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Open access

Fadil M Hannan, Valerie N Babinsky and Rajesh V Thakker

The extracellular calcium (Ca2+ o)-sensing receptor (CaSR) is a family C G protein-coupled receptor, which detects alterations in Ca2+ o concentrations and modulates parathyroid hormone secretion and urinary calcium excretion. The central role of the CaSR in Ca2+ o homeostasis has been highlighted by the identification of mutations affecting the CASR gene on chromosome 3q21.1. Loss-of-function CASR mutations cause familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH), whereas gain-of-function mutations lead to autosomal dominant hypocalcaemia (ADH). However, CASR mutations are only detected in ≤70% of FHH and ADH cases, referred to as FHH type 1 and ADH type 1, respectively, and studies in other FHH and ADH kindreds have revealed these disorders to be genetically heterogeneous. Thus, loss- and gain-of-function mutations of the GNA11 gene on chromosome 19p13.3, which encodes the G-protein α-11 (Gα11) subunit, lead to FHH type 2 and ADH type 2, respectively; whilst loss-of-function mutations of AP2S1 on chromosome 19q13.3, which encodes the adaptor-related protein complex 2 sigma (AP2σ) subunit, cause FHH type 3. These studies have demonstrated Gα11 to be a key mediator of downstream CaSR signal transduction, and also revealed a role for AP2σ, which is involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, in CaSR signalling and trafficking. Moreover, FHH type 3 has been demonstrated to represent a more severe FHH variant that may lead to symptomatic hypercalcaemia, low bone mineral density and cognitive dysfunction. In addition, calcimimetic and calcilytic drugs, which are positive and negative CaSR allosteric modulators, respectively, have been shown to be of potential benefit for these FHH and ADH disorders.

Open access

Yan Zheng and Kevin D Houston

G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) is a seven-transmembrane receptor that mediates rapid cell signaling events stimulated by estrogens. While the role that GPER1 has in the modulation of E2-responsive tissues and cancers is well documented, the molecular mechanisms that regulate GPER1 expression are currently not well defined. The recently identified GPER1-dependent mechanism of tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells underscores the importance of identifying mechanisms that regulate GPER1 expression in this cell type. We hypothesized that GPER1 expression in breast cancer cells is sensitive to [D-glucose] and provide data showing increased GPER1 expression when cells were cultured in low [D-glucose]. To determine if the observed accumulation of GPER1 was AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent, small molecule stimulation or inhibition of AMPK was performed. AMPK inhibition decreased GPER1 accumulation in cells grown in low [D-glucose] while the AMPK-activating compound AICAR increased GPER1 accumulation in cells grown in high [D-glucose] media. Additionally, transfection of cells with a plasmid expressing constitutively active AMPK resulted in increased GPER1 accumulation. To determine if [D-glucose]-dependent GPER1 accumulation altered breast cancer cell response to tamoxifen, cells grown in the presence of decreasing [D-glucose] were co-treated with tamoxifen and IGFBP-1 transcription was measured. The results from these experiments reveal that D-glucose deprivation increased GPER1-mediated and tamoxifen-induced IGFBP-1 transcription suggesting that [D-glucose] may increase breast cancer cell sensitivity to tamoxifen. Taken together, these results identify a previously unknown mechanism that regulates GPER1 expression that modifies one aspect tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells.

Open access

Zhi Zhang, Fang Wang, Bing-jian Wang, Guang Chu, Qunan Cao, Bao-Gui Sun and Qiu-Yan Dai

Vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling, which is the result of disruption in the balance of ECM synthesis and degradation, induces vessel fibrosis and thereby leads to hypertension. Leptin is known to promote tissue fibrosis, while adiponectin has recently been demonstrated to be anti-fibrogenic in tissue fibrosis. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the leptin-antagonist function of adiponectin and to further elucidate the mechanisms through which adiponectin dampens leptin signalling in vascular smooth muscle cells, thus preventing excess ECM production, in our already established 3D co-culture vessel models. Our 3D co-culture vessel model, which mimics true blood vessels, is composed of vascular endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and collagen type I. We validated the profibrogenic effects of leptin and analysed matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), MMP9, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1) and collagen types II/IV secretion in 3D vessel models. The protective/inhibitory effects of adiponectin were re-analysed by inhibiting adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR) and AdipoR2 expression in endothelial cells using RNAi technology. In the 3D vessel models, adiponectin blocked the leptin-stimulated secretion of collagen types II/IV and TIMP1 while significantly increasing MMP2/9 activity. In endothelial cells, adiponectin induced phosphorylation of AMPK, thereby suppressing leptin-mediated STAT3 phosphorylation through induction of SOCS3 in smooth muscle cells. Our findings indicate that adiponectin disrupted the leptin-induced vascular ECM remodelling via AdipoR1 and enhanced AMPK signalling in endothelial cells, which, in turn, promoted SOCS3 up-regulation in smooth muscle cells to repress leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of STAT3.

Open access

Rodolfo Niño Fong, Zahra Fatehi-Hassanabad, Simon C Lee, Hongfang Lu, Michael B Wheeler and Catherine B Chan

Mutations in the uncoupling protein 2 (Ucp2) gene are linked to type-2 diabetes. Here, a potential mechanism by which lack of UCP2 is cytoprotective in pancreatic β-cells was investigated. Nitric oxide (NO) production was elevated in Ucp2 −/− islets. Proliferation (cyclin D2, Ccnd2) and anti-apoptosis (Tnfaip3) genes had increased expression in Ucp2 −/− islets, whereas the mRNA of pro-apoptosis genes (Jun, Myc) was reduced. TNFAIP3 cellular localization was detected in both α- and β-cells of Ucp2 −/− islets but in neither α- nor β-cells of UCP2+ / + islets, where it was detected in pancreatic polypeptide-expressing cells. TNFAIP3 distribution was not markedly altered 14 days after streptozotocin treatment. Basal apoptosis was attenuated in Ucp2 −/− β-cells, while the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) pathway was transactivated after islet isolation. Ucp2 +/+ and Ucp2 −/− islets were treated with cytokines for 24 h. Cytokines did not increase NF-κB transactivation or apoptosis in Ucp2 −/− islets and TNFAIP3 was more strongly induced in Ucp2 −/− islets. Inhibition of NO production strongly reduced NF-κB activation and apoptosis. These data show that null expression of Ucp2 induces transactivation of NF-κB in isolated islets, possibly due to NO-dependent up-regulation of inhibitor of κB kinase β activity. NF-κB transactivation appears to result in altered expression of genes that enhance a pro-survival phenotype basally and when β-cells are exposed to cytokines. TNFAIP3 is of particular interest because of its ability to regulate NF-κB signaling pathways.

Open access

Dellel Rezgui, Christopher Williams, Sharon A Savage, Stuart N Prince, Oliver J Zaccheo, E Yvonne Jones, Matthew P Crump and A Bassim Hassan

The mannose 6-phosphate/IGF 2 receptor (IGF2R) is comprised of 15 extra-cellular domains that bind IGF2 and mannose 6-phosphate ligands. IGF2R transports ligands from the Golgi to the pre-lysosomal compartment and thereafter to and from the cell surface. IGF2R regulates growth, placental development, tumour suppression and signalling. The ligand IGF2 is implicated in the growth phenotype, where IGF2R normally limits bioavailability, such that loss and gain of IGF2R results in increased and reduced growth respectively. The IGF2R exon 34 (5002A>G) polymorphism (rs629849) of the IGF2 specific binding domain has been correlated with impaired childhood growth (A/A homozygotes). We evaluated the function of the Gly1619Arg non-synonymous amino acid modification of domain 11. NMR and X-ray crystallography structures located 1619 remote from the ligand binding region of domain 11. Arg1619 was located close to the fibronectin type II (FnII) domain of domain 13, previously implicated as a modifier of IGF2 ligand binding through indirect interaction with the AB loop of the binding cleft. However, comparison of binding kinetics of IGF2R, Gly1619 and Arg1619 to either IGF2 or mannose 6-phosphate revealed no differences in ‘on’ and ‘off’ rates. Quantitative PCR, 35S pulse chase and flow cytometry failed to demonstrate altered gene expression, protein half-life and cell membrane distribution, suggesting the polymorphism had no direct effect on receptor function. Intronic polymorphisms were identified which may be in linkage disequilibrium with rs629849 in certain populations. Other potential IGF2R polymorphisms may account for the correlation with childhood growth, warranting further functional evaluation.

Open access

H H Farman, J Wu, K L Gustafsson, S H Windahl, S H Kim, J A Katzenellenbogen, C Ohlsson and M K Lagerquist

Estradiol (E2) signaling via estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) is important for the male skeleton as demonstrated by ERα inactivation in both mice and man. ERα mediates estrogenic effects not only by translocating to the nucleus and affecting gene transcription but also by extra-nuclear actions e.g., triggering cytoplasmic signaling cascades. ERα contains various domains, and the role of activation function 1 (ERαAF-1) is known to be tissue specific. The aim of this study was to determine the importance of extra-nuclear estrogen effects for the skeleton in males and to determine the role of ERαAF-1 for mediating these effects. Five-month-old male wild-type (WT) and ERαAF-1-inactivated (ERαAF-10) mice were orchidectomized and treated with equimolar doses of 17β-estradiol (E2) or an estrogen dendrimer conjugate (EDC), which is incapable of entering the nucleus and thereby only initiates extra-nuclear ER actions or their corresponding vehicles for 3.5 weeks. As expected, E2 treatment increased cortical thickness and trabecular bone volume per total volume (BV/TV) in WT males. EDC treatment increased cortical thickness in WT males, whereas no effect was detected in trabecular bone. In ERαAF-10 males, E2 treatment increased cortical thickness, but did not affect trabecular bone. Interestingly, the effect of EDC on cortical bone was abolished in ERαAF-10 mice. In conclusion, extra-nuclear estrogen signaling affects cortical bone mass in males, and this effect is dependent on a functional ERαAF-1. Increased knowledge regarding estrogen signaling mechanisms in the regulation of the male skeleton may aid the development of new treatment options for male osteoporosis.

Open access

Daniela Nasteska and David J Hodson

It is becoming increasingly apparent that not all insulin-secreting beta cells are equal. Subtle differences exist at the transcriptomic and protein expression levels, with repercussions for beta cell survival/proliferation, calcium signalling and insulin release. Notably, beta cell heterogeneity displays plasticity during development, metabolic stress and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thus, heterogeneity or lack thereof may be an important contributor to beta cell failure during T2DM in both rodents and humans. The present review will discuss the molecular and cellular features of beta cell heterogeneity at both the single-cell and islet level, explore how this influences islet function and insulin release and look into the alterations that may occur during obesity and T2DM.

Open access

Paul de Goede, Jakob Wefers, Eline Constance Brombacher, Patrick Schrauwen and Andries Kalsbeek

Many physiological processes are regulated with a 24-h periodicity to anticipate the environmental changes of daytime to nighttime and vice versa. These 24-h regulations, commonly termed circadian rhythms, among others control the sleep–wake cycle, locomotor activity and preparation for food availability during the active phase (daytime for humans and nighttime for nocturnal animals). Disturbing circadian rhythms at the organ or whole-body level by social jetlag or shift work, increases the risk to develop chronic metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. The molecular basis of this risk is a topic of increasing interest. Mitochondria are essential organelles that produce the majority of energy in eukaryotes by converting lipids and carbohydrates into ATP through oxidative phosphorylation. To adapt to the ever-changing environment, mitochondria are highly dynamic in form and function and a loss of this flexibility is linked to metabolic diseases. Interestingly, recent studies have indicated that changes in mitochondrial morphology (i.e., fusion and fission) as well as generation of new mitochondria are dependent on a viable circadian clock. In addition, fission and fusion processes display diurnal changes that are aligned to the light/darkness cycle. Besides morphological changes, mitochondrial respiration also displays diurnal changes. Disturbing the molecular clock in animal models leads to abrogated mitochondrial rhythmicity and altered respiration. Moreover, mitochondrial-dependent production of reactive oxygen species, which plays a role in cellular signaling, has also been linked to the circadian clock. In this review, we will summarize recent advances in the study of circadian rhythms of mitochondria and how this is linked to the molecular circadian clock.

Open access

Cristina L Esteves, Val Kelly, Valérie Bégay, Simon G Lillico, Achim Leutz, Jonathan R Seckl and Karen E Chapman

Murine 3T3-L1 adipocytes are widely used as a cellular model of obesity. However, whereas transfection of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes is straightforward, ectopic gene expression in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes has proved challenging. Here, we used the pSLIK vector system to generate stable doxycycline-inducible expression of the liver-enriched inhibitor protein isoform of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (CEPB (C/EBPβ-LIP)) in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Because overexpression of C/EBPβ-LIP impairs adipocyte differentiation, the C/EBPβ-LIP construct was first integrated in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes but expression was induced only when adipocytes were fully differentiated. Increased C/EBPβ-LIP in mature adipocytes down-regulated C/EBPβ target genes including 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and fatty acid binding protein 4 but had no effect on asparagine synthetase, demonstrating that transcriptional down-regulation by C/EBPβ-LIP in 3T3-L1 adipocytes is not a general effect. Importantly, these genes were modulated in a similar manner in adipose tissue of mice with genetically increased C/EBPβ-LIP levels. The use of the pSLIK system to conditionally express transgenes in 3T3-L1 cells could be a valuable tool to dissect adipocyte physiology.

Open access

Gillian A Gray, Christopher I White, Raphael F P Castellan, Sara J McSweeney and Karen E Chapman

Corticosteroids influence the development and function of the heart and its response to injury and pressure overload via actions on glucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid (MR) receptors. Systemic corticosteroid concentration depends largely on the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, but glucocorticoid can also be regenerated from intrinsically inert metabolites by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), selectively increasing glucocorticoid levels within cells and tissues. Extensive studies have revealed the roles for glucocorticoid regeneration by 11β-HSD1 in liver, adipose, brain and other tissues, but until recently, there has been little focus on the heart. This article reviews the evidence for glucocorticoid metabolism by 11β-HSD1 in the heart and for a role of 11β-HSD1 activity in determining the myocardial growth and physiological function. We also consider the potential of 11β-HSD1 as a therapeutic target to enhance repair after myocardial infarction and to prevent the development of cardiac remodelling and heart failure.