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Free access

Custodia García-Jiménez, Jose Manuel García-Martínez, Ana Chocarro-Calvo and Antonio De la Vieja

Extensive epidemiological studies suggest that the diabetic population is at higher risk of site-specific cancers. The diabetes–cancer link has been hypothesized to rely on various hormonal (insulin, IGF1, adipokines), immunological (inflammation), or metabolic (hyperglycemia) characteristics of the disease and even on certain treatments. Inflammation may have an important but incompletely understood role. As a growth factor, insulin directly, or indirectly through IGF1, has been considered the major link between diabetes and cancer, while high glucose has been considered as a subordinate cause. Here we discuss the evidence that supports a role for insulin/IGF1 in general in cancer, and the mechanism by which hyperglycemia may enhance the appearance, growth and survival of diabetes-associated cancers. High glucose triggers several direct and indirect mechanisms that cooperate to promote cancer cell proliferation, migration, invasion and immunological escape. In particular, high glucose enhancement of WNT/β-catenin signaling in cancer cells promotes proliferation, survival and senescence bypass, and represents a previously unrecognized direct mechanism linking diabetes-associated hyperglycemia to cancer. Increased glucose uptake is a hallmark of tumor cells and may ensure enhanced WNT signaling for continuous proliferation. Mechanistically, high glucose unbalances acetylation through increased p300 acetyl transferase and decreased sirtuin 1 deacetylase activity, leading to β-catenin acetylation at lysine K354, a requirement for nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activation of WNT-target genes. The impact of high glucose on β-catenin illustrates the remodeling of cancer-associated signaling pathways by metabolites. Metabolic remodeling of cancer-associated signaling will receive much research attention in the coming years. Future epidemiological studies may be guided and complemented by the identification of these metabolic interplays. Together, these studies should lead to the development of new preventive strategies for diabetes-associated cancers.

Open access

Irit Hochberg, Innocence Harvey, Quynh T Tran, Erin J Stephenson, Ariel L Barkan, Alan R Saltiel, William F Chandler and Dave Bridges

Glucocorticoids have major effects on adipose tissue metabolism. To study tissue mRNA expression changes induced by chronic elevated endogenous glucocorticoids, we performed RNA sequencing on the subcutaneous adipose tissue from patients with Cushing's disease (n=5) compared to patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (n=11). We found a higher expression of transcripts involved in several metabolic pathways, including lipogenesis, proteolysis and glucose oxidation as well as a decreased expression of transcripts involved in inflammation and protein synthesis. To further study this in a model system, we subjected mice to dexamethasone treatment for 12 weeks and analyzed their inguinal (subcutaneous) fat pads, which led to similar findings. Additionally, mice treated with dexamethasone showed drastic decreases in lean body mass as well as increased fat mass, further supporting the human transcriptomic data. These data provide insight to transcriptional changes that may be responsible for the comorbidities associated with chronic elevations of glucocorticoids.

Free access

Leon A Bach

Endothelial cells line blood vessels and modulate vascular tone, thrombosis, inflammatory responses and new vessel formation. They are implicated in many disease processes including atherosclerosis and cancer. IGFs play a significant role in the physiology of endothelial cells by promoting migration, tube formation and production of the vasodilator nitric oxide. These actions are mediated by the IGF1 and IGF2/mannose 6-phosphate receptors and are modulated by a family of high-affinity IGF binding proteins. IGFs also increase the number and function of endothelial progenitor cells, which may contribute to protection from atherosclerosis. IGFs promote angiogenesis, and dysregulation of the IGF system may contribute to this process in cancer and eye diseases including retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy. In some situations, IGF deficiency appears to contribute to endothelial dysfunction, whereas IGF may be deleterious in others. These differences may be due to tissue-specific endothelial cell phenotypes or IGFs having distinct roles in different phases of vascular disease. Further studies are therefore required to delineate the therapeutic potential of IGF system modulation in pathogenic processes.

Free access

Jerzy-Roch Nofer

Estrogens not only play a pivotal role in sexual development but are also involved in several physiological processes in various tissues including vasculature. While several epidemiological studies documented an inverse relationship between plasma estrogen levels and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and related it to the inhibition of atherosclerosis, an interventional trial showed an increase in cardiovascular events among postmenopausal women on estrogen treatment. The development of atherosclerotic lesions involves complex interplay between various pro- or anti-atherogenic processes that can be effectively studied only in vivo in appropriate animal models. With the advent of genetic engineering, transgenic mouse models of atherosclerosis have supplemented classical dietary cholesterol-induced disease models such as the cholesterol-fed rabbit. In the last two decades, these models were widely applied along with in vitro cell systems to specifically investigate the influence of estrogens on the development of early and advanced atherosclerotic lesions. The present review summarizes the results of these studies and assesses their contribution toward better understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying anti- and/or pro-atherogenic effects of estrogens in humans.

Free access

Haoyong Yu, Mingliang Zhang, Yunqin Ma, Junxi Lu, Jiemin Pan, Pan Pan, Haibing Chen and Weiping Jia

5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), the first compound in the porphyrin synthesis pathway, has been reported to ameliorate the diabetic state in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty rats by reducing fat pad weight in the retroperitoneal region. Dietary supplementation with 5-ALA has additionally demonstrated the capacity to lower blood glucose and HbA1c levels among subjects with diabetes. The etiology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is complex and its typical characteristics include obesity and insulin resistance. As 5-ALA supplementation has previously normalized glucose and insulin resistance, we sought to investigate whether 5-ALA had potential therapeutic effects on NAFLD and elucidate the signal pathway mediating these effects. To explore these questions, we fed C57BL/6J mice a high-fat diet (HFD) to induce a fatty liver disease and supplemented the diet-induced obese (DIO) mice with 5-ALA. The mice in the presence of 5-ALA demonstrated a decrease in body weight and hepatic lipid content and moderate improvement in glucose homeostasis compared to untreated controls. Further, we found that 5-ALA activated AMPK signaling pathway, which was correlated with enhanced lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation. Human hepatocarcinoma cells (HepG2 cells) treated with 5-ALA were additionally used to investigate the mechanics of 5-ALA. Treated cells had a higher expression of lipolysis-related genes, including PGC-1α. Our data indicated that 5-ALA might represent a novel compound that could be useful for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), likely through the restoration of phosphorylation levels of AMPK (Thr172) and acetyl-CoA (ACC) (Ser79), further enhanced PGC1α and CPT1α expression.

Free access

Maria Jacoba Kruger, Maria Martha Conradie, Magda Conradie and Mari van de Vyver

Obesity-associated inflammatory mechanisms play a key role in the pathogenesis of metabolic-related diseases. Failure of anti-inflammatory control mechanisms within adipose tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) have been implicated in disease progression. This study investigated the efficacy of allogeneic adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells conditioned media (ADSC-CM) to counteract persistent inflammation by inducing an anti-inflammatory phenotype and cytokine response within PBMCs derived from patients with and without metabolic syndrome. Forty-six (n = 46) mixed ancestry females (18–45 years) were subdivided into (a) healthy lean (HL) (n = 10) (BMI <25 kg/m2), (b) overweight/obese (OW/OB) (BMI ≥25 kg/m2, <3 metabolic risk factors) (n = 22) and (c) metabolic syndrome (MetS) (visceral adiposity, ≥3 metabolic risk factors) (n = 14) groups. Body composition (DXA scan), metabolic (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, blood glucose) and inflammatory profiles (38-Plex cytokine panel) were determined. PBMCs were isolated from whole blood and treated ex vivo with either (i) autologous participant-derived serum, (ii) ADSCs-CM or (iii) a successive treatment regime. The activation status (CD11b+) and intracellular cytokine (IL6, IL10, TNFa) expression were determined in M1 (CD68+CD206−CD163−) and M2 (CD68+CD163+ CD206+) macrophage populations using flow cytometry. ADSC-CM treatment, promoted a M2 macrophage phenotype and induced IL10 expression, this was most pronounced in the OW/OB group. This response is likely mediated by multiple complementing factors within ADSC-CM, yet to be identified. This study is the first to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of ADSC-CM to restore the inflammatory balance in immune compromised obese individuals.

Free access

Heather E Bergan, Jeffrey D Kittilson and Mark A Sheridan

GH regulates several physiological processes in vertebrates, including the promotion of growth, an anabolic process, and the mobilization of stored lipids, a catabolic process. In this study, we used hepatocytes isolated from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) as a model to examine the mechanism of GH action on lipolysis. GH stimulated lipolysis as measured by increased glycerol release in both a time- and a concentration-related manner. The promotion of lipolysis was accompanied by GH-stimulated phosphorylation of the lipolytic enzyme hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). GH-stimulated lipolysis was also manifested by an increased expression of the two HSL-encoding mRNAs, HSL1 and HSL2. The signaling pathways that underlie GH-stimulated lipolysis were also studied. GH resulted in the activation of phospholipase C (PLC)/protein kinase C (PKC) and the MEK/ERK pathway, whereas JAK–STAT and the PI3K–Akt pathway were deactivated. The blockade of PLC/PKC and the MEK/ERK pathway inhibited GH-stimulated lipolysis and GH-stimulated phosphorylation of HSL as well as GH-stimulated HSL mRNA expression, whereas the blockade of JAK–STAT or the PI3K–Akt pathway had no effect on the activation of lipolysis or the expression of HSL stimulated by GH. These results indicate that GH promotes lipolysis by activating HSL and by enhancing the de novo expression of HSL mRNAs via the activation of PKC and ERK. These findings also suggest molecular mechanisms for activating the lipid catabolic actions of GH while simultaneously deactivating anabolic processes such as antilipolysis and the growth-promoting actions of GH.

Free access

Hyeon Young Park, Hye Suk Kang and Seung-Soon Im

Fatty acids are essential nutrients that contribute to several intracellular functions. Fatty acid synthesis and oxidation are known to be regulated by sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs), which play a pivotal role in the regulation of cellular triglyceride synthesis and cholesterol biogenesis. Recent studies point to a multifunctional role of SREBPs in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, type II diabetes and cancer as well as in immune responses. Notably, fatty acid metabolic intermediates are involved in energy homeostasis and pathophysiological conditions. In particular, intracellular fatty acid metabolism affects an inflammatory response, thereby influencing metabolic diseases. The objective of this review is to summarize the recent advances in our understanding of the dual role of SREBPs in both lipid metabolism and inflammation-mediated metabolic diseases.

Free access

Ting Qi, Yanming Chen, Honggui Li, Ya Pei, Shih-Lung Woo, Xin Guo, Jiajia Zhao, Xiaoxian Qian, Joseph Awika, Yuqing Huo and Chaodong Wu

Metformin improves obesity-associated metabolic dysregulation, but has controversial effects on adipose tissue inflammation. The objective of the study is to examine the direct effect of metformin on adipocyte inflammatory responses and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Adipocytes were differentiated from 3T3-L1 cells and treated with metformin at various doses and for different time periods. The treated cells were examined for the proinflammatory responses, as well as the phosphorylation states of AMPK and the expression of PFKFB3/iPFK2. In addition, PFKFB3/iPFK2-knockdown adipocytes were treated with metformin and examined for changes in the proinflammatory responses. The following results were obtained from the study. Treatment of adipocytes with metformin decreased the effects of lipopolysaccharide on inducing the phosphorylation states of JNK p46 and on increasing the mRNA levels of IL-1β and TNFα. In addition, treatment with metformin increased the expression of PFKFB3/iPFK2, but failed to significantly alter the phosphorylation states of AMPK. In PFKFB3/iPFK2-knockdown adipocytes, treatment with metformin did not suppress the proinflammatory responses as did it in control adipocytes. In conclusion, metformin has a direct effect on suppressing adipocyte proinflammatory responses in an AMPK-independent manner. Also, metformin increases adipocyte expression of PFKFB3/iPFK2, which is involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of metformin.

Open access

Yihong Wan and Ronald M Evans

The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is a key transcriptional regulator of both lipid metabolism and inflammation. The importance of PPARγ is accentuated by the widespread use of synthetic PPARγ agonists, thiazolidinediones (such as rosiglitazone), as drugs for insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Fractalkine (FKN) and FKN receptor (FR) play an important role in the immune responses by regulating leukocyte migration and adhesion to inflamed peripheral tissues. In this study, we have identified a novel link between PPARγ activation and FKN signaling. On one hand, the activation of PPARγ by rosiglitazone in macrophages not only represses the transcription of the FR gene, but also prevents the plasma membrane translocation of the FR protein. On the other hand, the activation of PPARγ by rosiglitazone in endothelial cells also impedes the nuclear export of FKN. Together, these data suggest that PPARγ activation represses FKN signaling. These findings indicate a previously unrecognized mechanism that may contribute to the anti-inflammatory effect of PPARγ.