Volume 20 | February 2019
Adipose tissue depots are highly heterogeneous with respect to their morphological appearance, molecular architecture, and functional properties in mammals. White adipose tissue (WAT) stores and mobilizes triglycerides, while brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a specialized thermogenic organ that dissipates chemical energy as heat. Brown adipocytes contain numerous small lipid droplets and are exceptionally rich in mitochondria equipped with uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). UCP1 catalyzes the net transport of protons, collapses the proton motive force, and mediates the acceleration of nutrient combustion to increase heat production. However, our knowledge of Ucp1 expression in cells other than adipocytes and the anatomical distribution of brown and brite adipocytes in mammals remains incomplete. Furthermore, in the search of compounds modulating transcriptional control of Ucp1, a bona fide reporter system is needed.
Wang et al. generated an Ucp1-Luciferase-T2A-iRFP713- T2A knock-in mouse model to report endogenous Ucp1 expression. Both luciferase (LUC) activity and iRFP713 faithfully reflect endogenous Ucp1 expression upon physiological and pharmacological stimulations. Taking advantage of the reporter mouse model, they reveal a sex specific difference in browning propensity, identify a new Ucp1 expressing adipose tissue depot, and, as proof of concept, test molecules with the potential to recruit thermogenic adipocytes. Overall, the Ucp1-LUC-iRFP713 reporter mouse provides a valuable system for monitoring UCP1 both in vivo and in vitro in a rapid, simple and systematic way.
Objectives: Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates nutritional energy as heat through uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). The discovery of functional BAT in healthy adult humans has promoted the search for pharmacological interventions to recruit and activate brown fat as a treatment of obesity and diabetes type II. These efforts require in vivo models to compare the efficacy of novel compounds in a relevant physiological context.
Methods: We generated a knock-in mouse line expressing firefly luciferase and near-infrared red florescent protein (iRFP713) driven by the regulatory elements of the endogenous Ucp1 gene.
Results: Our detailed characterization revealed that firefly luciferase activity faithfully reports endogenous Ucp1 gene expression in response to physiological and pharmacological stimuli. The iRFP713 fluorescence signal was detected in the interscapular BAT region of cold-exposed reporter mice in an allele-dosage dependent manner. Using this reporter mouse model, we detected a higher browning capacity in female peri-ovarian white adipose tissue compared to male epididymal WAT, which we further corroborated by molecular and morphological features. In situ imaging detected a strong luciferase activity signal in a previously unappreciated adipose tissue depot adjunct to the femoral muscle, now adopted as femoral brown adipose tissue. In addition, screening cultured adipocytes by bioluminescence imaging identified the selective Salt-Inducible Kinase inhibitor, HG-9-91-01, to increase Ucp1 gene expression and mitochondrial respiration in brown and brite adipocytes.
Conclusions: In our mouse model, firefly luciferase activity serves as a bona fide reporter for dynamic regulation of Ucp1. In addition, by means of iRFP713 we are able to monitor Ucp1 expression in a non-invasive fashion.
Objective: Life-threatening hypoglycemia is a major limiting factor in the management of diabetes. While it is known that counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia are impaired in diabetes, molecular mechanisms underlying the reduced responses remain unclear. Given the established roles of the hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC)/melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) circuit in regulating sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and the SNS in stimulating counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia, we hypothesized that hypothalamic POMC as well as MC4R, a receptor for POMC derived melanocyte stimulating hormones, is required for normal hypoglycemia counterregulation.
Methods: To test the hypothesis, we induced hypoglycemia or glucopenia in separate cohorts of mice deficient in either POMC or MC4R in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) or the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH), respectively, and measured their circulating counterregulatory hormones. In addition, we performed a hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic clamp study to further validate the function of MC4R in hypoglycemia counterregulation. We also measured Pomc and Mc4r mRNA levels in the ARC and PVH, respectively, in the streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes mouse model and non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice to delineate molecular mechanisms by which diabetes deteriorates the defense systems against hypoglycemia. Finally, we treated diabetic mice with the MC4R agonist MTII, administered stereotaxically into the PVH, to determine its potential for restoring the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in diabetes.
Results: Stimulation of epinephrine and glucagon release in response to hypoglycemia or glucopenia was diminished in both POMC- and MC4R-deficient mice, relative to their littermate controls. Similarly, the counterregulatory response was impaired in association with decreased hypothalamic Pomc and Mc4r expression in the diabetic mice, a phenotype that was not reversed by insulin treatment which normalized glycemia. In contrast, infusion of an MC4R agonist in the PVH restored the counterregulatory response in diabetic mice.
Conclusion: In conclusion, hypothalamic Pomc as well as Mc4r, both of which are reduced in type 1 diabetic mice, are required for normal counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia. Therefore, enhancing MC4R function may improve hypoglycemia counterregulation in diabetes.
Background: Cancer cells favor the use of less efficient glycolysis rather than mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to metabolize glucose, even in oxygen-rich conditions, a distinct metabolic alteration named the Warburg effect or aerobic glycolysis. In adult cells, bifunctional 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase (PFKFB) family members are responsible for controlling the steady-state cytoplasmic levels of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate, which allosterically activates 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase, the key enzyme catalyzing the rate-limiting reaction of glycolysis. PFKFB3 and PFKFB4 are the two main isoenzymes overexpressed in various human cancers.
Scope of review: In this review, we summarize recent findings on the glycolytic and extraglycolytic roles of PFKFB3 and PFKFB4 in cancer progression and discuss potential therapies for targeting of PFKFB3 and PFKFB4.
Major conclusions: PFKFB3 has the highest kinase activity to shunt glucose toward glycolysis, whereas PFKFB4 has more FBPase-2 activity, redirecting glucose toward the pentose phosphate pathway, providing reducing power for lipid biosynthesis and scavenging reactive oxygen species. Co-expression of PFKFB3 and PFKFB4 provides sufficient glucose metabolism to satisfy the bioenergetics demand and redox homeostasis requirements of cancer cells. Various reversible post-translational modifications of PFKFB3 enable cancer cells to flexibly adapt glucose metabolism in response to diverse stress conditions. In addition to playing important roles in tumor cell glucose metabolism, PFKFB3 and PFKFB4 are widely involved in multiple biological processes, such as cell cycle regulation, autophagy, and transcriptional regulation in a non-glycolysis-dependent manner.
Objective: The supramammillary nucleus (SuM) is nestled between the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). This neuroanatomical position is consistent with a potential role of this nucleus to regulate ingestive and motivated behavior. Here neuroanatomical, molecular, and behavior approaches are utilized to determine whether SuM contributes to ingestive and food-motivated behavior control.
Methods: Through the application of anterograde and retrograde neural tract tracing with novel designer viral vectors, the current findings show that SuM neurons densely innervate the LH in a sex dimorphic fashion. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a clinically targeted neuro-intestinal hormone with a well-established role in regulating energy balance and reward behaviors. Here we determine that GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) are expressed throughout the SuM of both sexes, and also directly on SuM LH-projecting neurons and investigate the role of SuM GLP-1R in the regulation of ingestive and motivated behavior in male and female rats.
Results: SuM microinjections of the GLP-1 analogue, exendin-4, reduced ad libitum intake of chow, fat, or sugar solution in both male and female rats, while food-motivated behaviors, measured using the sucrose motivated operant conditioning test, was only reduced in male rats. These data contrasted with the results obtained from a neighboring structure well known for its role in motivation and reward, the VTA, where females displayed a more potent response to GLP-1R activation by exendin-4. In order to determine the physiological role of SuM GLP-1R signaling regulation of energy balance, we utilized an adeno-associated viral vector to site-specifically deliver shRNA for the GLP-1R to the SuM. Surprisingly, and in contrast to previous results for the two SuM neighboring sites, LH and VTA, SuM GLP-1R knockdown increased food seeking and adiposity in obese male rats without altering food intake, body weight or food motivation in lean or obese, female or male rats.
Conclusions: Taken together, these results indicate that SuM potently contributes to ingestive and motivated behavior control; an effect contingent on sex, diet/homeostatic energy balance state and behavior of interest. These data also extend the map of brain sites directly responsive to GLP-1 agonists, and highlight key differences in the role that GLP-1R play in interconnected and neighboring nuclei.
Objective: Hypothalamic glucose sensing (HGS) initiates insulin secretion (IS) via a vagal control, participating in energy homeostasis. This requires mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) signaling, dependent on mitochondrial fission, as shown by invalidation of the hypothalamic DRP1 protein. Here, our objectives were to determine whether a model with a HGS defect induced by a short, high fat-high sucrose (HFHS) diet in rats affected the fission machinery and mROS signaling within the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH).
Methods: Rats fed a HFHS diet for 3 weeks were compared with animals fed a normal chow. Both in vitro (calcium imaging) and in vivo (vagal nerve activity recordings) experiments to measure the electrical activity of isolated MBH gluco-sensitive neurons in response to increased glucose level were performed. In parallel, insulin secretion to a direct glucose stimulus in isolated islets vs. insulin secretion resulting from brain glucose stimulation was evaluated. Intra-carotid glucose load-induced hypothalamic DRP1 translocation to mitochondria and mROS (H2O2) production were assessed in both groups. Finally, compound C was intracerebroventricularly injected to block the proposed AMPK-inhibited DRP1 translocation in the MBH to reverse the phenotype of HFHS fed animals.
Results: Rats fed a HFHS diet displayed a decreased HGS-induced IS. Responses of MBH neurons to glucose exhibited an alteration of their electrical activity, whereas glucose-induced insulin secretion in isolated islets was not affected. These MBH defects correlated with a decreased ROS signaling and glucose-induced translocation of the fission protein DRP1, as the vagal activity was altered. AMPK-induced inhibition of DRP1 translocation increased in this model, but its reversal through the injection of the compound C, an AMPK inhibitor, failed to restore HGS-induced IS.
Conclusions: A hypothalamic alteration of DRP1-induced fission and mROS signaling in response to glucose was observed in HGS-induced IS of rats exposed to a 3 week HFHS diet. Early hypothalamic modifications of the neuronal activity could participate in a primary defect of the control of IS and ultimately, the development of diabetes.
Objective: Diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN) affects approximately half of diabetic patients leading to significant morbidity. There is impaired neurotrophic growth factor signaling, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity and mitochondrial function in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We hypothesized that sub-optimal insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling in diabetes drives loss of AMPK activity and mitochondrial function, both contributing to development of DSPN.
Methods: Age-matched control Sprague-Dawley rats and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced type 1 diabetic rats with/without IGF-1 therapy were used for in vivo studies. For in vitro studies, DRG neurons from control and STZ-diabetic rats were cultured and treated with/without IGF-1 in the presence or absence of inhibitors or siRNAs.
Results: Dysregulation of mRNAs for IGF-1, AMPKα2, ATP5a1 (subunit of ATPase), and PGC-1β occurred in DRG of diabetic vs. control rats. IGF-1 up-regulated mRNA levels of these genes in cultured DRGs from control or diabetic rats. IGF-1 treatment of DRG cultures significantly (P < 0.05) increased phosphorylation of Akt, P70S6K, AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). Mitochondrial gene expression and oxygen consumption rate (spare respiratory capacity), ATP production, mtDNA/nDNA ratio and neurite outgrowth were augmented (P < 0.05). AMPK inhibitor, Compound C, or AMPKα1-specific siRNA suppressed IGF-1 elevation of mitochondrial function, mtDNA and neurite outgrowth. Diabetic rats treated with IGF-1 exhibited reversal of thermal hypoalgesia and, in a separate study, reversed the deficit in corneal nerve profiles. In diabetic rats, IGF-1 elevated the levels of AMPK and P70S6K phosphorylation, raised Complex IV-MTCO1 and Complex V-ATP5a protein expression, and restored the enzyme activities of Complex IV and I in the DRG. IGF-1 prevented TCA metabolite build-up in nerve.
Conclusions: In DRG neuron cultures IGF-1 signals via AMPK to elevate mitochondrial function and drive axonal outgrowth. We propose that this signaling axis mediates IGF-1-dependent protection from distal dying-back of fibers in diabetic neuropathy.
Objective: c-Jun, a prominent member of the activator protein 1 (AP-1) family, is involved in various physiology processes such as cell death and survival. However, a role of hepatic c-Jun in the whole-body metabolism is poorly understood.
Methods: We generated liver-specific c-Jun knock-out (c-jun△li) mice to investigate the effect of hepatic c-Jun on the whole-body physiology, particularly in blood glucose and body temperature. Primary hepatocytes were also used to explore a direct regulation of c-Jun in gluconeogenesis.
Results: c-jun△li mice showed higher hepatic gluconeogenic capacity compared with control mice, and similar results were obtained in vitro. In addition, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) expression was directly inhibited by c-Jun knockdown and adenovirus-mediated hepatic FGF21 over-expression blocked the effect of c-Jun on gluconeogenesis in c-jun△li mice. Interestingly, c-jun△li mice also exhibited higher body temperature, with induced thermogenesis and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Furthermore, the body temperature became comparable between c-jun△li and control mice at thermoneutral temperature (30 °C). Moreover, the activity of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) was increased in c-jun△li mice and the higher body temperature was inhibited by beta-adrenergic receptor blocker injection. Finally, the activated SNS and increased body temperature in c-jun△li mice was most likely caused by the signals from the brain and hepatic vagus nerve, as the expression of c-Fos (the molecular marker of neuronal activation) was changed in several brain areas controlling body temperature and body temperature was decreased by selective hepatic vagotomy.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate a novel function of hepatic c-Jun in the regulation of gluconeogenesis and body temperature via FGF21 and neural signals. Our results also provide novel insights into the organ crosstalk in the regulation of the whole-body physiology.
Objective: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is closely associated with metabolic syndrome and increases the risk for end-stage liver disease, such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Despite this, the molecular events that influence NASH pathogenesis remain poorly understood. The objectives of the current study are to delineate the transcriptomic and proteomic signatures of NASH liver, to identify potential pathogenic pathways and factors, and to critically assess their role in NASH pathogenesis.
Methods: We performed RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomic analyses on the livers from healthy and diet-induced NASH mice. We examined the association between plasma levels of TSK, a newly discovered hepatokine, and NASH pathologies and reversal in response to dietary switch in mice. Using TSK knockout mouse model, we determined how TSK deficiency modulates key aspects of NASH pathogenesis.
Results: RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomic analyses revealed that diet-induced NASH triggers concordant reprogramming of the liver transcriptome and proteome in mice. NASH pathogenesis is linked to elevated plasma levels of the hepatokine TSK, whereas dietary switch reverses NASH pathologies and reduces circulating TSK concentrations. Finally, TSK inactivation protects mice from diet-induced NASH and liver transcriptome remodeling.
Conclusions: Global transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of healthy and NASH livers revealed the molecular signatures of diet-induced NASH and dysregulation of the liver secretome. Our study illustrates a novel pathogenic mechanism through which elevated TSK in circulation promotes NASH pathologies, thereby revealing a potential target for therapeutic intervention.
Objective: The nuclear receptor PPARγ is the master regulator of adipocyte differentiation, distribution, and function. In addition, PPARγ induces terminal differentiation of several epithelial cell lineages, including colon epithelia. Loss-of-function mutations in PPARG result in familial partial lipodystrophy subtype 3 (FPDL3), a rare condition characterized by aberrant adipose tissue distribution and severe metabolic complications, including diabetes. Mutations in PPARG have also been reported in sporadic colorectal cancers, but the significance of these mutations is unclear. Studying these natural PPARG mutations provides valuable insights into structure-function relationships in the PPARγ protein. We functionally characterized a novel FPLD3-associated PPARγ L451P mutation in helix 9 of the ligand binding domain (LBD). Interestingly, substitution of the adjacent amino acid K450 was previously reported in a human colon carcinoma cell line.
Methods: We performed a detailed side-by-side functional comparison of these two PPARγ mutants.
Results: PPARγ L451P shows multiple intermolecular defects, including impaired cofactor binding and reduced RXRα heterodimerisation and subsequent DNA binding, but not in DBD-LBD interdomain communication. The K450Q mutant displays none of these functional defects. Other colon cancer-associated PPARγ mutants displayed diverse phenotypes, ranging from complete loss of activity to wildtype activity.
Conclusions: Amino acid changes in helix 9 can differently affect LBD integrity and function. In addition, FPLD3-associated PPARγ mutations consistently cause intra- and/or intermolecular defects; colon cancer-associated PPARγ mutations on the other hand may play a role in colon cancer onset and progression, but this is not due to their effects on the most well-studied functional characteristics of PPARγ.
Objective: Short-term intensive insulin therapy (IIT) early in the course of type 2 diabetes acutely improves beta-cell function with long-lasting effects on glycemic control. However, conventional measures cannot determine which patients are better suited for IIT, and little is known about the molecular mechanisms determining response. Therefore, this study aimed to develop a model that could accurately predict the response to IIT and provide insight into molecular mechanisms driving such response in humans.
Methods: Twenty-four patients with early type 2 diabetes were assessed at baseline and four weeks after IIT, consisting of basal detemir and premeal insulin aspart. Twelve individuals had a beneficial beta-cell response to IIT (responders) and 12 did not (nonresponders). Beta-cell function was assessed by multiple methods, including Insulin Secretion-Sensitivity Index-2. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) were profiled in plasma samples before and after IIT. The response to IIT was modeled using a machine learning algorithm and potential miRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms assessed by differential expression, correlation, and functional network analyses (FNA).
Results: Baseline levels of circulating miR-145-5p, miR-29c-3p, and HbA1c accurately (91.7%) predicted the response to IIT (OR = 121 [95% CI: 6.7, 2188.3]). Mechanistically, a previously described regulatory loop between miR-145-5p and miR-483-3p/5p, which controls TP53-mediated apoptosis, appears to also occur in our study population of humans with early type 2 diabetes. In addition, significant (fold change > 2, P < 0.05) longitudinal changes due to IIT in the circulating levels of miR-138-5p, miR-192-5p, miR-195-5p, miR-320b, and let-7a-5p further characterized the responder group and significantly correlated (|r| > 0.4, P < 0.05) with the changes in measures of beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity. FNA identified a network of coordinately/cooperatively regulated miRNA-targeted genes that potentially drives the IIT response through negative regulation of apoptotic processes that underlie beta cell dysfunction and concomitant positive regulation of proliferation.
Conclusions: Responses to IIT in people with early type 2 diabetes are associated with characteristic miRNA signatures. This study represents a first step to identify potential responders to IIT (a current limitation in the field) and provides important insight into the pathophysiologic determinants of the reversibility of beta-cell dysfunction.
ClinicalTrial.gov identifier: NCT01270789.
Objective: Structurally-improved GIP analogs were developed to determine precisely whether GIP receptor (GIPR) agonism or antagonism lowers body weight in obese mice.
Methods: A series of peptide-based GIP analogs, including structurally diverse agonists and a long-acting antagonist, were generated and characterized in vitro using functional assays in cell systems overexpressing human and mouse derived receptors. These analogs were characterized in vivo in DIO mice following acute dosing for effects on glycemic control, and following chronic dosing for effects on body weight and food intake. Pair-feeding studies and indirect calorimetry were used to survey the mechanism for body weight lowering. Congenital Gipr−/− and Glp1r−/− DIO mice were used to investigate the selectivity of the agonists and to ascribe the pharmacology to effects mediated by the GIPR.
Results: Non-acylated, Aib2 substituted analogs derived from human GIP sequence showed full in vitro potency at human GIPR and subtly reduced in vitro potency at mouse GIPR without cross-reactivity at GLP-1R. These GIPR agonists lowered acute blood glucose in wild-type and Glp1r−/− mice, and this effect was absent in Gipr−/− mice, which confirmed selectivity towards GIPR. Chronic treatment of DIO mice resulted in modest yet consistent, dose-dependent decreased body weight across many studies with diverse analogs. The mechanism for body weight lowering is due to reductions in food intake, not energy expenditure, as suggested by pair-feeding studies and indirect calorimetry assessment. The weight lowering effect was preserved in DIO Glp-1r−/− mice and absent in DIO Gipr−/− mice. The body weight lowering efficacy of GIPR agonists was enhanced with analogs that exhibit higher mouse GIPR potency, with increased frequency of administration, and with fatty-acylated peptides of extended duration of action. Additionally, a fatty-acylated, N-terminally truncated GIP analog was shown to have high in vitro antagonism potency for human and mouse GIPR without cross-reactive activity at mouse GLP-1R or mouse glucagon receptor (GcgR). This acylated antagonist sufficiently inhibited the acute effects of GIP to improve glucose tolerance in DIO mice. Chronic treatment of DIO mice with high doses of this acylated GIPR antagonist did not result in body weight change. Further, co-treatment of this acylated GIPR antagonist with liraglutide, an acylated GLP-1R agonist, to DIO mice did not result in increased body weight lowering relative to liraglutide-treated mice. Enhanced body weight lowering in DIO mice was evident however following co-treatment of long-acting selective individual agonists for GLP-1R and GIPR, consistent with previous data.
Conclusions: We conclude that peptide-based GIPR agonists, not peptide-based GIPR antagonists, that are suitably optimized for receptor selectivity, cross-species activity, and duration of action consistently lower body weight in DIO mice, although with moderate efficacy relative to GLP-1R agonists. These preclinical rodent pharmacology results, in accordance with recent clinical results, provide definitive proof that systemic GIPR agonism, not antagonism, is beneficial for body weight loss.
Objective: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most frequent birth defect worldwide. The number of adult patients with CHD, now referred to as ACHD, is increasing with improved surgical and treatment interventions. However the mechanisms whereby ACHD predisposes patients to heart dysfunction are still unclear. ACHD is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, but how ACHD interacts with poor modern lifestyle choices and other comorbidities, such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, is mostly unknown.
Methods: We used a newly characterized mouse genetic model of ACHD to investigate the consequences and the mechanisms associated with combined obesity and ACHD predisposition. Metformin intervention was used to further evaluate potential therapeutic amelioration of cardiac dysfunction in this model.
Results: ACHD mice placed under metabolic stress (high fat diet) displayed decreased left ventricular ejection fraction. Comprehensive physiological, biochemical, and molecular analysis showed that ACHD hearts exhibited early changes in energy metabolism with increased glucose dependence as main cardiac energy source. These changes preceded cardiac dysfunction mediated by exposure to high fat diet and were associated with increased disease severity. Restoration of metabolic balance by metformin administration prevented the development of heart dysfunction in ACHD predisposed mice.
Conclusions: This study reveals that early metabolic impairment reinforces heart dysfunction in ACHD predisposed individuals and diet or pharmacological interventions can be used to modulate heart function and attenuate heart failure. Our study suggests that interactions between genetic and metabolic disturbances ultimately lead to the clinical presentation of heart failure in patients with ACHD. Early manipulation of energy metabolism may be an important avenue for intervention in ACHD patients to prevent or delay onset of heart failure and secondary comorbidities. These interactions raise the prospect for a translational reassessment of ACHD presentation in the clinic.
Objective: Sympathetic nervous system and immune cell interactions play key roles in the regulation of metabolism. For example, recent convergent studies have shown that macrophages regulate obesity through brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation and beiging of white adipose tissue (WAT) via effects upon local catecholamine availability. However, these studies have raised issues about the underlying mechanisms involved including questions regarding the production of catecholamines by macrophages, the role of macrophage polarization state and the underlying intracellular signaling pathways in macrophages that might mediate these effects.
Methods: To address such issues we generated mice lacking Irs2, which mediates the effects of insulin and interleukin 4, specifically in LyzM expressing cells (Irs2LyzM−/− mice).
Results: These animals displayed obesity resistance and preservation of glucose homeostasis on high fat diet feeding due to increased energy expenditure via enhanced BAT activity and WAT beiging. Macrophages per se did not produce catecholamines but Irs2LyzM−/− mice displayed increased sympathetic nerve density and catecholamine availability in adipose tissue. Irs2-deficient macrophages displayed an anti-inflammatory transcriptional profile and alterations in genes involved in scavenging catecholamines and supporting increased sympathetic innervation.
Conclusions: Our studies identify a critical macrophage signaling pathway involved in the regulation of adipose tissue sympathetic nerve function that, in turn, mediates key neuroimmune effects upon systemic metabolism. The insights gained may open therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of obesity.
Objective: Atherosclerosis is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Monocyte-endothelial cell interactions are partly mediated by expression of monocyte CX3CR1 and endothelial cell fractalkine (CX3CL1). Interrupting the interaction between this ligand–receptor pair should reduce monocyte binding to the endothelial wall and reduce atherosclerosis. We sought to reduce atherosclerosis by preventing monocyte-endothelial cell interactions through use of a long-acting CX3CR1 agonist.
Methods: In this study, the chemokine domain of CX3CL1 was fused to the mouse Fc region to generate a long-acting soluble form of CX3CL1 suitable for chronic studies. CX3CL1-Fc or saline was injected twice a week (30 mg/kg) for 4 months into Ldlr knockout (KO) mice on an atherogenic western diet.
Results: CX3CL1-Fc-treated Ldlr KO mice showed decreased en face aortic lesion surface area and reduced aortic root lesion size with decreased necrotic core area. Flow cytometry analyses of CX3CL1-Fc-treated aortic wall cell digests revealed a decrease in M1-like polarized macrophages and T cells. Moreover, CX3CL1-Fc administration reduced diet-induced atherosclerosis after switching from an atherogenic to a normal chow diet. In vitro monocyte adhesion studies revealed that CX3CL1-Fc treatment caused fewer monocytes to adhere to a human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayer. Furthermore, a dorsal window chamber model demonstrated that CX3CL1-Fc treatment decreased in vivo leukocyte adhesion and rolling in live capillaries after short-term ischemia-reperfusion.
Conclusions: These results indicate that CX3CL1-Fc can inhibit monocyte/endothelial cell adhesion as well as reduce atherosclerosis.
Background/objectives: Although the prevalence of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders is increasing in both sexes, the clinical phenotype differs between men and women, highlighting the need for individual treatment options. Mitochondrial dysfunction in various tissues, including white adipose tissue (WAT), has been accepted as a key factor for obesity-associated comorbidities such as diabetes. Given higher expression of mitochondria-related genes in the WAT of women, we hypothesized that gender differences in the bioenergetic profile of white (pre-) adipocytes from obese (age- and BMI-matched) donors must exist.
Subjects/methods: Using Seahorse technology, we measured oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and extracellular acidification rates (ECAR) of (pre-)adipocytes from male (n = 10) and female (n = 10) deeply-phenotyped obese donors under hypo-, normo- and hyperglycemic (0, 5 and 25 mM glucose) and insulin-stimulated conditions. Additionally, expression levels (mRNA/protein) of mitochondria-related genes (e.g. UQCRC2) and glycolytic enzymes (e.g. PKM2) were determined.
Results: Dissecting cellular OCR and ECAR into different functional modules revealed that preadipocytes from female donors show significantly higher mitochondrial to glycolytic activity (higher OCR/ECAR ratio, p = 0.036), which is supported by a higher ratio of UQCRC2 to PKM2 mRNA levels (p = 0.021). However, no major gender differences are detectable in in vitro differentiated adipocytes (e.g. OCR/ECAR, p = 0.248). Importantly, glucose and insulin suppress mitochondrial activity (i.e. ATP-linked respiration) significantly only in preadipocytes of female donors, reflecting their trends towards higher insulin sensitivity.
Conclusions: Collectively, we show that preadipocytes, but not in vitro differentiated adipocytes, represent a model system to reveal gender differences with clinical importance for metabolic disease status. In particular preadipocytes of females maintain enhanced mitochondrial flexibility, as demonstrated by pronounced responses of ATP-linked respiration to glucose.
Objective: Forkhead box class O (FOXO) transcription factors regulate whole body energy metabolism, skeletal muscle mass, and substrate switching. FOXO1 and FOXO3 are highly abundant transcription factors, but their precise role in skeletal muscle metabolism has not been fully elucidated.
Methods: To elucidate the role of FOXO in skeletal muscle, dominant negative (dn) constructs for FOXO1 (FOXO1dn) or FOXO3 (FOXO3dn) were transfected by electroporation into mouse tibialis anterior muscle and glucose uptake, signal transduction, and gene expression profiles were assessed after an oral glucose tolerance test. Results were compared against contralateral control transfected muscle.
Results: FOXO1dn and FOXO3dn attenuated glucose uptake (35%, p < 0.01 and 20%, p < 0.05), GLUT4 protein (40%, p < 0.05 and 10%, p < 0.05), and subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation cascade. Intramuscular glycogen content was decreased (20%, p < 0.05) by FOXO3dn, but not FOXO1dn. Transcriptomic analysis revealed major pathways affected by FOXO1dn or FOXO3dn revolve around metabolism and inflammation. FOXO1dn increased Akt protein (140%, p < 0.001), p-AktSer473 (720%, p < 0.05) and p-AktThr308 (570%, p < 0.01), whereas FOXO3dn was without effect. FOXO1dn and FOXO3dn increased mTOR protein content (170% and 190%, p < 0.05), and p-p70S6KThr389 (420%, p < 0.01 and 300%, p < 0.01), while p-mTORSer2448 (500%, p < 0.01), was only increased by FOXO1dn. Chemokines and immune cell markers were robustly upregulated in skeletal muscle following the FOXOdn transfections, but not after control transfection.
Conclusions: FOXO1 and FOXO3 regulate glucose metabolism and markers of inflammation in skeletal muscle, implicating transcriptional control governing “immunometabolic” dynamics.