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Hiromi Nagata, Jingya Lyu, Hitomi Imachi, Kensaku Fukunaga, Seisuke Sato, Toshihiro Kobayashi, Takanobu Saheki, Kayoko Seo, Japar B. Salimah, Hisakazu Iwama, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yoshihiro Ogawa, and Koji Murao

Vascular complications are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients, and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) play a critical role in promoting diabetic vascular dysfunction. The human homolog of scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), CD36, and LIMPII analogous-1 (hSR-BI/CLA-1) facilitate the cellular uptake of cholesterol from HDL. In endothelial cells, HDL activates endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) via hSR-BI/CLA-1. In this study, we elucidated the effects of AGEs on hSR-BI/CLA-1 expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). HSR-BI/CLA-1 expression was examined by real-time PCR, western blot analysis, and reporter gene assay in HUVECs incubated with AGEs. eNOS activity was assessed by detecting the phosphorylation (Ser 1179) of eNOS. Our results showed that AGEs decreased the endogenous expression of hSR-BI/CLA-1. AGEs also inhibited the activity of the hSR-BI/CLA-1 promoter and its mRNA expression via receptor RAGE. We identified the binding site for Smad1 on the hSR-BI/CLA-1 promoter: Smad1 bound to its promoter. AGE treatment stimulated the transcriptional activity of Smad1, and mutation of the Smad1 binding site inhibited the effect of AGEs on the hSR-BI/CLA-1 promoter. HDL-treatment enhanced the phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser 1179, but pretreatment with AGEs inhibited the phosphorylation of eNOS Ser 1179. These results suggested that AGEs downregulate the expression of the endothelial hSR-BI/CLA-1 via the Smad1 pathway, which may be a therapeutic target for diabetic endothelial dysfunction.

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Bryan B Ho and Clemens Bergwitz

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a phosphotropic hormone that belongs to a subfamily of endocrine FGFs with evolutionarily conserved functions in worms and fruit flies. FAM20C phosphorylates FGF23 post-translationally, targeting it to proteolysis through subtilisin-like proprotein convertase FURIN, resulting in secretion of FGF23 fragments. O-glycosylation of FGF23 through GALNT3 appears to prevent proteolysis, resulting in secretion of biologically active intact FGF23. In the circulation, FGF23 may undergo further processing by plasminogen activators. Crystal structures show that the ectodomain of the cognate FGF23 receptor FGFR1c binds with the ectodomain of the co-receptor alpha-KLOTHO. The KLOTHO-FGFR1c double heterodimer creates a high-affinity binding site for the FGF23 C-terminus. The topology of FGF23 deviates from that of paracrine FGFs, resulting in poor affinity for heparan sulphate, which may explain why FGF23 diffuses freely in the bone matrix to enter the bloodstream following its secretion by cells of osteoblastic lineage. Intact FGF23 signalling by this canonical pathway activates FRS2/RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK1/2. It reduces serum phosphate by inhibiting 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D synthesis, suppressing intestinal phosphate absorption, and by downregulating the transporters NPT2a and NPT2c, suppressing phosphate reabsorption in the proximal tubules. The physiological role of FGF23 fragments, which may be inhibitory, remains unclear. Pharmacological and genetic activation of canonical FGF23 signalling causes hypophosphatemic disorders, while its inhibition results in hyperphosphatemic disorders. Non-canonical FGF23 signalling through binding and activation of FGFR3/FGFR4/calcineurin/NFAT in an alpha-KLOTHO-independent fashion mainly occurs at extremely elevated circulating FGF23 levels and may contribute to mortality due to cardiovascular disease and left ventricular hypertrophy in chronic kidney disease.

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Haiqin Wang, Li Nian, Zhonghua Li, and Changhui Lu

Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (HELLP) syndrome is a life-threatening pregnancy complication. Though there are several medications widely used to treat HELLP syndrome, delivery is the only efficient treatment. The goal of the present study was to investigate the effects of platelet-derived growth factor-D (PDGF-D), a newly identified PDGF, in a rat model of HELLP syndrome which was accomplished by sFlt-1 and sEng injection. The expression levels of PDGF-D in pregnant women diagnosed with HELLP syndrome was determined. A HELLP rat model was established and the PDGF-D expression level in the plasma and the placenta tissue was evaluated. To evaluate the effects of PDGF-D in HELLP syndrome model, siPDGF-D was injected into the rats and the HELLP syndrome-related parameters were measured. The levels of inflammatory cytokines and PDGF-D were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The oxidative stress activities in the plasma were also determined. Furthermore, the expression of PDGF-D/PDGFR-β/nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) p65 in placenta tissues was evaluated by western blotting. Compared to the normal pregnant (NP) group, the levels of PDGF-D were augmented regardless of species. Knockdown of PDGF-D can result in the alleviation of HELLP syndrome development and progression in the HELLP rat model. Importantly, as a result of PDGF-D knockdown, the serum levels of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress activities were modulated, and the phosphorylation of PDGFR-β and NF-κB p65 in placenta tissue was inhibited. Taking together, our findings indicate that targeting PDGF-D could be used as a novel strategy to treat patients with HELLP syndrome.

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Vishal Musale, R Charlotte Moffett, Bosede Owolabi, J Michael Conlon, Peter R Flatt, and Yasser H A Abdel-Wahab

The antidiabetic effects and mechanisms of action of an analogue of a frog skin host-defence peptide belonging to the caerulein-precursor fragment family, [S4K]CPF-AM1 were investigated in db/db mice with a genetically inherited form of degenerative diabetes-obesity. Twice-daily treatment with the peptide (75 nmol/kg body weight) for 28 days significantly decreased blood glucose (P < 0.01) and HbA1c (P < 0.05) and increased plasma insulin (P < 0.05) concentrations with no effect on body weight, energy intake, body composition or plasma lipid profile. Peptide administration improved insulin sensitivity and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance. Elevated biomarkers of liver and kidney function associated with the db/db phenotype were significantly lowered by [S4K]CPF-AM1 administration. Peptide treatment significantly (P < 0.05) increased pancreatic insulin content and improved the responses of isolated islets to established secretagogues. Elevated expression of genes associated with insulin signalling (Slc2a4, Insr, Irs1, Akt1, Pik3ca, Ppm1b) in the skeletal muscle of db/db mice were significantly downregulated by peptide treatment. Genes associated with insulin secretion (Abcc8, Kcnj11, Slc2a2, Cacn1c, Glp1r, Gipr) were significantly upregulated by treatment with [S4K]CPF-AM1. Studies with BRIN-BD1I clonal β-cells demonstrated that the peptide evoked membrane depolarisation, increased intracellular Ca2+ and cAMP and activated the protein kinase C pathway. The data indicate that the antidiabetic properties of [S4K]CPF-AM1 mice are mediated by direct insulinotropic action and by regulation of transcription of genes involved in both the secretion and action of insulin.

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Romina Hermann, Victoria Evangelina Mestre Cordero, María de las Mercedes Fernández Pazos, Mailen Florencia Córdoba, Federico Joaquín Reznik, Débora Elisabet Vélez, Andrea Lorena Fellet, and María Gabriela Marina Prendes

Recent studies have provided evidence that triiodothyronine (T3) might play an effective role in the recovery of ischemic myocardium, through the preservation of mitochondrial function and the improvement of energy substrate metabolism. To this respect, it has been suggested that T3 could activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the cellular 'fuel-gauge' enzyme, although its role has yet to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects produced by acute treatment with T3 (60 nM) and the pharmacological inhibition of AMPK by compound C, on isolated rat left atria subjected to 75 min simulated ischemia-75 min reperfusion. Results showed that T3 increased AMPK activation during simulated ischemia-reperfusion, while compound C prevented it. At the end of simulated reperfusion, acute T3 treatment increased contractile function recovery and cellular viability conservation. Mitochondrial ultrastructure was better preserved in the presence of T3, as well as mitochondrial ATP production rate and tissue ATP content. Calcium retention capacity, parameter widely used as an indicator of the resistance of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) to opening, and GSK-3 phosphorylation, a master switch enzyme that limits MPTP opening, were increased by T3 administration. All these beneficial effects exerted by T3 acute treatment were prevented when compound C was co-administrated.

The present study provided original evidence that T3 enhances intrinsic activation of AMPK during myocardial ischemia-reperfusion, being this enzyme involved, at least in part, in the protective effects exerted by T3, contributing to mitochondrial structure and function preservation, post-ischemic contractile recovery and conservation cellular viability.

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Kasiphak Kaikaew, Aldo Grefhorst, Jacobie Steenbergen, Sigrid M A Swagemakers, Anke McLuskey, and Jenny A Visser

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a metabolically active organ that exhibits sex-differential features, that is, being generally more abundant and active in females than in males. Although sex steroids, particularly estrogens, have been shown to regulate BAT thermogenic function, the underlying molecular mechanisms contributing to sexual dimorphism in basal BAT activity have not been elucidated. Therefore, we assessed the transcriptome of interscapular BAT of male and female C57BL/6J mice by RNA sequencing and identified 295 genes showing ≥2-fold differential expression (adjusted P < 0.05). In silico functional annotation clustering suggested an enrichment of genes encoding proteins involved in cell–cell contact, interaction, and adhesion. Ovariectomy reduced the expression of these genes in female BAT toward a male pattern whereas orchiectomy had marginal effects on the transcriptional pattern, indicating a prominent role of female gonadal hormones in this sex-differential expression pattern. Progesterone was identified as a possible upstream regulator of the sex-differentially expressed genes. Studying the direct effects of progesterone in vitro in primary adipocytes showed that progesterone significantly altered the transcription of several of the identified genes, possibly via the glucocorticoid receptor. In conclusion, this study reveals a sexually dimorphic transcription profile in murine BAT at general housing conditions and demonstrates a role for progesterone in the regulation of the interscapular BAT transcriptome.

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Patric J D Delhanty, Martin Huisman, Karina Prins, Cobie Steenbergen, Rosinda Mies, Sebastian J C M M Neggers, A J van der Lely, and Jenny A Visser

Acylated ghrelin (AG) is a gut-derived peptide with growth hormone secretagogue (GHS), orexigenic and other physiological activities mediated by GHS receptor-1a (GHSR). Ghrelin occurs in unacylated form (UAG) with activities opposing AG, although its mechanism of action is unknown. UAG does not antagonize AG at GHSR, and has biological effects on cells that lack this receptor. Because UAG binds to cells, it has been hypothesized that UAG acts via a cell-surface receptor, although this has not been confirmed. This study aimed to identify cell surface proteins to which UAG binds that could modulate or mediate its biological effects. The MCF7 cell-line was used as a model because UAG induces ERK signaling in these cells in the absence of GHSR. Using ligand–receptor capture and LC-MS/MS we identified specific heparan-sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) to which UAG interacts on cell surfaces. In line with this, UAG, as well as AG, bind with high affinity to heparin, and heparin and heparinase treatment suppress, whereas HSPG overexpression increases, UAG binding to MCF7 cell surfaces. Moreover, heparin suppresses the ERK response to UAG. However, conversion of the lysines in UAG to alanine, which prevents its binding to heparin and cell surface HSPGs, does not prevent its activation of ERK. Our data show that the interaction of UAG with HSPGs modulates its biological activity in cells. More broadly, the interaction of UAG and AG with HSPGs could be important for the specificity and potency of their biological action in vivo.

Open access

Feng Zhang, Qi Xiong, Hu Tao, Yang Liu, Nian Zhang, Xiao-Feng Li, Xiao-Jun Suo, Qian-Ping Yang, and Ming-Xin Chen

Acyl-Coenzyme A oxidase 1 (ACOX1) is the first and rate-limiting enzyme in peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation of fatty acids. Previous studies have reported that ACOX1 was correlated with the meat quality of livestock, while the role of ACOX1 in intramuscular adipogenesis of beef cattle and its transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, gain-of-function and loss-of-function assays demonstrated that ACOX1 positively regulated the adipogenesis of bovine intramuscular preadipocytes. The C/EBPα-binding sites in the bovine ACOX1 promoter region at -1142 to -1129 bp, -831 to -826 bp, and -303 to -298 bp were identified by promoter deletion analysis and site-directed mutagenesis. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) further showed that these three regions are C/EBPα-binding sites, both in vitro and in vivo, indicating that C/EBPα directly interacts with the bovine ACOX1 promoter and inhibits its transcription. Furthermore, the results from bioinformatics analysis, dual luciferase assay, site-directed mutagenesis, qRT-PCR, and Western blotting demonstrated that miR-25-3p directly targeted the ACOX1 3’untranslated region (3’UTR). Taken together, our findings suggest that ACOX1, regulated by transcription factor C/EBPα and miR-25-3p, promotes adipogenesis of bovine intramuscular preadipocytes via regulating peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation.