Featured ArticlesVolume 9 | March 2018
|Respiromics - Linking mitochondrial bioenergetics to molecular signaturesIn response to physiological and environmental stress, mitochondria adapt to match increased ATP demand and maintain metabolic homeostasis. Intrinsic flexibility and allosteric control are partially supported by adjustments of protein concentrations. However, in particular chronic impairments of energy balance, the limits of these adjustments may be reached, establishing pathologies of the metabolic syndrome. Walheim et al. combine quantitative mitochondrial respirometry and proteomics to understand how molecular changes translate to changes in mitochondrial energy transduction during diet-induced obesity (DIO) in the liver. The integrative analysis highlights the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier as a prime element controlling respiration in the liver.
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Objective: Energy metabolism is challenged upon nutrient stress, eventually leading to a variety of metabolic diseases that represent a major global health burden.
Methods: Here, we combine quantitative mitochondrial respirometry (Seahorse technology) and proteomics (LC-MS/MS-based total protein approach) to understand how molecular changes translate to changes in mitochondrial energy transduction during diet-induced obesity (DIO) in the liver.
Results: The integrative analysis reveals that significantly increased palmitoyl-carnitine respiration is supported by an array of proteins enriching lipid metabolism pathways. Upstream of the respiratory chain, the increased capacity for ATP synthesis during DIO associates strongest to mitochondrial uptake of pyruvate, which is routed towards carboxylation. At the respiratory chain, robust increases of complex I are uncovered by cumulative analysis of single subunit concentrations. Specifically, nuclear-encoded accessory subunits, but not mitochondrial-encoded or core units, appear to be permissive for enhanced lipid oxidation.
Conclusions: Our integrative analysis, that we dubbed “respiromics”, represents an effective tool to link molecular changes to functional mechanisms in liver energy metabolism, and, more generally, can be applied for mitochondrial analysis in a variety of metabolic and mitochondrial disease models.[Hide abstract]
|Roux en Y gastric bypass hypoglycemia resolves with gastric feeding or reversalRoux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery is the most commonly performed bariatric procedure worldwide and has dramatic effects on weight loss and diabetes remission. Postprandial hypoglycemia is recognized as a late complication of RYGB. Davis and colleagues show that the pathophysiology of this syndrome is not due to inherent changes in pancreatic β-cell mass or function but to reversible alterations caused by RYGB anatomy. RYGB reversal is an effective treatment option in select patients with severe hypoglycemia.|
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Objective: Postprandial hypoglycemia is an infrequent but disabling complication of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Controversy still exists as to whether the postprandial hyperinsulinemia observed is due to inherent changes in pancreatic β-cell mass or function or to reversible alterations caused by RYGB anatomy. We aimed to determine if gastric feeding or reversal of RYGB would normalize postprandial glucose and hormone excursions in patients with symptomatic hypoglycemia.
Methods: We completed a prospective study of six patients with severe symptomatic RYGB hypoglycemia who underwent RYGB reversal. An additional subject without hypoglycemia who underwent RYGB reversal was also studied prospectively. Mixed meal tolerance testing (MTT) was done orally (RYGB anatomy), via gastrostomy tube in the excluded stomach in the setting of RYGB, and several months after RYGB reversal.
Results: All subjects reported symptomatic improvement of hypoglycemia after reversal of RYGB. Weight gain after reversal was moderate and variable. Postprandial glucose, insulin, and GLP-1 excursions were significantly diminished with gastric feeding and after reversal. Insulin secretion changed proportional to glucose levels and insulin clearance increased after reversal. Glucagon/insulin ratios were similar throughout study. We further compared the impact of modified sleeve gastrectomy reversal surgery to those with restoration of complete stomach and found no significant differences in weight regain or in postprandial glucose or hormone levels.
Conclusions: Reversal of RYGB is an effective treatment option for severe postprandial hypoglycemia. The pathophysiology of this disorder is primarily due to RYGB anatomy resulting in altered glucose, gut, and pancreatic hormone levels and decreased insulin clearance, rather than inherent β-cell hyperplasia or hyperfunction.[Hide abstract]
|PGC-1α1 stabilizers induce Ucp1 expression and uncoupled mitochondrial respirationPeroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α1 (PGC-1α1) is a strong regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative metabolism. In adipocytes, PGC-1α1 has been shown to coordinate the expression of thermogenic genes, of which uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) has central importance. Pettersson-Klein, Izadi and colleagues report the development of a cell-based high-throughput screening system that allows to identify agents that activate PGC-1α1 by increasing protein stability. Using this system, the authors were able to identify several small molecule PGC-1α1 activators that are biologically active in brown adipocytes. Treatment of adipocytes with select compounds lead to PGC-1α1 protein accumulation and increased Ucp1 expression and mitochondrial respiration rates.|
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Objective: The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α1 (PGC-1α1) regulates genes involved in energy metabolism. Increasing adipose tissue energy expenditure through PGC-1α1 activation is potentially beneficial for systemic metabolism. Pharmacological PGC-1α1 activators could be valuable tools in the fight against obesity and metabolic disease. Finding such compounds has been challenging partly because PGC-1α1 is a transcriptional coactivator with no known ligand-binding properties. While, PGC-1α1 activation is regulated by several mechanisms, protein stabilization is a crucial limiting step due to its short half-life under unstimulated conditions.
Methods: We designed a cell-based high-throughput screening system to identify PGC-1α1 protein stabilizers. Positive hits were tested for their ability to induce endogenous PGC-1α1 protein accumulation and activate target gene expression in brown adipocytes. Select compounds were analyzed for their effects on global gene expression and cellular respiration in adipocytes.
Results: Among 7,040 compounds screened, we highlight four small molecules with high activity as measured by: PGC-1α1 protein accumulation, target gene expression, and uncoupled mitochondrial respiration in brown adipocytes.
Conclusions: We identify compounds that induce PGC-1α1 protein accumulation and show that this increases uncoupled respiration in brown adipocytes. This screening platform establishes the foundation for a new class of therapeutics with potential use in obesity and associated disorders.[Hide abstract]
|ACSL4 plays a role in phospholipid remodeling and adipocyte dysfunction The long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACSL) family of enzymes catalyze the addition of a coenzyme-A (CoA) group to a fatty acid to form fatty acyl-CoAs, effectively “trapping” FAs within cells. Killion et al. studied the role of ACSL4 in regulating obesity-associated adipocyte dysfunction. In the context of diet-induced obesity, adipocyte ACSL4 regulates adiposity, obesity-associated inflammation and metabolic complications, whole-body energy expenditure, and isolated adipocyte oxygen consumption rate.|
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Objective: Regulation of fatty acid (FA) metabolism is central to adipocyte dysfunction during diet-induced obesity (DIO). Long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase-4 (ACSL4) has been hypothesized to modulate the metabolic fates of polyunsaturated FA (PUFA), including arachidonic acid (AA), but the in vivo actions of ACSL4 are unknown. The purpose of our studies was to determine the in vivo role of adipocyte ACSL4 in regulating obesity-associated adipocyte dysfunction.
Methods: We developed a novel mouse model with adipocyte-specific ablation of ACSL4 (Ad-KO) using loxP Cre recombinase technology. Metabolic phenotyping of Ad-KO mice relative to their floxed littermates (ACSL4floxed) was performed, including body weight and body composition over time; insulin and glucose tolerance tests; and energy expenditure, activity, and food intake in metabolic cages. Adipocytes were isolated for ex vivo adipocyte oxygen consumption by Clark electrode and lipidomics analysis. In vitro adipocyte analysis including oxygen consumption by Seahorse and real-time PCR analysis were performed to confirm our in vivo findings.
Results: Ad-KO mice were protected against DIO, adipocyte death, and metabolic dysfunction. Adipocytes from Ad-KO mice fed high-fat diet (HFD) had reduced incorporation of AA into phospholipids (PL), free AA, and levels of the AA lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE). Additionally, adipocytes from Ad-KO mice fed HFD had reduced p53 activation and increased adipocyte oxygen consumption (OCR), which we demonstrated are direct effects of 4-HNE on adipocytes in vitro.
Conclusions: These studies are the first to elucidate ACSL4's in vivo actions to regulate the incorporation of AA into PL and downstream effects on DIO-associated adipocyte dysfunction. By reducing the incorporation of AA into PL and free fatty acid pools in adipocytes, Ad-KO mice were significantly protected against HFD-induced increases in adipose and liver fat accumulation, adipocyte death, gonadal white adipose tissue (gWAT) inflammation, and insulin resistance (IR). Additionally, deficiency of adipocyte ACSL4 expression in mice fed a HFD resulted in increased gWAT adipocyte OCR and whole body energy expenditure (EE).[Hide abstract]
|Genome-wide analysis of PDX1 target genes in human pancreatic progenitors PDX1 is a transcription factor expressed in the developing pancreas. Heterozygous mutations in the PDX1 gene cause a strong form of monogenic diabetes. Unravelling PDX target genes may help to understand its contributions to different forms of diabetes. Wang, Sterr, et al. provide a PDX1 regulated human pancreas developmental program that can be used to investigate the effects of PDX1 mutations. They find more than 430 type 2 diabetes (T2DM)-associated SNPs in active regulatory regions and 32% of T2DM genes to be bound by PDX1 in XM001 pancreatic progenitors, demonstrating that PDX1 occupancy is an efficient way to identify important pancreatic developmental and disease genes.|
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Objective: Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in the gene coding for the homeobox transcription factor (TF) PDX1 leads to pancreatic agenesis, whereas heterozygous mutations can cause Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young 4 (MODY4). Although the function of Pdx1 is well studied in pre-clinical models during insulin-producing β-cell development and homeostasis, it remains elusive how this TF controls human pancreas development by regulating a downstream transcriptional program. Also, comparative studies of PDX1 binding patterns in pancreatic progenitors and adult β-cells have not been conducted so far. Furthermore, many studies reported the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and T2DM, and it has been shown that islet enhancers are enriched in T2DM-associated SNPs. Whether regions, harboring T2DM-associated SNPs are PDX1 bound and active at the pancreatic progenitor stage has not been reported so far.
Methods: In this study, we have generated a novel induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line that efficiently differentiates into human pancreatic progenitors (PPs). Furthermore, PDX1 and H3K27ac chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used to identify PDX1 transcriptional targets and active enhancer and promoter regions. To address potential differences in the function of PDX1 during development and adulthood, we compared PDX1 binding profiles from PPs and adult islets. Moreover, combining ChIP-seq and GWAS meta-analysis data we identified T2DM-associated SNPs in PDX1 binding sites and active chromatin regions.
Results: ChIP-seq for PDX1 revealed a total of 8088 PDX1-bound regions that map to 5664 genes in iPSC-derived PPs. The PDX1 target regions include important pancreatic TFs, such as PDX1 itself, RFX6, HNF1B, and MEIS1, which were activated during the differentiation process as revealed by the active chromatin mark H3K27ac and mRNA expression profiling, suggesting that auto-regulatory feedback regulation maintains PDX1 expression and initiates a pancreatic TF program. Remarkably, we identified several PDX1 target genes that have not been reported in the literature in human so far, including RFX3, required for ciliogenesis and endocrine differentiation in mouse, and the ligand of the Notch receptor DLL1, which is important for endocrine induction and tip-trunk patterning. The comparison of PDX1 profiles from PPs and adult human islets identified sets of stage-specific target genes, associated with early pancreas development and adult β-cell function, respectively. Furthermore, we found an enrichment of T2DM-associated SNPs in active chromatin regions from iPSC-derived PPs. Two of these SNPs fall into PDX1 occupied sites that are located in the intronic regions of TCF7L2 and HNF1B. Both of these genes are key transcriptional regulators of endocrine induction and mutations in cis-regulatory regions predispose to diabetes.
Conclusions: ChIP-seq for PDX1 revealed a total of 8088 PDX1-bound regions that map to 5664 genes in iPSC-derived PPs. The PDX1 target regions include important pancreatic TFs, such as PDX1 itself, RFX6, HNF1B, and MEIS1, which were activated during the differentiation process as revealed by the active chromatin mark H3K27ac and mRNA expression profiling, suggesting that auto-regulatory feedback regulation maintains PDX1 expression and initiates a pancreatic TF program. Remarkably, we identified several PDX1 target genes that have not been reported in the literature in human so far, including RFX3, required for ciliogenesis and endocrine differentiation in mouse, and the ligand of the Notch receptor DLL1, which is important for endocrine induction and tip-trunk patterning. The comparison of PDX1 profiles from PPs and adult human islets identified sets of stage-specific target genes, associated with early pancreas development and adult β-cell function, respectively. Furthermore, we found an enrichment of T2DM-associated SNPs in active chromatin regions from iPSC-derived PPs. Two of these SNPs fall into PDX1 occupied sites that are located in the intronic regions of TCF7L2 and HNF1B. Both of these genes are key transcriptional regulators of endocrine induction and mutations in cis-regulatory regions predispose to diabetes.[Hide abstract]
|Circular RNAs as novel regulators of β-cell functions Recent work revealed the presence of thousands of abundant, endogenous circular RNAs (circRNAs) in mammalian cells. Despite their abundance, little is known about the functional role of circRNAs. Stoll and colleagues identify circRNAs expressed in pancreatic islets and elucidate their possible role in the control of β-cell function. The authors find that circHIPK3 and ciRS-7 are highly abundant in pancreatic islets and display reduced expression in diabetes animal models. Silencing these circular transcripts resulted in impaired β-cell function, pointing to a contribution of altered circHIPK3 and ciRS-7 expression in the development of diabetes mellitus.|
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Objective: There is strong evidence for an involvement of different classes of non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs, in the regulation of β-cell activities and in diabetes development. Circular RNAs were recently discovered to constitute a substantial fraction of the mammalian transcriptome but the contribution of these non-coding RNAs in physiological and disease processes remains largely unknown. The goal of this study was to identify the circular RNAs expressed in pancreatic islets and to elucidate their possible role in the control of β-cells functions.
Methods: We used a microarray approach to identify circular RNAs expressed in human islets and searched their orthologues in RNA sequencing data from mouse islets. We then measured the level of four selected circular RNAs in the islets of different Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes models and analyzed the role of these circular transcripts in the regulation of insulin secretion, β-cell proliferation, and apoptosis.
Results: We identified thousands of circular RNAs expressed in human pancreatic islets, 497 of which were conserved in mouse islets. The level of two of these circular transcripts, circHIPK3 and ciRS-7/CDR1as, was found to be reduced in the islets of diabetic db/db mice. Mimicking this decrease in the islets of wild type animals resulted in impaired insulin secretion, reduced β-cell proliferation, and survival. ciRS-7/CDR1as has been previously proposed to function by blocking miR-7. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that circHIPK3 acts by sequestering a group of microRNAs, including miR-124-3p and miR-338-3p, and by regulating the expression of key β-cell genes, such as Slc2a2, Akt1, and Mtpn.
Conclusions: Our findings point to circular RNAs as novel regulators of β-cell activities and suggest an involvement of this novel class of non-coding RNAs in β-cell dysfunction under diabetic conditions.[Hide abstract]
|TALK-1 reduces delta-cell calcium levels limiting somatostatin secretionSomatostatin is a potent inhibitory peptide, which regulates many physiological processes, such as hormone secretion, neurotransmission, gastric function, and cell proliferation. Although the necessity of proper islet somatostatin secretion for glucose homeostasis is increasingly appreciated, the molecular mechanisms underlying δ-cell function remain poorly understood. Vierra and colleagues investigated whether TALK-1 potassium channels modulate δ-cell Ca2++ handling and somatostatin secretion. The authors found that TALK-1 forms functional channels in mouse and human δ-cells, where it limits Ca2++-induced Ca2++ release and somatostatin secretion.|
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Objective: Single-cell RNA sequencing studies have revealed that the type-2 diabetes associated two-pore domain K+ (K2P) channel TALK-1 is abundantly expressed in somatostatin-secreting δ-cells. However, a physiological role for TALK-1 in δ-cells remains unknown. We previously determined that in β-cells, K+ flux through endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized TALK-1 channels enhances ER Ca2+ leak, modulating Ca2+ handling and insulin secretion. As glucose amplification of islet somatostatin release relies on Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR) from the δ-cell ER, we investigated whether TALK-1 modulates δ-cell Ca2+ handling and somatostatin secretion.
Methods: To define the functions of islet δ-cell TALK-1 channels, we generated control and TALK-1 channel-deficient (TALK-1 KO) mice expressing fluorescent reporters specifically in δ- and α-cells to facilitate cell type identification. Using immunofluorescence, patch clamp electrophysiology, Ca2+ imaging, and hormone secretion assays, we assessed how TALK-1 channel activity impacts δ- and α-cell function.
Results: TALK-1 channels are expressed in both mouse and human δ-cells, where they modulate glucose-stimulated changes in cytosolic Ca2+ and somatostatin secretion. Measurement of cytosolic Ca2+ levels in response to membrane potential depolarization revealed enhanced CICR in TALK-1 KO δ-cells that could be abolished by depleting ER Ca2+ with sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) inhibitors. Consistent with elevated somatostatin inhibitory tone, we observed significantly reduced glucagon secretion and α-cell Ca2+ oscillations in TALK-1 KO islets, and found that blockade of α-cell somatostatin signaling with a somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) antagonist restored glucagon secretion in TALK-1 KO islets.
Conclusions: These data indicate that TALK-1 reduces δ-cell cytosolic Ca2+ elevations and somatostatin release by limiting δ-cell CICR, modulating the intraislet paracrine signaling mechanisms that control glucagon secretion.[Hide abstract]
|Liver-specific rescuing of CEACAM1 reverses endothelial and cardiovascular abnormalities The carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule-1, CEACAM1, regulates insulin action by promoting receptor-mediated insulin uptake and degradation in the hepatocyte, the main mechanism of insulin clearance. Consistently, Cc1-/- mice with global deletion of Ceacam1 exhibit hyperinsulinemia caused by impaired insulin clearance, followed by insulin resistance. They also develop endothelial and vascular disturbances. Russo, Muturi et al. show that liver-specific rescue of CEACAM1 reverses not only metabolic, but also endothelial and cardiovascular abnormalities, underscoring the critical role of hepatic insulin clearance.|
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Objective: Mice with global null mutation of Ceacam1 (Cc1−/−), display impairment of insulin clearance that causes hyperinsulinemia followed by insulin resistance, elevated hepatic de novo lipogenesis, and visceral obesity. In addition, they manifest abnormal vascular permeability and elevated blood pressure. Liver-specific rescuing of Ceacam1 reversed all of the metabolic abnormalities in Cc1−/−liver+ mice. The current study examined whether Cc1−/− male mice develop endothelial and cardiac dysfunction and whether this relates to the metabolic abnormalities caused by defective insulin extraction.
Methods and results: Myography studies showed reduction of agonist-stimulated nitric oxide production in resistance arterioles in Cc1−/−, but not Cc1−/−liver+ mice. Liver-based rescuing of CEACAM1 also attenuated the abnormal endothelial adhesiveness to circulating leukocytes in parallel to reducing plasma endothelin-1 and recovering plasma nitric oxide levels. Echocardiography studies revealed increased septal wall thickness, cardiac hypertrophy and reduced cardiac performance in Cc1−/−, but not Cc1−/−xliver+ mice. Insulin signaling experiments indicated compromised IRS1/Akt/eNOS pathway leading to lower nitric oxide level, and activated Shc/MAPK pathway leading to more endothelin-1 production in the aortae and hearts of Cc1−/−, but not Cc1−/−xliver+ mice. The increase in the ratio of endothelin-1 receptor A/B indicated an imbalance in the vasomotor activity of Cc1−/− mice, which was normalized in Cc1−/−xliver+ mice.
Conclusions: The data underscore a critical role for impaired CEACAM1-dependent hepatic insulin clearance pathways and resulting hyperinsulinemia and lipid accumulation in aortae and heart in regulating the cardiovascular function.[Hide abstract]
|Ghrelin mediates exercise endurance and the feeding response post-exercise Ghrelin is a stomach-derived hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion and affects various processes related to eating, body weight, and blood glucose regulation. Recent studies suggest that the biological importance of endogenous ghrelin is accentuated during exposure to more metabolically constrained and stressful environments. Mani, Castorena, et al. aimed to study the biological significance of the ghrelin system in mice subjected to exercise as a metabolic challenge. Their results suggest that the endogenous ghrelin system is essential for exercise endurance and for the usual food intake response to exercise.|
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Objective: Exercise training has several well-established health benefits, including many related to body weight, appetite control, and blood glucose homeostasis. However, the molecular mechanisms and, in particular, the hormonal systems that mediate and integrate these beneficial effects are poorly understood. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the role of the hormone ghrelin and its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR; ghrelin receptor), in mediating the effects of exercise on food intake and blood glucose following exercise as well as in regulating exercise endurance capacity.
Methods: We used two mouse models of treadmill running to characterize the changes in plasma ghrelin with exercise. We also assessed the role of the ghrelin system to influence food intake and blood glucose after exercise, exercise endurance, and parameters potentially linked to responses to exercise. Mice lacking GHSRs (GHSR-null mice) and wild-type littermates were studied.
Results: An acute bout of exercise transiently elevated plasma acyl-ghrelin. Without the action of this increased ghrelin on GHSRs (as in GHSR-null mice), high intensity interval exercise markedly reduced food intake compared to control mice. The effect of exercise to acutely raise blood glucose remained unmodified in GHSR-null mice. Exercise-induced increases in plasma ghrelin positively correlated with endurance capacity, and time to exhaustion was reduced in GHSR-null mice as compared to wild-type littermates. In an effort to mechanistically explain their reduced exercise endurance, exercised GHSR-null mice exhibited an abrogated sympathoadrenal response, lower overall insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, and altered glycogen utilization.
Conclusions: Exercise transiently increases plasma ghrelin. GHSR-null mice exhibit decreased food intake following high intensity interval exercise and decreased endurance when submitted to an exercise endurance protocol. These data suggest that an intact ghrelin system limits the capacity of exercise to restrict food intake following exercise, although it enhances exercise endurance.[Hide abstract]
|Reversal of metabolic disorders by activation of bile acid receptors It has been demonstrated that activation of farnesoid X receptor (FXR) improves lipid and glucose homeostasis and inhibits the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and atherosclerosis. Activation of the bile acid receptor TGR5 improves glucose and energy homeostasis and inhibits atherogenesis. Development of dual agonists for both FXR and TGR5 appears to be an attractive strategy for treatment of common metabolic disorders. Jadhav, Xu, Xu, et al. tested INT-767, a semisynthetic, potent, and specific agonist for both FXR and TGR5. Their data indicate that INT-767 reverses obesity, hypercholesterolemia, NAFLD, and atherosclerosis by activation of FXR and/or TGR5.|
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Objective: Activation of the bile acid (BA) receptors farnesoid X receptor (FXR) or G protein-coupled bile acid receptor (GPBAR1; TGR5) improves metabolic homeostasis. In this study, we aim to determine the impact of pharmacological activation of bile acid receptors by INT-767 on reversal of diet-induced metabolic disorders, and the relative contribution of FXR vs. TGR5 to INT-767's effects on metabolic parameters.
Methods: Wild-type (WT), Tgr5−/−, Fxr−/−, Apoe−/− and Shp−/− mice were used to investigate whether and how BA receptor activation by INT-767, a semisynthetic agonist for both FXR and TGR5, could reverse diet-induced metabolic disorders.
Results: INT-767 reversed HFD-induced obesity dependent on activation of both TGR5 and FXR and also reversed the development of atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Mechanistically, INT-767 improved hypercholesterolemia by activation of FXR and induced thermogenic genes via activation of TGR5 and/or FXR. Furthermore, INT-767 inhibited several lipogenic genes and de novo lipogenesis in the liver via activation of FXR. We identified peroxisome proliferation-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (CEBPα) as novel FXR-regulated genes. FXR inhibited PPARγ expression by inducing small heterodimer partner (SHP) whereas the inhibition of CEBPα by FXR was SHP-independent.
Conclusions: BA receptor activation can reverse obesity, NAFLD, and atherosclerosis by specific activation of FXR or TGR5. Our data suggest that, compared to activation of FXR or TGR5 only, dual activation of both FXR and TGR5 is a more attractive strategy for treatment of common metabolic disorders.[Hide abstract]
|IGF receptor signaling regulates working memory, mitochondrial metabolism, and amyloid-β uptake in astrocytes Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a potent trophic factor, the levels of which substantially decline with age. In this study, Logan et al. investigated the role of IGF-1 signaling in astrocytic function. They show that spatial learning deficits in aged mice are associated with decreased IGFR expression in the hippocampus and increased gliosis. More importantly, mice with astrocyte-specific knockout of IGFR show impairments in hippocampal-dependent working memory. IGFR deficient astrocytes also displayed altered mitochondrial structure and function and increased mitochondrial ROS production. Age-related astrocytic dysfunction caused by diminished IGF-1 signaling may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-associated cognitive pathologies.|
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Objective: A decline in mitochondrial function and biogenesis as well as increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) are important determinants of aging. With advancing age, there is a concomitant reduction in circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that is closely associated with neuronal aging and neurodegeneration. In this study, we investigated the effect of the decline in IGF-1 signaling with age on astrocyte mitochondrial metabolism and astrocyte function and its association with learning and memory.
Methods: Learning and memory was assessed using the radial arm water maze in young and old mice as well as tamoxifen-inducible astrocyte-specific knockout of IGFR (GFAP-CreTAM/igfrf/f). The impact of IGF-1 signaling on mitochondrial function was evaluated using primary astrocyte cultures from igfrf/f mice using AAV-Cre mediated knockdown using Oroboros respirometry and Seahorse assays.
Results: Our results indicate that a reduction in IGF-1 receptor (IGFR) expression with age is associated with decline in hippocampal-dependent learning and increased gliosis. Astrocyte-specific knockout of IGFR also induced impairments in working memory. Using primary astrocyte cultures, we show that reducing IGF-1 signaling via a 30–50% reduction IGFR expression, comparable to the physiological changes in IGF-1 that occur with age, significantly impaired ATP synthesis. IGFR deficient astrocytes also displayed altered mitochondrial structure and function and increased mitochondrial ROS production associated with the induction of an antioxidant response. However, IGFR deficient astrocytes were more sensitive to H2O2-induced cytotoxicity. Moreover, IGFR deficient astrocytes also showed significantly impaired glucose and Aβ uptake, both critical functions of astrocytes in the brain.
Conclusions: Regulation of astrocytic mitochondrial function and redox status by IGF-1 is essential to maintain astrocytic function and coordinate hippocampal-dependent spatial learning. Age-related astrocytic dysfunction caused by diminished IGF-1 signaling may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and other age-associated cognitive pathologies.[Hide abstract]
|TRPC proteins contribute to development of diabetic retinopathyDiabetic retinopathy is a prevalent complication that is expected to increase in magnitude given the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes. In this study, Sachdeva, Schlotterer, Schumacher, Matka, and colleagues investigated the causal contribution of four TRPC proteins, TRPC1, TRPC4, TRPC5, and TRPC6 to diabetic retinopathy by comparing Trpc1/4/5/6-/- mice to wild-type controls in the Streptozotocin-induced model of diabetes. They show that TRPC proteins causally contribute to the development of retinopathy in diabetes.|
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Objective: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is induced by an accumulation of reactive metabolites such as ROS, RNS, and RCS species, which were reported to modulate the activity of cation channels of the TRPC family. In this study, we use Trpc1/4/5/6−/− compound knockout mice to analyze the contribution of these TRPC proteins to diabetic retinopathy.
Methods: We used Nanostring- and qPCR-based analysis to determine mRNA levels of TRPC channels in control and diabetic retinae and retinal cell types. Chronic hyperglycemia was induced by Streptozotocin (STZ) treatment. To assess the development of diabetic retinopathy, vasoregression, pericyte loss, and thickness of individual retinal layers were analyzed. Plasma and cellular methylglyoxal (MG) levels, as well as Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1) enzyme activity and protein expression, were measured in WT and Trpc1/4/5/6−/− cells or tissues. MG-evoked toxicity in cells of both genotypes was compared by MTT assay.
Results: We find that Trpc1/4/5/6−/− mice are protected from hyperglycemia-evoked vasoregression determined by the formation of acellular capillaries and pericyte drop-out. In addition, Trpc1/4/5/6−/− mice are resistant to the STZ-induced reduction in retinal layer thickness. The RCS metabolite methylglyoxal, which represents a key mediator for the development of diabetic retinopathy, was significantly reduced in plasma and red blood cells (RBCs) of STZ-treated Trpc1/4/5/6−/− mice compared to controls. GLO1 is the major MG detoxifying enzyme, and its activity and protein expression were significantly elevated in Trpc1/4/5/6-deficient cells, which led to significantly increased resistance to MG toxicity. GLO1 activity was also increased in retinal extracts from Trpc1/4/5/6−/− mice. The TRPCs investigated here are expressed at different levels in endothelial and glial cells of the retina.
Conclusions: The protective phenotype in diabetic retinopathy observed in Trpc1/4/5/6−/− mice is suggestive of a predominant action of TRPCs in Müller cells and microglia because of their central position in the retention of a proper homoeostasis of the neurovascular unit.[Hide abstract]
|Vildagliptin for prevention of postpartum diabetesWomen with gestational diabetes (GDM) are at increased risk of developing diabetes in the postpartum period. Hummel et al. asked whether it is possible to reduce the risk of postpartum diabetes in women with prior GDM through pharmacotherapy. They tested the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor vildagliptin in an investigator-initiated phase II study with a 2-year treatment period and a one-year follow-up. Administration of vildagliptin did not achieve a significant reduction in the risk of postpartum diabetes compared with placebo in women with prior insulin-requiring GDM at the time of the interim analysis.|
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Objective: Women with insulin-requiring gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are at high risk of developing diabetes within a few years postpartum. We implemented this phase II study to test the hypothesis that vildagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, is superior to placebo in terms of reducing the risk of postpartum diabetes.
Methods: Women with insulin-requiring GDM were randomized to either placebo or 50 mg vildagliptin twice daily for 24 months followed by a 12-month observation period (EudraCT: 2007-000634-39). Both groups received lifestyle counseling. The primary efficacy outcomes were the diagnosis of diabetes (American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)/impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
Results: Between 2008 and 2015, 113 patients (58 vildagliptin, 55 placebo) were randomized within 2.2–10.4 (median 8.6) months after delivery. At the interim analysis, nine diabetic events and 28 IFG/IGT events had occurred. Fifty-two women withdrew before completing the treatment phase. Because of the low diabetes rate, the study was terminated. Lifestyle adherence was similar in both groups. At 24 months, the cumulative probability of postpartum diabetes was 3% and 5% (hazard ratio: 1.03; 95% confidence interval: 0.15–7.36) and IFG/IGT was 43% and 22% (hazard ratio: 0.55; 95% confidence interval: 0.26–1.19) in the placebo and vildagliptin groups, respectively. Vildagliptin was well tolerated with no unexpected adverse events.
Conclusions: The study did not show significant superiority of vildagliptin over placebo in terms of reducing the risk of postpartum diabetes. However, treatment was safe and suggested some improvements in glycemic control, insulin resistance, and β-cell function. The study identified critical issues in performing clinical trials in the early postpartum period in women with GDM hampering efficacy assessments. With this knowledge, we have set a basis for which properly powered trials could be performed in women with recent GDM.[Hide abstract]
|miR-219 regulates differences in response to diet induced weight cycling Weight cycling (WC), the repeated loss and regain of weight, often results in an overall gain rather than loss of weight in the long term. WC has been implicated as an increased risk for eating disorders and metabolic syndrome. Schroeder, Drori, and colleagues were interested in the mechanism underlying the different responses to WC among individuals with a similar genetic and environmental background. They examined individual differences in the metabolic profile of mice subjected to repeated metabolic challenge in parallel to the hypothalamic miRNA footprint. Results suggest a role for miR-219 in the mediation of the metabolic phenotype resulting from repeated weight cycling.|
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Objective: We attempted to address the issue of individual differences in the response to weight cycling in male mice.
Methods: We first exposed adult wild type mice to repeated cycles of high/low fat food. Next, using a lentiviral approach, we knocked-down or over-expressed miR-219 in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) of an additional mouse cohort and performed a full metabolic assessment.
Results: Exposure of wild type males to weight cycling resulted in the division of the cohort into subsets of resistant versus metabolic-syndrome-prone (MS) animals, which differed in their metabolic profile and hypothalamic miR-219 levels. Lentiviral knock-down of miR-219 in the VMH led to exacerbation of metabolic syndrome. In contrast, over-expression of miR-219 resulted in moderation of the metabolic syndrome phenotype.
Conclusions: Our results suggest a role for miR-219 in the mediation of the metabolic phenotype resulting from repeated weight cycling.[Hide abstract]
|Exercise increases circulating GDF15 in humans Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) has emerged as a potential anti-obesity agent. It circulates as a 25-kDa homodimer and is a member of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) super family. Kleinert and colleagues identify exercise as a disease-unrelated, physiological stimulus that increases endogenous circulating GDF15 levels in humans. This exercise effect appears to occur without direct contribution from skeletal muscle.|
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Objective: The growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is a stress-sensitive circulating factor that regulates systemic energy balance. Since exercise is a transient physiological stress that has pleiotropic effects on whole-body energy metabolism, we herein explored the effect of exercise on a) circulating GDF15 levels and b) GDF15 release from skeletal muscle in humans.
Methods: Seven healthy males either rested or exercised at 67% of their VO2max for 1 h and blood was sampled from the femoral artery and femoral vein before, during, and after exercise. Plasma GDF15 concentrations were determined in these samples.
Results: Plasma GDF15 levels increased 34% with exercise (p < 0.001) and further increased to 64% above resting values at 120 min (p < 0.001) after the cessation of exercise. There was no difference between the arterial and venous GDF15 concentration before, during, and after exercise. During a resting control trial, GDF15 levels measured in the same subjects were unaltered.
Conclusions: Vigorous submaximal exercise increases circulating GDF15 levels in humans, but skeletal muscle tissue does not appear to be the source.[Hide abstract]
|Cardiac natriuretic peptides promote adipose ‘browning’ Atrial natriuretic peptide and B-type natriuretic peptide are endocrine hormones that are released from the heart in response to increases in cardiac wall stress and other local factors. Liu et al. show that natriuretic peptides activate mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), promoting the browning of adipose tissue and leading to increased energy expenditure.|
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Objective: Activation of thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and the ability to increase uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) levels and mitochondrial biogenesis in white fat (termed ‘browning’), has great therapeutic potential to treat obesity and its comorbidities because of the net increase in energy expenditure. β-adrenergic-cAMP-PKA signaling has long been known to regulate these processes. Recently PKA-dependent activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) was shown to be necessary for adipose ‘browning’ as well as proper development of the interscapular BAT. In addition to cAMP-PKA signaling pathways, cGMP-PKG signaling also promotes this browning process; however, it is unclear whether or not mTORC1 is also necessary for cGMP-PKG induced browning.
Methods: Activation of mTORC1 by natriuretic peptides (NP), which bind to and activate the membrane-bound guanylyl cyclase, NP receptor A (NPRA), was assessed in mouse and human adipocytes in vitro and mouse adipose tissue in vivo.
Results: Activation of mTORC1 by NP-cGMP signaling was observed in both mouse and human adipocytes. We show that NP-NPRA-PKG signaling activate mTORC1 by direct PKG phosphorylation of Raptor at Serine 791. Administration of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) to mice induced Ucp1 expression in inguinal adipose tissue in vivo, which was completely blocked by the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that NP-cGMP signaling activates mTORC1 via PKG, which is a component in the mechanism of adipose browning.[Hide abstract]
|Distinct adipocyte progenitor cells are associated with regional phenotypes of perivascular aortic fat Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) is a newly recognized adipose depot with highly active endocrine and paracrine functions. PVAT surrounding the murine thoracic aorta (tPVAT) exhibits phenotypic features of brown adipose tissue, and PVAT surrounding the abdominal aorta (aPVAT) is more similar to white adipose tissue. It was unclear whether these differences are the result of extrinsic anatomical factors or intrinsic cell autonomic properties. Now, Tran, Fitzgibbons and colleagues demonstrate that preadipocytes residing in tPVAT and aPVAT have cell-autonomous characteristics that dictate phenotypic development.|
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Objective: Perivascular adipose tissue depots around the aorta are regionally distinct and have specific functional properties. Thoracic aorta perivascular adipose tissue (tPVAT) expresses higher levels of thermogenic genes and lower levels of inflammatory genes than abdominal aorta perivascular adipose tissue (aPVAT). It is not known whether this distinction is due to the in-vivo functional environment or to cell-autonomous traits that persist outside the in-vivo setting. In this study, we asked whether the progenitor cells in tPVAT and aPVAT have cell-autonomous traits that lead to formation of regionally distinct PVAT.
Methods: We performed microarray analysis of thoracic and abdominal peri-aortic adipose tissues of C57Bl/6J mice to define gene expression profile of each depot. To derive adipocyte progenitor cells, C57Bl/6J mice were sacrificed and thoracic and abdominal aorta fragments were embedded in Matrigel and cultured under pro-angiogenic conditions. Adipogenesis was induced using the Ppar-γ agonist rosiglitazone, a thiazolidinedione (TZD). TZD-induced adipocyte populations were analyzed using immunofluorescence and qRT-PCR.
Results: Microarray analysis showed that tPVAT expressed higher levels of transcription factors related brown adipose tissue development compared to aPVAT. Classic brown adipose tissue (BAT) genes such as Ucp-1, Prdm16, Dio2, Slc27a displayed a concordant trend of higher level expression in tPVAT, while white adipose tissue (WAT) genes such as Hoxc8, Nnat, Sncg, and Mest were expressed at a higher level in aPVAT. The adipokines resistin and retinol binding protein 4 were also higher in aPVAT. Furthermore, adipocyte progenitors from abdominal and thoracic aortic rings responded to TZD with expression of canonical adipocyte genes Acrp30, Plin1, and Glut4. Adipocytes differentiated from thoracic aorta progenitors displayed markedly higher induction of Ucp-1 and Cidea.
Conclusions: Thoracic aorta PVAT expresses higher levels of brown adipocyte transcription factors than aPVAT. Precursor cells from the thoracic aorta give rise to adipocytes that express significantly higher levels of Ucp-1 and Cidea ex vivo, suggesting that progenitor cells in tPVAT and aPVAT have cell-autonomous properties that dictate adipocyte phenotype.[Hide abstract]
|Desacetyl-α-MSH and α-MSH are required to regulate energy balanceThe melanocortin system plays a significant role in the regulation of energy balance. However, little is known about which specific endogenous pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides are responsible for regulation of appetite, metabolism, and body weight. Among these peptides are α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and its precursor desacetyl-α-MSH. Mountjoy et al. determined the direct contribution of desacetyl-α-MSH and α-MSH in regulating energy balance. They show that desacetyl-α-MSH is indeed biologically active in vivo and, like α-MSH, it can reduce mouse body weight and fat mass.|
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Objective: Regulation of energy balance depends on pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides and melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R). Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is the predicted natural POMC-derived peptide that regulates energy balance. Desacetyl-α-MSH, the precursor for α-MSH, is present in brain and blood. Desacetyl-α-MSH is considered to be unimportant for regulating energy balance despite being more potent (compared with α-MSH) at activating the appetite-regulating MC4R in vitro. Thus, the physiological role for desacetyl-α-MSH is still unclear.
Methods: We created a novel mouse model to determine whether desacetyl-α-MSH plays a role in regulating energy balance. We engineered a knock in targeted QKQR mutation in the POMC protein cleavage site that blocks the production of both desacetyl-α-MSH and α-MSH from adrenocorticotropin (ACTH1-39).
Results: The mutant ACTH1-39 (ACTHQKQR) functions similar to native ACTH1-39 (ACTHKKRR) at the melanocortin 2 receptor (MC2R) in vivo and MC4R in vitro. Male and female homozygous mutant ACTH1-39 (Pomctm1/tm1) mice develop the characteristic melanocortin obesity phenotype. Replacement of either desacetyl-α-MSH or α-MSH over 14 days into Pomctm1/tm1 mouse brain significantly reverses excess body weight and fat mass gained compared to wild type (WT) (Pomcwt/wt) mice. Here, we identify both desacetyl-α-MSH and α-MSH peptides as regulators of energy balance and highlight a previously unappreciated physiological role for desacetyl-α-MSH.
Conclusions: Based on these data we propose that there is potential to exploit the naturally occurring POMC-derived peptides to treat obesity but this relies on first understanding the specific function(s) for desacetyl-α-MSH and α-MSH.[Hide abstract]