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Seisuke Sato, Hitomi Imachi, Jingya Lyu, Yumi Miyai, Kensaku Fukunaga, Tao Dong, Tomohiro Ibata, Toshihiro Kobayashi, Takuo Yoshimoto, Fumi Kikuchi, Kazuko Yonezaki, Nao Yamaji, Hisakazu Iwama and Koji Murao

ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), a 254-kD membrane protein, is a key regulator of lipid efflux from cells to apolipoproteins. ABCA1 in pancreatic β-cells influences insulin secretion and cholesterol homeostasis. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is a pleiotropic cytokine that elicits a wide spectrum of physiological events, including cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis and is also known to decrease glucose-dependent insulin secretion in pancreatic islets. In the present study, we examined the role of TNF-α on ABCA1 expression in rat pancreatic islets and INS-1 cells. ABCA1 protein levels decreased in response to rising concentrations of TNF-α in pancreatic islets. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed a significant decrease in ABCA1 mRNA expression. In parallel with its effect on endogenous ABCA1 mRNA levels, TNF-α suppressed the activity of a reporter construct containing the ABCA1 promoter. This effect was abrogated by BIRB796, but not by SB203580 or LY-294002. The constitutively active form of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) γ suppressed ABCA1 promoter activity but not p38-MAPK (α, β), while a dominant-negative mutant of p38-MAPK γ blocked the effect of TNF-α on ABCA1 promoter activity. BIRB796 inhibited the increased cholesterol ester content induced by TNF-α. However, BIRB796 had no effect on either the decreased insulin content or the ABCA1 suppression caused by TNF-α in INS-1 cells. We checked the influence of TNF-α of insulin secretion and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in rat pancreatic islet and INS-1 cell. TNF-α suppressed the insulin secretion and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in both rat pancreatic islet and INS-1 cell. In summary, TNF-α suppressed the expression of endogenous ABCA1 and suppress the insulin secretion in pancreatic islets and INS-1 cells. These findings raise the possibility that TNF-α may affect insulin secretion by controlling ABCA1 expression.

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Meghan S Perkins, Renate Louw-du Toit and Donita Africander

Although hormone therapy is widely used by millions of women to relieve symptoms of menopause, it has been associated with several side effects such as coronary heart disease, stroke and increased invasive breast cancer risk. These side effects have caused many women to seek alternatives to conventional hormone therapy, including the controversial custom-compounded bioidentical hormone therapy suggested to not increase breast cancer risk. Historically, estrogens and the estrogen receptor were considered the principal factors promoting breast cancer development and progression; however, a role for other members of the steroid receptor family in breast cancer pathogenesis is now evident, with emerging studies revealing an interplay between some steroid receptors. In this review, we discuss examples of hormone therapy used for the relief of menopausal symptoms, highlighting the distinction between conventional hormone therapy and custom-compounded bioidentical hormone therapy. Moreover, we highlight the fact that not all hormones have been evaluated for an association with increased breast cancer risk. We also summarize the current knowledge regarding the role of steroid receptors in mediating the carcinogenic effects of hormones used in menopausal hormone therapy, with special emphasis on the influence of the interplay or crosstalk between steroid receptors. Unraveling the intertwined nature of steroid hormone receptor signaling pathways in breast cancer biology is of utmost importance, considering that breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women worldwide. Moreover, understanding these mechanisms may reveal novel prevention or treatment options and lead to the development of new hormone therapies that do not cause increased breast cancer risk.

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Yan-hui Bai, Yong Lv, Wei-qun Wang, Guang-li Sun and Hao-hao Zhang

Human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs) are implicated in corneal neovascularization (CRNV). The mechanisms underlying the inflammatory response in HCFs and the development of CRNV were explored in this study. Alkali burns were applied to the corneas of rats to establish a CRNV model. The expression of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) nuclear enriched abundant transcript 1 (NEAT1) and mRNA and protein levels of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB)- activating protein (NKAP) were examined by quantitative real-time (qRT-PCR) and Western blot methods, respectively. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is used to stimulate HCFs for inflammatory response. The level of inflammation factors in HCF supernatant was detected using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Binding and interactions between NEAT1 and miRNA 1246 (miR-1246) were determined by RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) and RNA pull-down assays in HCFs. Compared with the control group (n = 6), NEAT1 was upregulated in the corneas of the CRNV rat model (n = 6). The expression of NEAT1 in HCFs was upregulated by LPS. Downregulation of NEAT1 suppressed the secretion of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). NEAT1 could bind and interact with miR-1246. LPS regulated the expression of NKAP and NF-κB signaling via the NEAT1/miR-1246 pathway. Downregulation of NEAT1 in vivo inhibited CRNV progression in the CRNV rat model. The lncRNA NEAT1 induced secretion of inflammatory factors, mediated by NF-κB, by targeting miR-1246, thereby promoting CRNV progression.

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Ashley A Able, Allison J Richard and Jacqueline M Stephens

STAT5A (signal transducer and activator of transcription 5A) is a transcription factor that plays a role in adipocyte development and function. In this study, we report DBC1 (deleted in breast cancer 1 – also known as CCAR2) as a novel STAT5A-interacting protein. DBC1 has been primarily studied in tumor cells, but there is evidence that loss of this protein may promote metabolic health in mice. Currently, the functions of DBC1 in mature adipocytes are largely unknown. Using immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting techniques, we confirmed that there is an association between endogenous STAT5A and DBC1 proteins under physiological conditions in the adipocyte nucleus that is not dependent upon STAT5A tyrosine phosphorylation. We used siRNA to knockdown DBC1 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes to determine the impact on STAT5A activity, adipocyte gene expression and TNFα (tumor necrosis factor α)-regulated lipolysis. The loss of DBC1 did not affect the expression of several STAT5A target genes including Socs3, Cish, Bcl6, Socs2 and Igf1. However, we did observe decreased levels of TNFα-induced glycerol and free fatty acids released from adipocytes with reduced DBC1 expression. In addition, DBC1-knockdown adipocytes had increased Glut4 expression. In summary, DBC1 can associate with STAT5A in adipocyte nucleus, but it does not appear to impact regulation of STAT5A target genes. Loss of adipocyte DBC1 modestly increases Glut4 gene expression and reduces TNFα-induced lipolysis. These observations are consistent with in vivo observations that show loss of DBC1 promotes metabolic health in mice.

Free access

Muraly Puttabyatappa and Vasantha Padmanabhan

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogeneous endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. The origin of PCOS is still not clear and appears to be a function of gene × environment interactions. This review addresses the current knowledge of the genetic and developmental contributions to the etiology of PCOS, the ovarian and extra-ovarian mediators of PCOS and the gaps and key challenges that need to be addressed in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of PCOS.

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Sufang Chen, Wei Wei, Minjie Chen, Xiaobo Qin, Lianglin Qiu, Li Zhang, Yuhao Zhang, Qi Cao and Zhekang Ying

Numerous studies have implicated tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. However, the role of its primary receptor, TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1), in homeostatic regulation of glucose metabolism is still controversial. In addition to TNFα, lymphotoxin α (LTα) binds to and activates TNFR1. Thus, TNFα and LTα together are known as TNF. To delineate the role of TNF signaling in glucose homeostasis, the present study ascertained how TNF signaling deficiency affects major regulatory components of glucose homeostasis. To this end, normal diet-fed male TNFR1-deficient mice (TNFR1−/−), TNFα/LTα/LTβ triple-deficient mice (TNF/LT∆3) and their littermate controls were subjected to intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test, insulin tolerance test and oral glucose tolerance test. The present results showed that TNFR1−/− and TNF/LT∆3 mice vs their controls had comparable body weight, tolerance to intraperitoneal glucose and sensitivity to insulin. However, their tolerance to oral glucose was significantly increased. Additionally, glucose-induced insulin secretion assessments revealed that TNFR1 or TNF/LT deficiency significantly increased oral but not intraperitoneal glucose-induced insulin secretion. Consistently, qPCR and immunohistochemistry analyses showed that TNFR1−/− and TNF/LT∆3 mice vs their controls had significantly increased ileal expression of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), one of the primary incretins. Their oral glucose-induced secretion of GLP-1 was also significantly increased. These data collectively suggest that physiological TNF signaling regulates glucose metabolism primarily through effects on GLP-1 expression and secretion and subsequently insulin secretion.

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Aran Son, Namju Kang, Jung Yun Kang, Ki Woo Kim, Yu-Mi Yang and Dong Min Shin

Mechanical stress plays an important role in the regulation of bone turnover. However, the mechanism underlying hypo-osmotic stress-induced cellular response in osteoblasts remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the effect of hypotonic stress on the expression of bone remodeling factors, including the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) and the nuclear factor of activated T cells type c1 (NFATc1) in primary mouse osteoblasts and MC3T3-E1 cells. Hypo-osmotic stress induced significant increases in RANKL mRNA expression and intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) from the extracellular space. Hypo-osmotic stress-induced effects on [Ca2+]i and RANKL and NFATc1 protein expression were decreased by antagonists of transient receptor potential melastatin 3 (TRPM3) and vanilloid 4 (TRPV4). Agonists of TRPM3 and TRPV4 activated [Ca2+]i and RANKL and NFATc1 protein expression. Furthermore, genetic suppression of Trpm3 and Trpv4 reduced hypo-osmotic stress-induced effects in mouse osteoblasts. These results suggest that hypo-osmotic stress induces increases in [Ca2+]i through TRPM3 and TRPV4 to regulate RANKL and NFATc1 expression in mouse osteoblastic cells and that mechanical stress-activated TRP channels may play a critical role in bone remodeling.

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Fabien Duval, Esther Dos Santos, Benoît Maury, Valérie Serazin, Khadija Fathallah, François Vialard and Marie-Noëlle Dieudonné

Throughout the entire first trimester of pregnancy, fetal growth is sustained by endometrial secretions, i.e. histiotrophic nutrition. Endometrial stromal cells (EnSCs) accumulate and secrete a variety of nutritive molecules that are absorbed by trophoblastic cells and transmitted to the fetus. Glycogen appears to have a critical role in the early stages of fetal development, since infertile women have low endometrial glycogen levels. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying glycogen metabolism and trafficking at the fetal–maternal interface have not yet been characterized. Among the various factors acting at the fetal–maternal interface, we focused on adiponectin – an adipocyte-secreted cytokine involved in the control of carbohydrate and lipid homeostasis. Our results clearly demonstrated that adiponectin controls glycogen metabolism in EnSCs by (i) increasing glucose transporter 1 expression, (ii) inhibiting glucose catabolism via a decrease in lactate and ATP productions, (iii) increasing glycogen synthesis, (iv) promoting glycogen accumulation via phosphoinositide-3 kinase activation and (v) enhancing glycogen secretion. Furthermore, our results revealed that adiponectin significantly limits glycogen endocytosis by human villous trophoblasts. Lastly, we demonstrated that once glycogen has been endocytosed into placental cells, it is degraded into glucose molecules in lysosomes. Taken as a whole, the present results demonstrate that adiponectin exerts a dual role at the fetal–maternal interface by promoting glycogen synthesis in the endometrium and conversely reducing trophoblastic glycogen uptake. We conclude that adiponectin may be involved in feeding the conceptus during the first trimester of pregnancy by controlling glycogen metabolism in both the uterus and the placenta.

Open access

Rachel S Fletcher and Gareth G Lavery

The concept of replenishing or elevating NAD+ availability to combat metabolic disease and ageing is an area of intense research. This has led to a need to define the endogenous regulatory pathways and mechanisms cells and tissues utilise to maximise NAD+ availability such that strategies to intervene in the clinical setting are able to be fully realised. This review discusses the importance of different salvage pathways involved in metabolising the vitamin B3 class of NAD+ precursor molecules, with a particular focus on the recently identified nicotinamide riboside kinase pathway at both a tissue-specific and systemic level.

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Shan Song, Duojun Qiu, Fengwei Luo, Jinying Wei, Ming Wu, Haijiang Wu, Chunyang Du, Yunxia Du, Yunzhuo Ren, Nan Chen, Huijun Duan and Yonghong Shi

Tubular injury is one of the crucial determinants of progressive renal failure in diabetic nephropathy (DN), while epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of tubular cells contributes to the accumulation of matrix protein in the diabetic kidney. Activation of the nucleotide binding and oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome leads to the maturation of interleukin (IL)-1B and is involved in the pathogenic mechanisms of diabetes. In this study, we explored the role of NLRP3 inflammasome on high glucose (HG) or transforming growth factor-B1 (TGFB1)-induced EMT in HK-2 cells. We evaluated EMT through the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and E-cadherin as well as the induction of a myofibroblastic phenotype. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) was observed using the confocal microscopy. HG was shown to induce EMT at 48 h, which was blocked by NLRP3 silencing or antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). We found that NLRP3 interference could inhibit HG-induced ROS. Knockdown of NLRP3 could prevent HG-induced EMT by inhibiting the phosphorylation of SMAD3, P38 MAPK and ERK1/2. In addition, P38 MAPK and ERK1/2 might be involved in HG-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Besides, TGFB1 induced the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome and the generation of ROS, which were blocked by NLRP3 interference or NAC. Tubular cells exposed to TGFB1 also underwent EMT, and this could be inhibited by NLRP3 shRNA or NAC. These results indicated that knockdown of NLRP3 antagonized HG-induced EMT by inhibiting ROS production, phosphorylation of SMAD3, P38MAPK and ERK1/2, highlighting NLRP3 as a potential therapy target for diabetic nephropathy.