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Free access

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.

Free access

Lena Espelage, Hadi Al-Hasani and Alexandra Chadt

The two closely related RabGAPs TBC1D1 and TBC1D4 are key signaling factors of skeletal muscle substrate utilization. In mice, deficiency in both RabGAPs leads to reduced skeletal muscle glucose transport in response to insulin and lower GLUT4 abundance. Conversely, Tbc1d1 and Tbc1d4 deficiency results in enhanced lipid use as fuel in skeletal muscle, through yet unknown mechanisms. In humans, variants in TBC1D1 and TBC1D4 are linked to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. While the specific function in metabolism of each of the two RabGAPs remains to be determined, TBC1D1 emerges to be controlling exercise endurance and physical capacity, whereas TBC1D4 may rather be responsible for maintaining muscle insulin sensitivity, muscle contraction, and exercise. There is growing evidence that TBC1D1 also plays an important role in skeletal muscle development, since it has been found to be associated to meat production traits in several livestock species. In addition, TBC1D1 protein abundance in skeletal muscle is regulated by both, insulin receptor and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) receptor signaling. This review focuses on the specific roles of the two key signaling factors TBC1D1 and TBC1D4 in skeletal muscle metabolism, development and exercise physiology.

Free access

Z López-Ibarra, J Modrego, M Valero-Muñoz, P Rodríguez-Sierra, J J Zamorano-León, A González-Cantalapiedra, N de las Heras, S Ballesteros, V Lahera and A J López-Farré

It has been suggested that activated brown adipose tissue (BAT) shows increased glucose metabolic activity. However, less is known about metabolic activity of BAT under conditions of fasting and normal temperature. The aim of this study was to compare the possible differences in energetic metabolism between BAT and white adipose tissue (WAT) obtained from rabbits under the conditions of physiological temperature and 24 h after fasting conditions. The study was carried out on New Zealand rabbits (n=10) maintained for a period of 8 weeks at 23±2 °C. Food was removed 24 h before BAT and WAT were obtained. Protein expression levels of the glycolytic-related protein, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and pyruvate dehydrogenase were higher in WAT than that in BAT. The expression level of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) and CPT2, two fatty acid mitochondrial transporters, and the fatty acid β-oxidation-related enzyme, acyl CoA dehydrogenase, was higher in BAT than in WAT. Cytosolic malate dehydrogenase expression and malate dehydrogenase activity were higher in WAT than in BAT. However, lactate dehydrogenase expression and lactate content were significantly higher in BAT than in WAT. In summary, this study for the first time, to our knowledge, has described how under fasting and normal temperature conditions rabbit BAT seems to use anaerobic metabolism to provide energetic fuel, as opposed to WAT, where the malate–aspartate shuttle and, therefore, the gluconeogenic pathway seem to be potentiated.

Free access

B Elo, C M Villano, D Govorko and L A White

The zebrafish model system is one of the most widely used animal models for developmental research and it is now becoming an attractive model for drug discovery and toxicological screening. The completion of sequencing the zebrafish genome and the availability of full-length cDNAs and DNA microarrays for expression analysis, in addition to techniques for generating transgenic lines and targeted mutations, have made the zebrafish model even more attractive to researchers. Recent data indicate that the regulation of glucose metabolism in zebrafish, through the production of insulin, is similar to mammalian models, and many of the genes involved in regulating blood glucose levels have been identified in zebrafish. The data presented here show that adult zebrafish respond to anti-diabetic drugs similarly to mammalian models, by reducing blood glucose levels. Furthermore, we show that the expression of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), which catalyzes a rate-limiting step in gluconeogenesis and is transcriptionally regulated by glucagon and insulin, is regulated in larval zebrafish similarly to that seen in mammalian systems, and changes in PEPCK expression can be obtained through real-time PCR analysis of whole larval RNA. Taken together, these data suggest that larval zebrafish may be an appropriate model for the examination of glucose metabolism, using PEPCK as an indicator of blood glucose levels.

Free access

Knut R Steffensen, Soek Ying Neo, Thomas M Stulnig, Vinsensius B Vega, Safia S Rahman, Gertrud U Schuster, Jan-Åke Gustafsson and Edison T Liu

The liver X receptors α and β (LXRα and LXRβ ) are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily of proteins which are highly expressed in metabolically active tissues. They regulate gene expression of critical genes involved in cholesterol catabolism and transport, lipid and triglyceride biosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in response to distinct oxysterols and intermediates in the cholesterol metabolic pathway. The biological roles of the LXRs in tissues other than liver, intestine and adipose tissue are poorly elucidated. In this study we used global gene-expression profiling analysis to detect differences in expression patterns in several tissues from mice fed an LXR agonist or vehicle. Our results show that LXR plays an important role in the kidney, lung, adrenals, brain, testis and heart where several putative LXR target genes were found. The effects of the LXRs were further analysed in adrenals where treatment with an LXR agonist induced expression of adrenocorticotrophic hormone receptor, suppressed expression of uncoupling protein (UCP)-1 and UCP-3 as well as several glycolytic enzymes and led to increased serum corticosterone levels. These results indicate novel biological roles of the LXR including regulation of energy metabolism, glycolysis and steroidogenesis in the adrenals via alteration of expression profiles of putative target genes.

Free access

Jin-Seung Choung, Young-Sun Lee and Hee-Sook Jun

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) has many anti-diabetic actions and also increases energy expenditure in vivo. As skeletal muscle is a major organ controlling energy metabolism, we investigated whether GLP1 can affect energy metabolism in muscle. We found that treatment of differentiated C2C12 cells with exendin-4 (Ex-4), a GLP1 receptor agonist, reduced oleate:palmitate-induced lipid accumulation and triglyceride content compared with cells without Ex-4 treatment. When we examined the oxygen consumption rate (OCR), not only the basal OCR but also the OCR induced by oleate:palmitate addition was significantly increased in Ex-4-treated differentiated C2C12 cells, and this was inhibited by exendin-9, a GLP1 receptor antagonist. The expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), β3-adrenergic receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor a (PPARa) and farnesoid X receptor mRNA was significantly upregulated in Ex-4-treated differentiated C2C12 cells, and the upregulation of these mRNA was abolished by treatment with adenylate cyclase inhibitor (2′5′-dideoxyadenosine) or PKA inhibitor (H-89). As well, intramuscular injection of Ex-4 into diet-induced obese mice significantly increased the expression of UCP1, PPARa and p-AMPK in muscle. We suggest that exposure to GLP1 increases energy expenditure in muscle through the upregulation of fat oxidation and thermogenic gene expression, which may contribute to reducing obesity and insulin resistance.

Free access

Loes P M Duivenvoorde, Evert M van Schothorst, Annelies Bunschoten and Jaap Keijer

High energy intake and, specifically, high dietary fat intake challenge the mammalian metabolism and correlate with many metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. However, dietary restriction (DR) is known to prevent the development of metabolic disorders. The current western diets are highly enriched in fat, and it is as yet unclear whether DR on a certain high-fat (HF) diet elicits similar beneficial effects on health. In this research, we report that HF-DR improves metabolic health of mice compared with mice receiving the same diet on an ad libitum basis (HF-AL). Already after five weeks of restriction, the serum levels of cholesterol and leptin were significantly decreased in HF-DR mice, whereas their glucose sensitivity and serum adiponectin levels were increased. The body weight and measured serum parameters remained stable in the following 7 weeks of restriction, implying metabolic adaptation. To understand the molecular events associated with this adaptation, we analyzed gene expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) with whole genome microarrays. HF-DR strongly influenced gene expression in WAT; in total, 8643 genes were differentially expressed between both groups of mice, with a major role for genes involved in lipid metabolism and mitochondrial functioning. This was confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR and substantiated by increase in mitochondrial density in WAT of HF-DR mice. These results provide new insights in the metabolic flexibility of dietary restricted animals and suggest the development of substrate efficiency.

Free access

Silvia Giatti, Mariaserena Boraso, Roberto Cosimo Melcangi and Barbara Viviani

Neuroinflammation represents a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases implicated both in their onset and progression. Neuroactive steroids act as physiological regulators and protective agents in the nervous system. Therefore, the attention of biomedical research has been recently addressed in evaluating whether neuroactive steroids, such as progestagens, androgens, and estrogens may also affect neuroinflammatory pathways. Observations so far obtained suggest a general anti-inflammatory effect with a beneficial relapse on several neurodegenerative experimental models, thus confirming the potentiality of a neuroprotective strategy based on neuroactive steroids. In this scenario, neuroactive steroid metabolism and the sophisticated machinery involved in their signaling are becoming especially attractive. In particular, because metabolism of neuroactive steroids as well as expression of their receptors is affected during the course of neurodegenerative events, a crucial role of progesterone and testosterone metabolites in modulating neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration may be proposed. In the present review, we will address this issue, providing evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficacy of neuroactive steroids could be improved through the use of their metabolites.

Free access

Laura Marroquí, Alejandro Gonzalez, Patricia Ñeco, Ernesto Caballero-Garrido, Elaine Vieira, Cristina Ripoll, Angel Nadal and Ivan Quesada

Leptin plays an important role in the control of food intake, energy expenditure, metabolism, and body weight. This hormone also has a key function in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. Although leptin acts through central and peripheral mechanisms to modulate glucose metabolism, the pancreatic β-cell of the endocrine pancreas is a critical target of leptin actions. Leptin receptors are present in the β-cell, and their activation directly inhibits insulin secretion from these endocrine cells. The effects of leptin on insulin occur also in the long term, since this hormone inhibits insulin gene expression as well. Additionally, β-cell mass can be affected by leptin through changes in proliferation, apoptosis, or cell size. All these different functions in the β-cell are triggered by leptin as a result of the large diversity of signaling pathways that this hormone is able to activate in the endocrine pancreas. Therefore, leptin can participate in glucose homeostasis owing to different levels of modulation of the pancreatic β-cell population. Furthermore, it has been proposed that alterations in this level of regulation could contribute to the impairment of β-cell function in obesity states. In the present review, we will discuss all these issues with special emphasis on the effects and pathways of leptin signaling in the pancreatic β-cell.

Restricted access

Xin-wei Chen, Ye-hong Li, Meng-jun Zhang, Zhou Chen, Dian-shan Ke, Ying Xue and Jian-ming Hou

Lactoferrin (LF) is an iron-binding glycoprotein that plays an important role in promoting bone formation and inhibiting bone resorption; however, its effects on senile osteoporosis remain unknown. This study aimed to investigate the effects and mechanism of LF intervention using a senile osteoporosis model (SAMP6 mice) and senescent osteoblasts. Micro-CT and hematoxylin and eosin staining demonstrated that the intragastric administration (2 g/kg/day) of LF could improve the bone mass and microstructure of SAMP6 mice. Furthermore, LF treatment improved bone metabolism and increased insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1) mRNA expression and activated phosphorylation status of AKT. Using osteoblasts passaged for ten generations as an in vitro senescence model, various markers associated with osteoblast formation and differentiation, as well as related indices of oxidative stress were analyzed. Our results revealed that after multiple generations, osteoblasts entered senescence, in conjunction with increased oxidative stress damage, reduced bone metabolism and enhanced expression of aging-related markers. While inhibiting oxidative stress, LF improved osteoblast proliferation by promoting the expression of osteogenesis markers, including alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, Igf1, bone gla protein (Bglap) and osteoprotegerin/receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand (Opg/Rankl) mRNA and delayed senescence by decreasing the level of p16 and p21 expression. RNAI-mediated downregulation of IGF1 attenuated the effect of LF on osteogenesis. Therefore, the findings of the present study indicate that LF may promote osteogenesis via IGF1 signaling, thereby preventing senile osteoporosis.