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Ping Li, Yan Hao, Feng-Hui Pan, Min Zhang, Jian-Qiang Ma and Da-Long Zhu

This study investigates the effectiveness and mechanisms of a serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) inhibitor in counteracting hyperglycemia. In an in vivo experiment, we demonstrated that after an 8-week treatment with an SGK1 inhibitor, the fasting blood glucose and HbA1c level significantly decreased in db/db mice. RT-PCR and western blot analyses revealed that intestinal SGK1 and sodium glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) expression were enhanced in db/db mice. Treatment with an SGK1 inhibitor decreased excessive SGLT1 expression in the intestine of db/db mice. In vitro experiments with intestinal IEC-6 cells showed that the co-administration of an SGK1 inhibitor partly reversed the SGLT1 expression and glucose absorption that were induced by dexamethasone. In conclusion, this study revealed that the favorable effect of an SGK1 inhibitor on hyperglycemia is partly due to decreased glucose absorption through SGLT1 in the small intestine. These data collectively suggest that SGK1 may be a potent target for the treatment of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Free access

Kun Chen, Ji-Dan Zhou, Feng Zhang, Fang Zhang, Rui-Rui Zhang, Meng-Si Zhan, Xiao-Yin Tang, Bing Deng, Ming-Gang Lei and Yuan-Zhu Xiong

G protein-coupled receptor 120 (GPR120), an adipogenic receptor critical for the differentiation and maturation of adipocytes, plays an important role in controlling obesity in both humans and rodents and, thus, is an attractive target of obesity treatment studies. However, the mechanisms that regulate the expression of porcine GPR1 20 remain unclear. In this study, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) techniques were used to analyze and identify the binding of C/EBPβ (transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta) to the GPR120 promoter. C/EBPβ overexpression and RNA interference studies showed that C/EBPβ regulated GPR120 promoter activity and endogenous GPR120 expression. The binding site of C/EBPβ in the GPR120 promoter region from −101 to −87 was identified by promoter deletion analysis and site-directed mutagenesis. Overexpression of C/EBPβ increased endogenous GPR120 expression in pig kidney cells (PK). Furthermore, when endogenous C/EBPβ was knocked down, GPR120 mRNA and protein levels were decreased. The stimulatory effect of C/EBPβ on GPR120 transcription and its ability to bind the transcription factor-binding site were confirmed by luciferase, ChIP, and EMSA. Moreover, the mRNA and protein expression levels of C/EBPβ were induced by high fat diet feeding. Taken together, it can be concluded that C/EBPβ plays a vital role in regulating GPR120 transcription and suggests HFD-feeding induces GPR120 transcription by influencing C/EBPβ expression.

Free access

Zhiyu Ma, Ying Zhang, Juan Su, Sheng Yang, Wenna Qiao, Xiang Li, Zhihai Lei, Ling Cheng, Na An, Wenshao Wang, Yanyan Feng and Jinlong Zhang

Neuromedin B (NMB), a mammalian bombesin-related peptide, has numerous physiological functions, including regulating hormone secretions, cell growth, and reproduction, by binding to its receptor (NMBR). In this study, we investigated the effects of NMB on testosterone secretion, steroidogenesis, cell proliferation, and apoptosis in cultured primary porcine Leydig cells. NMBR was mainly expressed in the Leydig cells of porcine testes, and a specific dose of NMB significantly promoted the secretion of testosterone in the primary Leydig cells; moreover, NMB increased the expression of mRNA and/or proteins of NMBR and steroidogenic mediators (steroidogenic acute regulatory (STAR), CYP11A1, and HSD3B1) in the Leydig cells. In addition, specific doses of NMB promoted the proliferation of Leydig cells and increased the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and Cyclin B1 proteins, while suppressing Leydig cell apoptosis and decreasing BAX and Caspase-3 protein expression. These results suggest that the NMB/NMBR system might play an important role in regulating boar reproductive function by modulating steroidogenesis and/or cell growth in porcine Leydig cells.

Free access

Hui Juan Zhu, Hui Pan, Xu Zhe Zhang, Nai Shi Li, Lin Jie Wang, Hong Bo Yang and Feng Ying Gong

Myostatin is a critical negative regulator of skeletal muscle development, and has been reported to be involved in the progression of obesity and diabetes. In the present study, we explored the effects of myostatin on the proliferation and differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes by using 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl] 2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide spectrophotometry, intracellular triglyceride (TG) assays, and real-time quantitative RT-PCR methods. The results indicated that recombinant myostatin significantly promoted the proliferation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and the expression of proliferation-related genes, including Cyclin B2, Cyclin D 1, Cyclin E1, Pcna, and c-Myc, and IGF1 levels in the medium of 3T3-L1 were notably upregulated by 35.2, 30.5, 20.5, 33.4, 51.2, and 179% respectively (all P<0.01) in myostatin-treated 3T3-L1 cells. Meanwhile, the intracellular lipid content of myostatin-treated cells was notably reduced as compared with the non-treated cells. Additionally, the mRNA levels of Ppar γ, Cebp α, Gpdh, Dgat, Acs1, Atgl, and Hsl were significantly downregulated by 22–76% in fully differentiated myostatin-treated adipocytes. Finally, myostatin regulated the mRNA levels and secretion of adipokines, including Adiponectin, Resistin, Visfatin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes (all P<0.001). Above all, myostatin promoted 3T3-L1 proliferation by increasing the expression of cell-proliferation-related genes and by stimulating IGF1 secretion. Myostatin inhibited 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation by suppressing Ppar γ and Cebp α expression, which consequently deceased lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells by inhibiting the expression of critical lipogenic enzymes and by promoting the expression of lipolytic enzymes. Finally, myostatin modulated the expression and secretion of adipokines in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

Open access

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.

Free access

Yu-Guang Ma, Liang Liang, Yin-Bin Zhang, Bao-Feng Wang, Yun-Gang Bai, Zhi-Jun Dai, Man-Jiang Xie and Zhong-Wei Wang

Hyperglycemia and hypertension are considered to be the two leading risk factors for vascular disease in diabetic patients. However, few pharmacologic agents could provide a combinational therapy for controlling hyperglycemia and hypertension at the same time in diabetes. The objectives of this study are to investigate whether berberine treatment could directly reduce blood pressure and identify the molecular mechanism underlying the vascular protection of berberine in diabetic rats. Berberine was intragastrically administered with different dosages of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg/day to diabetic rats for 8 weeks since the injection of streptozotocin. The endothelium-dependent/-independent relaxation in middle cerebral arteries was investigated. The activity of large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel (BKCa) was investigated by recording whole-cell currents, analyzing single-channel activities and assessing the expressions of α- and β1-subunit at protein or mRNA levels. Results of the study suggest that chronic administration of 100 mg/kg/day berberine not only lowered blood glucose but also reduced blood pressure and improved vasodilation in diabetic rats. Furthermore, berberine markedly increased the function and expression of BKCa β1-subunit in cerebral vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) isolated from diabetic rats or when exposed to hyperglycemia condition. The present study provided initial evidences that berberine reduced blood pressure and improved vasodilation in diabetic rats by activation of BKCa channel in VSMCs, which suggested that berberine might provide a combinational therapy for controlling hyperglycemia and blood pressure in diabetes. Furthermore, our work indicated that activation of BKCa channel might be the underlying mechanism responsible for the vascular protection of berberine in diabetes.

Free access

Feng Wang, Xianfeng Zhang, Jiqiu Wang, Maopei Chen, Nengguang Fan, Qinyun Ma, Ruixin Liu, Rui Wang, Xiaoying Li, Mingyao Liu and Guang Ning

The circadian clock plays an important role in the liver by regulating the major aspects of energy metabolism. Currently, it is assumed that the circadian clock regulates metabolism mostly by regulating the expression of liver enzymes at the transcriptional level, but the underlying mechanism is not well understood. In this study, we showed that L gr4 homozygous mutant (L gr4 m/m) mice showed alteration in the rhythms of the respiratory exchange ratio. We further detected impaired plasma triglyceride rhythms in L gr4 m/m mice. Although no significant changes in plasma cholesterol rhythms were observed in the L gr 4 m/m mice, their cholesterol levels were obviously lower. This phenotype was further confirmed in the context of ob/ob mice, in which lack of LGR4 dampened circadian rhythms of triglyceride. We next demonstrated that Lgr 4 expression exhibited circadian rhythms in the liver tissue and primary hepatocytes in mice, but we did not detect changes in the expression levels or circadian rhythms of classic clock genes, such as C lock, Bmal1 (Arntl), P ers, Rev-erbs, and C rys, in L gr 4 m/m mice compared with their littermates. Among the genes related to the lipid metabolism, we found that the diurnal expression pattern of the M ttp gene, which plays an important role in the regulation of plasma lipid levels, was impaired in L gr 4 m/m mice and primary L gr 4 m/m hepatocytes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that LGR4 plays an important role in the regulation of plasma lipid rhythms, partially through regulating the expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein. These data provide a possible link between the peripheral circadian clock and lipid metabolism.

Free access

Rui Wang, Jie Hong, Ruixin Liu, Maopei Chen, Min Xu, Wiqiong Gu, Yifei Zhang, Qinyun Ma, Feng Wang, Juan Shi, Jiqiu Wang, Weiqing Wang and Guang Ning

WNT/β-catenin signalling is involved in regulating adipogenesis, and its dysregulation occurs in obesity. Secreted frizzled-related protein 5 (SFRP5) is a WNT protein inhibitor; however, its role in adipogenesis and obesity is controversial. In this study, we observed that SFRP5 mRNA levels were increased in the fat tissues of obese humans and mice. Sfrp5 expression was gradually induced during differentiation of white and brown adipocytes and was highly increased in mature adipocytes rather than preadipocytes. However, the effects of the exogenous overexpression of Sfrp5 indicated that Sfrp5 may not directly regulate adipogenesis in vitro under the conditions studied. Moreover, SFRP5 did not inhibit the canonical WNT/β-catenin signalling pathway in preadipocytes. Subsequently, we measured the levels of circulating SFRP5 in obese patients and non-obese subjects using ELISA and did not find any significant difference. Collectively, these findings indicate that Sfrp5 represents a candidate for a mature adipocyte marker gene. Our data provide new evidence concerning the role of SFRP5 in adipogenesis of white and brown adipocytes and obesity.

Restricted access

Huixia Li, Zhuanmin Zhang, Dongxu Feng, Lin Xu, Fang Li, Jiali Liu, Xinxin Jin, Zhuang Qian, Xiaomin Kang and Hongzhi Sun

Progranulin (PGRN), a multifunctional protein implicated in embryonic development and immune response, was recently introduced as a novel marker of chronic inflammation related with insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the potential mechanisms of PGRN on insulin signaling pathways are poorly understood. In this study, PGRN mediated the chemotaxis of RAW264.7, impaired insulin action and stimulated production of inflammatory factors in adipocytes, which was accompanied by increased c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1. PGRN knockdown partially led to an increase in insulin action as well as a decrease in the JNK activation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation in cells exposed to tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Meanwhile, PGRN treatment resulted in an elevation of transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation and acetylation, and increased Il-1b, Il6, Tnf-a expression, whereas NF-κB inhibition reversed PGRN-induced insulin action impairment and inflammatory gene expression. Finally, we showed that sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression was downregulated by PGRN treatment, whereas SIRT1 overexpression improved PGRN-induced insulin resistance, NF-κB activation, and inflammatory gene expression. Our results suggest that PGRN regulates adipose tissue inflammation possibly by controlling the gain of proinflammatory transcription in a SIRT1-NF-κB dependent manner in response to inducers such as fatty acids and endoplasmic reticulum stress.

Open access

Kamran Ullah, Tanzil Ur Rahman, Hai-Tao Pan, Meng-Xi Guo, Xin-Yan Dong, Juan Liu, Lu-Yang Jin, Yi Cheng, Zhang-Hong Ke, Jun Ren, Xian-Hua Lin, Xiao-Xiao Qiu, Ting-Ting Wang, He-Feng Huang and Jian-Zhong Sheng

Previous studies have shown that increasing estradiol concentrations had a toxic effect on the embryo and were deleterious to embryo adhesion. In this study, we evaluated the physiological impact of estradiol concentrations on endometrial cells to reveal that serum estradiol levels probably targeted the endometrium in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) protocols. An attachment model of human choriocarcinoma (JAr) cell spheroids to receptive-phase endometrial epithelial cells and Ishikawa cells treated with different estradiol (10−9 M or 10−7 M) concentrations was developed. Differentially expressed protein profiling of the Ishikawa cells was performed by proteomic analysis. Estradiol at 10−7 M demonstrated a high attachment rate of JAr spheroids to the endometrial cell monolayers. Using iTRAQ coupled with LC–MS/MS, we identified 45 differentially expressed proteins containing 43 significantly upregulated and 2 downregulated proteins in Ishikawa cells treated with 10−7 M estradiol. Differential expression of C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 by Western blot confirmed the proteomic results. C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 localization in human receptive endometrial luminal epithelium highlighted the key proteins as possible targets for endometrial receptivity and interception. Ingenuity pathway analysis of differentially expressed proteins exhibited a variety of signaling pathways, including LXR/RXR activation pathway and acute-phase response signaling and upstream regulators (TNF, IL6, Hmgn3 and miR-140-3p) associated with endometrial receptivity. The observed estrogenic effect on differential proteome dynamics in Ishikawa cells indicates that the human endometrium is the probable target for serum estradiol levels in COH cycles. The findings are also important for future functional studies with the identified proteins that may influence embryo implantation.