There is increasing interest in retinoic acid (RA) as a regulator of the complex biological processes underlying the cognitive functions performed by the brain. The importance of RA in brain function is underlined by the brain’s high efficiency in converting vitamin A into RA. One crucial action of RA in the brain is dependent on RA receptor α (RARα) transport out of the nucleus, where it no longer regulates transcription but carries out non-genomic functions. RARα, when localised in the cytoplasm, particularly in neuronal dendrites, acts as a translational suppressor. It regulates protein translation as a crucial part of the mechanism maintaining homoeostatic synaptic plasticity, which is characterised by neuronal changes necessary to restore and balance the excitability of neuronal networks after perturbation events. Under normal conditions of neurotransmission, RARα without ligand suppresses the translation of proteins. When neural activity is reduced, RA synthesis is stimulated, and RA signalling via RARα derepresses the translation of proteins and synergistically with the fragile X mental retardation protein allows the synthesis of Ca2+ permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors that re-establish normal levels of synaptic activity. Homoeostatic synaptic plasticity underlies many cognitive processes, so its impairment due to dysregulation of RA signalling may be involved in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, which is also associated with FMRP. A full understanding of RA signalling control of homoeostatic synaptic plasticity may point to treatments.
The early phase of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is characterised by insulin resistance, which can initially be compensated by elevated insulin secretion. However, as postulated by the workload hypothesis, over time harming insulin requirements contribute to β-cell dysfunction and death. The mechanisms behind this transition are complex and not fully understood but involve factors such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress raised by gluco-/lipotoxicity. To investigate the effect of excessive insulin folding on ER luminal hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generation, ER stress and viability, insulin was expressed glucose-independently by a doxycycline-regulated Tet-On system in insulin-producing RINm5F cells. Additionally, the effect of palmitic acid (PA) as a subsidiary T2DM-associated factor was examined in this model system. Elevated insulin expression increased ER luminal H2O2 concentration quantified by the fluorescent sensor protein TriPer and reduced viability, but did not activate apoptosis. However, when combined with PA, insulin expression resulted in a significant increase in ER stress and apoptosis. Expression of ER-localised catalase verified the specificity of the applied H2O2 detection method without attenuating ER stress, caspase activation or viability loss. These findings suggest that hyperinsulinism alone can cause increased ER luminal H2O2 generation, mild ER stress and reduced viability, while hyperinsulinism in combination with PA accelerates these processes and triggers apoptosis. The inability of ER catalase to counteract these effects suggests that further damaging factors besides H2O2 are involved in cell dysfunction. Finally, reducing the high insulin demand in the initial phase of T2DM may be crucial in preventing further β-cell damage caused by gluco-/lipotoxicity.
A deficiency in hydrogen sulfide has been implicated in the development and progression of diabetic chronic kidney disease. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of diabetes on the H2S system in early-stage diabetic kidney disease. We characterised gene and protein expression profile of the enzymes that regulate H2S production and degradation, and H2S production capacity, in the kidney from 10-week-old C57BL6Jdb/db mice (n = 6), in age-matched heterozygous controls (n = 7), and in primary endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to high glucose. In db/db mice, renal H2S levels were significantly reduced (P = 0.009). Protein expression of the H2S production enzymes was differentially affected by diabetes: cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) was significantly lower in both db/db mice and high glucose-treated HUVECs (P < 0.0001; P = 0.0318) whereas 3-mercatopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MST) expression was higher in the db/db kidney (P < 0.0001), yet lower in the HUVECs (P = 0.0001). Diabetes had no effect on the expression of cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) in the db/db kidney (P = ns) but was associated with reduced expression in the HUVECs (P = 0.0004). Protein expression of degradation enzyme sulfide quinone reductase (SQOR) was significantly higher in db/db kidney (P = 0.048) and lower in the high glucose-treated HUVECs (P = 0.008). Immunofluorescence studies revealed differential localisation of the H2S enzymes in the kidney, including both tubular and vascular localisation, suggestive of functionally distinct actions in the kidney. The results of this study provide foundational knowledge for future research looking at the H2S system in both kidney physiology and the aetiology of chronic diabetic kidney disease.
In the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen, glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit 1 and 2 (G6PC1; G6PC2) hydrolyze glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) to glucose and inorganic phosphate whereas hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PD) hydrolyzes G6P to 6-phosphogluconate (6PG) in a reaction that generates NADPH. 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (HSD11B1) utilizes this NADPH to convert inactive cortisone to cortisol. HSD11B1 inhibitors improve insulin sensitivity whereas G6PC inhibitors are predicted to lower fasting blood glucose (FBG). This study investigated whether G6PC1 and G6PC2 influence G6P flux through H6PD and vice versa. Using a novel transcriptional assay that utilizes separate fusion genes to quantitate glucocorticoid and glucose signaling, we show that overexpression of H6PD and HSD11B1 in the islet-derived 832/13 cell line activated glucocorticoid-stimulated fusion gene expression. Overexpression of HSD11B1 blunted glucose-stimulated fusion gene expression independently of altered G6P flux. While overexpression of G6PC1 and G6PC2 blunted glucose-stimulated fusion gene expression, it had minimal effect on glucocorticoid-stimulated fusion gene expression. In the liver-derived HepG2 cell line, overexpression of H6PD and HSD11B1 activated glucocorticoid-stimulated fusion gene expression but overexpression of G6PC1 and G6PC2 had no effect. In rodents, HSD11B1 converts 11-dehydrocorticosterone (11-DHC) to corticosterone. Studies in wild-type and G6pc2 knockout mice treated with 11-DHC for 5 weeks reveal metabolic changes unaffected by the absence of G6PC2. These data suggest that HSD11B1 activity is not significantly affected by the presence or absence of G6PC1 or G6PC2. As such, G6PC1 and G6PC2 inhibitors are predicted to have beneficial effects by reducing FBG without causing a deleterious increase in glucocorticoid signaling.
Suboptimal in utero environments such as poor maternal nutrition and gestational diabetes can impact fetal birth weight and the metabolic health trajectory of the adult offspring. Fetal growth is associated with alterations in placental mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling; it is reduced in fetal growth restriction and increased in fetal overgrowth. We previously reported that when metabolically challenged by a high-fat diet, placental mTORKO (mTORKOpl) adult female offspring develop obesity and insulin resistance, whereas placental TSC2KO (TSC2KOpl) female offspring are protected from diet-induced obesity and maintain proper glucose homeostasis. In the present study, we sought to investigate whether reducing or increasing placental mTOR signaling in utero alters the programming of adult offspring metabolic tissues preceding a metabolic challenge. Adult male and female mTORKOpl, TSC2KOpl, and respective controls on a normal chow diet were subjected to an acute intraperitoneal insulin injection. Upon insulin stimulation, insulin signaling via phosphorylation of Akt and nutrient sensing via phosphorylation of mTOR target ribosomal S6 were evaluated in the offspring liver, white adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle. Among tested tissues, we observed significant changes only in the liver signaling. In the male mTORKOpl adult offspring liver, insulin-stimulated phospho-Akt was enhanced compared to littermate controls. Basal phospho-S6 level was increased in the mTORKOpl female offspring liver compared to littermate controls and did not increase further in response to insulin. RNA sequencing of offspring liver identified placental mTORC1 programming-mediated differentially expressed genes. The expression of major urinary protein 1 (Mup1) was differentially altered in female mTORKOpl and TSC2KOpl offspring livers and we show that MUP1 level is dependent on overnutrition and fasting status. In summary, deletion of placental mTOR nutrient sensing in utero programs hepatic response to insulin action in a sexually dimorphic manner. Additionally, we highlight a possible role for hepatic and circulating MUP1 in glucose homeostasis that warrants further investigation.
N1-methylnicotinamide (MNAM), a product of methylation of nicotinamide through nicotinamide N-methyltransferase, displays anti-diabetic effects in male rodents. This study aimed to evaluate the ameliorative potential of MNAM on glucose metabolism in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) model. C57BL/6N mice were fed with high fat diet (HFD) for 6 weeks before pregnancy and throughout gestation to establish the GDM model. Pregnant mice were treated with 0.3% or 1% MNAM during gestation. MNAM supplementation in CHOW diet and HFD both impaired the glucose tolerance at gestational day 14.5 without changes in insulin tolerance. However, it reduced hepatic lipid accumulation as well as mass and inflammation in visceral adipose tissue. MNAM treatment decreased GLUT4 mRNA and protein expression in skeletal muscle, where NAD+ salvage synthesis and antioxidant defenses were dampened. NAD+/Sirtuin system was enhanced in liver, which subsequently boosted hepatic gluconeogenesis. GLUT1 protein was deminished in placenta by MNAM. In addition, weight of placenta, fetus weight or litter size were not affected by MNAM treatment. The decreased GLUT4 in skeletal muscle, boosted hepatic gluconeogenesis and dampened GLUT1 in placenta jointly contribute to the impairment of GTT by MNAM. Our data provide evidences for the careful usage of MNAM in treatment of GDM.
Several human disorders are caused by genetic or epigenetic changes involving the GNAS locus on chromosome 20q13.3 that encodes the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gsα) and several splice variants thereof. Thus, pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP1A) is caused by heterozygous inactivating mutations involving the maternal GNAS exons 1-13 resulting in characteristic abnormalities referred to as Albright’s Hereditary Osteodystrophy (AHO) that are associated with resistance to several agonist ligands, particularly to parathyroid hormone (PTH), thereby leading to hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. GNAS mutations involving the paternal Gsα exons also cause most of these AHO features, but without evidence for hormonal resistance, hence the term pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (PPHP). Autosomal dominant (AD) pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ib (AD-PHP1B) due to maternal GNAS or STX16 mutations (deletions, duplications, insertions, and inversions) is associated with epigenetic changes at one or several Differentially Methylated Regions (DMR) within GNAS. Unlike the inactivating Gsα mutations that cause PHP1A and PPHP, hormonal resistance is caused in all PHP1B variants by impaired Gsα expression due to loss-of-methylation at GNAS exon A/B, which can be associated in some familial cases with epigenetic changes at the other maternal GNAS DMRs. The genetic defect(s) responsible for sporadic PHP1B (sporPHP1B), the most frequent variant of this disorder, remains unknown for the majority of patients. However, characteristic epigenetic GNAS changes can be readily detected that include a gain-of-methylation at the NESP DMR. Multiple genetic or epigenetic GNAS abnormalities thus impair Gsα function or expression, consequently leading to inadequate cAMP-dependent signaling events down-stream of various Gsα-coupled receptors.
Tatsuya KobayashiDepartment of Reproductive Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan Evolution and Reproductive Medicine, Medical Mycology Research Center, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan Fujita Medical Innovation Center Tokyo, Reproduction Center, Tokyo, Japan
Uterine fibroids (UFs) are benign tumors arising from the uterus, characterized by accumulation of abundant extracellular matrix (ECM) and sex steroid-dependent growth. Women with symptomatic UFs have reduced quality of life and decreased labor productivity. Among the driver gene mutations identified in UFs, mutations in MED12, a component of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) Mediator module, are the most common and observed in 50–80% of UFs. They are gain-of-function mutations and are more frequently observed in Black women and commonly observed even in small UFs. MED12 mutation-positive UFs (MED12-UFs) often develop multiple rather than solitary and have distinct gene expression profiles, DNA methylomes, transcriptomes, and proteomes. Gene expressions related to ECM organization and collagen-rich ECM components are upregulated, and impaired Mediator kinase activity and dysregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling are identified in MED12-UFs. Clinically, the UF shrinking effect of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and ulipristal acetate is dependent on the MED12 mutation status. Understanding of characteristics of MED12-UFs and functions of MED12 mutations for UF tumorigenesis may elucidate the pathophysiology of UFs, leading to the development of new therapeutic options in women with symptomatic UFs.
Excess growth hormone (GH) has been implicated in multiple cancer types and there is increasing interest in the development of therapeutic inhibitors targeting GH-GH receptor (GHR) signalling. Here we describe a panel of anti-GH monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated using a hybridoma approach and identify two novel inhibitory mAbs (1-8-2 and 1-46-3) that neutralised GH signalling. mAbs 1-8-2 and 1-46-3 exhibited strong inhibitory activity against GH-dependent cell growth in a Ba/F3-GHR cell viability assay, with EC50 values of 1.00 ± 0.27 and 0.5 ± 0.1 µg/mL, respectively. Cross-reactivity with the human placental hormones, placental lactogen (PL) and placental GH, was observed by ELISA, but neither antibody cross-reacted with mouse Gh or human prolactin (PRL). mAb 1-8-2 had a binding affinity for GH of KD 0.62 ± 0.5 nM, while mAb 1-46-3 had a KD of 2.68 ± 0.53 nM, as determined by bio-layer interferometry. mAb 1-46-3 inhibited GH-dependent signal transduction in T-47D and LNCaP cancer cell lines, and reduced GH-dependent cell growth and migration in the breast cancer cell line T-47D. mAb 1-46-3 inhibited T-47D cell viability more effectively than the GHR antagonist B2036. In conclusion, we describe two novel inhibitory anti-GH mAbs and provide in vitro evidence supporting development of these entities as anti-cancer therapeutics.