausal females are protected against adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance, until loss of ovarian hormone production (e.g., menopause). There is some evidence that females have greater brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenic capacity. Because BAT mass correlates inversely with insulin resistance, we hypothesized that increased uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression contributes to the superior metabolic health of females. Given that UCP1 transiently increases in BAT following ovariectomy (OVX), we hypothesized that UCP1 may ‘buffer’ OVX-mediated metabolic dysfunction. Accordingly, female UCP1-knockout (KO) and WT mice received OVX or sham (SHM) surgeries at 12 weeks of age creating four groups (n = 10/group), which were followed for 14 weeks and compared for body weight and adiposity, food intake, energy expenditure and spontaneous physical activity (metabolic chambers), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR, ADIPO-IR and glucose tolerance testing) and adipose tissue phenotype (histology, gene and protein expression). Two-way ANOVA was used to assess the main effects of genotype (G), OVX treatment (O) and genotype by treatment (GxO) interactions, which were considered significant when P ≤ 0.05. UCP1KO mice experienced a more adverse metabolic response to OVX than WT. Whereas OVX-induced weight gain was not synergistically greater for KO compared to WT (GxO, NS), OVX-induced insulin resistance was significantly exacerbated in KO compared to WT (GxO for HOMA-IR, P < 0.05). These results suggest UCP1 is protective against metabolic dysfunction associated with loss of ovarian hormones and support the need for more research into therapeutics to selectively target UCP1 for prevention and treatment of metabolic dysfunction following ovarian hormone loss.

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Ana Patrícia Mateus, Rita A Costa, João C R Cardoso, Karl B Andree, Alicia Estévez, Enric Gisbert and Deborah M Power

hypermethylation or hypomethylation of DNA, respectively ( Jaenisch & Bird 2003 ). Thermal imprinting during early ontogeny modified the subsequent growth trajectory of the sea bream and changed the whole animal physiology even in the absence of a stress