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Chikahito Suda, Junichi Yatabe, Midori Yatabe, Miki Yarita, and Atsuhiro Ichihara

Elevated soluble (pro)renin receptor (s(P)RR) concentration in maternal blood is associated with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. Placenta has abundant expression of (P)RR, and the binding of (P)RR with pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 beta subunit (PDHB) is reported to maintain oxidative metabolism. Thus, we hypothesized that placental hypoxia may increase (P)RR, and the increased (P)RR may preserve PDHB expression. Expression and functional analyses were performed using human placental trophoblast cells, mainly JAR cells. (P)RR co-immunoprecipitated and showed co-immunofluorescence with PDHB mainly in the mitochondria. Hypoxia treatment significantly increased intracellular s(P)RR protein expression, but secreted s(P)RR in the culture medium was decreased by hypoxia. Hypoxia treatment did not alter PDHB expression or activity in the basal condition, but when (P)RR was knocked down by siRNA, PDHB protein and activity were reduced by hypoxia. Acetyl-CoA, the product of PDH activity, was significantly reduced by hypoxia treatment with (P)RR siRNA. S(P)RR is generated from full-length PRR when cleaved by specific proteases. Protease inhibitor experiments suggested furin and site 1 protease as the enzymes generating s(P)RR in JAR cells, and only when treated by site 1 protease inhibitor, PF429242, PDHB protein showed a significant trend to decrease with hypoxia. In JAR cells, hypoxia increased intracellular s(P)RR, and (P)RR preserved the expression and function of PDHB during hypoxia. (P)RR may help maintain oxidative metabolism and efficient energy production during placental ischemia in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

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He-jun Zhao, Xia Jiang, Li-juan Hu, Lei Yang, Lian-dong Deng, Ya-ping Wang, and Zhi-peng Ren

This study aimed to determine whether and how the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist liraglutide affects the chemoresistance and chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine in vitro and in vivo. The GLP-1R and protein kinase A (PKA) levels were compared between the human pancreatic cancer cell line PANC-1 and the gemcitabine-resistant cell line PANC-GR. The in vitro effects of liraglutide on the cell proliferation and apoptosis as well as the nuclear factor-kappa B NF-κB expression levels of PANC-GR cells were evaluated. In addition, a mouse xenograft model of human pancreatic cancer was established by s.c. injection of PANC-1 cells, and the effects of liraglutide on the chemosensitivity were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In contrast to PANC-1 cells, PANC-GR cells exhibited lower expression levels of GLP-1R and PKA. Incubation with liraglutide dose dependently inhibited the growth, promoted the apoptosis, and increased the expression of GLP-1R and PKA of PANC-GR cells. Similar effects of liraglutide were observed in another human pancreatic cancer cell line MiaPaCa-2/MiaPaCa-2-GR. Either the GLP-1R antagonist Ex-9, the PKA inhibitor H89, or the NF-κB activator lipopolysaccharide (LPS) could abolish the antiproliferative and proapoptotic activities of liraglutide. Additionally, each of these agents could reverse the expression of NF-κB and ABCG2, which was decreased by liraglutide treatment. Furthermore, liraglutide treatment increased the chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine, as evidenced by in vitro and in vivo experiments. Thus, GLP-1R agonists are safe and beneficial for patients complicated with pancreatic cancer and diabetes, especially for gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer.

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Feng Wang, Lu Wang, Yifeng Wang, Dai Li, Tianpeng Hu, Manyi Sun, and Ping Lei

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) improves cognitive function, but its mechanism has not been elucidated. The aim of the study was to explore whether IGF-1 exerted its protective effect on cognitive function and anxiety behavior through the activation of PI3K/Akt/CREB pathway in high-fat diet rats. Neuronal cells HT22 were treated with nothing, IGF-1, IGF-1 + LY294002 or IGF-1 + 666-15. Expressions of p-PI3K, p-Akt and p-CREB were measured using Western blot analysis. Thirty C57BL/6J rats were used. After feeding with high-fat diet, normal saline, PEG-IGF-1, PEG-IGF-1 + LY294002 or PEG-IGF-1 + 666-15 was treated. Cognitive function and anxiety behavior were assessed by Morris water maze and open field test. Several inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers were measured using recognized methods. Expressions of p-PI3K and p-CREB were also measured using Western blot analysis. After IGF-1 treatment in cells, expressions of p-PI3K, p-Akt and p-CREB were increased. Furthermore, LY294002 downregulated the expressions of these three proteins, but 666-15 only inhibited the expression of CREB in the cells. Compared with the control rats, we found abnormalities of cognitive function and anxiety behavior, inhibition of PI3K/Akt/CREB pathway and increase of oxidative stress and inflammation in high-fat diet rats. After PEG-IGF-1 treatment, the changes in high-fat diet rats were reversed. Then, we blocked the pathway and found that these blockers attenuated the protective effects of PEG-IGF-1. In conclusion, IGF-1 improved cognitive function and anxiety behavior in high-fat diet rats and inhibited inflammation and oxidative stress in hippocampus tissue through the activation of PI3K/Akt/CREB pathway.

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Ting Xiao, Xiuci Liang, Hailan Liu, Feng Zhang, Wen Meng, and Fang Hu

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are associated with hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance. Molecular mechanisms underlying ER stress and/or mitochondrial dysfunction that cause metabolic disorders and hepatic steatosis remain to be fully understood. Here, we found that a high fat diet (HFD) or chemically induced ER stress can stimulate mitochondrial stress protein HSP60 expression, impair mitochondrial respiration, and decrease mitochondrial membrane potential in mouse hepatocytes. HSP60 overexpression promotes ER stress and hepatic lipogenic protein expression and impairs insulin signaling in mouse hepatocytes. Mechanistically, HSP60 regulates ER stress-induced hepatic lipogenesis via the mTORC1-SREBP1 signaling pathway. These results suggest that HSP60 is an important ER and mitochondrial stress cross-talking protein and may control ER stress-induced hepatic lipogenesis and insulin resistance.

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Jéssyca Aparecida Soares Giesen, Wender do Nascimento Rouver, Eduardo Damasceno Costa, Virgínia Soares Lemos, and Roger Lyrio dos Santos

Progesterone seems to play a role in cardiovascular physiology since its receptors are expressed on endothelial cells from both sexes of mammals. However, little is known about its role on the coronary circulation. Thus, this study aims to evaluate the effect of acute administration of progesterone on the coronary bed and the endothelial pathways involved in this action in normotensive rats of both sexes. A dose–response curve of progesterone (1–50 μmol/L) in isolated hearts using the Langendorff preparation was performed. Baseline coronary perfusion pressure (CPP) was determined, and the vasoactive effect of progesterone was evaluated before and after infusion with Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), indomethacin, catalase, and Tiron. The analysis of nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide anion (O2 · ) was performed by DAF-2DA and DHE, respectively. Female group showed higher CPP. Nevertheless, progesterone promoted a similar relaxing response in both sexes. The use of L-NAME increased vasodilatory response in both sexes. When indomethacin was used, only the males showed a reduced relaxing response, and in the combined inhibition with L-NAME, indomethacin, and catalase, or with the use of Tiron, only the females presented reduced responses. NO and O2 ·− production has increased in female group, while the male group has increased only NO production. Our results suggest that progesterone is able to modulate vascular reactivity in coronary vascular bed with a vasodilatory response in both sexes. These effects seem to be, at least in part, mediated by different endothelial pathways, involving NO and EDH pathways in females and NO and prostanoids pathways in males.

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Peng Xu, John J Gildea, Chi Zhang, Prasad Konkalmatt, Santiago Cuevas, Dora Bigler Wang, Hanh T Tran, Pedro A Jose, and Robin A Felder

Gastrin, secreted by stomach G cells in response to ingested sodium, stimulates the renal cholecystokinin B receptor (CCKBR) to increase renal sodium excretion. It is not known how dietary sodium, independent of food, can increase gastrin secretion in human G cells. However, fenofibrate (FFB), a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α) agonist, increases gastrin secretion in rodents and several human gastrin-secreting cells, via a gastrin transcriptional promoter. We tested the following hypotheses: (1.) the sodium sensor in G cells plays a critical role in the sodium-mediated increase in gastrin expression/secretion, and (2.) dopamine, via the D1R and PPAR-α, is involved. Intact human stomach antrum and G cells were compared with human gastrin-secreting gastric and ovarian adenocarcinoma cells. When extra- or intracellular sodium was increased in human antrum, human G cells, and adenocarcinoma cells, gastrin mRNA and protein expression/secretion were increased. In human G cells, the PPAR-α agonist FFB increased gastrin protein expression that was blocked by GW6471, a PPAR-α antagonist, and LE300, a D1-like receptor antagonist. LE300 prevented the ability of FFB to increase gastrin protein expression in human G cells via the D1R, because the D5R, the other D1-like receptor, is not expressed in human G cells. Human G cells also express tyrosine hydroxylase and DOPA decarboxylase, enzymes needed to synthesize dopamine. G cells in the stomach may be the sodium sensor that stimulates gastrin secretion, which enables the kidney to eliminate acutely an oral sodium load. Dopamine, via the D1R, by interacting with PPAR-α, is involved in this process.

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Lucia Kořínková, Martina Holubová, Barbora Neprašová, Lucie Hrubá, Veronika Pražienková, Michal Bencze, Martin Haluzík, Jaroslav Kuneš, Lenka Maletínská, and Blanka Železná

Lack of leptin production in ob/ob mice results in obesity and prediabetes that could be partly reversed by leptin supplementation. In the hypothalamus, leptin supports the production of prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP), an anorexigenic neuropeptide synthesized and active in the brain. In our recent studies, the palmitoylated PrRP analog palm11-PrRP31 showed a central anorexigenic effect after peripheral administration. This study investigates whether PrRP could compensate for the deficient leptin in ob/ob mice. In two separate experiments, palm11-PrRP31 (5 mg/kg) and leptin (5 or 10 μg/kg) were administered subcutaneously twice daily for 2 or 8 weeks to 8- (younger) or 16-(older) week-old ob/ob mice, respectively, either separately or in combination. The body weight decreasing effect of palm11-PrRP31 in both younger and older ob/ob mice was significantly powered by a subthreshold leptin dose, the combined effect could be then considered synergistic. Leptin and palm11-PrRP31 also synergistically lowered liver weight and blood glucose in younger ob/ob mice. Reduced liver weight was linked to decreased mRNA expression of lipogenic enzymes. In the hypothalamus of older ob/ob mice, two main leptin anorexigenic signaling pathways, namely, Janus kinase, signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 activation and AMP-activated protein kinase de-activation, were induced by leptin, palm11-PrRP31, and their combination. Thus, palm11-PrRP31 could partially compensate for leptin deficiency in ob/ob mice. In conclusion, the results demonstrate a synergistic effect of leptin and our lipidized palm11-PrRP31 analog.

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Mohamed H Noureldein, Sara Bitar, Natalie Youssef, Sami Azar, and Assaad A Eid

Diabetic dysbiosis has been described as a novel key player in diabetes and diabetic complications. However, the cellular/molecular alterations associated with dysbiosis remain poorly characterized. For that, control, non-obese type 2 diabetic MKR mice and MKR mice treated with butyrate were used to delineate the epigenetic, cellular and molecular mechanisms by which dysbiosis associated with diabetes induces colon shortening and inflammation attesting to gastrointestinal disturbance. Our results show that dysbiosis is associated with T2DM and characterized by reduced Bacteroid fragilis population and butyrate-forming bacteria. The reduction of butyrate-forming bacteria and inadequate butyrate secretion result in alleviating HDAC3 inhibition and altering colon permeability. The observed changes are also associated with an increase in ROS production, a rise in NOX4 proteins, and a shift in the inflammatory markers, where IL-1β is increased and IL-10 and IL-17α are reduced. Treatment with butyrate restores the homeostatic levels of NOX4 and IL-1β. In summary, our data suggest that in T2DM, dysbiosis is associated with a reduction in butyrate content leading to increased HDAC3 activity. Butyrate treatment restores the homeostatic levels of the inflammatory markers and reduces ROS production known to mediate diabetes-induced colon disturbance. Taken together, our results suggest that butyrate could be a potential treatment to attenuate diabetic complications.

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Rubab Akbar, Kamran Ullah, Tanzil Ur Rahman, Yi Cheng, Hai-Yan Pang, Lu-Yang Jin, Qi-Jing Wang, He-Feng Huang, and Jian-Zhong Sheng

Receptive endometrium is a prerequisite for successful embryo implantation, and it follows that poor endometrial receptivity is a leading cause of implantation failure. miRNAs play important roles as epigenetic regulators of endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation through post-transcriptional modifications. However, the mechanisms of action of many miRNAs are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the role of the miR-183 family, comprising three miRNAs (miR-183-5p, miR-182-5p, and miR-96-5p) in endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation. The miR-183 family shows estrogen-dependent upregulation in endometrial Ishikawa (IK) cells. The miR-183 family also has a positive role in migration and proliferation of IK cells. Furthermore, JAr spheroid attachment experiments show that attachment rates were significantly decreased after treatment of IK cells with inhibitors for miR-183-5p and miR-182-5p and increased after treatment with miR-183-5p-mimic and miR-96-5p-mimic, respectively. The downstream analysis shows that catenin alpha 2 (CTNNA2) is a potential target gene for miR-183-5p, and this was confirmed in luciferase reporter assays. An in vivo mouse pregnancy model shows that inhibition of miR-183-5p significantly decreases embryo implantation rates and increases CTNNA2 expression. Downregulation of CTNNA2 in endometrial cells by miR-183-5p may be significant in mediating estrogenic effects on endometrial receptivity. In conclusion, miR-183-5p and the CTNNA2 gene may be potential biomarkers for endometrial receptivity and may be useful diagnostic and therapeutic targets for successful embryo implantation.

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Xiaoxia Che, Fangfang Jian, Chen Chen, Chang Liu, Gedan Liu, and Weiwei Feng

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder among reproductive-age women. Women with PCOS have a 2.7-fold increased risk for developing endometrial cancer (EC). This study was performed to investigate the potential stimulatory effects of serum exosomes isolated from patients with PCOS on EC cell lines and to explore the underlying mechanism. EC cell lines exposed to exosomes derived from PCOS patients serum exhibited an enhanced migration and invasion phenotype. Next, sequence-based analysis of exosomal miRNA was conducted to screen the differentially expressed miRNAs in serum exosomes from PCOS patients and normal controls. The levels of 55 mature miRNAs significantly differed in serum exosomes from PCOS patients compared with those from normal controls. Real-time PCR was used to verify the expression of eight of these miRNAs, among which miR-27a-5p was the most significantly elevated in PCOS patients serum exosomes. The role of miR-27a-5p in EC migration and invasion was further investigated via miR-27a-5p mimics or inhibitor transfection in Ishikawa and HEC-1A EC cell lines. In addition, the SMAD4 gene was identified as the target of miR-27a-5p by several target prediction databases and was validated by a luciferase assay. SMAD4 mRNA and protein levels were downregulated in EC cells transfected with the miR-27a-5p mimics, but upregulated in cells transfected with the miR-27a-5p inhibitor. Furthermore, in vitro experiments results confirmed that miR-27a-5p prohibited migration and invasion via SMAD4 downregulation. Thus, serum exosomal miR-27a-5p may play a role in EC development in PCOS patients.