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Kun Chen, Ji-Dan Zhou, Feng Zhang, Fang Zhang, Rui-Rui Zhang, Meng-Si Zhan, Xiao-Yin Tang, Bing Deng, Ming-Gang Lei and Yuan-Zhu Xiong

G protein-coupled receptor 120 (GPR120), an adipogenic receptor critical for the differentiation and maturation of adipocytes, plays an important role in controlling obesity in both humans and rodents and, thus, is an attractive target of obesity treatment studies. However, the mechanisms that regulate the expression of porcine GPR1 20 remain unclear. In this study, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) techniques were used to analyze and identify the binding of C/EBPβ (transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta) to the GPR120 promoter. C/EBPβ overexpression and RNA interference studies showed that C/EBPβ regulated GPR120 promoter activity and endogenous GPR120 expression. The binding site of C/EBPβ in the GPR120 promoter region from −101 to −87 was identified by promoter deletion analysis and site-directed mutagenesis. Overexpression of C/EBPβ increased endogenous GPR120 expression in pig kidney cells (PK). Furthermore, when endogenous C/EBPβ was knocked down, GPR120 mRNA and protein levels were decreased. The stimulatory effect of C/EBPβ on GPR120 transcription and its ability to bind the transcription factor-binding site were confirmed by luciferase, ChIP, and EMSA. Moreover, the mRNA and protein expression levels of C/EBPβ were induced by high fat diet feeding. Taken together, it can be concluded that C/EBPβ plays a vital role in regulating GPR120 transcription and suggests HFD-feeding induces GPR120 transcription by influencing C/EBPβ expression.

Open access

Zhi Zhang, Fang Wang, Bing-jian Wang, Guang Chu, Qunan Cao, Bao-Gui Sun and Qiu-Yan Dai

Vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling, which is the result of disruption in the balance of ECM synthesis and degradation, induces vessel fibrosis and thereby leads to hypertension. Leptin is known to promote tissue fibrosis, while adiponectin has recently been demonstrated to be anti-fibrogenic in tissue fibrosis. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the leptin-antagonist function of adiponectin and to further elucidate the mechanisms through which adiponectin dampens leptin signalling in vascular smooth muscle cells, thus preventing excess ECM production, in our already established 3D co-culture vessel models. Our 3D co-culture vessel model, which mimics true blood vessels, is composed of vascular endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and collagen type I. We validated the profibrogenic effects of leptin and analysed matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), MMP9, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1) and collagen types II/IV secretion in 3D vessel models. The protective/inhibitory effects of adiponectin were re-analysed by inhibiting adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR) and AdipoR2 expression in endothelial cells using RNAi technology. In the 3D vessel models, adiponectin blocked the leptin-stimulated secretion of collagen types II/IV and TIMP1 while significantly increasing MMP2/9 activity. In endothelial cells, adiponectin induced phosphorylation of AMPK, thereby suppressing leptin-mediated STAT3 phosphorylation through induction of SOCS3 in smooth muscle cells. Our findings indicate that adiponectin disrupted the leptin-induced vascular ECM remodelling via AdipoR1 and enhanced AMPK signalling in endothelial cells, which, in turn, promoted SOCS3 up-regulation in smooth muscle cells to repress leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of STAT3.

Open access

Ting Xiao, Xiuci Liang, Hailan Liu, Feng Zhang, Wen Meng and Fang Hu

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are associated with hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance. Molecular mechanisms underlying ER stress and/or mitochondrial dysfunction that cause metabolic disorders and hepatic steatosis remain to be fully understood. Here, we found that a high fat diet (HFD) or chemically induced ER stress can stimulate mitochondrial stress protein HSP60 expression, impair mitochondrial respiration, and decrease mitochondrial membrane potential in mouse hepatocytes. HSP60 overexpression promotes ER stress and hepatic lipogenic protein expression and impairs insulin signaling in mouse hepatocytes. Mechanistically, HSP60 regulates ER stress-induced hepatic lipogenesis via the mTORC1-SREBP1 signaling pathway. These results suggest that HSP60 is an important ER and mitochondrial stress cross-talking protein and may control ER stress-induced hepatic lipogenesis and insulin resistance.

Restricted access

Huixia Li, Zhuanmin Zhang, Dongxu Feng, Lin Xu, Fang Li, Jiali Liu, Xinxin Jin, Zhuang Qian, Xiaomin Kang and Hongzhi Sun

Progranulin (PGRN), a multifunctional protein implicated in embryonic development and immune response, was recently introduced as a novel marker of chronic inflammation related with insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the potential mechanisms of PGRN on insulin signaling pathways are poorly understood. In this study, PGRN mediated the chemotaxis of RAW264.7, impaired insulin action and stimulated production of inflammatory factors in adipocytes, which was accompanied by increased c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1. PGRN knockdown partially led to an increase in insulin action as well as a decrease in the JNK activation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation in cells exposed to tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Meanwhile, PGRN treatment resulted in an elevation of transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation and acetylation, and increased Il-1b, Il6, Tnf-a expression, whereas NF-κB inhibition reversed PGRN-induced insulin action impairment and inflammatory gene expression. Finally, we showed that sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression was downregulated by PGRN treatment, whereas SIRT1 overexpression improved PGRN-induced insulin resistance, NF-κB activation, and inflammatory gene expression. Our results suggest that PGRN regulates adipose tissue inflammation possibly by controlling the gain of proinflammatory transcription in a SIRT1-NF-κB dependent manner in response to inducers such as fatty acids and endoplasmic reticulum stress.

Free access

Juan Liu, Xiaocen Kong, Long Wang, Hanmei Qi, Wenjuan Di, Xiao Zhang, Lin Wu, Xia Chen, Jing Yu, Juanmin Zha, Shan Lv, Aisen Zhang, Peng Cheng, Miao Hu, Yujie Li, Jianhua Bi, Yan Li, Fang Hu, Yi Zhong, Yong Xu and Guoxian Ding

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) increases energy expenditure and is an attractive therapeutic target for obesity. 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), an amplifier of local glucocorticoid activity, has been shown to modulate white adipose tissue (WAT) metabolism and function. In this study, we investigated the roles of 11β-HSD1 in regulating BAT function. We observed a significant increase in the expression of BAT-specific genes, including UCP1, Cidea, Cox7a1, and Cox8b, in BVT.2733 (a selective inhibitor of 11β-HSD1)-treated and 11β-HSD1-deficient primary brown adipocytes of mice. By contrast, a remarkable decrease in BAT-specific gene expression was detected in brown adipocytes when 11β-HSD1 was overexpressed, which effect was reversed by BVT.2733 treatment. Consistent with the in vitro results, expression of a range of genes related to brown fat function in high-fat diet-fed mice treated with BVT.2733. Our results indicate that 11β-HSD1 acts as a vital regulator that controls the expression of genes related to brown fat function and as such may become a potential target in preventing obesity.