Volume 29 | November 2019
Enteroendocrine cells (EECs) are a rare subset of gastrointestinal epithelial cells that regulate physiological processes including intestinal motility and secretion, glycemia, and appetite. They represent a diverse cellular population, collectively producing more than twenty different hormones. Gut hormone secretion after a meal is dominated by EECs from the small intestine, whereas the physiological role of the large number of EECs in the large intestine is less clear. Subgroups of EECs like the L, K, and enterochromaffin (Ecm) cells seem to overlap in their gene expression profiles.
Billing, Larraufie et al. studied EECs of the large intestine using single cell RNA-sequencing. They identified different subpopulations of L-cells and Ecm-cells and showed that these likely represent cellular gradients mapping along the proximal-distal and crypt-surface gut axes. Selective stimulation of distal L-cells using Angiotensin-II resulted in significant elevation of plasma glucacon-like peptide-1 levels, suggesting that these cells can contribute to circulating gut hormone concentrations despite their distal location.
Background: Obesity, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) as well as stress-related disorders are rising public health threats and major burdens for modern society. Chronic stress and depression are highly associated with symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, but the molecular link is still not fully understood. Furthermore, therapies tackling these biological disorders are still lacking. The identification of shared molecular targets underlying both pathophysiologies may lead to the development of new treatments. The FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP51) has recently been identified as a promising therapeutic target for stress-related psychiatric disorders and obesity-related metabolic outcomes.
Scope of review: The aim of this review is to summarize current evidence of in vitro, preclinical, and human studies on the stress responsive protein FKBP51, focusing on its newly discovered role in metabolism. Also, we highlight the therapeutic potential of FKBP51 as a new treatment target for symptoms of the metabolic syndrome.
Major conclusions: We conclude the review by emphasizing missing knowledge gaps that remain and future research opportunities needed to implement FKBP51 as a drug target for stress-related obesity or T2D.
Objective: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) improves the first phase of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in patients with type 2 diabetes. How it does so remains unclear. Farnesoid X receptor (FXR), the nuclear receptor of bile acids (BAs), is implicated in bariatric surgery. Moreover, the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channel is expressed in pancreatic β-cells and involved in insulin secretion. We aimed to explore the role of BAs/FXR and TRPA1 in improved GSIS in diabetic rats after RYGB.
Methods: RYGB or sham surgery was conducted in spontaneous diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, or FXR or TRPA1 transgenic mice. Gene and protein expression of islets were assessed by qPCR and western blotting. Electrophysiological properties of single β-cells were studied using patch-clamp technique. Binding of FXR and histone acetyltransferase steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC1) to the TRPA1 promoter, acetylated histone H3 (ACH3) levels at the TRPA1 promoter were determined using ChIP assays. GSIS was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays or intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT).
Results: RYGB increases GSIS, particularly the first-phase of GSIS in both intact islets and GK rats in vivo, and ameliorates hyperglycemia of GK rats. Importantly, the effects of RYGB were attenuated in TRPA1-deficient mice. Moreover, GK β-cells displayed significantly decreased TRPA1 expression and current. Patch-clamp recording revealed that TRPA1−/− β-cells displayed a marked hyperpolarization and decreased glucose-evoked action potential firing, which was associated with impaired GSIS. RYGB restored TRPA1 expression and current in GK β-cells. This was accompanied by improved glucose-evoked electrical activity and insulin secretion. Additionally, RYGB-induced TRPA1 expression involved BAs/FXR-mediated recruitment of SRC1, promoting ACH3 at the promoter of TRPA1.
Conclusions: The BAs/FXR/SRC1 axis-mediated restoration of TRPA1 expression plays a critical role in the enhanced GSIS and remission of diabetes in GK rats after RYGB.
Objective: Browning, the conversion of white adipose tissue (WAT) to a beige phenotype, has gained interest as a strategy to induce weight loss and improve insulin resistance in metabolic disorders. However, for hypermetabolic conditions stemming from burn trauma or cancer cachexia, browning is thought to contribute to energy wasting and supraphysiological nutritional requirements. Metformin's impact on this phenomenon and underlying mechanisms have not been explored.
Methods: We used both a murine burn model and human ex vivo adipose explants to assess metformin and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR)'s effects on the development of subcutaneous beige adipose. Enzymes involved in fat homeostasis and browning, as well as mitochondrial dynamics, were assessed to determine metformin's effects.
Results: Treatment with the biguanide metformin lowers lipolysis in beige fat by inducing protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) independently of adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) activation. Increased PP2A activity catalyzes the dephosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (Ser 79) and hormone sensitive lipase (Ser 660), thus promoting fat storage and the “whitening” of otherwise lipolytic beige adipocytes. Moreover, co-incubation of metformin with the PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid countered the anti-lipolytic effects of this biguanide in human adipose. Additionally, we show that metformin does not activate this pathway in the WAT of control mice and that AICAR sustains the browning of white adipose, offering further evidence that metformin acts independently of this cellular energy sensor.
Conclusions: This work provides novel insights into the mechanistic underpinnings of metformin's therapeutic benefits and potential as an agent to reduce the lipotoxicity associated with hypermetabolism and adipose browning.
Objective: Enteroendocrine cells (EECs) of the gastro-intestinal tract sense gut luminal factors and release peptide hormones or serotonin (5-HT) to coordinate energy uptake and storage. Our goal is to decipher the gene regulatory networks controlling EECs specification from enteroendocrine progenitors. In this context, we studied the role of the transcription factor Rfx6 which had been identified as the cause of Mitchell–Riley syndrome, characterized by neonatal diabetes and congenital malabsorptive diarrhea. We previously reported that Rfx6 was essential for pancreatic beta cell development and function; however, the role of Rfx6 in EECs differentiation remained to be elucidated.
Methods: We examined the molecular, cellular, and metabolic consequences of constitutive and conditional deletion of Rfx6 in the embryonic and adult mouse intestine. We performed single cell and bulk RNA-Seq to characterize EECs diversity and identify Rfx6-regulated genes.
Results: Rfx6 is expressed in the gut endoderm; later, it is turned on in, and restricted to, enteroendocrine progenitors and persists in hormone-positive EECs. In the embryonic intestine, the constitutive lack of Rfx6 leads to gastric heterotopia, suggesting a role in the maintenance of intestinal identity. In the absence of intestinal Rfx6, EECs differentiation is severely impaired both in the embryo and adult. However, the number of serotonin-producing enterochromaffin cells and mucosal 5-HT content are increased. Concomitantly, Neurog3-positive enteroendocrine progenitors accumulate. Combined analysis of single-cell and bulk RNA-Seq data revealed that enteroendocrine progenitors differentiate in two main cell trajectories, the enterochromaffin (EC) cells and the Peptidergic Enteroendocrine (PE) cells, the differentiation programs of which are differentially regulated by Rfx6. Rfx6 operates upstream of Arx, Pax6 and Isl1 to trigger the differentiation of peptidergic EECs such as GIP-, GLP-1-, or CCK-secreting cells. On the contrary, Rfx6 represses Lmx1a and Tph1, two genes essential for serotonin biosynthesis. Finally, we identified transcriptional changes uncovering adaptive responses to the prolonged lack of enteroendocrine hormones and leading to malabsorption and lower food efficiency ratio in Rfx6-deficient mouse intestine.
Conclusion: These studies identify Rfx6 as an essential transcriptional regulator of EECs specification and shed light on the molecular mechanisms of intestinal failures in human RFX6-deficiencies such as Mitchell–Riley syndrome.
Objective: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a complex pathology in which several dysfunctions, including alterations in metabolic pathways, mitochondrial functionality and unbalanced lipid import/export, lead to lipid accumulation and progression to inflammation and fibrosis. The enzyme glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), the most important enzyme implicated in S-adenosylmethionine catabolism in the liver, is downregulated during NAFLD progression. We have studied the mechanism involved in GNMT downregulation by its repressor microRNA miR-873-5p and the metabolic pathways affected in NAFLD as well as the benefit of recovery GNMT expression.
Methods: miR-873-5p and GNMT expression were evaluated in liver biopsies of NAFLD/NASH patients. Different in vitro and in vivo NAFLD murine models were used to assess miR-873-5p/GNMT involvement in fatty liver progression through targeting of the miR-873-5p as NAFLD therapy.
Results: We describe a new function of GNMT as an essential regulator of Complex II activity in the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. In NAFLD, GNMT expression is controlled by miR-873-5p in the hepatocytes, leading to disruptions in mitochondrial functionality in a preclinical murine non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) model. Upregulation of miR-873-5p is shown in the liver of NAFLD/NASH patients, correlating with hepatic GNMT depletion. Importantly, NASH therapies based on anti-miR-873-5p resolve lipid accumulation, inflammation and fibrosis by enhancing fatty acid β-oxidation in the mitochondria. Therefore, miR-873-5p inhibitor emerges as a potential tool for NASH treatment.
Conclusion: GNMT participates in the regulation of metabolic pathways and mitochondrial functionality through the regulation of Complex II activity in the electron transport chain. In NAFLD, GNMT is repressed by miR-873-5p and its targeting arises as a valuable therapeutic option for treatment.
Objective: Fatty acids are important for biological function; however, in excess, they can cause metabolic dysregulation. Methods to image and detect fatty acids in real time are lacking. Therefore, the current study examined the dynamics of fatty acid trafficking and signaling utilizing novel fluorescent and luminescent approaches.
Methods: We generated fluorescent and luminescent-based genetically-encoded sensors based upon the ligand-dependent interaction between PPARα and SRC-1 to image and detect cellular dynamics of fatty acid trafficking.
Results: The use of a fluorescent sensor demonstrates that fatty acids traffic rapidly from lipid droplets to the nucleus. Both major lipases ATGL and HSL contribute to fatty acid signaling from lipid droplet to nucleus, however, their dynamics differ. Furthermore, direct activation of lipolysis, independent of receptor-mediated signaling is sufficient to promote lipid droplet to nuclear trafficking of fatty acids. A luminescent-based sensor that reports intracellular fatty acid levels is amenable to high-throughput analysis.
Conclusion: Fatty acids traffic from lipid droplets to the nucleus within minutes of stimulated lipolysis. Genetically-encoded fluorescent and luminescent based sensors can be used to probe the dynamics of fatty acid trafficking and signaling.
Objective: Growth hormone (GH) stimulates lipolysis, but the underlying mechanisms remain incompletely understood. We examined the effect of GH on the expression of lipolytic regulators in adipose tissue (AT).
Methods: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, nine men were examined after injection of 1) a GH bolus and 2) a GH-receptor antagonist (pegvisomant) followed by four AT biopsies. In a second study, eight men were examined in a 2 × 2 factorial design including GH infusion and 36-h fasting with AT biopsies obtained during a basal period and a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Expression of GH-signaling intermediates and lipolytic regulators were studied by PCR and western blotting. In addition, mechanistic experiments in mouse models and 3T3-L1 adipocytes were performed.
Results: The GH bolus increased circulating free fatty acids (p < 0.0001) together with phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) (p < 0.0001) and mRNA expression of the STAT5-dependent genes cytokine-inducible SH2-containing protein (CISH) and IGF-1 in AT. This was accompanied by suppressed mRNA expression of G0/G1 switch gene 2 (G0S2) (p = 0.007) and fat specific protein 27 (FSP27) (p = 0.002) and upregulation of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) mRNA expression (p = 0.03). Suppression of G0S2 was also observed in humans after GH infusion and fasting, as well as in GH transgene mice, and in vitro studies suggested MEK-PPARγ signaling to be involved.
Conclusions: GH-induced lipolysis in human subjects in vivo is linked to downregulation of G0S2 and FSP27 and upregulation of PTEN in AT. Mechanistically, in vitro data suggest that GH acts via MEK to suppress PPARγ-dependent transcription of G0S2. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02782221 and NCT01209429.
Objective: Dietary restriction (DR) improves health and prolongs lifespan in part by upregulating type III endoribonuclease DICER in adipose tissue. In this study, we aimed to specifically test which missing dietary component was responsible for DICER upregulation.
Methods: We performed a nutrient screen in mouse preadipocytes and validated the results in vivo using different kinds of dietary interventions in wild type or genetically modified mice and worms, also testing the requirement of DICER on the effects of the diets.
Results: We found that sulfur amino acid restriction (i.e., methionine or cysteine) is sufficient to increase Dicer mRNA expression in preadipocytes. Consistently, while DR increases DICER expression in adipose tissue of mice, this effect is blunted by supplementation of the diet with methionine, cysteine, or casein, but not with a lipid or carbohydrate source. Accordingly, dietary methionine or protein restriction mirrors the effects of DR. These changes are associated with alterations in serum adiponectin. We also found that DICER controls and is controlled by adiponectin. In mice, DICER plays a role in methionine restriction-induced upregulation of Ucp1 in adipose tissue. In C. elegans, DR and a model of methionine restriction also promote DICER expression in the intestine (an analog of the adipose tissue) and prolong lifespan in a DICER-dependent manner.
Conclusions: We propose an evolutionary conserved mechanism in which dietary sulfur amino acid restriction upregulates DICER levels in adipose tissue leading to beneficial health effects.
Objective: Increases in hepatic and plasma cholesterol occur in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), although the reason for this is not well understood. We investigated whether Protease-Activated Receptor 2 (PAR2) plays a role in cholesterol and lipid homeostasis in NAFLD.
Methods: Human liver biopsies (n = 108) were quantified for PAR2 expression from NAFLD cases randomly selected and stratified by liver fibrosis stage, the primary predictor for clinical outcomes, while controlling for age, gender, and BMI between fibrosis groups. Demographic data and laboratory studies on plasma samples were obtained within 6 months of liver biopsy. Wild-type and PAR2-KO (C57BL/6 F2rl1−/−) mice were fed either normal or high fat diet for 16 weeks and plasma and liver assayed for lipids and soluble metabolites.
Results: Severity of NAFLD and plasma cholesterol levels significantly correlated with hepatocyte PAR2 expression in NAFLD patients. Conversely, PAR2 deficiency in mice resulted in reduced expression of key hepatic genes involved in cholesterol synthesis, a 50% drop in plasma and total liver cholesterol, and induced a reverse cholesterol transport system that culminated in 25% higher fecal bile acid output. PAR2-deficient mice exhibited enhanced fatty acid β-oxidation with a ketogenic shift and an unexpected increase in liver glycogenesis. Mechanistic studies identified Gi-Jnk1/2 as key downstream effectors of protease-activated PAR2 in the regulation of lipid and cholesterol homeostasis in liver.
Conclusions: These data indicate that PAR2 may be a new target for the suppression of plasma cholesterol and hepatic fat accumulation in NAFLD and related metabolic conditions.
Objective: This study investigated the role of microRNAs generated from adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) during adipose tissue remodeling induced by pharmacological and nutritional stimuli.
Methods: Macrophage-specific Dicer knockout (KO) mice were used to determine the roles of microRNA generated in macrophages in adipose tissue remodeling induced by the β3-adrenergic receptor agonist CL316,243 (CL). RNA-seq was performed to characterize microRNA and mRNA expression profiles in isolated macrophages and PDGFRα+ adipocyte stem cells (ASCs). The role of miR-10a-5p was further investigated in cell culture, and in adipose tissue remodeling induced by CL treatment and high fat feeding.
Results: Macrophage-specific deletion of Dicer elevated pro-inflammatory gene expression and prevented CL-induced de novo beige adipogenesis in gonadal white adipose tissue (gWAT). Co-culture of ASCs with ATMs of wild type mice promoted brown adipocyte gene expression upon differentiation, but co-culture with ATMs of Dicer KO mice did not. Bioinformatic analysis of RNA expression profiles identified miR-10a-5p as a potential regulator of inflammation and differentiation in ATMs and ASCs, respectively. CL treatment increased levels of miR-10a-5p in ATMs and ASCs in gWAT. Interestingly, CL treatment elevated levels of pre-mir-10a in ATMs but not in ASCs, suggesting possible transfer from ATMs to ASCs. Elevating miR-10a-5p levels inhibited proinflammatory gene expression in cultured RAW 264.7 macrophages and promoted the differentiation of C3H10T1/2 cells into brown adipocytes. Furthermore, treatment with a miR-10a-5p mimic in vivo rescued CL-induced beige adipogenesis in Dicer KO mice. High fat feeding reduced miR-10a-5p levels in ATMs of gWAT, and treatment of mice with a miR-10a-5p mimic suppressed pro-inflammatory responses, promoted the appearance of new white adipocytes in gWAT, and improved systemic glucose tolerance.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate an important role of macrophage-generated microRNAs in adipogenic niches and identify miR-10a-5p as a key regulator that reduces adipose tissue inflammation and promotes therapeutic adipogenesis.
Objective: Human blood metabolites are influenced by a number of lifestyle and environmental factors. Identification of these factors and the proper quantification of their relevance provides insights into human biological and metabolic disease processes, is key for standardized translation of metabolite biomarkers into clinical applications, and is a prerequisite for comparability of data between studies. However, so far only limited data exist from large and well-phenotyped human cohorts and current methods for analysis do not fully account for the characteristics of these data. The primary aim of this study was to identify, quantify and compare the impact of a comprehensive set of clinical and lifestyle related factors on metabolite levels in three large human cohorts. To achieve this goal, we improve current methodology by developing a principled analysis approach, which could be translated to other cohorts and metabolite panels.
Methods: 63 Metabolites (amino acids, acylcarnitines) were quantified by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry in three cohorts (total N = 16,222). Supported by a simulation study evaluating various analytical approaches, we developed an analysis pipeline including preprocessing, identification, and quantification of factors affecting metabolite levels. We comprehensively identified uni- and multivariable metabolite associations considering 29 environmental and clinical factors and performed metabolic pathway enrichment and network analyses.
Results: Inverse normal transformation of batch corrected and outlier removed metabolite levels accompanied by linear regression analysis proved to be the best suited method to deal with the metabolite data. Association analyses revealed numerous uni- and multivariable significant associations. 15 of the analyzed 29 factors explained >1% of variance for at least one of the metabolites. Strongest factors are application of steroid hormones, reticulocytes, waist-to-hip ratio, sex, haematocrit, and age. Effect sizes of factors are comparable across studies.
Conclusions: We introduced a principled approach for the analysis of MS data allowing identification, and quantification of effects of clinical and lifestyle factors with metabolite levels. We detected a number of known and novel associations broadening our understanding of the regulation of the human metabolome. The large heterogeneity observed between cohorts could almost completely be explained by differences in the distribution of influencing factors emphasizing the necessity of a proper confounder analysis when interpreting metabolite associations.
Objective: This study evaluated the impact of the interaction between the anorexigenic incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and reward-related brain activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a key area of behavioral control, on future weight loss in obese individuals.
Methods: We performed a weight loss-weight maintenance intervention study over 27 months. We applied an fMRI food-cue reactivity paradigm during which the participants were passively exposed to food pictures to evaluate neuronal activity in the DLPFC. Additionally, we measured concentrations of circulating GLP-1 levels during a standard oral glucose tolerance test. Phenotyping was performed consecutively before and after a 3-month low-calorie diet as well as after a randomized 12-month trial, investigating the effect of a combined behavioral intervention on body weight maintenance. Participants were then followed-up for another 12 months without further intervention.
Results: Using voxel-wise linear mixed-effects regression analyses, we evaluated 56 measurements and identified a strong interaction between circulating, endogenous GLP-1 levels and DLPFC activity predicting body weight change over the total observation period (t = −6.17, p = 1.6 · 10−7). While neither the GLP-1 nor the DLPFC response individually predicted the subsequent weight change, participants achieved body weight loss when the GLP-1 and the DLPFC responses occurred concurrently.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate an interaction between a peripheral hormonal signal and central nervous activity as robust predictor of body weight change throughout the different periods of a long-term life-style intervention. The preeminent role of their interdependency compared to the partly ambivalent effects of the single components argues for integrative approaches to improve sensitivity and reliability of weight prediction conventionally based on individual biomarkers.
Objective: High fructose feeding changes fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) regulation. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) supplementation reduces fructose-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to determine the role of FGF21 and underlying mechanisms in the protective effects of LGG.
Methods: FGF21 knockout (KO) mice and C57BL/6 wild type (WT) mice were fed 30% fructose for 12 weeks. LGG was administered to the mice in the last 4 weeks during fructose feeding. FGF21-adiponectin (ADPN)-mediated hepatic lipogenesis and inflammation were investigated.
Results: FGF21 expression was robustly increased after 5-weeks of feeding and significantly decreased after 12-weeks of feeding in fructose-induced NAFLD mice. LGG administration reversed the depressed FGF21 expression, increased adipose production of ADPN, and reduced hepatic fat accumulation and inflammation in the WT mice but not in the KO mice. Hepatic nuclear carbohydrate responsive-element binding protein (ChREBP) was increased by fructose and reduced by LGG, resulting in a reduction in the expression of lipogenic genes. The methylated form of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) C, which dephosphorylates and activates ChREBP, was upregulated by fructose and normalized by LGG. Leucine carboxyl methyltransferase-1, which methylates PP2AC, was also increased by fructose and decreased by LGG. However, those beneficial effects of LGG were blunted in the KO mice. Hepatic dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate, which inhibits PP2A, was markedly increased by LGG in the WT mice but attenuated in the KO mice. LGG decreased adipose hypertrophy and increased serum levels of ADPN, which regulates sphingosine metabolism. This beneficial effect was decreased in the KO mice.
Conclusion: LGG administration increases hepatic FGF21 expression and serum ADPN concentration, resulting in a reduced ChREBP activation through dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate-mediated PP2A deactivation, and subsequently reversed fructose-induced NAFLD. Thus, our data suggest that FGF21 is required for the beneficial effects of LGG in reversal of fructose-induced NAFLD.
Objective: Prokineticin 2 (PROK2) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that plays a critical role in the rhythmicity of physiological functions and inhibits food intake. PROK2 is also expressed in the main olfactory bulb (MOB) as an essential factor for neuro-and morphogenesis. Since the MOB was shown to be strongly involved in eating behavior, we hypothesized that PROK2 could be a new target in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis, through its effects in the MOB. We also asked whether PROK2 could be associated with the pathophysiology of obesity, the metabolic syndrome (MetS), and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in humans.
Methods: We assessed in wild type mice whether the expression of Prok2 in the MOB is dependent on the nutritional status. We measured the effect of human recombinant PROK2 (rPROK2) acute injection in the MOB on food intake and olfactory behavior. Then, using a lentivirus expressing Prok2-shRNA, we studied the effects of Prok2 underexpression in the MOB on feeding behavior and glucose metabolism. Metabolic parameters and meal pattern were determined using calorimetric cages. In vivo 2-deoxyglucose uptake measurements were performed in mice after intraperitoneally insulin injection. Plasmatic PROK2 dosages and genetic associations studies were carried out respectively on 148 and more than 4000 participants from the D.E.S.I.R. (Data from an Epidemiologic Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome) cohort.
Results: Our findings showed that fasting in mice reduced Prok2 expression in the MOB. Acute injection of rPROK2 in the MOB significantly decreased food intake whereas Prok2-shRNA injection resulted in a higher dietary consumption characterized by increased feeding frequency and decreased meal size. Additionally, Prok2 underexpression in the MOB induced insulin resistance compared to scrambled shRNA-injected mice. In the human D.E.S.I.R. cohort, we found a significantly lower mean concentration of plasma PROK2 in people with T2D than in those with normoglycemia. Interestingly, this decrease was no longer significant when adjusted for Body Mass Index (BMI) or calorie intake, suggesting that the association between plasma PROK2 and diabetes is mediated, at least partly, by BMI and feeding behavior in humans. Moreover, common Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in PROK2 gene were genotyped and associated with incident T2D or impaired fasting glycemia (IFG), MetS, and obesity.
Conclusions: Our data highlight PROK2 as a new target in the MOB that links olfaction with eating behavior and energy homeostasis. In humans, plasma PROK2 is negatively correlated with T2D, BMI, and energy intake, and PROK2 genetic variants are associated with incident hyperglycemia (T2D/IFG), the MetS and obesity.
Objective: Enteroendocrine cells (EECs) of the large intestine, found scattered in the epithelial layer, are known to express different hormones, with at least partial co-expression of different hormones in the same cell. Here we aimed to categorize colonic EECs and to identify possible targets for selective recruitment of hormones.
Methods: Single cell RNA-sequencing of sorted enteroendocrine cells, using NeuroD1-Cre x Rosa26-EYFP mice, was used to cluster EECs from the colon and rectum according to their transcriptome. G-protein coupled receptors differentially expressed across clusters were identified, and, as a proof of principle, agonists of Agtr1a and Avpr1b were tested as candidate EEC secretagogues in vitro and in vivo.
Results: EECs from the large intestine separated into 7 clear clusters, 4 expressing higher levels of Tph1 (enzyme required for serotonin (5-HT) synthesis; enterochromaffin cells), 2 enriched for Gcg (encoding glucagon-like peptide-1, GLP-1, L-cells), and the 7th expressing somatostatin (D-cells). Restricted analysis of L-cells identified 4 L-cell sub-clusters, exhibiting differential expression of Gcg, Pyy (Peptide YY), Nts (neurotensin), Insl5 (insulin-like peptide 5), Cck (cholecystokinin), and Sct (secretin). Expression profiles of L- and enterochromaffin cells revealed the clustering to represent gradients along the crypt-surface (cell maturation) and proximal-distal gut axes. Distal colonic/rectal L-cells differentially expressed Agtr1a and the ligand angiotensin II was shown to selectively increase GLP-1 and PYY release in vitro and GLP-1 in vivo.
Conclusion: EECs in the large intestine exhibit differential expression gradients along the crypt-surface and proximal-distal axes. Distal L-cells can be differentially stimulated by targeting receptors such as Agtr1a.
Objective: Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) plays a key role in regulating energy balance. MCH acts via its receptor MCHR1, and MCHR1 deletion increases energy expenditure and locomotor activity, which is associated with a hyperdopaminergic state. Since MCHR1 expression is widespread, the neurons supporting the effects of MCH on energy expenditure are not clearly defined. There is a high density of MCHR1 neurons in the striatum, and these neurons are known to be GABAergic. We thus determined if MCH acts via this GABAergic neurocircuit to mediate energy balance.
Methods: We generated a Mchr1-flox mouse and crossed it with the Vgat-cre mouse to assess if MCHR1 deletion from GABAergic neurons expressing the vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT) in female Vgat-Mchr1-KO mice resulted in lower body weights or increased energy expenditure. Additionally, we determined if MCHR1-expressing neurons within the accumbens form part of the neural circuit underlying MCH-mediated energy balance by delivering an adeno-associated virus expressing Cre recombinase to the accumbens nucleus of Mchr1-flox mice. To evaluate if a dysregulated dopaminergic tone leads to their hyperactivity, we determined if the dopamine reuptake blocker GBR12909 prolonged the drug-induced locomotor activity in Vgat-Mchr1-KO mice. Furthermore, we also performed amperometry recordings to test whether MCHR1 deletion increases dopamine output within the accumbens and whether MCH can suppress dopamine release.
Results: Vgat-Mchr1-KO mice have lower body weight, increased energy expenditure, and increased locomotor activity. Similarly, restricting MCHR1 deletion to the accumbens nucleus also increased locomotor activity. Vgat-Mchr1-KO mice show increased and prolonged sensitivity to GBR12909-induced locomotor activity, and amperometry recordings revealed that GBR12909 elevated accumbens dopamine levels to twice that of controls, thus MCHR1 deletion may lead to a hyperdopaminergic state that mediates their observed hyperactivity. Consistent with the inhibitory effect of MCH, we found that MCH acutely suppresses dopamine release within the accumbens.
Conclusions: As with established models of systemic MCH or MCHR1 deletion, we found that MCHR1 deletion from GABAergic neurons, specifically those within the accumbens nucleus, also led to increased locomotor activity. A hyperdopaminergic state underlies this increased locomotor activity, and is consistent with our finding that MCH signaling within the accumbens nucleus suppresses dopamine release. In effect, MCHR1 deletion may disinhibit dopamine release leading to the observed hyperactivity.