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Shinjini C Spaulding, Vivek Choudhary, and Wendy B Bollag

Aldosterone is considered to be a link between hypertension and obesity; obese individuals have high serum levels of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDL has been shown to induce aldosterone production in multiple adrenal zona glomerulosa models, mediated in part by phospholipase D (PLD). PLD is an enzyme that hydrolyzes phosphatidylcholine to produce phosphatidic acid (PA), a lipid second messenger that can also be dephosphorylated by lipin to yield diacylglycerol (DAG), yet another lipid signal. However, it is unclear which of the two lipid second messengers, PA or DAG, underlies PLD’s mediation of aldosterone production. We hypothesized that the key signal produced by PLD (indirectly) is DAG such that PLD mediates VLDL-induced aldosterone production via lipin-mediated metabolism of PA to DAG. To assess the role of lipin in VLDL-induced aldosterone production, lipin-1 was overexpressed (using an adenovirus) or inhibited (using propranolol) in HAC15 cells followed by treatment with or without VLDL. Lipin-1 overexpression enhanced the VLDL-stimulated increase in CYP11B2 expression (by 75%), and lipin-1 inhibition decreased the VLDL-stimulated increase in CYP11B2 expression (by 66%). Similarly, the VLDL-stimulated increase in aldosterone production was enhanced by lipin-1 overexpression (182%) and was decreased by lipin inhibition (80%). Our results are suggestive of DAG being the key lipid signal since manipulating lipin-1 levels/activity affects VLDL-stimulated steroidogenic gene expression and ultimately, aldosterone production. Our study warrants further investigation into VLDL-stimulated steroidogenic signaling pathways which may lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets, such as lipin-1 and its downstream pathways, to potentially treat obesity-associated hypertension.

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Edson F Nogueira, Claudia A Vargas, Mélissa Otis, Nicole Gallo-Payet, Wendy B Bollag, and William E Rainey

Angiotensin-II (Ang-II) regulates adrenal steroid production and gene transcription through several signaling pathways. Changes in gene transcription occur within minutes after Ang-II stimulation, causing an increase in aldosterone production and subsequent increase in the overall capacity to produce aldosterone. Our goal was to compare the Ang-II regulation of early gene expression and confirm the up-regulation of selected genes using quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) across three species, such as, human, bovine, and rat. Microarray analyses were performed using samples from control and Ang-II (10 nM)-treated (1 h) cells from human adrenocortical tumor cell line H295R, and primary adrenal glomerulosa cells from bovine and rat, applied respectively to human, bovine, and rat chips. qPCR was performed to confirm up-regulation of selected genes using mRNA. The microarray comparison revealed 18% similarity among the top 50 up-regulated genes, with human/rat, 20%; human/bovine, 36%; and rat/bovine, 26% similarity. The gene list generated by this comparison included: activating transcription factor 3, B-cell translocation gene (BTG2), Nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 1 (NR4A1), NR4A2, NR4A3, early growth response 1, v-fos FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog (c-FOS), FOSB, and Jun family member B (JUNB). Pretreatment of H295R cells with cycloheximide had no effect on Ang-II induction of these genes, suggesting that they are direct targets of Ang-II signaling. The Ang-II gene targets have been defined in three different adrenocortical model systems. Several of the listed genes have previously been described as being key regulators of adrenocortical function. The presence of adrenal cell common genes in such distinct cell models strengthens the hypothesis that these genes are regulators of aldosterone production.