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1.  Pharmacodynamics of Glucose Regulation by Methylprednisolone. I. Adrenalectomized Rats 
Mechanisms related to the adverse effects of corticosteroids on glucose homeostasis were studied. Five groups of adrenalectomized (ADX) rats were given methylprednisolone (MPL) intravenously at 10 and 50 mg/kg, or a continuous 7 day infusion at rates of 0, 0.1, 0.3 mg/kg/h via subcutaneously implanted Alzet mini-pumps. Plasma concentrations of MPL, glucose and insulin were determined at various time points up to 72 h after injection or 336 h after infusion. The pharmacokinetics of MPL was captured with a two-compartment model. The Adapt II software was used in modeling. Injection of MPL caused a temporary glucose increase over 6 h by stimulating gluconeogenesis. The glucose changes stimulated pancreatic β-cell secretion yielding a later insulin peak at around 10 h. In turn, insulin can stimulate glucose disposition. However, long-term MPL treatment caused continuous hyperglycemia during and after infusion. Insulin was increased during infusion, and immediately returned to baseline after the infusion was terminated, despite the almost doubled glucose concentration. A disease progression model incorporating the reduced endogenous glucose disposition was included to capture glucose homeostasis under different treatments. The results exemplify the importance of the steroid dosing regimen in mediating pharmacological and adverse metabolic effects. This mechanistic pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) model quantitatively describes the induction of hyperglycemia and provides additional insights into metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3712292  PMID: 19156931
corticosteroids; methylprednisolone; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; glucose; insulin
2.  Pharmacodynamic Modeling of Acute and Chronic Effects of Methylprednisolone on Hepatic Urea Cycle Genes in Rats* 
Corticosteroids (CS) regulate many enzymes at both mRNA and protein levels. This study used microarrays to broadly assess regulation of various genes related to the greater urea cycle and employs pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling to quantitatively analyze and compare the temporal profiles of these genes during acute and chronic exposure to methylprednisolone (MPL). One group of adrenalectomized male Wistar rats received an intravenous bolus dose (50 mg/kg) of MPL, whereas a second group received MPL by a subcutaneous infusion (Alzet osmotic pumps) at a rate of 0.3 mg/kg/hr for seven days. The rats were sacrificed at various time points over 72 hours (acute) or 168 hours (chronic) and livers were harvested. Total RNA was extracted and Affymetrix® gene chips (RG_U34A for acute and RAE 230A for chronic) were used to identify genes regulated by CS. Besides five primary urea cycle enzymes, many other genes related to the urea cycle showed substantial changes in mRNA expression. Some genes that were simply up- or down-regulated after acute MPL showed complex biphasic patterns upon chronic infusion indicating involvement of secondary regulation. For the simplest patterns, indirect response models were used to describe the nuclear steroid-bound receptor mediated increase or decrease in gene transcription (e.g. tyrosine aminotransferase, glucocorticoid receptor). For the biphasic profiles, involvement of a secondary biosignal was assumed (e.g. ornithine decarboxylase, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein) and more complex models were derived. Microarrays were used successfully to explore CS effects on various urea cycle enzyme genes. PD models presented in this report describe testable hypotheses regarding molecular mechanisms and quantitatively characterize the direct or indirect regulation of various genes by CS.
PMCID: PMC2733100  PMID: 19787073
urea cycle; corticosteroids; methylprednisolone; pharmacodynamics; genomics
3.  Meta-Modeling of Methylprednisolone Effects on Glucose Regulation in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81679.
A retrospective meta-modeling analysis was performed to integrate previously reported data of glucocorticoid (GC) effects on glucose regulation following a single intramuscular dose (50 mg/kg), single intravenous doses (10, 50 mg/kg), and intravenous infusions (0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mg/kg/h) of methylprednisolone (MPL) in normal and adrenalectomized (ADX) male Wistar rats. A mechanistic pharmacodynamic (PD) model was developed based on the receptor/gene/protein-mediated GC effects on glucose regulation. Three major target organs (liver, white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle) together with some selected intermediate controlling factors were designated as important regulators involved in the pathogenesis of GC-induced glucose dysregulation. Assessed were dynamic changes of food intake and systemic factors (plasma glucose, insulin, free fatty acids (FFA) and leptin) and tissue-specific biomarkers (cAMP, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) mRNA and enzyme activity, leptin mRNA, interleukin 6 receptor type 1 (IL6R1) mRNA and Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) mRNA) after acute and chronic dosing with MPL along with the GC receptor (GR) dynamics in each target organ. Upon binding to GR in liver, MPL dosing caused increased glucose production by stimulating hepatic cAMP and PEPCK activity. In adipose tissue, the rise in leptin mRNA and plasma leptin caused reduction of food intake, the exogenous source of glucose input. Down-regulation of IRS-1 mRNA expression in skeletal muscle inhibited the stimulatory effect of insulin on glucose utilization further contributing to hyperglycemia. The nuclear drug-receptor complex served as the driving force for stimulation or inhibition of downstream target gene expression within different tissues. Incorporating information such as receptor dynamics, as well as the gene and protein induction, allowed us to describe the receptor-mediated effects of MPL on glucose regulation in each important tissue. This advanced mechanistic model provides unique insights into the contributions of major tissues and quantitative hypotheses for the multi-factor control of a complex metabolic system.
PMCID: PMC3847111  PMID: 24312573
4.  Dynamic modeling of methylprednisolone effects on body weight and glucose regulation in rats 
Influences of methylprednisolone (MPL) and food consumption on body weight (BW), and the effects of MPL on glycemic control including food consumption and the dynamic interactions among glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids (FFA) were evaluated in normal male Wistar rats. Six groups of animals received either saline or MPL via subcutaneous infusions at the rate of 0.03, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mg/kg/h for different treatment periods. BW and food consumption were measured twice a week. Plasma concentrations of MPL and corticosterone (CST) were determined at animal sacrifice. Plasma glucose, insulin, and FFA were measured at various times after infusion. Plasma MPL concentrations were simulated by a two-compartment model and used as the driving force in the pharmacodynamic (PD) analysis. All data were modeled using ADAPT 5. The MPL treatments caused reduction of food consumption and body weights in all dosing groups. The steroid also caused changes in plasma glucose, insulin, and FFA concentrations. Hyper-insulinemia was achieved rapidly at the first sampling time of 6 h; significant elevations of FFA were observed in all drug treatment groups; whereas only modest increases in plasma glucose were observed in the low dosing groups (0.03 and 0.1 mg/kg/h). Body weight changes were modeled by dual actions of MPL: inhibition of food consumption and stimulation of weight loss, with food consumption accounting for the input of energy for body weight. Dynamic models of glucose and insulin feedback interactions were extended to capture the major metabolic effects of FFA: stimulation of insulin secretion and inhibition of insulin-stimulated glucose utilization. These models of body weight and glucose regulation adequately captured the experimental data and reflect significant physiological interactions among glucose, insulin, and FFA. These mechanism-based PD models provide further insights into the multi-factor control of this essential metabolic system.
PMCID: PMC3407886  PMID: 21394487
Glucocorticoids; Methylprednisolone; Pharmacodynamics; Food intake; Body weight; Glucose; Insulin; Free fatty acids
5.  Pharmacodynamics of Glucose Regulation by Methylprednisolone. II. Normal Rats 
A physiologic pharmacodynamic model was developed to jointly describe the effects of methylprednisolone (MPL) on adrenal suppression and glycemic control in normal rats. Six groups of animals were given MPL intravenously at 0, 10 and 50 mg/kg, or by subcutaneous 7 day infusion at rates of 0, 0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg/h. Plasma concentrations of MPL, corticosterone (CST), glucose and insulin were determined at various times up to 72 h after injection and 336 h after infusion. The pharmacokinetics of MPL was described by a two-compartment model. A circadian rhythm for CST was found in untreated rats with a stress-altered baseline caused by handling, which was captured by a circadian harmonic secretion rate with an increasing mesor. All drug treatments caused CST suppression. Injection of MPL caused temporary increases in glucose over 4 h. Insulin secretion was thereby stimulated yielding a later peak around 6 h. In turn, insulin can normalize glucose. However, long-term dosing caused continuous hyperglycemia during and after infusion. Hyperinsulinemia was achieved during infusion, but diminished immediately after dosing despite the high glucose concentration. The effects of CST and MPL on glucose production were described with a competitive stimulation function. A disease progression model incorporating reduced endogenous glucose uptake/utilization was used to describe glucose metabolism under different treatments. The results exemplify the roles of endogenous and exogenous hormones in mediating glucose dynamics. The pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model is valuable for quantitating diabetogenic effects of corticosteroid treatments and provides mechanistic insights into the hormonal control of the metabolic system.
PMCID: PMC3712293  PMID: 19156669
corticosterone; methylprednisolone; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; glucose; insulin
6.  Tissue-Specific Gene Expression and Regulation in Liver and Muscle Following Chronic Corticosteroid Administration 
Although corticosteroids (CSs) affect gene expression in multiple tissues, the array of genes that are regulated by these catabolic steroids is diverse, highly tissue specific, and depends on their functions in the tissue. Liver has many important functions in performing and regulating diverse metabolic processes. Muscle, in addition to its mechanical role, is critical in maintaining systemic energy homeostasis and accounts for about 80% of insulin-directed glucose disposal. Consequently, a better understanding of CS pharmacogenomic effects in these tissues would provide valuable information regarding the tissue-specificity of transcriptional dynamics, and would provide insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms of action for both beneficial and detrimental effects.
We performed an integrated analysis of transcriptional data from liver and muscle in response to methylprednisolone (MPL) infusion, which included clustering and functional annotation of clustered gene groups, promoter extraction and putative transcription factor (TF) identification, and finally, regulatory closeness (RC) identification.
This analysis allowed the identification of critical transcriptional responses and CS-responsive functions in liver and muscle during chronic MPL administration, the prediction of putative transcriptional regulators relevant to transcriptional responses of CS-affected genes which are also potential secondary bio-signals altering expression levels of target-genes, and the exploration of the tissue-specificity and biological significance of gene expression patterns, CS-responsive functions, and transcriptional regulation.
The analysis provided an integrated description of the genomic and functional effects of chronic MPL infusion in liver and muscle.
PMCID: PMC3956809  PMID: 24653645
liver; muscle; glucocorticoids; corticosteroids; gene expression; gene regulation; promoter analysis
7.  Mechanistic population modeling of diabetes disease progression in Goto-Kakizaki rat muscle 
Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is a lipid status responsive gene involved in muscle fuel selection. Evidence is mounting in support of the therapeutic potential of PDK4 inhibitors to treat diabetes. Factors that regulate PDK4 mRNA expression include plasma corticosterone, insulin and free fatty acids. Our objective was to determine the impact of those plasma factors on PDK4 mRNA and to develop and validate a population mathematical model to differentiate aging, diet and disease effects on muscle PDK4 expression. The Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat, a polygenic non-obese model of type 2 diabetes, was used as the diabetic animal model. We examined muscle PDK4 mRNA expression by real-time QRTPCR. Groups of GK rats along with controls fed with either a normal or high fat diet were sacrificed at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks of age. Plasma corticosterone, insulin and free fatty acid were measured. The proposed mechanism-based model successfully described the age, disease and diet effects and the relative contribution of these plasma regulators on PDK4 mRNA expression. Muscle growth reduced the PDK4 mRNA production rate by 14% per gram increase. High fat diet increased the initial production rate constant in GK rats by 2.19-fold. The model indicated that corticosterone had a moderate effect and PDK4 was more sensitive to free fatty acid than insulin fluxes, which was in good agreement with the literature data.
PMCID: PMC3080028  PMID: 21162119
population model; type 2 diabetes; disease progression; PDK4; Goto-Kakizaki rats
8.  Insulin-Induced Accumulation of D-Xylose Against an Apparent Concentration Gradient in Diaphragm Muscle, in Vivo 
The effect of insulin administration upon D-xylose-1-C14 penetration into the diaphragm and gastrocnemius muscles of functionally nephrectomized normal, hypophysectomized, and adrenalectomized rats has been examined. It was found in all groups that after the administration of tracer amounts of D-xylose, this sugar enters the cell water of diaphragm to a greater extent than in gastrocnemius muscle, both in the presence and absence of exogenous insulin. Insulin increases the apparent intracellular distribution of D-xylose in both muscles in all three types of rats. After insulin administration, the intracellular concentration of D-xylose in diaphragm muscle was estimated to be about two times greater than D-xylose concentration in plasma; D-xylose accumulation was not observed in gastrocnemius muscle of insulin-treated rats. Intracellular accumulation of D-xylose occurs in diaphragm of insulin-treated rats at plasma concentrations of D-xylose ranging from 4 to 2200 µg/ml; however, a "saturation" phenomenon appears to be operative, since intracellular distribution declines as plasma D-xylose concentration is increased within this range. A decline in intracellular D-xylose distribution also occurs in gastrocnemius as plasma D-xylose is increased, suggesting that entry into this muscle as well does not exhibit the characteristics of a simple diffusion process. The significance of these in vivo observations is briefly discussed in relation to widely accepted assumptions concerning sugar permeability in muscle.
PMCID: PMC2195156  PMID: 13726065
9.  Effect of adrenalectomy on transport in the rat medullary thick ascending limb. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1987;80(4):1160-1164.
Previous studies in adrenalectomized (Adx) rats suggest that aldosterone may regulate ion transport in the ascending portion of Helen's loop. In order to examine directly the effect of adrenalectomy on transport, medullary thick ascending limb (Mtal) segments were isolated from Adx, Adx replaced with aldosterone (Adx + Ald, 0.5 micrograms X 100 g X body wt X d), and control Sprague-Dawley rats. Both net sodium and net chloride fluxes were significantly less in the Mtal segments from Adx rats compared with those in the control or Adx + Ald group. Physiologic levels of exogenous aldosterone increased net sodium chloride flux toward control values in the Adx + Ald group. Net potassium flux was not different among the three groups. We conclude that adrenalectomy impairs reabsorptive NaCl but not K transport in the Mtal, and that aldosterone restores this process. This reabsorptive defect may contribute to the urinary concentrating and diluting abnormality associated with adrenal insufficiency.
PMCID: PMC442360  PMID: 3654975
10.  Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Modeling of Methylprednisolone Effects on iNOS mRNA Expression and Nitric Oxide During LPS-Induced Inflammation in Rats 
Pharmaceutical Research  2012;29(8):2060-2069.
Increased expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) resulting in nitric oxide elevation represents an important component of inflammatory responses. We assess the effects of methylprednisolone (MPL) on these processes during endotoxin-induced acute inflammation and provide a mechanism-based model to quantitatively describe them.
Male Lewis rats were dosed with lipopolysaccharide (50 μg/kg LPS) alone or with methylprednisolone (10 and 50 mg/kg) and sacrificed at different time points. Plasma MPL, lung iNOS mRNA expression, plasma nitric oxide (NO) and other physiological factors were measured. Sodium nitrate (750 μmole/kg) was given to a separate cohort of rats to assess NO disposition kinetics. PK-PD modeling was performed with ADAPT 5.
Disposition kinetics of plasma MPL and NO showed bi-exponential decline and were described by two-compartment models. LPS increased expression of iNOS mRNA in lung and increased plasma NO, while MPL dosing palliated this increase in a dose-dependent manner. These effects were well captured using tandem indirect response and precursor-pool models.
The model provides a quantitative assessment of the suppression of NO production by MPL and shows that the major effects are at the transcriptional level by reducing expression of iNOS mRNA.
PMCID: PMC3400266  PMID: 22422321
corticosteroids; inflammation; iNOS; nitric oxide; PK-PD modeling
11.  Temporal profiling of the transcriptional basis for the development of corticosteroid-induced insulin resistance in rat muscle 
The Journal of endocrinology  2005;184(1):219-232.
Elevated systemic levels of glucocorticoids are causally related to peripheral insulin resistance. The pharmacological use of synthetic glucocorticoids (corticosteroids) often results in insulin resistance/type II diabetes. Skeletal muscle is responsible for close to 80% of the insulin-induced systemic disposal of glucose and is a major target for glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance. We used Affymetrix gene chips to profile the dynamic changes in mRNA expression in rat skeletal muscle in response to a single bolus dose of the synthetic glucocorticoid methyl-prednisolone. Temporal expression profiles (analyzed on individual chips) were obtained from tissues of 48 drug-treated animals encompassing 16 time points over 72 h following drug administration along with four vehicle-treated controls. Data mining identified 653 regulated probe sets out of 8799 present on the chip. Of these 653 probe sets we identified 29, which represented 22 gene transcripts, that were associated with the development of insulin resistance. These 29 probe sets were regulated in three fundamental temporal patterns. 16 probe sets coding for 12 different genes had a profile of enhanced expression. 10 probe sets coding for eight different genes showed decreased expression and three probe sets coding for two genes showed biphasic temporal signatures. These transcripts were grouped into four general functional categories: signal transduction, transcription regulation, carbohydrate/fat metabolism, and regulation of blood flow to the muscle. The results demonstrate the polygenic nature of transcriptional changes associated with insulin resistance that can provide a temporal scaffolding for translational and post-translational data as they become available.
PMCID: PMC2574435  PMID: 15642798
12.  Overexpression of uncoupling protein 3 in skeletal muscle protects against fat-induced insulin resistance 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(7):1995-2003.
Insulin resistance is a major factor in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and is strongly associated with obesity. Increased concentrations of intracellular fatty acid metabolites have been postulated to interfere with insulin signaling by activation of a serine kinase cascade involving PKCθ in skeletal muscle. Uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) has been postulated to dissipate the mitochondrial proton gradient and cause metabolic inefficiency. We therefore hypothesized that overexpression of UCP3 in skeletal muscle might protect against fat-induced insulin resistance in muscle by conversion of intramyocellular fat into thermal energy. Wild-type mice fed a high-fat diet were markedly insulin resistant, a result of defects in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in these tissues was associated with reduced insulin-stimulated insulin receptor substrate 1– (IRS-1–) and IRS-2–associated PI3K activity in muscle and liver, respectively. In contrast, UCP3-overexpressing mice were completely protected against fat-induced defects in insulin signaling and action in these tissues. Furthermore, these changes were associated with a lower membrane-to-cytosolic ratio of diacylglycerol and reduced PKCθ activity in whole-body fat–matched UCP3 transgenic mice. These results suggest that increasing mitochondrial uncoupling in skeletal muscle may be an excellent therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC1888566  PMID: 17571165
13.  The importance of corticosterone in mediating restraint-induced weight loss in rats 
Physiology & behavior  2010;102(2):225-233.
Rats restrained for 3 hours/day for 3 days (RR) lose weight and do not return to the weight of non-restrained controls once restraint has ended. This study tested the importance of restraint-induced corticosterone release in mediating the change in body weight by injecting ADX rats with 2.0 mg corticosterone/kg before each restraint to replicate the restraint-induced surge in circulating corticosterone. Restrained adrenalectomized (ADX) rats injected with corticosterone had the same initial weight loss as intact restrained rats, whereas corticosterone injection in non-restrained ADX rats and restraint of ADX rats injected with saline each produced only half as much initial weight loss. Sustained weight loss, measured for 14 days after the end of RR, was the same for restrained intact rats and restrained ADX rats injected with corticosterone whereas restrained ADX rats injected with saline achieved the same weight gain as their controls. Corticosterone injections had no effect on weight gain of non-restrained intact rats. In situ hybridization showed that corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) mRNA expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) was increased by the same degree in ADX rats and restrained intact rats and was not modified by corticosterone injections. There was no significant effect of restraint, ADX or corticosterone injection on PVN arginine vasopressin (AVP) mRNA expression. These data indicate that a surge in corticosterone causes sustained weight loss in ADX rats through a mechanism that can be compensated for in intact rats and is independent of changes in PVN CRF or AVP mRNA expression.
PMCID: PMC3010503  PMID: 21092743
Adrenalectomy; in situ hybridization; corticotrophin releasing factor; arginine vasopressin; paraventricular nucleus
14.  Genetic Inactivation of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinases Improves Hepatic Insulin Resistance Induced Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71997.
Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1-4) play a critical role in the inhibition of the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex especially when blood glucose levels are low and pyruvate can be conserved for gluconeogenesis. Under diabetic conditions, the Pdk genes, particularly Pdk4, are often induced, and the elevation of the Pdk4 gene expression has been implicated in the increased gluconeogenesis in the liver and the decreased glucose utilization in the peripheral tissues. However, there is no direct evidence yet to show to what extent that the dysregulation of hepatic Pdk genes attributes to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in vivo. To address this question, we crossed Pdk2 or Pdk4 null mice with a diabetic model that is deficient in hepatic insulin receptor substrates 1 and 2 (Irs1/2). Metabolic analyses reveal that deletion of the Pdk4 gene had better improvement in hyperglycemia and glucose tolerance than knockout of the Pdk2 gene whereas the Pdk2 gene deletion showed better insulin tolerance as compared to the Pdk4 gene inactivation on the Irs1/2 knockout genetic background. To examine the specific hepatic effects of Pdks on diabetes, we also knocked down the Pdk2 or Pdk4 gene using specific shRNAs. The data also indicate that the Pdk4 gene knockdown led to better glucose tolerance than the Pdk2 gene knockdown. In conclusion, our data suggest that hepatic Pdk4 may be critically involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3733847  PMID: 23940800
15.  Pharmacodynamic characterization of insulin on MDMA-induced thermogenesis 
European journal of pharmacology  2009;615(1-3):257-261.
Sympathomimetic drugs (MDMA; Ecstasy) induce a potentially catastrophic hyperthermia that involves free fatty acid (FFA) activation of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins (UCP). Insulin is an important regulator of plasma FFA levels, although its role in thermogenesis is unclear. The aims of the present study were 1) to characterize the pharmacodynamic effects of MDMA on plasma insulin and glucose, 2) to examine the effects of insulin on MDMA-induced thermogenesis and 3) to examine MDMA-induced thermogenesis in an animal model of insulin resistance, the obese Zucker rat. Insulin levels peaked 15 min. after MDMA (40 mg/kg, sc), which preceded the peak temperature change at 60 min. Plasma glucose levels also peaked 15 min. after MDMA and remained elevated throughout the 90-min. monitoring period. Insulin pretreatment (10 units/kg, sc) 30 min. before a low dose of MDMA (5 mg/kg, sc) potentiated the thermogenic response. Insulin resistant, fa/fa (obese) Zucker rats demonstrated an attenuated thermogenic response to MDMA (40 mg/kg, sc). Consistent with the role for FFA in UCP3 expression, immunoblot analysis showed significantly increased levels of UCP3 protein in obese compared to lean Zucker skeletal muscle. In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest a potential role of insulin signaling in sympathomimetic-induced thermogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2740838  PMID: 19482019
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; thermogenesis; insulin; glucose; Zucker
16.  Transcriptional Regulation of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinase 
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal  2012;36(5):328-335.
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) activity is crucial to maintains blood glucose and ATP levels, which largely depends on the phosphorylation status by pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) isoenzymes. Although it has been reported that PDC is phosphorylated and inactivated by PDK2 and PDK4 in metabolically active tissues including liver, skeletal muscle, heart, and kidney during starvation and diabetes, the precise mechanisms by which expression of PDK2 and PDK4 are transcriptionally regulated still remains unclear. Insulin represses the expression of PDK2 and PDK4 via phosphorylation of FOXO through PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Several nuclear hormone receptors activated due to fasting or increased fat supply, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, glucocorticoid receptors, estrogen-related receptors, and thyroid hormone receptors, also participate in the up-regulation of PDK2 and PDK4; however, the endogenous ligands that bind those nuclear receptors have not been identified. It has been recently suggested that growth hormone, adiponectin, epinephrine, and rosiglitazone also control the expression of PDK4 in tissue-specific manners. In this review, we discuss several factors involved in the expressional regulation of PDK2 and PDK4, and introduce current studies aimed at providing a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3486978  PMID: 23130316
Insulin resistance; Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase; Receptors, cytoplasmic and nuclear; Transcriptional regulation
17.  Adrenalectomy reduces neuropeptide Y–induced insulin release and NPY receptor expression in the rat ventromedial hypothalamus 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;105(9):1253-1259.
Chronic central administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) causes hyperphagia, hyperinsulinemia, and obesity, a response that is prevented by prior adrenalectomy (ADX) in rats. The basis of NPY’s effect and how the acute responses to this peptide are affected by ADX remain unknown. This study investigates the role of glucocorticoids in acute NPY-stimulated food intake, acute NPY-induced insulin release, and hypothalamic NPY-receptor mRNA expression levels. NPY-induced food intake was similar in ADX and control rats after acute intracerebroventricular injection of NPY. Injection of NPY caused a significant increase in plasma insulin in control rats, but this effect was completely absent in ADX rats in which basal plasma insulin levels were also lower than controls. In addition, ADX significantly reduced the number of neurons expressing NPY receptor Y1 and Y5 mRNAs in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), without affecting Y1- or Y5-mRNA expression in the paraventricular hypothalamus or the arcuate nucleus. These data indicate that glucocorticoids are necessary for acute NPY-mediated insulin release and suggest that the mechanisms involve glucocorticoid regulation of Y1 and Y5 receptors specifically within the VMH nucleus.
PMCID: PMC315443  PMID: 10792000
18.  A Rapid Up-Regulation in UCP3 Transcriptional Activity in Response to Moderate Intensity Exercise in Rat Skeletal Muscle 
Uncoupling protein 3 (UPC3) is a candidate protein transporter that uncouples oxidative phosphorylation of mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle. A number of studies on UCP3 functions under various physiological conditions have suggested that the function of UCP3 is not limited only to regulation of whole-body energy metabolism but is also involved in regulation of substrate (lipids and glucose) metabolism. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the time course of UCP3 mRNA expression in rat skeletal muscle during a 1 h bout of treadmill exercise and to examine whether changes in fat/glucose metabolism modulates UCP3 mRNA expression. The pattern of UCP3 mRNA expression during the exercise was biphasic in both the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. UCP3 expression increased at 5 min of exercise (soleus: 232%, p < 0.05, gastrocnemius: 185%, p < 0.05, respectively), and at the end of the exercise (196%, p < 0.05 and 193%, p < 0.05, respectively). UCP3 mRNA expression was still increased at 3 h post-exercise in both muscles, 200% (p < 0.05) and 237% (p < 0.05), respectively. However, at 20 min of the exercise, UCP3 mRNA expression was similar to control levels in both muscles (104% and 97%, respectively). The time course of plasma free fatty acid (FFA) did not follow the same time course as UCP3 mRNA expression. Plasma FFA peaked at the end of the exercise, suggesting that FFA did not play a role in inducing UCP3 mRNA expression. Glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) mRNA expression did not change during or after exercise. These data indicated a rapid acceleration in UCP3’s transcription activity in response to exercise, and suggest that potential factor(s) other than changes in fat/glucose metabolism regulate UCP3 gene expression during moderate exercise.
Key PointsA single bout of 1 h moderate exercise induced rapid and bi-phasic alteration of UCP3 gene transcription activity in rat skeletal muscle.The exercise-induced up-regulation in UCP3 mRNA expression was sustained during 3 h of recovery period.
PMCID: PMC3880884  PMID: 24431973
UCP3; FFA; GLUT4; exercise
19.  Regulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoform 4 (PDK4) gene expression by glucocorticoids and insulin 
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) catalyzes the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA in mitochondria and is a key regulatory enzyme in the oxidation of glucose to acetyl-CoA. Phosphorylation of PDC by the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK) inhibits its activity. The expression of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) gene is increased in fasting and other conditions associated with the switch from the utilization of glucose to fatty acids as an energy source. Transcription of the PDK4 gene is elevated by glucocorticoids and inhibited by insulin. In this study, we have investigated the factors involved in the regulation of the PDK4 gene by these hormones. Glucocorticoids stimulate PDK4 through two glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binding sites located more than 6,000 base pairs upstream of the transcriptional start site. Insulin inhibits the glucocorticoid induction in part by causing dissociation of the GR from the promoter. Previously, we found that the estrogen related receptor alpha (ERRα) stimulates the expression of PDK4. Here, we determined that one of the ERRα binding sites contributes to the insulin inhibition of PDK4. A binding site for the forkhead transcription factor (FoxO1) is adjacent to the ERRα binding sites. FoxO1 participates in the glucocorticoid induction of PDK4 and the regulation of this gene by insulin. Our data demonstrate that glucocorticoids and insulin each modulate PDK4 gene expression through complex hormone response units that contain multiple factors.
PMCID: PMC2815206  PMID: 19703515
Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK4); glucocorticoids; insulin
20.  Exhaustive Training Increases Uncoupling Protein 2 Expression and Decreases Bcl-2/Bax Ratio in Rat Skeletal Muscle 
This work investigates the effects of oxidative stress due to exhaustive training on uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) and Bcl-2/Bax in rat skeletal muscles. A total of 18 Sprague-Dawley female rats were randomly divided into three groups: the control group (CON), the trained control group (TC), and the exhaustive trained group (ET). Malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), xanthine oxidase (XOD), ATPase, UCP2, and Bcl-2/Bax ratio in red gastrocnemius muscles were measured. Exhaustive training induced ROS increase in red gastrocnemius muscles, which led to a decrease in the cell antiapoptotic ability (Bcl-2/Bax ratio). An increase in UCP2 expression can reduce ROS production and affect mitochondrial energy production. Thus, oxidative stress plays a significant role in overtraining.
PMCID: PMC3556863  PMID: 23365696
21.  Uncoupling Proteins: Role in Insulin Resistance and Insulin Insufficiency 
Current diabetes reviews  2006;2(3):271-283.
Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are modulators of mitochondrial metabolism that have been implicated in the development of both insulin resistance and insulin insufficiency, the two major pathophysiological events associated with type 2 diabetes. UCP2 mRNA is expressed in a wide range of tissues; however UCP2 protein expression is restricted to fewer tissues, including the endocrine pancreas, spleen, stomach, brain and the lung. To date, its role in the pathophysiology of diabetes has been most strongly associated with impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from the β-cell, particularly after its induction by free fatty acids. The physiological role of UCP2 remains controversial, but it may act as a downstream signal transducer of superoxide. UCP3 mRNA and protein are expressed in relatively few tissues, predominately skeletal muscle, brown adipose tissue and heart. Increased expression of UCP3 in skeletal muscle is associated with protection from diet-induced insulin resistance in mice. In patients with type 2 diabetes UCP3 protein in muscle is reduced by 50% compared to healthy controls. The primary physiological role of the novel UCPs does not appear to be protection against positive energy balance and obesity; this is based largely on findings from studies of UCP2 and UCP3 knockout mice and from observed increases in UCP3 expression with fasting. The mechanism(s) of action of UCP2 and UCP3 are poorly understood. However, findings support roles for UCP2 and UCP3 as modifiers of fatty acid metabolism and in mitigating damage from reactive oxygen species.
PMCID: PMC3060851  PMID: 18220632 CAMSID: cams820
Uncoupling proteins; insulin secretion; insulin resistance; reactive oxygen species; fatty acid metabolism
22.  IGF-I is a mitogen involved in differentiation-related gene expression in fetal rat brown adipocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1993;123(6):1567-1575.
Fetal rat brown adipocytes at time zero of culture constitute a population of cells of broad spectrum, as estimated by cell size, endogenous fluorescence and lipid content, and show an intrinsic mitogenic competence. They express constitutively early growth-related genes such as c-myc, c-fos, and beta-actin, tissue specific-genes such as the uncoupling protein (UCP) and the lipogenic marker malic enzyme (ME). Fetal brown adipocytes bear a high expression of insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR), and show a high affinity IGF-I specific-binding to its receptor, and a high number of binding sites per cell. After cell quiescence, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) was as potent as 10% FCS in inducing DNA synthesis, cell number increase, and the entry of cells into the cell-cycle. In addition, IGF- I or 10% FCS for 48 h increased the percentage of [3H]thymidine-labeled nuclei as compared to quiescent cells. Single cell autoradiographic microphotographs show typical multilocular fat droplets brown adipocytes, resulting positive to [3H]thymidine-labeled nuclei in response to IGF-I. IGF-I increased mRNA expression of the early- response genes c-fos (30 min), c-myc (2 and 24 h), and H-ras (4 and 24 h). 10% FCS also increased c-fos and c-myc, but failed to increase H- ras as an early event. IGF-I or 10% FCS, however, similarly increased the mRNA late expression of c-myc, H-ras, c-raf, beta-actin, and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) at 72 h, as compared to quiescent cells. IGF-I or FCS maintained at 24 h or increased at 48 and 72 h UCP mRNA expression. The results demonstrate that IGF-I is a mitogen for fetal rat brown adipocytes, capable of inducing the expression of early and late growth-regulated genes, and of increasing the lipogenic marker ME and the tissue-specific gene UCP, suggesting the involvement of IGF-I in the differentiation as well as in the proliferation processes.
PMCID: PMC2290896  PMID: 8253851
23.  Effects of adrenalectomy and chronic adrenal corticosteroid replacement on potassium transport in rat kidney. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1985;75(4):1317-1326.
Clearance experiments were carried out in pair-fed rats to examine the long-term effects of adrenalectomy and selective adrenal corticosteroid replacement in physiological amounts on renal potassium transport. To this end, clearance studies were conducted in rats that were sham operated, or adrenalectomized (ADX). ADX animals were given either vehicle, aldosterone (0.5 microgram/100 g body wt per day), dexamethasone (1.2 micrograms/100 g body wt per day), or aldosterone and dexamethasone, by osmotic minipump for 7-9 d whereupon clearance experiments were conducted. After chronic hormone treatment, during basal conditions when only Ringers solution was infused, all groups excreted similar amounts of potassium. However, in all ADX animals without mineralocorticoid replacement, the maintenance of urinary potassium excretion at control levels was associated with hyperkalemia, increased urine flow, and natriuresis; all are factors known to stimulate urinary potassium excretion. During acute potassium infusion, the increase in urinary potassium excretion was less in ADX rats than in controls. This functional deficiency in potassium excretion was partially corrected by dexamethasone and was uniformly associated with a significant increase in urine flow. Aldosterone replacement or aldosterone and dexamethasone given together chronically, sharply increased potassium excretion but did not restore excretion to control levels. Only acute aldosterone infusion (0.2 microgram/100 g body wt bolus plus 0.2 microgram/100 g body wt per hour), superimposed upon chronic aldosterone and dexamethasone treatment, fully restored potassium excretion to control levels. This aldosterone induced enhancement of potassium excretion, both chronic and acute, was not associated with hyperkalemia, and increased urine flow or natriuresis. Thus, physiological levels of both classes of adrenal corticosteroids stimulate renal potassium excretion albeit by different mechanisms. Mineralocorticoids stimulate tubular potassium excretion directly, whereas glucocorticoids augment excretion indirectly by increasing fluid and sodium delivery along the distal nephron.
PMCID: PMC425461  PMID: 3921569
24.  Effect of trifluoperazine on carrageenan-induced acute inflammation in intact and adrenalectomized rats 
The aim of present study was to investigate the effect of trifluoperazine (TFP) on carrageenan-induced rat's paw edema in intact and adrenalectomized (ADX). TFP (0.2 and 8 mg/kg) were given intraperitoneally just before the intraplantar injection of 0.1 ml of 0.5% carrageenan solution. After four hours, paw edema was assessed by calculating the paw volume changes and extravasations of Evans blue dye as inflammatory indicators. In both ADX and control groups, administration of TFP reduced inflammatory parameters (paw volume and tissue content of Evans blue dye) in inflamed paw. Our findings suggest that TFP can effectively reduce carrageenan-induced paw edema in both ADX and control rats. Therefore, anti-inflammatory effect of these drugs does not need the adrenal gland activity.
PMCID: PMC3047245  PMID: 21383884
Paw edema; trifluoperazine; adrenalectomy; carrageenan; inflammation
25.  Loss of hepatic aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein in adrenalectomized rats does not involve altered levels of the receptor’s cytoplasmic chaperones 
Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology  2013;91(12):10.1139/cjpp-2013-0238.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) plays physiological roles and mediates adaptive and toxic responses to environmental pollutants. Adrenalectomized rats display decreased hepatic AHR protein levels, with no change in mRNA, and selectively impaired induction of cytochrome P450 1B1. This was similar to reported phenotypes for mice with hepatocyte-specific conditional deletion of AHR-interacting protein (AIP), a chaperone protein of the cytoplasmic AHR complex. In the current study, we demonstrated that adrenalectomy (ADX) and acute dexamethasone (DEX) treatment do not alter hepatic AIP mRNA or protein levels. Also, hepatic protein levels of the 90-kDa heat shock protein and p23 were not altered by ADX or acute DEX treatment. These results suggest that the loss of rat hepatic AHR protein following ADX cannot be explained by changes in the levels of the receptor’s cytoplasmic chaperone proteins.
PMCID: PMC3858301  PMID: 24289088 CAMSID: cams3774
aryl hydrocarbon receptor; adrenalectomy; dexamethasone; aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein; 90-kDa heat shock protein

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