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Free access

Tingting Zhang, Jinhan He, Chong Xu, Luxia Zu, Hongfeng Jiang, Shenshen Pu, Xiaohui Guo, and Guoheng Xu

The mobilization of free fatty acids (FFA) from adipose tissue to the bloodstream primarily depends on triacylglycerol lipolysis in adipocytes. Catecholamines are major hormones that govern lipolysis through elevating cellular cAMP production and activating protein kinase, cAMP dependent, catalytic, alpha (PKA) and mitogen-activated protein kinase 1/2 (MAPK1/3). Obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with elevated levels of systemic FFA, which restricts glucose utilization and induces insulin resistance. The biguanide metformin exerts its antihyperglycemic effect by enhancing insulin sensitivity, which is associated with decreased levels of circulating FFA. In this study, we examined the characteristics and basis of the inhibitory effect of metformin on adrenergic-stimulated lipolysis in primary rat adipocytes. We measured the release of FFA and glycerol as an index of lipolysis and examined the major signalings of the lipolytic cascade in primary rat adipocytes. Metformin at 250–500 μM efficiently attenuated FFA and glycerol release from the adipocytes stimulated with 1 μM isoproterenol. To elucidate the basis for this antilipolytic action, we showed that metformin decreased cellular cAMP production, reduced the activities of PKA and MAPK1/3, and attenuated the phosphorylation of perilipin during isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis. Further, metformin suppressed isoproterenol-promoted lipase activity but did not affect the translocation of lipase, hormone-sensitive from the cytosol to lipid droplets in adipocytes. This study provides evidence that metformin acts on adipocytes to suppress the lipolysis response to catecholamine. This antilipolytic effect could be a cellular basis for metformin decreasing plasma FFA levels and improving insulin sensitivity.

Restricted access

F. M. Ng, N. A. Adamafio, and J. E. Graystone


The effects of two preparations of highly purified human GH (hGH) on lipid metabolism were studied in the GH-deficient little mouse (50–60 days old). Marked decreases in incorporation of [14C]glucose into fatty acid and in the activity of acetyl-CoA carboxylase in the epididymal fat pads were observed after i.p. injection of hGH at a dose of 1·0μg/g body weight or after continuous infusion of hGH by osmotic minipump. The rate of glucose incorporation into fatty acid decreased from 107·0 ± 27·6 (s.e.m.) to 38·1 ± 19·6 μmol/g tissue per h after a single injection of hGH and from 174·1±28·5 to 56·3±20·3 μmol/g tissue per h after continuous infusion of hGH for 2 days. Activity of the lipogenic enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase was also reduced by more than 50% in the epididymal fat pad from hGH-treated mice in comparison with the corresponding control animals. Incubation of isolated fat pads with hGH (0·1 μg/ml) revealed similar inhibitory effects of the hormone on fatty acid synthesis and acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity. No lipolytic effect of hGH was found as determined by the rate of glycerol release from epididymal fat pads of little mice following hormone treatment in vivo or in vitro. The results lend strong support to the conclusion that GH inhibits lipogenesis but has no effect on lipolysis in adipose tissues, and indicate that the physiological role of GH in lipid metabolism is concerned mainly with the regulation of anabolic rather than catabolic processes.

Free access

Choa Park, Joonwoo Park, Myeong Kuk Shim, Mee-Ra Rhyu, Byung-Koo Yoon, Kyung Sook Kim, and YoungJoo Lee

Atherosclerosis is the most common root cause of arterial disease, such as coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. Hypoxia is associated with the formation of macrophages and increased inflammation and is known to be present in lesions of atherosclerotic. Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are one of the major components of blood vessels, and hypoxic conditions affect VSMC inflammation, proliferation and migration, which contribute to vascular stenosis and play a major role in the atherosclerotic process. Estrogen receptor (ER)-β is thought to play an important role in preventing the inflammatory response in VSMCs. In this report, we studied the anti-inflammatory effect of indazole (In)-Cl, an ERβ-specific agonist, under conditions of hypoxia. Expression of cyclooxygenase-2 reduced by hypoxia was inhibited by In-Cl treatment in VSMCs, and this effect was antagonized by an anti-estrogen compound. Additionally, the production of reactive oxygen species induced under conditions of hypoxia was reduced by treatment with In-Cl. Increased cell migration and invasion by hypoxia were also dramatically decreased following treatment with In-Cl. The increase in cell proliferation following treatment with platelet-derived growth factor was attenuated by In-Cl in VSMCs. RNA sequencing analysis was performed to identify changes in inflammation-related genes following In-Cl treatment in the hypoxic state. Our results suggest that ERβ is a potential therapeutic target for the suppression of hypoxia-induced inflammation in VSMCs.

Free access

Verónica Sancho, María V Trigo, Nieves González, Isabel Valverde, Willy J Malaisse, and María L Villanueva-Peñacarrillo

Several kinases have been implicated in the metabolic response of human and rat myocytes to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), exendin-4 (Ex-4) and exendin-9 (Ex-9). We have investigated, in isolated rat adipocytes, the changes caused by GLP-1, Ex-4 and Ex-9 compared with those provoked by insulin or glucagon, upon the activity of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (PKB), p42/44 MAP kinases (MAPKs) and p70s6 kinase (p70s6k), and the participation of these kinases and protein kinase C (PKC) in their action upon 2-deoxy-d-glucose uptake, lipolysis and lipogenesis. The study was conducted in normal rats, and extended to a streptozotocin-induced type-2 diabetic model (STZ-rats). The participation of distinct kinases was estimated by using potential kinase inhibitors, including wortmannin, PD98059, rapamycin, H-7 and RO31–8220. In normal rat adipocytes, GLP-1 and both exendins share with insulin an increasing action upon the activity of all kinases studied (except PKB), PI3K, p44 and p42 MAPKs and possibly PKC, all being required for their stimulating effect upon glucose uptake. Ex-4 and Ex-9, like GLP-1 and insulin, have lipogenic action, while only Ex-4 shares with GLP-1 its lipolytic effect which is antagonized by Ex-9. MAP kinases and PKC seem to have an essential role in the GLP-1 and Ex-4 lipolytic action, as does PI3K in that of Ex-4. An increase in PI3K and MAPKs activity for the lipogenic effect of Ex-4, Ex-9 and GLP-1 are required, and in the case of Ex-4 and Ex-9, a stimulation of p70s6k activity is also needed. In cells from STZ-rats the magnitude of the above parameters was, in general, comparable to that in normal animals, with some exceptions: basal PI3K activity and lipogenesis were higher, GLP-1, Ex-4 and Ex-9 failed to modify basal lipogenesis but increased PKB activity, insulin failed to affect the activity of MAPKs and the insulin-induced glucose uptake was impaired. The impaired insulin effects upon some of the variables in the STZ-rat, distinct from those of GLP-1 and exendins, adds knowledge to the mechanism of the beneficial action of GLP-1 and Ex-4 in diabetic states.

Free access

Thalijn Liliana Catharina Wolters, Mihai Gheorghe Netea, Adrianus Rudolfus Marinus Maria Hermus, Johannes Willem Adriaan Smit, and Romana Teodora Netea-Maier

Acromegaly is characterized by growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) excess and is accompanied by an increased cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk. As innate immune responses are crucial in CVD development, and IGF1 is linked to subclinical inflammation, we hypothesized that GH/IGF1 excess contributes to CVD development by potentiating systemic inflammation. We aimed to assess the effects of GH/IGF1 on inflammatory cytokine production. Whole blood from acromegaly patients and healthy volunteers and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy volunteers were stimulated with Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, with or without adding GH or IGF1 (in PBMC). Cytokine concentrations were measured by ELISA. The underlying signalling pathways were investigated by the inhibition of downstream targets of the IGF1 receptor. The following results were obtained. GH or IGF1 alone did not influence cytokine production in PBMCs. GH did not affect TLR-induced cytokine production, but co-stimulation with IGF1 dose dependently increased the TLR ligand-induced production of IL6 (P < 0.01), TNF alpha (P = 0.02) and IFNg (P < 0.01), as well as the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 (P = 0.01). IGF1 had no effect on IL1B, IL17 and IL22 production. Inhibition of the MAPK pathway, but not mTOR, completely abrogated the synergistic effect of IGF1 on the LPS-induced IL6 and TNF alpha production. In whole blood of acromegaly patients, ex vivo IL6 production was increased (P < 0.01). In conclusion, IGF1, but not GH, has pro-inflammatory effects, probably via the MAPK signalling pathway and might be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in acromegaly. The increased IL10 production possibly counteracts the pro-inflammatory effects.

Restricted access

Rebecca Roy, Caitlyn Nguyen-Ngo, and Martha Lappas

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects up to 16% of pregnant women and is associated with significant long-term health detriments for the mother and her offspring. Two central features of GDM are low-grade inflammation and maternal peripheral insulin resistance, therefore therapeutics which target these may be most effective at preventing the development of GDM. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate and propionate, are metabolites produced from the fermentation of dietary fibre by intestinal microbiota. SCFAs possess anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of SCFAs on inflammation and insulin signalling defects in an in vitro model of GDM. Human placenta, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and s.c. adipose tissue (SAT) were stimulated with either the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF or bacterial product lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The SCFAs butyrate and propionate blocked TNF- and LPS-induced mRNA expression and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in placenta, VAT and SAT. Primary human cells isolated from skeletal muscle were stimulated with TNF to assess the effect of SCFAs on inflammation-induced defects in the insulin signalling pathway. Butyrate and propionate were found to reverse TNF-induced increases in IRS-1 serine phosphorylation and decreases in glucose uptake. Butyrate and propionate exerted these effects by preventing ERK activation. Taken together, these results suggest that the SCFAs may be able to improve insulin sensitivity and prevent inflammation induced by sterile or bacterial inflammation. Future in vivo studies are warranted to investigate the efficacy and safety of SCFAs in preventing insulin resistance and inflammation associated with GDM.

Free access

Yingkai Sun, Rui Wang, Shaoqian Zhao, Wen Li, Wen Liu, Lingyun Tang, Zhugang Wang, Weiqing Wang, Ruixin Liu, Guang Ning, Jiqiu Wang, and Jie Hong

Browning of white adipose tissue has been proven to be a potential target to fight against obesity and its metabolic commodities, making the exploration of molecules involved in browning process important. Among those browning agents reported recently, FGF21 play as a quite promising candidate for treating obesity for its obvious enhancement of thermogenic capacity in adipocyte and significant improvement of metabolic disorders in both mice and human. However, whether other members of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family play roles in adipose thermogenesis and obese development is still an open question. Here, we examined the mRNA expression of all FGF family members in three adipose tissues of male C57BL/6 mice and found that FGF9 is highly expressed in adipose tissue and decreased under cold stress. Furthermore, FGF9 treatment inhibited thermogenic genes in the process of beige adipocytes differentiation from stromal vascular fraction (SVF) in a dose-dependent manner. Similar results were obtained with FGF9 overexpression. Consistently, knockdown of FGF9 in SVF cells by using lentiviral shRNA increased thermogenic genes in differentiated beige adipocytes. RNA sequencing analysis revealed a significant increment of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway in the early stage of beige adipocytes differentiation under FGF9 treatment, which was validated by real-time PCR. FGF9 expression was increased in subcutaneous WAT of obese human and mice. This study shows that adipose-derived FGF9 play as an inhibitory role in the browning of white adipocytes. Activation of hypoxia signaling at early stage of adipose browning process may contribute to this anti-thermogenic effect of FGF9.

Free access

Carmelo Quarta, Roberta Mazza, Renato Pasquali, and Uberto Pagotto

The recent demonstration that metabolically active brown adipose tissue (BAT) is present with a high prevalence in humans undoubtedly represents one of the major advancements in the field of metabolic research in the last few years. The increasing interest in BAT is justified by preclinical observations highlighting an important role of this tissue in energy dissipation and metabolic clearance of substrates from the blood. These findings imply that stimulation of BAT activity may represent a new therapeutic approach for obesity and associated comorbidities. However, before proposing BAT as a target organ for therapeutics in a clinical setting, many further notions about BAT function and modulation need to be explored. Keeping in mind the importance of sex dimorphism in energy metabolism control under physiological and pathological conditions, sex hormones may play a relevant role in the regulation of BAT activity in both males and females. Much of the evidence acquired in the past supports the concept of an important role for different sex hormones in BAT thermogenesis and indicates that this tissue mediates the ability of sex hormones to modulate energy balance. These findings make it plausible that a modified interaction between BAT and sex hormones may contribute to the development and the maintenance of obesity and associated metabolic complications.

Free access

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.

Open access

Gemma Tan, Andrew G Elefanty, and Edouard G Stanley

Diabetes can be managed by careful monitoring of blood glucose and timely delivery of exogenous insulin. However, even with fastidious compliance, people with diabetes can suffer from numerous complications including atherosclerosis, retinopathy, neuropathy, and kidney disease. This is because delivery of exogenous insulin coupled with glucose monitoring cannot provide the fine level of glucose control normally provided by endogenous β-cells in the context of intact islets. Moreover, a subset of people with diabetes lack awareness of hypoglycemic events; a status that can have grave consequences. Therefore, much effort has been focused on replacing lost or dysfunctional β-cells with cells derived from other sources. The advent of stem cell biology and cellular reprogramming strategies have provided impetus to this work and raised hopes that a β-cell replacement therapy is on the horizon. In this review, we look at two components that will be required for successful β-cell replacement therapy: a reliable and safe source of β-cells and a mechanism by which such cells can be delivered and protected from host immune destruction. Particular attention is paid to insulin-producing cells derived from pluripotent stem cells because this platform addresses the issue of scale, one of the more significant hurdles associated with potential cell-based therapies. We also review methods for encapsulating transplanted cells, a technique that allows grafts to evade immune attack and survive for a long term in the absence of ongoing immunosuppression. In surveying the literature, we conclude that there are still several substantial hurdles that need to be cleared before a stem cell-based β-cell replacement therapy for diabetes becomes a reality.