Although widely prescribed for their potent antiinflammatory actions, glucocorticoid drugs (e.g., dexamethasone) cause undesirable side effects that are features of the metabolic syndrome, including hyperglycemia, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes. Liver x receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors that respond to cholesterol metabolites and regulate the expression of a subset of glucocorticoid target genes. Here, we show LXRβ is required to mediate many of the negative side effects of glucocorticoids. Mice lacking LXRβ (but not LXRα) were resistant to dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hepatic steatosis, but remained sensitive to dexamethasone-dependent repression of the immune system. In vivo, LXRα/β knockout mice demonstrated reduced dexamethasone-induced expression of the key hepatic gluconeogenic gene, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK). In perfused liver and primary mouse hepatocytes, LXRβ was required for glucocorticoid-induced recruitment of the glucocorticoid receptor to the PEPCK promoter. These findings suggest a new avenue for the design of safer glucocorticoid drugs through a mechanism of selective glucocorticoid receptor transactivation.
The liver X receptor (LXR) signaling pathway is an important modulator of atherosclerosis, but the relative importance of the two LXRs in atheroprotection is incompletely understood. We show here that LXRα, the dominant LXR isotype expressed in liver, plays a particularly important role in whole-body sterol homeostasis. In the context of the ApoE−/− background, deletion of LXRα, but not LXRβ, led to prominent increases in atherosclerosis and peripheral cholesterol accumulation. However, combined loss of LXRα and LXRβ on the ApoE−/− background led to an even more severe cholesterol accumulation phenotype compared to LXRα−/−ApoE−/− mice, indicating that LXRβ does contribute to reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) but that this contribution is quantitatively less important than that of LXRα. Unexpectedly, macrophages did not appear to underlie the differential phenotype of LXRα−/−ApoE−/− and LXRβ−/−ApoE−/− mice, as in vitro assays revealed no difference in the efficiency of cholesterol efflux from isolated macrophages. By contrast, in vivo assays of RCT using exogenously labeled macrophages revealed a marked defect in fecal sterol efflux in LXRα−/−ApoE−/− mice. Mechanistically, this defect was linked to a specific requirement for LXRα−/− in the expression of hepatic LXR target genes involved in sterol transport and metabolism. These studies reveal a previously unrecognized requirement for hepatic LXRα for optimal reverse cholesterol transport in mice.
atherosclerosis; nuclear receptor; cholesterol metabolism; apoliporotein
Liver X receptors (LXR) are stimulated by cholesterol-derived oxysterols and serve as transcription factors to regulate gene expression in response to alterations in cholesterol. In the present study, we investigated the role of LXRs in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and discovered that LXRβ has nonnuclear function and stimulates EC migration by activating endothelial NOS (eNOS). This process is mediated by estrogen receptor-α (ERα). LXR activation promoted the direct binding of LXRβ to the ligand-binding domain of ERα and initiated an extranuclear signaling cascade that requires ERα Ser118 phosphorylation by PI3K/AKT. Further studies revealed that LXRβ and ERα are colocalized and functionally coupled in EC plasma membrane caveolae/lipid rafts. In isolated aortic rings, LXR activation of NOS caused relaxation, while in mice, LXR activation stimulated carotid artery reendothelialization via LXRβ- and ERα-dependent processes. These studies demonstrate that LXRβ has nonnuclear function in EC caveolae/lipid rafts that entails crosstalk with ERα, which promotes NO production and maintains endothelial monolayer integrity in vivo.
Liver X receptors (LXRs) are key regulators of macrophage function, controlling transcriptional programs involved in lipid homeostasis and inflammation. However, exactly how LXRs modulate inflammation during infection remains unknown. To explore this, we used a mouse model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Upon intratracheal infection with M. tuberculosis, LXRs and LXR target genes were induced in CD11c+ lung and alveolar cells. Furthermore, mice deficient in both LXR isoforms, LXRα and LXRβ (Lxra–/–Lxrb–/– mice), were more susceptible to infection, developing higher bacterial burdens and an increase in the size and number of granulomatous lesions. Interestingly, mice solely deficient in LXRα, but not those lacking only LXRβ, mirrored the susceptibility of the Lxra–/–Lxrb–/– animals. Lxra–/–Lxrb–/– mice failed to mount an effective early neutrophilic airway response to infection and showed dysregulation of both pro- and antiinflammatory factors in CD11c+ lung cells. T cell responses were strongly affected in Lxra–/–Lxrb–/– mice, showing near-complete abrogation of the infection-induced Th1 function — and even more so Th17 function — in the lungs. Treatment of WT mice with the LXR agonists TO901317 and GW3965 resulted in a 10-fold decrease of the pulmonary bacterial burden and a comparable increase of Th1/Th17 function in the lungs. The dependence of LXR signaling on the neutrophil IL-17 axis represents what we believe to be a novel function for these nuclear receptors in resistance to M. tuberculosis infection and may provide a new target for therapeutics.
Thyroid hormone receptor (TR) and liver X-receptor (LXR) are the master regulators of lipid metabolism. Remarkably, a mouse with a targeted deletion of both LXRα and LXRβ is resistant to western diet-induced obesity, and exhibits ectopic liver expression of the thyroid hormone activating type 2 deiodinase (D2). We hypothesized that LXR/retinoid X-receptor (RXR) signaling inhibits hepatic D2 expression, and studied this using a luciferase reporter containing the human DIO2 (hDIO2) promoter in HepG2 cells. Given that, in contrast to mammals, the chicken liver normally expresses D2, the chicken DIO2 (cDIO2) promoter was also studied. 22(R)-OH-cholesterol negatively regulated hDIO2 in a dose-dependent manner (100 μM, approximately twofold), while it failed to affect the cDIO2 promoter. Truncations in the hDIO2 promoter identified the region −901 to −584 bp as critical for negative regulation. We also investigated if 9-cis retinoic acid (9-cis RA), the ligand for the heterodimeric partner of TR and LXR, RXR, could regulate the hDIO2 promoter. Notably, 9-cis RA repressed the hDIO2 luciferase reporter (1 μM, approximately fourfold) in a dose-dependent manner, while coexpression of an inactive mutant RXR abolished this effect. However, it is unlikely that RXR homodimers mediate the repression of hDIO2 since mutagenesis of a DR-1 at −506 bp did not interfere with 9-cis RA-mediated repression. Our data indicate that hDIO2 transcription is negatively regulated by both 22(R)-OH-cholesterol and 9-cis RA, which is consistent with LXR/RXR involvement. In vivo, the inhibition of D2-mediated tri-iodothyronine (T3) production by cholesterol/9-cis RA could function as a feedback loop, given that T3 decreases hepatic cholesterol levels.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system controls blood pressure and salt-volume homeostasis. Renin, which is the first enzymatic step of the cascade, is critically regulated at the transcriptional level. In the present study, we investigated the role of liver X receptor α (LXRα) and LXRβ in the regulation of renin. In vitro, both LXRs could bind to a noncanonical responsive element in the renin promoter and regulated renin transcription. While LXRα functioned as a cAMP-activated factor, LXRβ was inversely affected by cAMP. In vivo, LXRs colocalized in juxtaglomerular cells, in which LXRα was specifically enriched, and interacted with the renin promoter. In mouse models, renin-angiotensin activation was associated with increased binding of LXRα to the responsive element. Moreover, acute administration of LXR agonists was followed by upregulation of renin transcription. In LXRα–/– mice, the elevation of renin triggered by adrenergic stimulation was abolished. Untreated LXRβ–/– mice exhibited reduced kidney renin mRNA levels compared with controls. LXRα–/–LXRβ–/– mice showed a combined phenotype of lower basal renin and blunted adrenergic response. In conclusion, we show herein that LXRα and LXRβ regulate renin expression in vivo by directly interacting with the renin promoter and that the cAMP/LXRα signaling pathway is required for the adrenergic control of the renin-angiotensin system.
Aging in human skin is the composite of time-dependent intrinsic aging plus photoaging induced by chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Nuclear hormone receptors coordinate diverse processes including metabolic homeostasis. Liver X receptor β (LXRβ) is a close human homologue of daf-12, a regulator of nematode longevity. LXRβ is positively regulated by sirtuin-1 and resveratrol, while LXRβ-null mice show transcriptional profiles similar to those seen in aged human skin. In these studies, we examined LXRβ expression in aged and photoaged human skin. Volunteers were recruited to assess intrinsic aging and photoaging. Epidermal LXRβ mRNA was examined by in situ hybridization while protein was identified by immunofluorescence. No significant changes were observed in either LXRβ mRNA or protein expression between young and aged volunteers (mRNA p = 0.90; protein p = 0.26). Similarly, LXRβ protein expression was unaltered in photoaged skin (p = 0.75). Our data therefore suggest that, while not playing a major role in skin aging, robust cutaneous expression implies a fundamental role for LXRβ in epidermal biology.
Nuclear hormone receptors; Skin; Aging; Liver X receptor
The nuclear oxysterol-receptor paralogues LXRα and LXRβ share a high degree of amino acid identity and bind endogenous oxysterol ligands with similar affinities. While LXRα has been established as an important regulator of cholesterol catabolism in cholesterol-fed mice, little is known about the function of LXRβ in vivo. We have generated mouse lines with targeted disruptions of each of these LXR receptors and have compared their responses to dietary cholesterol. Serum and hepatic cholesterol levels and lipoprotein profiles of cholesterol-fed animals revealed no significant differences between LXRβ–/– and wild-type mice. Steady-state mRNA levels of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, farnesyl diphosphate synthase, and squalene synthase were increased in LXRβ–/– mice compared with LXRβ+/+ mice, when fed standard chow. The mRNA levels for cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase, oxysterol 7α-hydroxylase, sterol 12α-hydroxylase, and sterol 27-hydroxylase, respectively, were comparable in these strains, both on standard and 2% cholesterol chow. Our results indicate that LXRβ–/– mice — in contrast to LXRα–/– mice — maintain their resistance to dietary cholesterol, despite subtle effects on the expression of genes coding for enzymes involved in lipid metabolism. Thus, our data indicate that LXRβ has no complete overlapping function compared with LXRα in the liver.
Previous studies have indicated that the latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) phenotype is heterogeneous and that LADA patients share features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in various proportions. We tested for association of known type 1 and type 2 diabetes susceptibility genes in LADA subjects and analyzed relationships to a marker of autoimmune activity (titers of anti-GAD) and a phenotypic risk factor of type 2 diabetes (BMI).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Data were assembled from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) study, which comprises the adult population of an entire county in Norway. We genotyped 60 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to be associated with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including 14 tag SNPs used for HLA haplotyping in 120 type 1 diabetic, 126 LADA, and 1,090 type 2 diabetic patients and 1,503 age- and sex-matched nondiabetic subjects.
The majority of the strongly associated HLA haplotypes for type 1 diabetes were significantly associated with LADA in general, but mainly with high anti-GAD LADA patients. Two distinct HLA haplotypes were associated only with LADA and mainly in low anti-GAD LADA patients. There were no associations of non-HLA type 1 diabetes loci with LADA. Of type 2 diabetes–associated genes, the CC/CT genotypes of rs7961581 (TSPAN8) and the obesity-linked AA/AC genotypes of rs8050136 (FTO) were associated with LADA in general, but mainly in low anti-GAD LADA patients (P = 0.004 and P = 0.004, respectively).
Genetic heterogeneity in LADA is linked to various degrees of autoimmune activity and may be partly distinct from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Liver X receptors (LXRs) are key regulators of lipid and cholesterol metabolism in mammals. Little is known, however, about the function and evolution of LXRs in non-mammalian species. The present study reports the cloning of LXRs from African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis), and zebrafish (Danio rerio), and their functional characterization and comparison with human and mouse LXRs. Additionally, an ortholog of LXR in the chordate invertebrate Ciona intestinalis was cloned and functionally characterized. Ligand specificities of the frog and zebrafish LXRs were very similar to LXRα and LXRβ from human and mouse. All vertebrate LXRs studied were activated robustly by the synthetic ligands T-0901317 and GW3965 and by a variety of oxysterols. In contrast, Ciona LXR was not activated by T-0901317 or GW3965 but was activated by a limited number of oxysterols, as well as some androstane and pregnane steroids. Pharmacophore analysis, homology modeling, and docking studies of Ciona LXR predict a receptor with a more restricted ligand-binding pocket and less intrinsic disorder in the ligand-binding domain compared to vertebrate LXRs. The results suggest that LXRs have a long evolutionary history, with vertebrate LXRs diverging from invertebrate LXRs in ligand specificity.
oxysterols; nuclear hormone receptors; Urochordata; structure-activity relationship; molecular models; androstanes; pregnanes
First discovered as orphan receptors, liver X receptors (LXRs) were subsequently identified as the nuclear receptor target of the cholesterol metabolites, oxysterols.1 There are 2 LXR receptors encoded by distinct genes: LXRα is most highly expressed in the liver, adipose, kidney, adrenal tissues and macrophages, and LXRβ is ubiquitously expressed. Despite differential tissue distribution, these isoforms have 78% homology in their ligand-binding domain and appear to respond to the same endogenous ligands. Work over the past 10 years has shown that the LXR pathway regulates lipid metabolism and inflammation via both the induction and repression of target genes. Given the importance of cholesterol regulation and inflammation in the development of cardiovascular disease, it is not surprising that activation of the LXR pathway attenuates various mechanisms underlying atherosclerotic plaque development.2 In this minireview we will discuss the impact of the LXR pathway on both cholesterol metabolism and atherosclerosis.
Liver X receptors (LXRs) α and β are transcriptional regulators of cholesterol homeostasis and potential targets for the development of antiatherosclerosis drugs. However, the specific roles of individual LXR isotypes in atherosclerosis and the pharmacological effects of synthetic agonists remain unclear. Previous work has shown that mice lacking LXRα accumulate cholesterol in the liver but not in peripheral tissues. In striking contrast, we demonstrate here that LXRα–/–apoE–/– mice exhibit extreme cholesterol accumulation in peripheral tissues, a dramatic increase in whole-body cholesterol burden, and accelerated atherosclerosis. The phenotype of these mice suggests that the level of LXR pathway activation in macrophages achieved by LXRβ and endogenous ligand is unable to maintain homeostasis in the setting of hypercholesterolemia. Surprisingly, however, a highly efficacious synthetic agonist was able to compensate for the loss of LXRα. Treatment of LXRα–/–apoE–/– mice with synthetic LXR ligand ameliorates the cholesterol overload phenotype and reduces atherosclerosis. These observations indicate that LXRα has an essential role in maintaining peripheral cholesterol homeostasis in the context of hypercholesterolemia and provide in vivo support for drug development strategies targeting LXRβ.
The liver X receptors (LXRs) are a family of nuclear receptor transcription factors that are activated by oxysterols and have defined roles in both lipid metabolism and cholesterol regulation. LXRs also affect antimicrobial responses and have anti-inflammatory effects in macrophages. As mice lacking LXRs are more susceptible to infection by intracellular bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we hypothesized that LXR might also influence macrophage responses to the intracellular protozoan parasite Leishmania chagasi/infantum, a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis.
Methods and Findings
Surprisingly, both LXRα knock-out and LXRα/LXRβ double-knock-out (DKO) mice were markedly resistant to systemic L. chagasi/infantum infection compared to wild-type mice. Parasite loads in the livers and spleens of these animals were significantly lower than in wild-type mice 28 days after challenge. Bone marrow-derived macrophages from LXR-DKO mice infected with L. chagasi/infantum in vitro in the presence of IFN-γ were able to kill parasites more efficiently than wild-type macrophages. This enhanced killing by LXR-deficient macrophages correlated with higher levels of nitric oxide produced, as well as increased gene expression of IL-1β. Additionally, LXR ligands abrogated nitric oxide production in wild-type macrophages in response to infection.
These observations suggest that LXR-deficient mice and macrophages mount antimicrobial responses to Leishmania infection that are distinct from those mounted by wild-type mice and macrophages. Furthermore, comparison of these findings to other intracellular infection models suggests that LXR signaling pathways modulate host antimicrobial responses in a complex and pathogen-specific manner. The LXR pathway thus represents a potential therapeutic target for modulating immunity against Leishmania or other intracellular parasites.
Leishmania spp. are protozoan single-cell parasites that are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected sand fly, and can cause a wide spectrum of disease, ranging from self-healing skin lesions to potentially fatal systemic infections. Certain species of Leishmania that cause visceral (systemic) disease are a source of significant mortality worldwide. Here, we use a mouse model of visceral Leishmania infection to investigate the effect of a host gene called LXR. The LXRs have demonstrated important functions in both cholesterol regulation and inflammation. These processes, in turn, are closely related to lipid metabolism and the development of atherosclerosis. LXRs have also previously been shown to be involved in protection against other intracellular pathogens that infect macrophages, including certain bacteria. We demonstrate here that LXR is involved in susceptibility to Leishmania, as animals deficient in the LXR gene are much more resistant to infection with the parasite. We also demonstrate that macrophages lacking LXR kill parasites more readily, and make higher levels of nitric oxide (an antimicrobial mediator) and IL-1β (an inflammatory cytokine) in response to Leishmania infection. These results could have important implications in designing therapeutics against this deadly pathogen, as well as other intracellular microbial pathogens.
The liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ) are transcription factors that control the expression of genes primarily involved in cholesterol metabolism. In brain, in addition to normal neuronal function, cholesterol metabolism is important for APP proteolytic cleavage, secretase activities, Aβ aggregation and clearance. Particularly significant in this respect is the LXR mediated transcriptional control of APOE, which is the only proven risk factor for late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Using a transactivation reporter assay for screening pharmacologically active compounds and off patent drugs we identified the Proton Pump Inhibitor Lansoprazole as an LXR agonist. In secondary screens and counter-screening assays, it was confirmed that Lansoprazole directly activates LXR, increases the expression of LXR target genes in brain-derived human cell lines, and increases Abca1 and Apo-E protein levels in primary astrocytes derived from wild type but not LXRα/β double knockout mice. Other PPIs activate LXR as well, but the efficiency of activation depends on their structural similarities to Lansoprazole. The identification of widely used, drug with LXR agonist-like activity opens the possibility for systematic preclinical testing in at least two diseases – Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis.
Liver X Receptors; Proton Pump Inhibitors; Gene expression; LXR knockout mice; Primary astrocytes; ABCA1; APOE
AIM: To investigate the contribution of polymorphisms in nuclear receptors to risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
METHODS: Genotypes of nuclear factor (NF)-κB (NFKB1) NFκB -94ins/del (rs28362491); peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ (PPARγ) PPARγ Pro12Ala (rs 1801282) and C1431T (rs 3856806); pregnane X receptor (PXR) (NR1I2) PXR A-24381C (rs1523127), C8055T (2276707), and A7635G (rs 6785049); and liver X receptor (LXR) (NR1H2) LXR T-rs1405655-C and T-rs2695121-C were assessed in a Danish case-control study of 327 Crohn’s disease patients, 495 ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, and 779 healthy controls. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI were estimated by logistic regression models.
RESULTS: The PXR A7635G variant, the PPARγ Pro12Ala and LXR T-rs2695121-C homozygous variant genotypes were associated with risk of UC (OR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.03-1.66, P = 0.03, OR: 2.30, 95% CI: 1.04-5.08, P = 0.04, and OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.00-1.98, P = 0.05, respectively) compared to the corresponding homozygous wild-type genotypes. Among never smokers, PXR A7635G and the LXR T-rs1405655-C and T-rs2695121-C variant genotypes were associated with risk of IBD (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.05-1.91, P = 0.02, OR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.21-2.20, P = 0.001, and OR: 2.02, 95% CI: 1.36-2.99, P = 0.0005, respectively) compared to the respective homozygous variant genotypes. PXR A7635G (rs6785049) variant genotype was associated with a higher risk of UC diagnosis before the age of 40 years and with a higher risk of extensive disease (OR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.03-1.75 and OR: 2.49, 95% CI: 1.24-5.03, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Common PXR and LXR polymorphisms may contribute to risk of IBD, especially among never smokers.
Crohn’s disease; Genetic susceptibility; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Smoking status; Transcription factors; Ulcerative colitis
Liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ) are important regulators of cholesterol and lipid metabolism, and their activation has been shown to inhibit cardiovascular disease and reduce atherosclerosis in animal models. Small molecule agonists of LXR activity are therefore of great therapeutic interest. However, the finding that such agonists also promote hepatic lipogenesis has led to the idea that hepatic LXR activity is undesirable from a therapeutic perspective. To investigate whether this might be true, we performed gene targeting to selectively delete LXRα in hepatocytes. Liver-specific deletion of LXRα in mice substantially decreased reverse cholesterol transport, cholesterol catabolism, and cholesterol excretion, revealing the essential importance of hepatic LXRα for whole body cholesterol homeostasis. Additionally, in a pro-atherogenic background, liver-specific deletion of LXRα increased atherosclerosis, uncovering an important function for hepatic LXR activity in limiting cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, synthetic LXR agonists still elicited anti-atherogenic activity in the absence of hepatic LXRα, indicating that the ability of agonists to reduce cardiovascular disease did not require an increase in cholesterol excretion. Furthermore, when non-atherogenic mice were treated with synthetic LXR agonists, liver-specific deletion of LXRα eliminated the detrimental effect of increased plasma triglycerides, while the beneficial effect of increased plasma HDL was unaltered. In sum, these observations suggest that therapeutic strategies that bypass the liver or limit the activation of hepatic LXRs should still be beneficial for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D receptor (VDR) and liver X receptor (LXR) are nuclear receptors, which regulate gene transcription upon binding of their specific ligands. VDR seems to play a role in the regulation of prostate cancer cell proliferation. ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) is known to be a target gene of LXR and it has been reported to be inhibited by androgen and to be involved in the regulation of LNCaP proliferation. We find that calcitriol (1α,25(OH)2D3) inhibits both basal and a LXR agonist, TO-901317, induced ABCA1 mRNA expression but has no effect on the mRNA expression of ATP-binding cassette transporter G1 (ABCG1), LXRα nor LXRβ. TO-901317 increases both basal and calcitriol induced 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-24-hydroxylase (CYP24) mRNA expression and it slightly but significantly inhibits VDR mRNA expression. The inhibition of ABCA1 by calcitriol appears to be androgen-independent. Cell growth assay shows that when each of calcitriol and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) was co-treated with ABCA1 blocker, glybenclamide, cell-growth is significantly decreased compared to their own treatments respectively. Our study suggests a possible interaction between calcitriol and TO-901317 in LNCaP cells. Alike DHT, the inhibition of ABCA1 by calcitriol may be involved in its regulation of LNCaP growth.
mRNA regulation; ABCA1; CYP24; calcitriol; LXR agonist; interaction; cell proliferation
Previous work has implicated the nuclear receptors liver X receptor α (LXRα) and LXRβ in the regulation of macrophage gene expression in response to oxidized lipids. Macrophage lipid loading leads to ligand activation of LXRs and to induction of a pathway for cholesterol efflux involving the LXR target genes ABCA1 and apoE. We demonstrate here that autoregulation of the LXRα gene is an important component of this lipid-inducible efflux pathway in human macrophages. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein, oxysterols, and synthetic LXR ligands induce expression of LXRα mRNA in human monocyte-derived macrophages and human macrophage cell lines but not in murine peritoneal macrophages or cell lines. This is in contrast to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ)-specific ligands, which stimulate LXRα expression in both human and murine macrophages. We further demonstrate that LXR and PPARγ ligands cooperate to induce LXRα expression in human but not murine macrophages. Analysis of the human LXRα promoter led to the identification of multiple LXR response elements. Interestingly, the previously identified PPAR response element (PPRE) in the murine LXRα gene is not conserved in humans; however, a different PPRE is present in the human LXR 5′-flanking region. These results have implications for cholesterol metabolism in human macrophages and its potential to be regulated by synthetic LXR and/or PPARγ ligands. The ability of LXRα to regulate its own promoter is likely to be an integral part of the macrophage physiologic response to lipid loading.
The growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) (ghrelin receptor) plays an important role in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis. The GHSR gene lies on human chromosome 3q26 within a quantitative trait locus strongly linked to multiple phenotypes related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Because the biological function and location of the GHSR gene make it an excellent candidate gene, we tested the relation between common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the GHSR gene and human obesity. We performed a comprehensive analysis of SNPs, linkage disequilibrium (LD), and haplotype structure across the entire GHSR gene region (99.3 kb) in 178 pedigrees with multiple obese members (DNA of 1,095 Caucasians) and in an independent sample of the general population (MONICA Augsburg left ventricular hypertrophy substudy; DNA of 1,418 Caucasians). The LD analysis revealed a disequilibrium block consisting of five SNPs, consistent in both study cohorts. We found linkage among all five SNPs, their haplotypes, and BMI. Further, we found suggestive evidence for transmission disequilibrium for the minor SNP alleles (P < 0.05) and the two most common haplotypes with the obesity affection status (“susceptible” P = 0.025, “nonsusceptible” P = 0.045) in the family cohort using the family-based association test program. Replication of these findings in the general population resulted in stronger evidence for an association of the SNPs (best P = 0.00001) and haplotypes with the disease (“susceptible” P = 0.002, “nonsusceptible” P = 0.002). To our knowledge, these data are the first to demonstrate linkage and association of SNPs and haplotypes within the GHSR gene region and human obesity. This linkage, together with significant transmission disequilibrium in families and replication of this association in an independent population, provides evidence that common SNPs and haplotypes within the GHSR region are involved in the pathogenesis of human obesity.
Chronic hyperglycemia confers increased risk for long-term diabetes-associated complications and repeated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) measures are a widely used marker for glycemic control in diabetes treatment and follow-up. A recent genome-wide association study revealed four genetic loci, which were associated with HbA1c levels in adults with type 1 diabetes. We aimed to evaluate the effect of these loci on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.
We genotyped 1,486 subjects with type 2 diabetes from a Norwegian population-based cohort (HUNT2) for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located near the BNC2, SORCS1, GSC and WDR72 loci. Through regression models, we examined their effects on HbA1c and non-fasting glucose levels individually and in a combined genetic score model.
No significant associations with HbA1c or glucose levels were found for the SORCS1, BNC2, GSC or WDR72 variants (all P-values > 0.05). Although the observed effects were non-significant and of much smaller magnitude than previously reported in type 1 diabetes, the SORCS1 risk variant showed a direction consistent with increased HbA1c and glucose levels, with an observed effect of 0.11% (P = 0.13) and 0.13 mmol/l (P = 0.43) increase per risk allele for HbA1c and glucose, respectively. In contrast, the WDR72 risk variant showed a borderline association with reduced HbA1c levels (β = -0.21, P = 0.06), and direction consistent with decreased glucose levels (β = -0.29, P = 0.29). The allele count model gave no evidence for a relationship between increasing number of risk alleles and increasing HbA1c levels (β = 0.04, P = 0.38).
The four recently reported SNPs affecting glycemic control in type 1 diabetes had no apparent effect on HbA1c in type 2 diabetes individually or by using a combined genetic score model. However, for the SORCS1 SNP, our findings do not rule out a possible relationship with HbA1c levels. Hence, further studies in other populations are needed to elucidate whether these novel sequence variants, especially rs1358030 near the SORCS1 locus, affect glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.
Cholesterol is the obligate precursor to adrenal steroids but is cytotoxic at high concentrations. Here, we show the role of the liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ) in preventing accumulation of free cholesterol in mouse adrenal glands by controlling expression of genes involved in all aspects of cholesterol utilization, including the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, StAR, a novel LXR target. Under chronic dietary stress, adrenal glands from Lxrαβ–/– mice accumulated free cholesterol. In contrast, wild-type animals maintained cholesterol homeostasis through basal expression of genes involved in cholesterol efflux and storage (ABC transporter A1 [ABCA1], apoE, SREBP-1c) while preventing steroidogenic gene (StAR) expression. Upon treatment with an LXR agonist that mimics activation by oxysterols, expression of these target genes was increased. Basally, Lxrαβ–/– mice exhibited a marked decrease in ABCA1 and a derepression of StAR expression, causing a net decrease in cholesterol efflux and an increase in steroidogenesis. These changes occurred under conditions that prevented the acute stress response and resulted in a phenotype more specific to the loss of LXRα, including hypercorticosteronemia, cholesterol ester accumulation, and adrenomegaly. These results imply LXRα provides a safety valve to limit free cholesterol levels as a basal protective mechanism in the adrenal gland, where cholesterol is under constant flux.
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) plays a critical role in cell growth and inflammation during the progression of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Several members of nuclear receptor superfamily, including liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ), have been shown to suppress inflammatory responses, but little is known about their effects in cardiomyocytes.
Methods and results
We investigated LXR expression patterns in pressure overload-induced hypertrophic hearts and the hypertrophic growth of the LXRα-deficient hearts from mice (C57/B6) in response to pressure overload. The underlying mechanisms were also explored using cultured myocytes. We found that cardiac expression of LXRα was upregulated in pressure overload-induced left ventricular hypertrophy in mice. Transverse aorta coarctation-induced left ventricular hypertrophy was exacerbated in LXRα-null mice relative to control mice. A synthetic LXR ligand, T1317, suppressed cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in response to angiotensin II and lipopolysaccharide treatments. In addition, LXR activation suppressed NF-κB signalling and the expression of associated inflammatory factors. Overexpression of constitutively active LXRα and β in cultured myocytes suppressed NF-κB activity.
LXRs are negative regulators of cardiac growth and inflammation via suppressing NF-κB signalling in cardiomyocytes. This should provide new insights into novel therapeutic targets for treating cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
LXRα; LXRβ; Cardiac hypertrophy; Inflammation; Angiotensin II; LPS; NF-κB; Cardiomyocytes
In an attempt to identify transcription factors which activate sterol-regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) transcription, we screened an expression cDNA library from adipose tissue of SREBP-1 knockout mice using a reporter gene containing the 2.6-kb mouse SREBP-1 gene promoter. We cloned and identified the oxysterol receptors liver X receptor (LXRα) and LXRβ as strong activators of the mouse SREBP-1c promoter. In the transfection studies, expression of either LXRα or -β activated the SREBP-1c promoter-luciferase gene in a dose-dependent manner. Deletion and mutation studies, as well as gel mobility shift assays, located an LXR response element complex consisting of two new LXR-binding motifs which showed high similarity to an LXR response element recently found in the ABC1 gene promoter, a reverse cholesterol transporter. Addition of an LXR ligand, 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol, increased the promoter activity. Coexpression of retinoid X receptor (RXR), a heterodimeric partner, and its ligand 9-cis-retinoic acid also synergistically activated the SREBP-1c promoter. In HepG2 cells, SREBP-1c mRNA and precursor protein levels were induced by treatment with 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol and 9-cis-retinoic acid, confirming that endogenous LXR-RXR activation can induce endogenous SREBP-1c expression. The activation of SREBP-1c by LXR is associated with a slight increase in nuclear SREBP-1c, resulting in activation of the gene for fatty acid synthase, one of its downstream genes, as measured by the luciferase assay. These data demonstrate that LXR-RXR can modify the expression of genes for lipogenic enzymes by regulating SREBP-1c expression, providing a novel link between fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism.
Elevated soluble (s) E-selectin levels have been associated with various cardiovascular diseases. Recently, genetic variants in the ABO blood group have been related to E-selectin levels in a small cohort of patients with type 1 diabetes. We evaluated whether this association is reproducible in two large samples of Caucasians.
Methodology/ Principal Findings
Data of the present study was drawn from the population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg study (n = 1,482) and the patients-based LURIC study (n = 1,546). A high-density genotyping array (50K IBC Chip) containing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from E-selectin candidate genes selected on known biology of E-selectin metabolism, mouse genetic studies, and human genetic association studies, was used for genotyping. Linear regression analyses with adjustment for age and sex (and survey in KORA) were applied to assess associations between gene variants and sE-selectin concentrations. A number of 12 SNPs (in KORA) and 13 SNPs (in LURIC), all from the ABO blood group gene, were significantly associated with the log-transformed concentration of E-selectin. The strongest association was observed for rs651007 with a change of log-transformed sE-selectin per one copy of the minor allele of −0.37 ng/ml (p = 1.87×10−103) in KORA and −0.35 ng/ml (p = 5.11×10−84) in LURIC. Inclusion of rs651007 increased the explained sE-selectin variance by 0.256 in KORA and 0.213 in LURIC. All SNPs had minor allele frequencies above 20% showing a substantial gene variation.
Our findings in two independent samples indicate that the genetic variants at the ABO locus affect sE-selectin levels. Since distinct genome-wide association studies linked the ABO gene with myocardial infarction (MI) in the presence of coronary atherosclerosis and with coronary artery disease, these findings may not only enhance our understanding of adhesion molecule biology, but may also provide a focus for several novel research avenues.
In this issue of the JCI, Denechaud et al. report studies investigating the role of the liver X receptors (LXRs) LXRα and LXRβ in carbohydrate sensing by the liver (see the related article beginning on page 956). The results of this study, which utilized LXRα/β double-KO mice, strongly contradict a recent Nature report that proposed that LXRα/β sense glucose independent of metabolic flux. The reported findings further support a key role for the carbohydrate-responsive element–binding protein (ChREBP) in the regulation of lipogenic genes by glucose and dietary carbohydrates.