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Free access

Fei Xiao, Ying Du, Ziquan Lv, Shanghai Chen, Jianmin Zhu, Hongguang Sheng and Feifan Guo

Eight amino acids are considered essential for human nutrition, and three of them, including leucine, isoleucine and valine, are called as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). We recently discovered that dietary deficiency of any BCAA for 7 days rapidly reduces the abdominal fat mass in mice. The goal of this study was to investigate (1) whether dietary deficiency of the other five essential amino acids (EAAs), including phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine and lysine, would produce similar effects and (2) whether an association between serum AAs and obesity was observed in humans in Chinese Han population. Similar to BCAAs deprivation, dietary deficiency of any of these five EAAs for 7 days significantly reduced abdominal fat mass, which is likely caused by increased energy expenditure. Expression of genes and proteins related to lipolysis, however, were differentially regulated by different EAAs. These results suggest a crucial role of EAAs deprivation on lipid metabolism in mice. Our human studies revealed that levels of four EAAs (leucine, isoleucine, valine and phenylalanine) were elevated in obese humans compared with those in lean controls in Chinese Han population. Based on the results obtained from mice, we speculate that these four EAAs might play important roles in human obesity.

Free access

Raghunath Chatterjee, Paramita Bhattacharya, Oksana Gavrilova, Kimberly Glass, Jaideep Moitra, Max Myakishev, Stephanie Pack, William Jou, Lionel Feigenbaum, Michael Eckhaus and Charles Vinson

Adipose-specific inactivation of both AP-1 and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) families of B-ZIP transcription factors in transgenic mice causes severe lipoatrophy. To evaluate whether inactivation of only C/EBP members was critical for lipoatrophy, A-C/EBP, a dominant-negative protein that specifically inhibits the DNA binding of the C/EBP members, was expressed in adipose tissue. For the first 2 weeks after birth, aP2-A-C/EBP mice had no white adipose tissue (WAT), drastically reduced brown adipose tissue (BAT), and exhibited marked hepatic steatosis, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia. However, WAT appeared during the third week, coinciding with significantly improved metabolic functioning. In adults, BAT remained reduced, causing cold intolerance. At 30 weeks, the aP2-A-C/EBP mice had only 35% reduced WAT, with clear morphological signs of lipodystrophy in subcutaneous fat. Circulating leptin and adiponectin levels were less than the wild-type levels, and these mice exhibited impaired triglyceride clearance. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and reduced free fatty acid release in response to β3-adrenergic agonist suggest improper functioning of the residual WAT. Gene expression analysis of inguinal WAT identified reduced mRNA levels of several enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis and glucose metabolism that are known C/EBPα transcriptional targets. There were increased levels for genes involved in inflammation and muscle differentiation. However, when dermal fibroblasts from aP2-A-C/EBP mice were differentiated into adipocytes in tissue culture, muscle markers were elevated more than the inflammatory markers. These results demonstrate that the C/EBP family is essential for adipose tissue development during the early postnatal period, the regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis in adults, and the suppression of the muscle lineage.

Free access

Matthias Laudes

The development of obesity is characterised not only by increased storage of lipids in existing fat cells but also by the generation of new adipocytes from progenitor cells. This process, called adipogenesis, can be divided into two related steps. First, during determination, multipotent mesenchymal stem cells commit to preadipocytes. These cells exhibit similar morphology compared with stem cells; however, they are committed to the adipogenic lineage and are not longer able to transform into osteoblasts, myocytes or chondrocytes. Secondly, during differentiation, preadipocytes become mature fat cells. As in other developmental processes, adipogenesis is tightly regulated at a molecular level by several transcription factors. Within the last decade, it has also become clear how the activity of these transcription factors is coordinated by extracellular signals. In this respect, secreted WNT signalling molecules are particularly important. Several members of the WNT family have been shown to inhibit early steps of adipogenesis. Conversely, endogenous inhibitors of WNT signalling were found to promote generation of adipocytes, indicating a fundamental role of these bioactive peptides in adipogenesis. From a pathophysiological point of view, it is of interest that polymorphisms in genes of the WNT signalling system have been associated with the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans. Moreover, recent findings indicate that certain WNT molecules are involved in the so-called low-grade inflammation of adipose tissue, which is crucial in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance. These important findings in nutritional and metabolic medicine will be summarised in the present review.

Open access

Farhana Naznin, Koji Toshinai, T M Zaved Waise, Tadashi Okada, Hideyuki Sakoda and Masamitsu Nakazato

High-fat diet (HFD)-induced metabolic inflammation in the central and peripheral organs contributes to the pathogenesis of obesity. Long-term HFD blunts signaling by ghrelin, a gastric-derived orexigenic peptide, in the vagal afferent nerve via a mechanism involving in situ activation of inflammation. This study was undertaken to investigate whether ghrelin resistance is associated with progressive development of metabolic inflammation. In mice, ghrelin’s orexigenic activity was abolished 2–4 weeks after the commencement of HFD (60% of energy from fat), consistent with the timing of accumulation and activation of macrophages and microglia in the nodose ganglion and hypothalamus. Calorie-restricted weight loss after 12-week HFD feeding restored ghrelin responsiveness and alleviated the upregulation of macrophage/microglia activation markers and inflammatory cytokines. HSP72, a chaperone protein, was upregulated in the hypothalamus of HFD-fed mice, potentially contributing to prevention of irreversible neuron damage. These results demonstrate that ghrelin resistance is reversible following reversal of the HFD-induced inflammation and obesity phenotypes.

Free access

Gilberto Paz-Filho, Claudio Alberto Mastronardi, Brian J Parker, Ainy Khan, Antonio Inserra, Klaus I Matthaei, Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein, Stefan Bornstein, Ma-Li Wong and Julio Licinio

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are components of the metabolic syndrome. Serum leptin levels are elevated in obesity, but the role of leptin in the pathophysiology of the liver involvement is still unclear. To identify the effects and mechanisms by which leptin influences the pathogenesis of NAFLD, we performed epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) transplantation from congenic wild-type mice into the subcutaneous dorsal area of Lep ob/ob recipient mice and compared the results with those of the Lep ob/ob sham-operated mice. The mice were followed for 102–216 days. During killing, the transplanted mice had significantly lost body weight and exhibited significantly higher leptin levels, improved glucose tolerance, and lower liver injury scores than the sham-operated mice. Liver microarray analysis showed that novel pathways related to GA-binding protein (GABP) transcription factor targets, pheromone binding, and olfactory signaling were differentially expressed in the transplanted mice. Our data also replicate pathways known to be involved in NAFLD, such as those involved in the regulation of microRNAs, lipid, glucose, and glutathione metabolism, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor signaling, cellular regulation, carboxylic acid processes, iron, heme, and tetrapyrrole binding, immunity and inflammation, insulin signaling, cytochrome P450 function, and cancer. Conclusion: wild-type eWAT transplantation into Lep ob/ob mice led to improvements in metabolism, body weight, and liver injury, possibly attributed to the production of leptin by the transplanted eWAT. These improvements were accompanied by the differential expression of novel pathways. The causal relationship between GABP downregulation and NAFLD improvement remains to be determined.

Free access

Ping Jiang, Jinwen Xu, Shuhui Zheng, Jinghe Huang, Qiuling Xiang, Xiaodong Fu and Tinghuai Wang

Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease where lipopolysaccharide (LPS) triggers the release of inflammatory cytokines that accelerate its initiation and progression. Estrogen has been proven to be vasoprotective against atherosclerosis; however, the anti-inflammatory function of estrogen in the vascular system remains obscure. In this study, we investigated the effect of estrogen on LPS-induced monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1; listed as CCL2 in the MGI database) production in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). LPS significantly enhances MCP-1 production and this is dependent on nuclear factor κ B (NFκB) signaling, since the use of NFκB inhibitor pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate or the silencing of NFκB subunit p65 expression with specific siRNA largely impairs LPS-enhanced MCP-1 production. On the contrary, 17β-estradiol (E2) inhibits LPS-induced MCP-1 production in a time- and dose-dependent manner, which is related to the suppression of p65 translocation to nucleus. Furthermore, p38 MAPK is rapidly activated in response to LPS, while E2 markedly inhibits p38 MAPK activation. Transfection with p38 MAPK siRNA or the use of p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 markedly attenuates LPS-stimulated p65 translocation to nucleus and MCP-1 production, suggesting that E2 suppresses NFκB signaling by the inactivation of p38 MAPK signaling. LPS promotes VSMCs migration and this is abrogated by MCP-1 antibody, implying that MCP-1 may play a major role as an autocrine factor in atherosclerosis. In addition, E2 inhibits LPS-promoted cell migration by downregulation of MCP-1 production. Overall, our results demonstrate that E2 exerts anti-inflammatory property antagonistic to LPS in VSMCs by reducing MCP-1 production, and this effect is related to the inhibition of p38 MAPK/NFκB cascade.

Free access

Shaoqian Zhao, Wen Liu, Jiqiu Wang, Juan Shi, Yingkai Sun, Weiqing Wang, Guang Ning, Ruixin Liu and Jie Hong

Abnormal shifts in the composition of gut microbiota contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). The crosstalk between gut microbes and the host affects the inflammatory status and glucose tolerance of the individuals, but the underlying mechanisms have not been elucidated completely. In this study, we treated the lean chow diet-fed mice with Akkermansia muciniphila, which is thought to be inversely correlated with inflammation status and body weight in rodents and humans, and we found that A. muciniphila supplementation by daily gavage for five weeks significantly alleviated body weight gain and reduced fat mass. Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were also improved by A. muciniphila supplementation compared with the vehicle. Furthermore, A. muciniphila supplementation reduced gene expression related to fatty acid synthesis and transport in liver and muscle; meanwhile, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in liver and muscle was also alleviated by A. muciniphila. More importantly, A. muciniphila supplementation reduced chronic low-grade inflammation, as reflected by decreased plasma levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-binding protein (LBP) and leptin, as well as inactivated LPS/LBP downstream signaling (e.g. decreased phospho-JNK and increased IKBA expression) in liver and muscle. Moreover, metabolomics profiling in plasma also revealed an increase in anti-inflammatory factors such as α-tocopherol, β-sitosterol and a decrease of representative amino acids. In summary, our study demonstrated that A. muciniphila supplementation relieved metabolic inflammation, providing underlying mechanisms for the interaction of A. muciniphila and host health, pointing to possibilities for metabolic benefits using specific probiotics supplementation in metabolic healthy individuals.

Free access

Heather C Denroche and C Bruce Verchere

Islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), the main component of islet amyloid in type 2 diabetes and islet transplants, is now recognized as a contributor to beta cell dysfunction. Increasingly, evidence warrants its investigation in type 1 diabetes owing to both its immunomodulatory and metabolic actions. Autoreactive T cells to IAPP-derived epitopes have been described in humans, suggesting that IAPP is an islet autoantigen in type 1 diabetes. In addition, although aggregates of IAPP have not been implicated in type 1 diabetes, they are potent pro-inflammatory stimuli to innate immune cells, and thus, could influence autoimmunity. IAPP aggregates also occur rapidly in transplanted islets and likely contribute to islet transplant failure in type 1 diabetes through sterile inflammation. In addition, since type 1 diabetes is a disease of both insulin and IAPP deficiency, clinical trials have examined the potential benefits of IAPP replacement in type 1 diabetes with the injectable IAPP analogue, pramlintide. Pramlintide limits postprandial hyperglycemia by delaying gastric emptying and suppressing hyperglucagonemia, underlining the possible role of IAPP in postprandial glucose metabolism. Here, we review IAPP in the context of type 1 diabetes: from its potential involvement in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis, through its role in glucose metabolism and use of IAPP analogues as therapeutics, to its potential role in clinical islet transplant failure and considerations in this regard for future beta cell replacement strategies.

Free access

K Alexander Iwen, Rebecca Oelkrug and Georg Brabant

Thyroid hormones (TH) are of central importance for thermogenesis, energy homeostasis and metabolism. Here, we will discuss these aspects by focussing on the physiological aspects of TH-dependent regulation in response to cold exposure and fasting, which will be compared to alterations in primary hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In particular, we will summarise current knowledge on regional thyroid hormone status in the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral cells. In contrast to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, where parallel changes are observed, local alterations in the CNS differ to peripheral compartments when induced by cold exposure or fasting. Cold exposure is associated with low hypothalamic TH concentrations but increased TH levels in the periphery. Fasting results in a reversed TH pattern. Primary hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism disrupt these fine-tuned adaptive mechanisms and both, the hypothalamus and the periphery, will have the same TH status. These important mechanisms need to be considered when discussing thyroid hormone replacement and other therapeutical interventions to modulate TH status.

Free access

N Martínez-Micaelo, N González-Abuín, A Ardévol, M Pinent, E Petretto, J Behmoaras and M Blay

Although the effect of genetic background on obesity-related phenotypes is well established, the main objective of this study is to determine the phenotypic responses to cafeteria diet (CAF) of two genetically distinct inbred rat strains and give insight into the molecular mechanisms that might be underlying. Lewis (LEW) and Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) rats were fed with either a standard or a CAF diet. The effects of the diet and the strain in the body weight gain, food intake, respiratory quotient, biochemical parameters in plasma as well as in the expression of genes that regulate leptin signalling were determined. Whereas CAF diet promoted weight gain in LEW and WKY rats, as consequence of increased energy intake, metabolic management of this energy surplus was significantly affected by genetic background. LEW and WKY showed a different metabolic profile, LEW rats showed hyperglycaemia, hypertriglyceridemia and high FFA levels, ketogenesis, high adiposity index and inflammation, but WKY did not. Leptin signalling, and specifically the LepRb-mediated regulation of STAT3 activation and Socs3 gene expression in the hypothalamus were inversely modulated by the CAF diet in LEW (upregulated) and WKY rats (downregulated). In the present study, we show evidence of gene-environment interactions in obesity exerted by differential phenotypic responses to CAF diet between LEW and WKY rats. Specifically, we found the leptin-signalling pathway as a divergent point between the strain-specific adaptations to diet.