Volume 31 | January 2020
Elevated fasting glucose is commonly used to diagnose diabetes mellitus (DM), and enhanced hepatic glucose production is the major cause of fasting hyperglycemia in DM. During fasting, the major glucose source switches to gluconeogenesis (GNG) which produces glucose from small metabolites such as lactate, glycerol and amino acids. It is believed that lactate is the major substrate contributing to GNG through a process commonly known as the Cori cycle. However, lactate is largely generated from glucose and resynthesized to glucose via the Cori cycle, making lactate the largest direct contributor to glucose carbon but not necessarily a good source for new carbon entering GNG.
Wang et al. fasted mice for 6, 12, and 18 hours to study the relative contribution of different GNG substrates under different fasting conditions. By performing a comprehensive flux analysis, they demonstrate that lactate is the dominant direct contributor but a minor overall net carbon contributor to GNG under all three fasted conditions. Instead, glycerol is the dominant net carbon source for GNG during short and prolonged fasting. Elevated glycerol is an important biomarker for the development of hyperglycemia and type 2 DM, and patients with type 2 DM also show increased gluconeogenic flux from glycerol. Given the importance of glycerol as the dominant carbon source of gluconeogenesis, the glycerol metabolic pathway is a potentially important therapeutic target in patients with DM.
Objective: An increase in mass and/or brown adipose tissue (BAT) functionality leads to an increase in energy expenditure, which may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of obesity. Moreover, distinct class I PI3K isoforms can participate in metabolic control as well as in systemic dysfunctions associated with obesity. In this regard, we analyzed in vivo whether the lack of p85α in BAT (BATp85αKO) could modulate the activity and insulin signaling of this tissue, thereby improving diet-induced obesity and its associated metabolic complications.
Methods: We generated BATp85αKO mice using Cre-LoxP technology, specifically deleting p85α in a conditional manner. To characterize this new mouse model, we used mice of 6 and 12 months of age. In addition, BATp85αKO mice were submitted to a high-fat diet (HFD) to challenge BAT functionality.
Results: Our results suggest that the loss of p85α in BAT improves its thermogenic functionality, high-fat diet–induced adiposity and body weight, insulin resistance, and liver steatosis. The potential mechanisms involved in the improvement of obesity include (1) increased insulin signaling and lower activation of JNK in BAT, (2) enhanced insulin receptor isoform B (IRB) expression and association with IRS-1 in BAT, (3) lower production of proinflammatory cytokines by the adipose organ, (4) increased iWAT browning, and (5) improved liver steatosis.
Conclusions: Our results provide new mechanisms involved in the resistance to obesity development, supporting the hypothesis that the gain of BAT activity induced by the lack of p85α has a direct impact on the prevention of diet-induced obesity and its associated metabolic complications.
Objective: Fasting results in major metabolic changes including a switch from glycogenolysis to gluconeogenesis to maintain glucose homeostasis. However, the relationship between the length of fasting and the relative contribution of gluconeogenic substrates remains unclear. We investigated the relative contribution of glycogen, lactate, and glycerol in glucose production of male C57BL/6 J-albino mice after 6, 12, and 18 h of fasting.
Methods: We used non-perturbative infusions of 13C3 lactate, 13C3 glycerol, and 13C6 glucose combined with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and metabolic flux analysis to study the contribution of substrates in gluconeogenesis (GNG).
Results: During infusion studies, both lactate and glycerol significantly label about 60% and 30–50% glucose carbon, respectively, but glucose labels much more lactate (∼90%) than glycerol carbon (∼10%). Our analyses indicate that lactate, but not glycerol is largely recycled during all fasting periods such that lactate is the largest direct contributor to GNG via the Cori cycle but a minor source of new glucose carbon (overall contribution). In contrast, glycerol is not only a significant direct contributor to GNG but also the largest overall contributor to GNG regardless of fasting length. Prolonged fasting decreases both the whole body turnover rate of glucose and lactate but increases that of glycerol, indicating that the usage of glycerol in GNG become more significant with longer fasting.
Conclusions: Collectively, these findings suggest that glycerol is the dominant overall contributor of net glucose carbon in GNG during both short and prolonged fasting.
Objective: Roux-en-Y gastric surgery (RYGB) promotes a rapid and sustained weight loss and amelioration of glucose control in obese patients. A high number of molecular hypotheses were previously tested using duodenal-jejunal bypass (DJB) performed in various genetic models of mice with knockouts for various hormones or receptors. The data were globally negative or inconsistent. Therefore, the mechanisms remained elusive. Intestinal gluconeogenesis is a gut function that has been suggested to contribute to the metabolic benefits of RYGB in obese patients.
Methods: We studied the effects of DJB on body weight and glucose control in obese mice fed a high fat-high sucrose diet. Wild type mice and mice with a genetic suppression of intestinal gluconeogenesis were studied in parallel using glucose- and insulin-tolerance tests. Fecal losses, including excretion of lipids, were studied from the feces recovered in metabolic cages.
Results: DJB induced a dramatic decrease in body weight and improvement in glucose control (glucose- and insulin-tolerance) in obese wild type mice fed a high calorie diet, for 25 days after the surgery. The DJB-induced decrease in food intake was transient and resumed to normal in 7–8 days, suggesting that decreased food intake could not account for the benefits. Total fecal losses were about 5 times and lipid losses 7 times higher in DJB-mice than in control (sham-operated and pair-fed) mice, and could account for the weight loss of mice. The results were comparable in mice with suppression of intestinal gluconeogenesis. There was no effect of DJB on food intake, body weight or fecal loss in lean mice fed a normal chow diet.
Conclusions: DJB in obese mice fed a high calorie diet promotes dramatic fecal loss, which could account for the dramatic weight loss and metabolic benefits observed. This could dominate the effects of the mouse genotype/phenotype. Thus, fecal energy loss should be considered as an essential process contributing to the metabolic benefits of DJB in obese mice.
Objective: PPARα/γ dual agonists have been in clinical development for the treatment of metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. However, severe adverse side effects led to complications in clinical trials. As most of the beneficial effects rely on the compound activity in adipocytes, the selective targeting of this cell type is a cutting-edge strategy to develop safe anti-diabetic drugs. The goal of this study was to strengthen the adipocyte-specific uptake of the PPARα/γ agonist tesaglitazar via NPY1R-mediated internalization.
Methods: NPY1R-preferring peptide tesaglitazar-[F7, P34]-NPY (tesa-NPY) was synthesized by a combination of automated SPPS and manual couplings. Following molecular and functional analyses for proof of concept, cell culture experiments were conducted to monitor the effects on adipogenesis. Mice treated with peptide drug conjugates or vehicle either by gavage or intraperitoneal injection were characterized phenotypically and metabolically. Histological analysis and transcriptional profiling of the adipose tissue were performed.
Results: In vitro studies revealed that the tesaglitazar-[F7, P34]-NPY conjugate selectively activates PPARγ in NPY1R-expressing cells and enhances adipocyte differentiation and adiponectin expression in adipocyte precursor cells. In vivo studies using db/db mice demonstrated that the anti-diabetic activity of the peptide conjugate is as efficient as that of systemically administered tesaglitazar. Additionally, tesa-NPY induces adipocyte differentiation in vivo.
Conclusions: The use of the tesaglitazar-[F7, P34]-NPY conjugate is a promising strategy to apply the beneficial PPARα/γ effects in adipocytes while potentially omitting adverse effects in other tissues.
Objective: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an integral role in maintaining beta cell function and identity. Deciphering their targets and precise role, however, remains challenging. In this study, we aimed to identify miRNAs and their downstream targets involved in the regeneration of islet beta cells following partial pancreatectomy in mice.
Methods: RNA from laser capture microdissected (LCM) islets of partially pancreatectomized and sham-operated mice were profiled with microarrays to identify putative miRNAs implicated in beta cell regeneration. Altered expression of the selected miRNAs, including miR-132, was verified by RT-PCR. Potential targets of miR-132 were selected through bioinformatic data mining. Predicted miR-132 targets were validated for their changed RNA, protein expression levels, and signaling upon miR-132 knockdown and/or overexpression in mouse MIN6 and human EndoC-βH1 insulinoma cells. The ability of miR-132 to foster beta cell proliferation in vivo was further assessed in pancreatectomized miR-132−/− and control mice.
Results: Partial pancreatectomy significantly increased the number of BrdU+/insulin+ islet cells. Microarray profiling revealed that 14 miRNAs, including miR-132 and -141, were significantly upregulated in the LCM islets of the partially pancreatectomized mice compared to the LCM islets of the control mice. In the same comparison, miR-760 was the only downregulated miRNA. The changed expression of these miRNAs in the islets of the partially pancreatectomized mice was confirmed by RT-PCR only in the case of miR-132 and -141. Based on previous knowledge of its function, we focused our attention on miR-132. Downregulation of miR-132 reduced the proliferation of MIN6 cells while enhancing the levels of pro-apoptotic cleaved caspase-9. The opposite was observed in miR-132 overexpressing MIN6 cells. Microarray profiling, RT-PCR, and immunoblotting of the latter cells demonstrated their downregulated expression of Pten with concomitant increased levels of pro-proliferative factors phospho-Akt and phospho-Creb and inactivation of pro-apoptotic Foxo3a via its phosphorylation. Downregulation of Pten was further confirmed in the LCM islets of pancreatectomized mice compared to the sham-operated mice. Moreover, overexpression of miR-132 correlated with increased proliferation of EndoC-βH1 cells. The regeneration of beta cells following partial pancreatectomy was lower in the miR-132/212−/− mice than the control littermates.
Conclusions: This study provides compelling evidence about the critical role of miR-132 for the regeneration of mouse islet beta cells through the downregulation of its target Pten. Hence, the miR-132/Pten/Akt/Foxo3 signaling pathway may represent a suitable target to enhance beta cell mass.
Objective: Recently, we observed that the specialized proresolving mediator (SPM) entity resolvin D1 activates lipoxin A4/formyl peptide receptor 2 (ALX/FPR2), which facilitates cardiac healing and persistent inflammation is a hallmark of impaired cardiac repair in aging. Splenic leukocyte-directed SPMs are essential for the safe clearance of inflammation and cardiac repair after injury; however, the target of SPMs remains undefined in cardiac healing and repair.
Methods: To define the mechanistic basis of ALX/FPR2 as a resolvin D1 target, ALX/FPR2-null mice were examined extensively. The systolic-diastolic heart function was assessed using echocardiography, leukocytes were phenotyped using flow cytometry, and SPMs were quantitated using mass spectrometry. The presence of cardiorenal syndrome was validated using histology and renal markers.
Results: Lack of ALX/FPR2 led to the development of spontaneous obesity and diastolic dysfunction with reduced survival with aging. After cardiac injury, ALX/FPR2−/− mice showed lower expression of lipoxygenases (−5, −12, −15) and a reduction in SPMs in the infarcted left ventricle and spleen, indicating nonresolving inflammation. Reduced SPM levels in the infarcted heart and spleen are suggestive of impaired cross-talk between the injured heart and splenic leukocytes, which are required for the resolution of inflammation. In contrast, cyclooxygenases (−1 and −2) were over amplified in the infarcted heart. Together, these results suggest interorgan signaling in which the spleen acts as both an SPM biosynthesizer and supplier in acute heart failure. ALX/FPR2 dysfunction magnified obesogenic cardiomyopathy and renal inflammation (↑NGAL, ↑TNF-α, ↑CCL2, ↑IL-1β) with elevated plasma creatinine levels in aging mice. At the cellular level, ALX/FPR2−/− mice showed impairment of macrophage phagocytic function ex-vivo with expansion of neutrophils after myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: Lack of ALX/FPR2 induced obesity, reduced the life span, amplified leukocyte dysfunction, and facilitated profound interorgan nonresolving inflammation. Our study shows the integrative and indispensable role of ALX/FPR2 in lipid metabolism, cardiac inflammation–resolution processes, obesogenic aging, and renal homeostasis.
Objective: The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is secreted from intestinal L-cells upon nutrient intake. While recent evidence has shown that GLP-1 is released in a circadian manner in rats, whether this occurs in mice and if this pattern is regulated by the circadian clock remain to be elucidated. Furthermore, although circadian GLP-1 secretion parallels expression of the core clock gene Bmal1, the link between the two remains largely unknown. Secretagogin (Scgn) is an exocytotic SNARE regulatory protein that demonstrates circadian expression and is essential for insulin secretion from β-cells. The objective of the current study was to establish the necessity of the core clock gene Bmal1 and the SNARE protein SCGN as essential regulators of circadian GLP-1 secretion.
Methods: Oral glucose tolerance tests were conducted at different times of the day on 4-hour fasted C57BL/6J, Bmal1 wild-type, and Bmal1 knockout mice. Mass spectrometry, RNA-seq, qRT-PCR and/or microarray analyses, and immunostaining were conducted on murine (m) and human (h) primary L-cells and mGLUTag and hNCI-H716 L-cell lines. At peak and trough GLP-1 secretory time points, the mGLUTag cells were co-stained for SCGN and a membrane-marker, ChIP was used to analyze BMAL1 binding sites in the Scgn promoter, protein interaction with SCGN was tested by co-immunoprecipitation, and siRNA was used to knockdown Scgn for GLP-1 secretion assay.
Results: C57BL/6J mice displayed a circadian rhythm in GLP-1 secretion that peaked at the onset of their feeding period. Rhythmic GLP-1 release was impaired in Bmal1 knockout (KO) mice as compared to wild-type controls at the peak (p < 0.05) but not at the trough secretory time point. Microarray identified SNARE and transport vesicle pathways as highly upregulated in mGLUTag L-cells at the peak time point of GLP-1 secretion (p < 0.001). Mass spectrometry revealed that SCGN was also increased at this time (p < 0.001), while RNA-seq, qRT-PCR, and immunostaining demonstrated Scgn expression in all human and murine primary L-cells and cell lines. The mGLUTag and hNCI-H716 L-cells exhibited circadian rhythms in Scgn expression (p < 0.001). The ChIP analysis demonstrated increased binding of BMAL1 only at the peak of Scgn expression (p < 0.01). Immunocytochemistry showed the translocation of SCGN to the cell membrane after stimulation at the peak time point only (p < 0.05), while CoIP showed that SCGN was pulled down with SNAP25 and β-actin, but only the latter interaction was time-dependent (p < 0.05). Finally, Scgn siRNA-treated cells demonstrated significantly blunted GLP-1 secretion (p < 0.01) in response to stimulation at the peak time point only.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate, for the first time, that mice display a circadian pattern in GLP-1 secretion, which is impaired in Bmal1 knockout mice, and that Bmal1 regulation of Scgn expression plays an essential role in the circadian release of the incretin hormone GLP-1.
Objective: Brown adipose tissue (BAT)–mediated thermogenesis plays a key role in energy homeostasis and the maintenance of body temperature. Previous work suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in BAT thermogenesis, but the underlying neural circuits and molecular mechanism remain largely unknown. This is in part due to the difficulties in manipulating BDNF expression in different brain regions through different promoters and the lack of tools to identify neurons in the brain specifically involved in BAT thermogenesis.
Methods: We have created several lines of mutant mice in which BDNF transcription from a specific promoter was selectively disrupted by replacing Bdnf with green fluorescent protein (GFP; Bdnf-e1, -e4, and -e6−/− mice). As such, cells expressing Bdnf-e1, -e4, or -e6 were labeled with GFP. To identify BAT-connected thermogenesis neurons in brain, we applied the retrograde pseudorabies virus labeling method from BAT. We also used chemogenetic tools to manipulate specific neurons coupled with BAT temperature recording. Moreover, we developed a new TrkB agonist antibody to rescue the BAT thermogenesis deficits.
Results: We show that selective disruption of Bdnf expression from promoter 1 (Bdnf-e1) resulted in severe obesity and deficits of BAT-mediated thermogenesis. Body temperature response to cold was impaired in Bdnf-e1−/− mice. BAT expression of Ucp1 and Pcg1a, genes known to regulate thermogenesis, was also reduced, accompanying a decrease in the sympathetic activity of BAT. Staining of cells expressing Bdnf-e1 transcript, combined with transsynaptic, retrograde-tracing labeling of BAT-connected neurons, identified a group of excitatory neurons in lateral hypothalamus (LH) critical for thermogenesis regulation. Moreover, an adaptive thermogenesis defect in Bdnf-e1−/− mice was rescued by injecting an agonistic antibody for TrkB, the BDNF receptor, into LH. Remarkably, activation of the excitatory neurons (VGLUT2+) in LH through chemogenetic tools resulted in a rise of BAT temperature.
Conclusions: These results reveal a specific role of BDNF promoter I in thermogenesis regulation and define a small subset of neurons in LH that contribute to such regulation.
Objective: The present study aims to verify the relationship between glucose consumption and uptake of 18F-2-deoxy-glucose (FDG) in the skeletal muscle (SM) of experimental models of streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus (STZ-DM).
Methods: The study included 36 Balb/c mice. Two weeks after intraperitoneal administration of saline (control group, n = 18) or 150 mg streptozotocin (STZ-DM group, n = 18), the two cohorts were submitted to an oral glucose tolerance test and were further subdivided into three groups (n = 6 each): untreated and treated with metformin (MTF) at low or high doses (10 or 750 mg/kg daily, respectively). Two weeks thereafter, all mice were submitted to dynamic micro–positron emission tomography (PET) imaging after prolonged fasting. After sacrifice, enzymatic pathways and response to oxidative stress were evaluated in harvested SM.
Results: On PET imaging, the FDG uptake rate in hindlimb SM was significantly lower in nondiabetic mice as compared with STZ-DM–untreated mice. MTF had no significant effect on SM FDG uptake in untreated mice; however, its high dose induced a significant decrease in STZ-DM animals. Upon conventional analysis, the SM standard uptake value was higher in STZ-DM mice, while MTF was virtually ineffective in either control or STZ-DM models. This metabolic reprogramming was not explained by any change in cytosolic glucose metabolism. By contrast, it closely agreed with the catalytic function of hexose-6P-dehydrogenase (H6PD; i.e., the trigger of a specific pentose phosphate pathway selectively located within the endoplasmic reticulum). In agreement with this role, the H6PD enzymatic response to both STZ-DM and MTF matched the activation of the NADPH-dependent antioxidant responses to the increased generation of reactive oxygen species caused by chronic hyperglycemia. Ex vivo analysis of tracer kinetics confirmed that the enhanced SM avidity for FDG occurred despite a significant reduction in glucose consumption, while it was associated with increased radioactivity transfer to the endoplasmic reticulum.
Conclusions: These data challenge the current dogma linking FDG uptake to the glycolytic rate. They instead introduce a new model considering a strict link between the uptake of this glucose analog, H6PD reticular activity, and oxidative damage in diabetes, at least under fasting condition.
Objective: Enhanced glucagon signaling and hepatic glucose production (HGP) can account for hyperglycemia in patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the enhanced HGP in these patients are not fully understood. Here, we identify Purβ as a positive regulator of HGP and study its molecular mechanisms in the regulation of HGP both in vivo and in vitro.
Methods: Adenovirus-mediated knockdown or overexpression of Purβ was performed in either primary hepatocytes or the livers of db/db mice. Glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and HGP were determined by glucose, insulin, and lactate tolerance tests, respectively. Purβ/ADCY6 protein levels, glucagon signaling (p-CREB/CREB), and insulin signaling (p-Akt/Akt) were measured by immunoblotting. Gene expression was measured by RNA-seq and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were used to study the interaction between Purβ and the Adcy6 promoter.
Results: Purβ was abnormally elevated in obese mice and was also increased under fasting conditions or via the glucagon signaling pathway, which promoted HGP by increasing Adcy6 expression. Liver-specific knockdown of Purβ in db/db mice significantly ameliorated hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance by suppressing the glucagon/ADCY6/cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling pathway. Consistent with this observation, the knockdown of Purβ also inhibited glucose production in isolated primary hepatocytes by inhibiting the glucagon/ADCY6/cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling pathway, whereas the overexpression of Purβ promoted glucose production by activating this signaling pathway. Mechanistically, Purβ directly binds to the promoter of the Adcy6 gene and thereby promotes its transcription.
Conclusions: Taken together, these results illustrate a new model in which Purβ functions to regulate the glucagon/ADCY6/cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling pathway to help maintain glucose homeostasis.
Objective: Obesity is the result of positive energy balance. It can be caused by excessive energy consumption but also by decreased energy dissipation, which occurs under several conditions including when the development or activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) is impaired. Here we evaluated whether iRhom2, the essential cofactor for the Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) sheddase ADAM17/TACE, plays a role in the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome.
Methods: We challenged WT versus iRhom2 KO mice to positive energy balance by chronic exposure to a high fat diet and then compared their metabolic phenotypes. We also carried out ex vivo assays with primary and immortalized mouse brown adipocytes to establish the autonomy of the effect of loss of iRhom2 on thermogenesis and respiration.
Results: Deletion of iRhom2 protected mice from weight gain, dyslipidemia, adipose tissue inflammation, and hepatic steatosis and improved insulin sensitivity when challenged by a high fat diet. Crucially, the loss of iRhom2 promotes thermogenesis via BAT activation and beige adipocyte recruitment, enabling iRhom2 KO mice to dissipate excess energy more efficiently than WT animals. This effect on enhanced thermogenesis is cell-autonomous in brown adipocytes as iRhom2 KOs exhibit elevated UCP1 levels and increased mitochondrial proton leak.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that iRhom2 is a negative regulator of thermogenesis and plays a role in the control of adipose tissue homeostasis during metabolic disease.
Objective: Phosphatidylethanolamine methyltransferase (PEMT) generates phosphatidylcholine (PC), the most abundant phospholipid in the mitochondria and an important acyl chain donor for cardiolipin (CL) biosynthesis. Mice lacking PEMT (PEMTKO) are cold-intolerant when fed a high-fat diet (HFD) due to unclear mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to determine whether PEMT-derived phospholipids are important for the function of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and thus for maintenance of core temperature.
Methods: To test whether PEMT-derived phospholipids are important for UCP1 function, we examined cold-tolerance and brown adipose (BAT) mitochondria from PEMTKO mice with or without HFD feeding. We complemented these studies with experiments on mice lacking functional CL due to tafazzin knockdown (TAZKD). We generated several conditional mouse models to study the tissue-specific roles of PEMT, including mice with BAT-specific knockout of PEMT (PEMT-BKO).
Results: Chow- and HFD-fed PEMTKO mice completely lacked UCP1 protein in BAT, despite a lack of difference in mRNA levels, and the mice were accordingly cold-intolerant. While HFD-fed PEMTKO mice exhibited reduced mitochondrial CL content, this was not observed in chow-fed PEMTKO mice or TAZKD mice, indicating that the lack of UCP1 was not attributable to CL deficiency. Surprisingly, the PEMT-BKO mice exhibited normal UCP1 protein levels. Knockout of PEMT in the adipose tissue (PEMT-AKO), liver (PEMT-LKO), or skeletal muscle (PEMT-MKO) also did not affect UCP1 protein levels, suggesting that lack of PEMT in other non-UCP1-expressing cells communicates to BAT to suppress UCP1. Instead, we identified an untranslated UCP1 splice variant that was triggered during the perinatal period in the PEMTKO mice.
Conclusions: PEMT is required for UCP1 splicing that yields functional protein. This effect is derived by PEMT in nonadipocytes that communicates to BAT during embryonic development. Future research will focus on identifying the non-cell-autonomous PEMT-dependent mechanism of UCP1 splicing.
Whole-body and adipose tissue-specific mechanisms underlying the metabolic effects of fibroblast growth factor 21 in the Siberian hamster
Objective: Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) has been shown to rapidly lower body weight in the Siberian hamster, a preclinical model of adiposity. This induced negative energy balance mediated by FGF21 is associated with both lowered caloric intake and increased energy expenditure. Previous research demonstrated that adipose tissue (AT) is one of the primary sites of FGF21 action and may be responsible for its ability to increase the whole-body metabolic rate. The present study sought to determine the relative importance of white (subcutaneous AT [sWAT] and visceral AT [vWAT]), and brown (interscapular brown AT [iBAT]) in governing FGF21-mediated metabolic improvements using the tissue-specific uptake of glucose and lipids as a proxy for metabolic activity.
Methods: We used positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging in combination with both glucose (18F-fluorodeoxyglucose) and lipid (18F-4-thiapalmitate) tracers to assess the effect of FGF21 on the tissue-specific uptake of these metabolites and compared responses to a control group pair-fed to match the food intake of the FGF21-treated group. In vivo imaging was combined with ex vivo tissue-specific functional, biochemical, and molecular analyses of the nutrient uptake and signaling pathways.
Results: Consistent with previous findings, FGF21 reduced body weight via reduced caloric intake and increased energy expenditure in the Siberian hamster. PET-CT studies demonstrated that FGF21 increased the uptake of glucose in BAT and WAT independently of reduced food intake and body weight as demonstrated by imaging of the pair-fed group. Furthermore, FGF21 increased glucose uptake in the primary adipocytes, confirming that these in vivo effects may be due to a direct action of FGF21 at the level of the adipocytes. Mechanistically, the effects of FGF21 are associated with activation of the ERK signaling pathway and upregulation of GLUT4 protein content in all fat depots. In response to treatment with FGF21, we observed an increase in the markers of lipolysis and lipogenesis in both the subcutaneous and visceral WAT depots. In contrast, FGF21 was only able to directly increase the uptake of lipid into BAT.
Conclusions: These data identify brown and white fat depots as primary peripheral sites of action of FGF21 in promoting glucose uptake and also indicate that FGF21 selectively stimulates lipid uptake in brown fat, which may fuel thermogenesis.
Objective: Long-term glucocorticoids (GCs) therapy usually causes many metabolic side effects, including fatty liver. However, the molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Herein, we explored the molecular basis of GCs in the development of fatty liver.
Methods: C57BL/6 male mice were injected with Dexamethasone (DEX) while mouse primary hepatocytes (MPHs), HepG2 and Hep1-6 cells were cultured in the presence of DEX. Genes expression in liver tissues and hepatocytes were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting, respectively. To explore whether Periostin is involved in the development of GCs-induced fatty liver, wild-type and Periostin knockout mice were treated with DEX or vehicle control. Luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were used to determine the regulatory roles of GCs on Periostin expression.
Results: We show that treatment of dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic analog of GCs, led to the accumulation of triglycerides in the livers of mice, but not in cultured hepatocytes, suggesting that GCs may promote liver steatosis through integrative organ crosstalk mediated by systemic factors. We further found that DEX upregulated the expression levels of Periostin in white adipose tissues, which in turn promoted liver steatosis. Administration of a Periostin-neutralizing antibody or genetic ablation of Periostin largely attenuated DEX-induced hepatic steatosis in mice.
Conclusions: Our findings provided a novel insight that GCs could promote liver steatosis through integrative organ crosstalk mediated by white fat-secreted Periostin. These results establish Periostin as an endocrine factor with therapeutic potential for the treatment of GCs-associated fatty liver.