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1.  Functional and genetic analysis in type 2 diabetes of Liver X receptor alleles – a cohort study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:27.
Background
Liver X receptor alpha (LXRA) and beta (LXRB) regulate glucose and lipid homeostasis in model systems but their importance in human physiology is poorly understood. This project aimed to determine whether common genetic variations in LXRA and LXRB associate with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and quantitative measures of glucose homeostasis, and, if so, reveal the underlying mechanisms.
Methods
Eight common single nucleotide polymorphisms in LXRA and LXRB were analyzed for association with T2D in one French cohort (N = 988 cases and 941 controls), and for association with quantitative measures reflecting glucose homeostasis in two non-diabetic population-based samples comprising N = 697 and N = 1344 adults. Investigated quantitative phenotypes included fasting plasma glucose, serum insulin, and HOMAIR as measure of overall insulin resistance. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed in N = 1344 of adults. The two alleles of the proximal LXRB promoter, differing only at the SNP rs17373080, were cloned into reporter vectors and transiently transfected, whereupon allele-specific luciferase activity was measured. rs17373080 overlapped, according to in silico analysis, with a binding site for Nuclear factor 1 (NF1). Promoter alleles were tested for interaction with NF1 using direct DNA binding and transactivation assays.
Results
Genotypes at two LXRB promoter SNPs, rs35463555 and rs17373080, associated nominally with T2D (P values 0.047 and 0.026). No LXRA or LXRB SNP associated with quantitative measures reflecting glucose homeostasis. The rs17373080 C allele displayed higher basal transcription activity (P value < 0.05). The DNA-mobility shift assay indicated that oligonucleotides corresponding to either rs17373080 allele bound NF1 transcription factors in whole cell extracts to the same extent. Different NF1 family members showed different capacity to transactivate the LXRB gene promoter, but there was no difference between promoter alleles in NF1 induced transactivation activity.
Conclusion
Variations in the LXRB gene promoter may be part of the aetiology of T2D. However, the association between LXRB rs35463555 and rs17373080, and T2D are preliminary and needs to be investigated in additional larger cohorts. Common genetic variation in LXRA is unlikely to affect the risk of developing T2D or quantitative phenotypes related to glucose homeostasis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-10-27
PMCID: PMC2664799  PMID: 19292929
2.  Liver X Receptor Gene Polymorphisms in Tuberculosis: Effect on Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95954.
Objectives
The Liver X receptors (LXRs), Liver X receptor A (LXRA) and Liver X receptor B (LXRB), regulate lipid metabolism and antimicrobial response. LXRs have a crucial role in the control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). Lacking LXRs mice is more susceptibility to infection M.tb, developing higher bacterial burdens and an increase in the size and number of granulomatous lesions. We aimed to assess the associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in LXRs and risk of tuberculosis.
Methods
We sequenced the LXRs genes to detect SNPs and to examine genotypic frequencies in 600 patients and 620 healthy controls to investigate for associations with tuberculosis (TB) in the Chinese Han population. DNA re-sequencing revealed eight common variants in the LXRs genes.
Results
The G allele of rs1449627 and the T allele of rs1405655 demonstrated an increased risk of developing TB (p<0.001, p = 0.002), and the T allele of rs3758673, the T allele of rs2279238, and the C allele of rs1449626 in LXRA and the C allele of rs17373080, the G allele of rs2248949, and the C allele of rs1052677 in LXRB were protective against TB patients compared to healthy controls (p = 0.0002, p = 0.006, p<0.001, p = 0.004, p = 0.008, p = 0.003, respectively). All SNP genotypes were significantly associated with TB. An estimation of the frequencies of haplotypes revealed two potential risk haplotypes,GGCG in LXRB (p = 0.004,) and TTCG in LXRA (p<0.001, p = 0.004). Moreover, three protective haplotypes, TTAT and CCAT in LXRA and CATC in LXRB, were significantly “protective” (p = 0.008, p<0.001, p = 0.031) for TB. Furthermore, we determined that the LXRs SNPs were nominally associated with the clinical pattern of disease.
Conclusions
Our study data supported that LXRs play a fundamental role in the genetic susceptibility to TB and to different clinical patterns of disease. Thus, further investigation is required in larger populations and in additional areas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095954
PMCID: PMC4006844  PMID: 24788534
3.  Liver X Receptor Modulates Diabetic Retinopathy Outcome in a Mouse Model of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetes 
Diabetes  2012;61(12):3270-3279.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), critical for mediating vascular repair, are dysfunctional in a hyperglycemic and/or hypercholesterolemic environment. Their dysfunction contributes to the progression of diabetic macro- and microvascular complications. Activation of “cholesterol-sensing” nuclear receptors, the liver X receptors (LXRα/LXRβ), protects against atherosclerosis by transcriptional regulation of genes important in promoting cholesterol efflux and inhibiting inflammation. We hypothesized that LXR activation with a synthetic ligand would correct diabetes-induced EPC dysfunction and improve diabetic retinopathy. Studies were performed in streptozotocin (STZ)-injected DBA/2J mice fed a high-fat Western diet (DBA/STZ/WD) and treated with the LXR agonist GW3965 and in LXRα−/−, LXRβ−/−, and LXRα/β−/− mice. Retinas were evaluated for number of acellular capillaries and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactivity. Bone marrow EPCs were analyzed for migratory function and gene expression. Compared with vehicle-treated DBA/STZ/WD mice, GW3965 treated mice showed fewer acellular capillaries and reduced GFAP expression. These mice also exhibited enhanced EPC migration and restoration of inflammatory and oxidative stress genes toward nondiabetic levels. LXRα−/−, LXRβ−/−, and LXRα/β−/− mice developed acellular capillaries and EPC dysfunction similar to the DBA/STZ/WD mice. These studies support a key role for LXR in retinal and bone marrow progenitor dysfunction associated with type 1 diabetes. LXR agonists may represent promising pharmacologic targets for correcting retinopathy and EPC dysfunction.
doi:10.2337/db11-1596
PMCID: PMC3501845  PMID: 22891211
4.  Liver X receptor β: maintenance of epidermal expression in intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging 
Age  2009;31(4):365-372.
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.
doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9111-6
PMCID: PMC2813049  PMID: 19697157
Nuclear hormone receptors; Skin; Aging; Liver X receptor
5.  Hepatic cholesterol metabolism and resistance to dietary cholesterol in LXRβ-deficient mice 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;107(5):565-573.
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.
PMCID: PMC199420  PMID: 11238557
6.  Cholesterol efflux is LXRα isoform-dependent in human macrophages 
Background
The nuclear receptor liver X receptor (LXR) has two isoforms: LXRα and LXRβ. LXR activation promotes cholesterol efflux in macrophages, but the relative importance of each LXR isoform in mediating cholesterol efflux remains elusive.
Methods
We evaluated the ability of different doses of LXRs agonist T0901317 to affect cholesterol efflux in human macrophages and its relationship with mRNA and protein levels of several well-characterized proteins involved in cholesterol efflux, including ABCA1, ABCG1, SR-BI, LXRβ and LXRα, using quantitative real-time PCR, Western blotting, and siRNA techniques.
Results
Here we show that LXRα rather than LXRβ sustains baseline cholesterol efflux in human blood-derived macrophages. Treatment of human macrophages with a non-isoform-specific LXR agonist T0901317 substantially increased HDL- and apoA-I-mediated cholesterol efflux, which was associated with increased mRNA and protein expression levels of ABCA1, ABCG1, SR-BI, LXRα and LXRβ. The siRNA- mediated silencing of LXRα, but not LXRβ significantly reduced the protein levels of ABCA1,ABCG1, and SR-BI as wellas HDL- and ApoA1-mediated cholesterol in human macrophages.
Conclusions
These findings imply that LXRα- rather than LXRβ- specific agonists may promote reverse cholesterol transport in humans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-80
PMCID: PMC4107624  PMID: 24996838
Reverse cholesterol transport; Liver X receptor; siRNA; ABC transporter; Atherosclerosis
7.  Liver X receptors α and β regulate renin expression in vivo 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2005;115(7):1913-1922.
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.
doi:10.1172/JCI24594
PMCID: PMC1159146  PMID: 16007255
8.  Discovery and implementation of transcriptional biomarkers of synthetic LXR agonists in peripheral blood cells 
Background
LXRs (Liver X Receptor α and β) are nuclear receptors that act as ligand-activated transcription factors. LXR activation causes upregulation of genes involved in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), including ABCA1 and ABCG1 transporters, in macrophage and intestine. Anti-atherosclerotic effects of synthetic LXR agonists in murine models suggest clinical utility for such compounds.
Objective
Blood markers of LXR agonist exposure/activity were sought to support clinical development of novel synthetic LXR modulators.
Methods
Transcript levels of LXR target genes ABCA1 and ABCG1 were measured using quantitative reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction assays (qRT-PCR) in peripheral blood from mice and rats (following a single oral dose) and monkeys (following 7 daily oral doses) of synthetic LXR agonists. LXRα, LXRβ, ABCA1, and ABCG1 mRNA were measured by qRT-PCR in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), monocytes, T- and B-cells treated ex vivo with WAY-252623 (LXR-623), and protein levels in human PBMC were measured by Western blotting. ABCA1/G1 transcript levels in whole-blood RNA were measured using analytically validated assays in human subjects participating in a Phase 1 SAD (Single Ascending Dose) clinical study of LXR-623.
Results
A single oral dose of LXR agonists induced ABCA1 and ABCG1 transcription in rodent peripheral blood in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Induction of gene expression in rat peripheral blood correlated with spleen expression, suggesting LXR gene regulation in blood has the potential to function as a marker of tissue gene regulation. Transcriptional response to LXR agonist was confirmed in primates, where peripheral blood ABCA1 and ABCG1 levels increased in a dose-dependent manner following oral treatment with LXR-623. Human PBMC, monocytes, T- and B cells all expressed both LXRα and LXRβ, and all cell types significantly increased ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression upon ex vivo LXR-623 treatment. Peripheral blood from a representative human subject receiving a single oral dose of LXR-623 showed significant time-dependent increases in ABCA1 and ABCG1 transcription.
Conclusion
Peripheral blood cells express LXRα and LXRβ, and respond to LXR agonist treatment by time- and dose-dependently inducing LXR target genes. Transcript levels of LXR target genes in peripheral blood are relevant and useful biological indicators for clinical development of synthetic LXR modulators.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-6-59
PMCID: PMC2576083  PMID: 18925943
9.  Identification of Liver X Receptor-Retinoid X Receptor as an Activator of the Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Protein 1c Gene Promoter 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(9):2991-3000.
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.
doi:10.1128/MCB.21.9.2991-3000.2001
PMCID: PMC86928  PMID: 11287605
10.  LXRβ is required for glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia and hepatosteatosis in mice 
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.
doi:10.1172/JCI41681
PMCID: PMC3007136  PMID: 21123945
11.  LXRβ/estrogen receptor-α signaling in lipid rafts preserves endothelial integrity 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(8):3488-3497.
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.
doi:10.1172/JCI66533
PMCID: PMC3726156  PMID: 23867501
12.  Elk1 and SRF transcription factors convey basal transcription and mediate glucose response via their binding sites in the human LXRB gene promoter 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(14):4858-4868.
The nuclear receptors LXRα (NR1H3) and LXRβ (NR1H2) are attractive drug targets for the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease due to their established role as regulators of cholesterol and lipid metabolism. A large body of literature has recently indicated their important roles in glucose metabolism and particularly LXRβ is important for proper insulin production in pancreas. In this study, we report that glucose induces transcription via the LXRB gene promoter. The transcription start site of the human LXRB gene was determined and we identified two highly conserved, and functional, ETS and Elk1 binding sites, respectively, in the LXRB gene promoter. The Elk1 binding site also bound the serum responsive factor (SRF). Mutation of these sites abolished binding. Furthermore, mutation of the binding sites or siRNA knockdown of SRF and Elk1 significantly reduced the promoter activity and impaired the glucose response. Our results indicate that the human LXRB gene is controlled by glucose, thereby providing a novel mechanism by which glucose regulates cellular functions via LXRβ.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm492
PMCID: PMC1950530  PMID: 17626048
13.  Genetic and Molecular Insights Into the Role of PROX1 in Glucose Metabolism 
Diabetes  2013;62(5):1738-1745.
Genome-wide association studies have shown that the rs340874 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in PROX1 is a genetic susceptibility factor for type 2 diabetes. We conducted genetic and molecular studies to better understand the role of PROX1 in type 2 diabetes. We assessed the impact of the whole common genetic variability of PROX1 (80 SNPs) on type 2 diabetes–related biochemical traits in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study (n = 1,155). Three SNPs (rs340838, rs340837, and rs340836) were significantly associated with fasting plasma insulin levels (P ≤ 0.00295). We evaluated the impact of nine PROX1 SNPs (the three insulin-associated SNPs plus six SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium) on luciferase reporter gene expression. The insulin-lowering alleles of rs340874, rs340873, and rs340835 were associated with lower luciferase activity in MIN6 and HepG2 cells (except for rs340874, which was in HepG2 cells only). Electrophoretic mobility shift assays indicated that specific nuclear protein bindings occur at the three SNPs in HepG2 cells, with allele-binding differences for rs340874. We also showed that the knockdown of Prox1 expression by small interfering RNAs in INS-1E cells resulted in a 1.7-fold reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. All together, we propose that reduced expression of PROX1 by cis-regulatory variants results in altered β-cell insulin secretion and thereby confers susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.2337/db12-0864
PMCID: PMC3636631  PMID: 23274905
14.  HNF1A gene polymorphisms and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with late-onset autosomal dominant diabetes: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a genetically heterogeneous disease, hepatocyte nuclear factor-1 homeobox A (HNF1A) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) playing a minor role in its pathogenesis. HNF1A is a frequent cause of monogenic diabetes, albeit with early-onset. Some uncommon subgroups like late-onset autosomal dominant diabetes mellitus (LOADDM) may present peculiar inheritance patterns with a stronger familial component. This study aims to investigate the relationship of HNF1A SNPs with cardiovascular risk factors in this group, as well as to characterize them in contrast with classical T2DM (CT2DM).
Methods
eighteen LOADDM (age at onset > 40 y.o.; diabetes in 3 contiguous generations, uniparental lineage) along with 48 CT2DM patients and 42 normoglycemic controls (N group) have been evaluated for cardiovascular risk factors and SNPs of HNF1A.
Results
LOADDM showed significantly higher frequencies of SNPs A98V (22.2% vs 2.1%, p = 0.02) and S487N (72.2% vs 43.8%, p = 0.049) of HNF1A compared to CT2DM. I27L did not show significant difference (66.7% vs 45.8%), but associated with lower risk of hypertriglyceridemia (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.04–0.65, p = 0.01). "Protective effect" was independent from other well-known predictive risk factors for hypertriglyceridemia, such as waist circumference (OR 1.09 per 1 cm increase, p = 0.01) and HDL (OR 0.01 per 1 mmol/l, p = 0.005), after logistic regression.
Conclusion
Late onset autosomal dominant diabetes mellitus is clinically indistinguishable from classical type 2 diabetes individuals. However, LOADDM group is enriched for common HNF1A polymorphisms A98V and S487N. I27L showed "protective effect" upon hypertriglyceridemia in this sample of individuals, suggesting a role for HNF1A on diabetic individuals' lipid profile. These data contribute to the understanding of the complex interactions between genes, hyperglycemia and cardiovascular risk factors development in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-8-28
PMCID: PMC2696421  PMID: 19490620
15.  Genetic Linkage and Association of the Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptor (Ghrelin Receptor) Gene in Human Obesity 
Diabetes  2005;54(1):259-267.
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.
PMCID: PMC2793077  PMID: 15616037
16.  Polymorphisms of the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene are associated with obesity phenotypes in a large family-based association study 
Journal of medical genetics  2006;43(10):798-803.
Background
The low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene, essential for glucose and cholesterol metabolism, may have a role in the aetiology of obesity, an important risk factor for diabetes.
Participants and methods
To investigate the association between LRP5 polymorphisms and obesity, 27 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), spacing about 5 kb apart on average and covering the full transcript length of the LRP5 gene, were genotyped in 1873 Caucasian people from 405 nuclear families. Obesity (defined as body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2) and three obesity-related phenotypes (BMI, fat mass and percentage of fat mass (PFM)) were investigated.
Results
Single markers (12 tagging SNPs and 4 untaggable SNPs) and haplotypes (5 blocks) were tested for associations, using family-based designs. SNP4 (rs4988300) and SNP6 (rs634008) located in block 2 (intron 1) showed significant associations with obesity and BMI after Bonferroni correction (SNP4: p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively; SNP6: p = 0.002 and 0.003, respectively). The common allele A for SNP4 and minor allele G for SNP6 were associated with an increased risk of obesity. Significant associations were also observed between common haplotype A–G–G–G of block 2 with obesity, BMI, fat mass and PFM with global empirical values p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.003 and p = 0.074, respectively. Subsequent sex-stratified analyses showed that the association in the total sample between block 2 and obesity may be mainly driven by female subjects.
Conclusion
Intronic variants of the LRP5 gene are markedly associated with obesity. We hypothesise that such an association may be due to the role of LRP5 in the WNT signalling pathway or lipid metabolism. Further functional studies are needed to elucidate the exact molecular mechanism underlying our finding.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2006.041715
PMCID: PMC1829485  PMID: 16723389
17.  Polymorphisms of the low‐density lipoprotein receptor‐related protein 5 (LRP5) gene are associated with obesity phenotypes in a large family‐based association study 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2006;43(10):798-803.
Background
The low‐density lipoprotein receptor‐related protein 5 (LRP5) gene, essential for glucose and cholesterol metabolism, may have a role in the aetiology of obesity, an important risk factor for diabetes.
Participants and methods
To investigate the association between LRP5 polymorphisms and obesity, 27 single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), spacing about 5 kb apart on average and covering the full transcript length of the LRP5 gene, were genotyped in 1873 Caucasian people from 405 nuclear families. Obesity (defined as body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2) and three obesity‐related phenotypes (BMI, fat mass and percentage of fat mass (PFM)) were investigated.
Results
Single markers (12 tagging SNPs and 4 untaggable SNPs) and haplotypes (5 blocks) were tested for associations, using family‐based designs. SNP4 (rs4988300) and SNP6 (rs634008) located in block 2 (intron 1) showed significant associations with obesity and BMI after Bonferroni correction (SNP4: p<0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively; SNP6: p = 0.002 and 0.003, respectively). The common allele A for SNP4 and minor allele G for SNP6 were associated with an increased risk of obesity. Significant associations were also observed between common haplotype A–G–G–G of block 2 with obesity, BMI, fat mass and PFM with global empirical values p<0.001, p<0.001, p = 0.003 and p = 0.074, respectively. Subsequent sex‐stratified analyses showed that the association in the total sample between block 2 and obesity may be mainly driven by female subjects.
Conclusion
Intronic variants of the LRP5 gene are markedly associated with obesity. We hypothesise that such an association may be due to the role of LRP5 in the WNT signalling pathway or lipid metabolism. Further functional studies are needed to elucidate the exact molecular mechanism underlying our finding.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2006.041715
PMCID: PMC1829485  PMID: 16723389
18.  LXRα is uniquely required for maximal reverse cholesterol transport and atheroprotection in ApoE-deficient mice[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2012;53(6):1126-1133.
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.
doi:10.1194/jlr.M022061
PMCID: PMC3351819  PMID: 22454476
atherosclerosis; nuclear receptor; cholesterol metabolism; apoliporotein
19.  miR-206 controls LXRα expression and promotes LXR-mediated cholesterol efflux in macrophages 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2014;1841(6):827-835.
Liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ) are key transcription factors in cholesterol metabolism that regulate cholesterol biosynthesis/efflux and bile acid metabolism/excretion in the liver and numerous organs. In macrophages, LXR signaling modulates cholesterol handling and the inflammatory response, pathways involved in atherosclerosis. Since regulatory pathways of LXR transcription control are well understood, in the present study we aimed at identifying post-transcriptional regulators of LXR activity. MicroRNAs (miRs) are such post-transcriptional regulators of genes that in the canonical pathway mediate mRNA inactivation. In silico analysis identified miR-206 as a putative regulator of LXRα but not LXRβ. Indeed, as recently shown, we found that miR-206 represses LXRα activity and expression of LXRα and its target genes in hepatic cells. Interestingly, miR-206 regulates LXRα differently in macrophages. Stably overexpressing miR-206 in THP-1 human macrophages revealed an up-regulation and miR-206 knockdown led to a down-regulation of LXRα and its target genes. In support of these results, bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) from miR-206 KO mice also exhibited lower expression of LXRα target genes. The physiological relevance of these findings was proven by gain- and loss-of-function of miR-206; overexpression of miR-206 enhanced cholesterol efflux in human macrophages and knocking out miR-206 decreased cholesterol efflux from MPMs. Moreover, we show that miR-206 expression in macrophages is repressed by LXRα activation, while oxidized LDL and inflammatory stimuli profoundly induced miR-206 expression. We therefore propose a feed-back loop between miR-206 and LXRα that might be part of an LXR auto-regulatory mechanism to fine tune LXR activity.
doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.02.006
PMCID: PMC3996726  PMID: 24603323
Micro-RNA; ox-LDL; LXR target gene; ABC; ApoA-I; HDL
20.  miR-206 controls LXRα expression and promotes LXR-mediated cholesterol efflux in macrophages 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2014;1841(6):827-835.
Liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRβ) are key transcription factors in cholesterol metabolism that regulate cholesterol biosynthesis/efflux and bile acid metabolism/excretion in the liver and numerous organs. In macrophages, LXR signaling modulates cholesterol handling and the inflammatory response, pathways involved in atherosclerosis. Since regulatory pathways of LXR transcription control are well understood, in the present study we aimed at identifying post-transcriptional regulators of LXR activity. MicroRNAs (miRs) are such post-transcriptional regulators of genes that in the canonical pathway mediate mRNA inactivation. In silico analysis identified miR-206 as a putative regulator of LXRα but not LXRβ. Indeed, as recently shown, we found that miR-206 represses LXRα activity and expression of LXRα and its target genes in hepatic cells. Interestingly, miR-206 regulates LXRα differently in macrophages. Stably overexpressing miR-206 in THP-1 human macrophages revealed an up-regulation and miR-206 knockdown led to a down-regulation of LXRα and its target genes. In support of these results, bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) from miR-206 KO mice also exhibited lower expression of LXRα target genes. The physiological relevance of these findings was proven by gain- and loss-of-function of miR-206; overexpression of miR-206 enhanced cholesterol efflux in human macrophages and knocking out miR-206 decreased cholesterol efflux from MPMs. Moreover, we show that miR-206 expression in macrophages is repressed by LXRα activation, while oxidized LDL and inflammatory stimuli profoundly induced miR-206 expression. We therefore propose a feed-back loop between miR-206 and LXRα that might be part of an LXR auto-regulatory mechanism to fine tune LXR activity.
Graphical abstract
Highlights
•Functional differences of miR-206 in the liver and macrophages•In the liver, miR-206 suppresses LXRα expression and signaling.•In macrophages, miR-206 increases LXRα abundance and promotes cholesterol efflux.•In macrophages, LXRα activation represses miR-206 expression.•In macrophages, pro-inflammatory stimuli increase miR-206 expression.
doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.02.006
PMCID: PMC3996726  PMID: 24603323
miR, Micro-RNA; LXRs, liver X receptors; ApoE, apolipoprotein E; ABCs, ATP-binding cassette transporters; KO, knockout; SREBP, sterol regulatory element-binding protein; Micro-RNA; ox-LDL; LXR target gene; ABC; ApoA-I; HDL
21.  Calcitriol and TO-901317 Interact in Human Prostate Cancer LNCaP Cells 
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.
PMCID: PMC2733103  PMID: 19787078
mRNA regulation; ABCA1; CYP24; calcitriol; LXR agonist; interaction; cell proliferation
22.  Dietary ascorbic acid and subsequent change in body weight and waist circumference: associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity - a prospective study of three independent cohorts 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:43.
Background
Cross-sectional data suggests that a low level of plasma ascorbic acid positively associates with both Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC). This leads to questions about a possible relationship between dietary intake of ascorbic acid and subsequent changes in anthropometry, and whether such associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity. Hence, we examined whether dietary ascorbic acid, possibly in interaction with the genetic predisposition to a high BMI, WC or waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (WHR), associates with subsequent annual changes in weight (∆BW) and waist circumference (∆WC).
Methods
A total of 7,569 participants’ from MONICA, the Diet Cancer and Health study and the INTER99 study were included in the study. We combined 50 obesity associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four genetic scores: a score of all SNPs and a score for each of the traits (BMI, WC and WHR) with which the SNPs associate. Linear regression was used to examine the association between ascorbic acid intake and ΔBW or ΔWC. SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions were examined by adding product terms to the models.
Results
We found no significant associations between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC. Regarding SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions, each additional risk allele of the 14 WHR associated SNPs associated with a ∆WC of 0.039 cm/year (P = 0.02, 95% CI: 0.005 to 0.073) per 100 mg/day higher ascorbic acid intake. However, the association to ∆WC only remained borderline significant after adjustment for ∆BW.
Conclusion
In general, our study does not support an association between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC, but a diet with a high content of ascorbic acid may be weakly associated to higher WC gain among people who are genetically predisposed to a high WHR. However, given the quite limited association any public health relevance is questionable.
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-43
PMCID: PMC4024624  PMID: 24886192
Ascorbic acid; Genetic predisposition; Gene-diet interaction; Weight change
23.  LXR promotes the maximal egress of monocyte-derived cells from mouse aortic plaques during atherosclerosis regression 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(12):4415-4424.
We have previously shown that mouse atherosclerosis regression involves monocyte-derived (CD68+) cell emigration from plaques and is dependent on the chemokine receptor CCR7. Concurrent with regression, mRNA levels of the gene encoding LXRα are increased in plaque CD68+ cells, suggestive of a functional relationship between LXR and CCR7. To extend these results, atherosclerotic Apoe–/– mice sufficient or deficient in CCR7 were treated with an LXR agonist, resulting in a CCR7-dependent decrease in plaque CD68+ cells. To test the requirement for LXR for CCR7-dependent regression, we transplanted aortic arches from atherosclerotic Apoe–/– mice, or from Apoe–/– mice with BM deficiency of LXRα or LXRβ, into WT recipients. Plaques from both LXRα- and LXRβ-deficient Apoe–/– mice exhibited impaired regression. In addition, the CD68+ cells displayed reduced emigration and CCR7 expression. Using an immature DC line, we found that LXR agonist treatment increased Ccr7 mRNA levels. This increase was blunted when LXRα and LXRβ levels were reduced by siRNAs. Moreover, LXR agonist treatment of primary human immature DCs resulted in functionally significant upregulation of CCR7. We conclude that LXR is required for maximal effects on plaque CD68+ cell expression of CCR7 and monocyte-derived cell egress during atherosclerosis regression in mice.
doi:10.1172/JCI38911
PMCID: PMC2993578  PMID: 21041949
24.  A common polymorphism in NR1H2 (LXRbeta) is associated with preeclampsia 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:145.
Background
Preeclampsia is a frequent complication of pregnancy and a leading cause of perinatal mortality. Both genetic and environmental risk factors have been identified. Lipid metabolism, particularly cholesterol metabolism, is associated with this disease. Liver X receptors alpha (NR1H3, also known as LXRalpha) and beta (NR1H2, also known as LXRbeta) play a key role in lipid metabolism. They belong to the nuclear receptor superfamily and are activated by cholesterol derivatives. They have been implicated in preeclampsia because they modulate trophoblast invasion and regulate the expression of the endoglin (CD105) gene, a marker of preeclampsia. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between the NR1H3 and NR1H2 genes and preeclampsia.
Methods
We assessed associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms of NR1H3 (rs2279238 and rs7120118) and NR1H2 (rs35463555 and rs2695121) and the disease in 155 individuals with preeclampsia and 305 controls. Genotypes were determined by high-resolution melting analysis. We then used a logistic regression model to analyze the different alleles and genotypes for those polymorphisms as a function of case/control status.
Results
We found no association between NR1H3 SNPs and the disease, but the NR1H2 polymorphism rs2695121 was found to be strongly associated with preeclampsia (genotype C/C: adjusted odds ratio, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.04-4.05; p = 0.039 and genotype T/C: adjusted odds ratio, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.01-3.42; p = 0.049).
Conclusions
This study provides the first evidence of an association between the NR1H2 gene and preeclampsia, adding to our understanding of the links between cholesterol metabolism and this disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-145
PMCID: PMC3214159  PMID: 22029530
25.  A Variant In the Abo Gene Explains the Variation in Soluble E-Selectin Levels—Results from Dense Genotyping in Two Independent Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51441.
Background
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.
Conclusions/ Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051441
PMCID: PMC3532506  PMID: 23300549

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