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Xinwang Chen, Xiao Jia, Jie Qiao, Youfei Guan and Jihong Kang

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy associated with infertility and metabolic disorder in women of reproductive age. Dysfunction of adipose tissue has been implicated in the pathophysiology of PCOS. Increasing evidence shows that the dysregulated expression of adipokines, the secreted products of adipose tissue, plays an important role in the pathology of PCOS. Here, we review the role of several identified adipokines that may act as a link between obesity and PCOS. PCOS also reciprocally influences the profile of adipokines. Insight into the underlying mechanisms will help better understand the pathology of PCOS and identify new therapeutic targets of this syndrome.

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Y Y Liu, W Jia, I E Wanke, D A Muruve, H P Xiao and N C W Wong

Glucose-controlled insulin secretion is a key component of its regulation. Here, we examined whether liver cell secretion of insulin derived from an engineered construct can be regulated by glucose. Adenovirus constructs were designed to express proinsulin or mature insulin containing the conditional binding domain (CBD). This motif binds GRP78 (HSPA5), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein that enables the chimeric hormone to enter into and stay within the ER until glucose regulates its release from the organelle. Infected HepG2 cells expressed proinsulin mRNA and the protein containing the CBD. Immunocytochemistry studies suggested that GRP78 and proinsulin appeared together in the ER of the cell. The amount of hormone released from infected cells varied directly with the ambient concentration of glucose in the media. Glucose-regulated release of the hormone from infected cells was rapid and sustained. Removal of glucose from the cells decreased release of the hormone. In streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, when infected with adenovirus expressing mature insulin, glucose levels declined. Our data show that glucose regulates release of exogenously expressed insulin from the ER of liver cells. This approach may be useful in devising new ways to treat diabetes mellitus.

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Peng Zhang, Sheng Wang, Liang Wang, Bing Chen Shan, Hui Zhang, Fan Yang, Zhi Qiang Zhou, Xiao Wang, Ye Yuan and You Jia Xu

Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a global health issue. Although a lack of estrogen is considered the major reason for postmenopausal osteoporosis, other factors might also contribute the etiology of the disease. In previous reports, we and others proposed that iron accumulation after menopause accelerates osteoporosis, and here, we genetically modified the expression of an endogenous hormone, hepcidin, to modulate iron status in a mouse model. Our results show that hepcidin levels negatively correlate with bone loss in both knockout and overexpression (with ovariectomy) murine models. In addition, iron overload enhances reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity and attenuates the functions of primary osteoblasts, while iron depletion could reverse this phenomenon through inhibiting the functions of primary osteoclasts. Therefore, our results provide more evidence of the ‘iron accumulation’ hypothesis, which suggests that high iron levels are risk factors for osteoporosis, and the ‘Huang’s hypothesis’ that hepcidin is a potential drug target for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis.