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1.  Diabetes disease progression in Goto-Kakizaki rats: effects of salsalate treatment 
This study investigates the antidiabetic effects of salsalate on disease progression of diabetes in non-obese diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, an experimental model of type 2 diabetes. Salsalate was formulated in rat chow (1,000 ppm) and used to feed rats from 5 to 21 weeks of age. At 5 weeks of age, GK and Wistar (WIS) control rats were subdivided into four groups, each composed of six rats: GK rats with standard diet (GK-C); GK rats with salsalate-containing diet (GK-S); WIS rats with standard diet (WIS-C); and WIS rats with salsalate-containing diet (WIS-S). The GK-C rats (167.2±11.6 mg/dL) showed higher blood glucose concentrations than WIS-C rats (133.7±4.9 mg/dL, P<0.001) at the beginning of the experiment, and had substantially elevated blood glucose from an age of 15 weeks until sacrifice at 21 weeks (341.0±133.6 mg/dL). The GK-S rats showed an almost flat profile of blood glucose from 4 weeks (165.1±11.0 mg/dL) until sacrifice at 21 weeks of age (203.7±22.2 mg/dL). While this difference in blood glucose between 4 and 21 weeks in GK-S animals was significant, blood glucose at 21 weeks was significantly lower in GK-S compared to GK-C animals. At sacrifice, salsalate decreased plasma insulin (GK-S =1.0±0.3; GK-C =2.0±0.3 ng/mL, P<0.001) and increased plasma adiponectin concentrations (GK-S =15.9±0.7; GK-C =9.7±2.0 μg/mL, P<0.001). Salsalate also lowered total cholesterol in GK-S rats (96.1±8.5 mg/dL) compared with GK-C rats (128.0±11.4 mg/dL, P<0.001). Inflammation-related genes (Ifit1 and Iigp1) exhibited much higher mRNA expression in GK-C rats than WIS-C rats in liver, adipose, and muscle tissues, while salsalate decreased the Ifit1 and Iigp1 mRNA only in adipose tissue. These results suggest that salsalate acts to both increase adiponectin and decrease adipose tissue-based inflammation while preventing type 2 diabetes disease progression in GK rats.
PMCID: PMC4128793  PMID: 25120374
type 2 diabetes; salicylates; inflammation; adiponectin
2.  MicroRNA-125a is over-expressed in insulin target tissues in a spontaneous rat model of Type 2 Diabetes 
BMC Medical Genomics  2009;2:54.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNA molecules involved in post-transcriptional control of gene expression of a wide number of genes, including those involved in glucose homeostasis. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by hyperglycaemia and defects in insulin secretion and action at target tissues. We sought to establish differences in global miRNA expression in two insulin-target tissues from inbred rats of spontaneously diabetic and normoglycaemic strains.
We used a miRNA microarray platform to measure global miRNA expression in two insulin-target tissues: liver and adipose tissue from inbred rats of spontaneously diabetic (Goto-Kakizaki [GK]) and normoglycaemic (Brown-Norway [BN]) strains which are extensively used in genetic studies of T2D. MiRNA data were integrated with gene expression data from the same rats to investigate how differentially expressed miRNAs affect the expression of predicted target gene transcripts.
The expression of 170 miRNAs was measured in liver and adipose tissue of GK and BN rats. Based on a p-value for differential expression between GK and BN, the most significant change in expression was observed for miR-125a in liver (FC = 5.61, P = 0.001, Padjusted = 0.10); this overexpression was validated using quantitative RT-PCR (FC = 13.15, P = 0.0005). MiR-125a also showed over-expression in the GK vs. BN analysis within adipose tissue (FC = 1.97, P = 0.078, Padjusted = 0.99), as did the previously reported miR-29a (FC = 1.51, P = 0.05, Padjusted = 0.99). In-silico tools assessing the biological role of predicted miR-125a target genes suggest an over-representation of genes involved in the MAPK signaling pathway. Gene expression analysis identified 1308 genes with significantly different expression between GK and BN rats (Padjusted < 0.05): 233 in liver and 1075 in adipose tissue. Pathways related to glucose and lipid metabolism were significantly over-represented among these genes. Enrichment analysis suggested that differentially expressed genes in GK compared to BN included more predicted miR-125a target genes than would be expected by chance in adipose tissue (FDR = 0.006 for up-regulated genes; FDR = 0.036 for down-regulated genes) but not in liver (FDR = 0.074 for up-regulated genes; FDR = 0.248 for down-regulated genes).
MiR-125a is over-expressed in liver in hyperglycaemic GK rats relative to normoglycaemic BN rats, and our array data also suggest miR-125a is over-expressed in adipose tissue. We demonstrate the use of in-silico tools to provide the basis for further investigation of the potential role of miR-125a in T2D. In particular, the enrichment of predicted miR-125a target genes among differentially expressed genes has identified likely target genes and indicates that integrating global miRNA and mRNA expression data may give further insights into miRNA-mediated regulation of gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2754496  PMID: 19689793
3.  Altered adipocyte progenitor population and adipose-related gene profile in adipose tissue by long-term high-fat diet in mice 
Life Sciences  2012;90(25-26):1001-1009.
High-fat diet (HFD) is associated with adipose inflammation, which contributes to key components of metabolic abnormalities. The expanded adipose tissue mass associated with obesity is the result of hyperplasia and hypertrophy of adipocytes. In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term HFD on adipocyte progenitor cell (APC) population and adipose-specific gene profiles in both white and brown adipose, and the role of perivascular adipose in the alteration of vascular function in response to HFD.
Main methods
Male C57BL/6 mice were fed a standard normal diet (ND) or HFD for about 8 months. Glucose metabolism was assessed by an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test. APC population and adipose-related gene profile were evaluated, and vascular function was measured in the presence or absence of perivascular adipose. Adiponectin and AMPK activity were also investigated.
Key findings
HFD induced insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, and resulted in a decrease in APC population in brown, but not in white adipose tissue, when compared with animals fed a ND, with differential alterations of white and brown adipocyte-specific gene expression in brown and white adipose. Additionally, HFD led to altered vascular function in arteries in the presence of perivascular adipose tissue, which is associated with increased superoxide production. Adiponectin and AMPK activity were significantly decreased in response to long-term HFD.
These findings suggest that long-term high-fat intake differentially alters adipocyte progenitor population and adipose-related gene expression in adipose tissue, and adiponectin-AMPK signaling might be involved. In addition, HFD induces changes in perivascular adipose-mediated vascular function.
PMCID: PMC3390972  PMID: 22683431
insulin resistance; obesity; adipocyte progenitor cells; vascular function; AMPK
4.  Pathophysiological, Genetic and Gene Expression Features of a Novel Rodent Model of the Cardio-Metabolic Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2962.
Complex etiology and pathogenesis of pathophysiological components of the cardio-metabolic syndrome have been demonstrated in humans and animal models.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have generated extensive physiological, genetic and genome-wide gene expression profiles in a congenic strain of the spontaneously diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat containing a large region (110 cM, 170 Mb) of rat chromosome 1 (RNO1), which covers diabetes and obesity quantitative trait loci (QTL), introgressed onto the genetic background of the normoglycaemic Brown Norway (BN) strain. This novel disease model, which by the length of the congenic region closely mirrors the situation of a chromosome substitution strain, exhibits a wide range of abnormalities directly relevant to components of the cardio-metabolic syndrome and diabetes complications, including hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, enhanced insulin secretion both in vivo and in vitro, insulin resistance, hypertriglyceridemia and altered pancreatic and renal histological structures. Gene transcription data in kidney, liver, skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue indicate that a disproportionately high number (43–83%) of genes differentially expressed between congenic and BN rats map to the GK genomic interval targeted in the congenic strain, which represents less than 5% of the total length of the rat genome. Genotype analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in strains genetically related to the GK highlights clusters of conserved and strain-specific variants in RNO1 that can assist the identification of naturally occurring variants isolated in diabetic and hypertensive strains when different phenotype selection procedures were applied.
Our results emphasize the importance of rat congenic models for defining the impact of genetic variants in well-characterised QTL regions on in vivo pathophysiological features and cis-/trans- regulation of gene expression. The congenic strain reported here provides a novel and sustainable model for investigating the pathogenesis and genetic basis of risks factors for the cardio-metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2500170  PMID: 18698428
5.  Metabolic Signatures of Adiposity in Young Adults: Mendelian Randomization Analysis and Effects of Weight Change 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001765.
In this study, Wurtz and colleagues investigated to what extent elevated body mass index (BMI) within the normal weight range has causal influences on the detailed systemic metabolite profile in early adulthood using Mendelian randomization analysis.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Increased adiposity is linked with higher risk for cardiometabolic diseases. We aimed to determine to what extent elevated body mass index (BMI) within the normal weight range has causal effects on the detailed systemic metabolite profile in early adulthood.
Methods and Findings
We used Mendelian randomization to estimate causal effects of BMI on 82 metabolic measures in 12,664 adolescents and young adults from four population-based cohorts in Finland (mean age 26 y, range 16–39 y; 51% women; mean ± standard deviation BMI 24±4 kg/m2). Circulating metabolites were quantified by high-throughput nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics and biochemical assays. In cross-sectional analyses, elevated BMI was adversely associated with cardiometabolic risk markers throughout the systemic metabolite profile, including lipoprotein subclasses, fatty acid composition, amino acids, inflammatory markers, and various hormones (p<0.0005 for 68 measures). Metabolite associations with BMI were generally stronger for men than for women (median 136%, interquartile range 125%–183%). A gene score for predisposition to elevated BMI, composed of 32 established genetic correlates, was used as the instrument to assess causality. Causal effects of elevated BMI closely matched observational estimates (correspondence 87%±3%; R2 = 0.89), suggesting causative influences of adiposity on the levels of numerous metabolites (p<0.0005 for 24 measures), including lipoprotein lipid subclasses and particle size, branched-chain and aromatic amino acids, and inflammation-related glycoprotein acetyls. Causal analyses of certain metabolites and potential sex differences warrant stronger statistical power. Metabolite changes associated with change in BMI during 6 y of follow-up were examined for 1,488 individuals. Change in BMI was accompanied by widespread metabolite changes, which had an association pattern similar to that of the cross-sectional observations, yet with greater metabolic effects (correspondence 160%±2%; R2 = 0.92).
Mendelian randomization indicates causal adverse effects of increased adiposity with multiple cardiometabolic risk markers across the metabolite profile in adolescents and young adults within the non-obese weight range. Consistent with the causal influences of adiposity, weight changes were paralleled by extensive metabolic changes, suggesting a broadly modifiable systemic metabolite profile in early adulthood.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Adiposity—having excessive body fat—is a growing global threat to public health. Body mass index (BMI, calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared) is a coarse indicator of excess body weight, but the measure is useful in large population studies. Compared to people with a lean body weight (a BMI of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2), individuals with higher BMI have an elevated risk of developing life-shortening cardiometabolic diseases—cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart and/or the blood vessels (for example, heart failure and stroke) and metabolic diseases that affect the cellular chemical reactions that sustain life (for example, diabetes). People become unhealthily fat by consuming food and drink that contains more energy (calories) than they need for their daily activities. So adiposity can be prevented and reversed by eating less and exercising more.
Why Was This Study Done?
Epidemiological studies, which record the patterns of risk factors and disease in populations, suggest that the illness and death associated with excess body weight is partly attributable to abnormalities in how individuals with high adiposity metabolize carbohydrates and fats, leading to higher blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Further, adiposity is also associated with many other deviations in the metabolic profile than these commonly measured risk factors. However, epidemiological studies cannot prove that adiposity causes specific changes in a person's systemic (overall) metabolic profile because individuals with high BMI may share other characteristics (confounding factors) that are the actual causes of both adiposity and metabolic abnormalities. Moreover, having a change in some aspect of metabolism could also lead to adiposity, rather than vice versa (reverse causation). Importantly, if there is a causal effect of adiposity on cardiometabolic risk factor levels, it might be possible to prevent the progression towards cardiometabolic diseases by weight loss. Here, the researchers use “Mendelian randomization” to examine whether increased BMI within the normal and overweight range is causally influencing the metabolic risk factors from many biological pathways during early adulthood. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not prone to confounding and are free from reverse causation. Several gene variants are known to lead to modestly increased BMI. Thus, an investigation of the associations between these gene variants and risk factors across the systemic metabolite profile in a population of healthy individuals can indicate whether higher BMI is causally related to known and novel metabolic risk factors and higher cardiometabolic disease risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured the BMI of 12,664 adolescents and young adults (average BMI 24.7 kg/m2) living in Finland and the blood levels of 82 metabolites in these young individuals at a single time point. Statistical analysis of these data indicated that elevated BMI was adversely associated with numerous cardiometabolic risk factors. For example, elevated BMI was associated with raised levels of low-density lipoprotein, “bad” cholesterol that increases cardiovascular disease risk. Next, the researchers used a gene score for predisposition to increased BMI, composed of 32 gene variants correlated with increased BMI, as an “instrumental variable” to assess whether adiposity causes metabolite abnormalities. The effects on the systemic metabolite profile of a 1-kg/m2 increment in BMI due to genetic predisposition closely matched the effects of an observed 1-kg/m2 increment in adulthood BMI on the metabolic profile. That is, higher levels of adiposity had causal effects on the levels of numerous blood-based metabolic risk factors, including higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride-carrying lipoproteins, protein markers of chronic inflammation and adverse liver function, impaired insulin sensitivity, and elevated concentrations of several amino acids that have recently been linked with the risk for developing diabetes. Elevated BMI also causally led to lower levels of certain high-density lipoprotein lipids in the blood, a marker for the risk of future cardiovascular disease. Finally, an examination of the metabolic changes associated with changes in BMI in 1,488 young adults after a period of six years showed that those metabolic measures that were most strongly associated with BMI at a single time point likewise displayed the highest responsiveness to weight change over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that increased adiposity has causal adverse effects on multiple cardiometabolic risk markers in non-obese young adults beyond the effects on cholesterol and blood sugar. Like all Mendelian randomization studies, the reliability of the causal association reported here depends on several assumptions made by the researchers. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that increased adiposity has causal adverse effects on multiple cardiometabolic risk markers in non-obese young adults. Importantly, the results of both the causal effect analyses and the longitudinal study suggest that there is no threshold below which a BMI increase does not adversely affect the metabolic profile, and that a systemic metabolic profile linked with high cardiometabolic disease risk that becomes established during early adulthood can be reversed. Overall, these findings therefore highlight the importance of weight reduction as a key target for metabolic risk factor control among young adults.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The Computational Medicine Research Team of the University of Oulu has a webpage that provides further information on metabolite profiling by high-throughput NMR metabolomics
The World Health Organization provides information on obesity (in several languages)
The Global Burden of Disease Study website provides the latest details about global obesity trends
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes (including some personal stories)
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and on keeping healthy; its website includes personal stories about heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on all aspects of overweight and obesity and information about heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on heart disease, vascular disease, and obesity (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4260795  PMID: 25490400
6.  Effects of High Fat Feeding on Liver Gene Expression in Diabetic Goto-Kakizaki Rats 
Effects of high fat diet (HFD) on obesity and, subsequently, on diabetes are highly variable and modulated by genetics in both humans and rodents. In this report, we characterized the response of Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, a spontaneous polygenic model for lean diabetes and healthy Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) controls, to high fat feeding from weaning to 20 weeks of age. Animals fed either normal diet or HFD were sacrificed at 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 weeks of age and a wide array of physiological measurements were made along with gene expression profiling using Affymetrix gene array chips. Mining of the microarray data identified differentially regulated genes (involved in inflammation, metabolism, transcription regulation, and signaling) in diabetic animals, as well as the response of both strains to HFD. Functional annotation suggested that HFD increased inflammatory differences between the two strains. Chronic inflammation driven by heightened innate immune response was identified to be present in GK animals regardless of diet. In addition, compensatory mechanisms by which WKY animals on HFD resisted the development of diabetes were identified, thus illustrating the complexity of diabetes disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3516129  PMID: 23236253
diabetes; high fat diet; gene expression; microarray
7.  Intraperitoneal Injection of Clodronate Liposomes Eliminates Visceral Adipose Macrophages and Blocks High-fat Diet-induced Weight Gain and Development of Insulin Resistance 
The AAPS Journal  2013;15(4):1001-1011.
Macrophage infiltration in adipose tissue is strongly correlated with obesity. The exact role of macrophage in the development of obesity, however, has not been fully understood. In this study, using intraperitoneal injection of clodronate liposomes, we tissue-specifically depleted visceral adipose tissue macrophages (VATMs) and explored their roles in initiation and progression of obesity. Two sets of experiments were conducted, using mice on a high-fat diet as the animal model. Mice were injected with clodronate liposomes at the beginning of high-fat diet feeding to investigate the role of VATMs in the initiation of obesity. Treatment starting on week 5 was designed to explore the function of VATMs in the progression of weight gain. The results show that intraperitoneal injection of clodronate liposomes effectively depleted VATMs, which blocked high-fat diet-induced weight gain, fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis. Similarly, clodronate liposomes suppressed progression of weight gain in mice after being fed with a high-fat diet for 4 weeks and improved insulin sensitivity. Gene expression analysis showed that depletion of VATMs was associated with downregulation of the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis including acc1, fas, scd1, and pepck, decreased expression of genes involved in chronic inflammation including mcp1 and tnfα, and suppressed expression of macrophage specific marker genes of f4/80 and cd11c in adipose tissue. Depletion of VATMs was associated with prevention of the formation of crown-like structures in white adipose tissue and the maintenance of a low level of blood TNF-α. Collectively, these data demonstrate that VATMs appeared to play a crucial role in the development of obesity and obesity-associated diseases and suggest that adipose tissue macrophages could be regarded as a potential target for drug development in prevention and therapy of obesity and obesity-associated complications.
PMCID: PMC3787235  PMID: 23821353
high-fat diet-induced obesity; inflammation; insulin resistance; liposomes; visceral adipose tissue macrophage
8.  Mice Deficient in Sfrp1 Exhibit Increased Adiposity, Dysregulated Glucose Metabolism, and Enhanced Macrophage Infiltration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e78320.
The molecular mechanisms involved in the development of obesity and related complications remain unclear. Wnt signaling plays an important role in preadipocyte differentiation and adipogenesis. The expression of a Wnt antagonist, secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1), is increased in response to initial weight gain, then levels are reduced under conditions of extreme obesity in both humans and animals. Here we report that loss of Sfrp1 exacerbates weight gain, glucose homeostasis and inflammation in mice in response to diet induced obesity (DIO). Sfrp1-/- mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) exhibited an increase in body mass accompanied by increases in body fat percentage, visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) mass, and adipocyte size. Moreover, Sfrp1 deficiency increases the mRNA levels of key de novo lipid synthesis genes (Fasn, Acaca, Acly, Elovl, Scd1) and the transcription factors that regulate their expression (Lxr-α, Srebp1, Chreb, and Nr1h3) in WAT. Fasting glucose levels are elevated, glucose clearance is impaired, hepatic gluconeogenesis regulators are aberrantly upregulated (G6pc and Pck1), and glucose transporters are repressed (Slc2a2 and Slc2a4) in Sfrp1-/- mice fed a HFD. Additionally, we observed increased steatosis in the livers of Sfrp1-/- mice. When there is an expansion of adipose tissue there is a sustained inflammatory response accompanied by adipokine dysregulation, which leads to chronic subclinical inflammation. Thus, we assessed the inflammatory state of different tissues and revealed that Sfrp1-/- mice fed a HFD exhibited increased macrophage infiltration and expression of pro-inflammatory markers including IL-6, Nmnat, Tgf-β2, and SerpinE1. Our findings demonstrate that the expression of Sfrp1 is a critical factor required for maintaining appropriate cellular signaling in response to the onset of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3855156  PMID: 24339864
9.  Activities of asymmetric dimethylarginine-related enzymes in white adipose tissue are associated with circulating lipid biomarkers 
Asymmetric NG,NG-dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, is regulated by the enzymatic participants of synthetic and metabolic processes, i.e., type I protein N-arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) and dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Previous reports have demonstrated that circulating ADMA levels can vary in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). White adipose tissue expresses the full enzymatic machinery necessary for ADMA production and metabolism; however, modulation of the activities of adipose ADMA-related enzymes in T2DM remains to be determined.
A rodent model of T2DM using 11- and 20-week old Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats was used. The expression and catalytic activity of PRMT1 and DDAH1 and 2 in the white adipose tissues (periepididymal, visceral and subcutaneous fats) and femur skeletal muscle tissue were determined by immunoblotting, in vitro methyltransferase and in vitro citrulline assays.
Non-obese diabetic GK rats showed low expression and activity of adipose PRMT1 compared to age-matched Wistar controls. Adipose tissues from the periepididymal, visceral and subcutaneous fats of GK rats had high DDAH1 expression and total DDAH activity, whereas the DDAH2 expression was lowered below the control value. This dynamic of ADMA-related enzymes in white adipose tissues was distinct from that of skeletal muscle tissue. GK rats had lower levels of serum non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and triglycerides (TG) than the control rats. In all subjects the adipose PRMT1 and DDAH activities were statistically correlated with the levels of serum NEFA and TG.
Activities of PRMT1 and DDAH in white adipose tissues were altered in diabetic GK rats in an organ-specific manner, which was reflected in the serum levels of NEFA and TG. Changes in adipose ADMA-related enzymes might play a part in the function of white adipose tissue.
PMCID: PMC3472189  PMID: 22546019
Protein N-arginine methyltransferase 1; Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 and 2; Non-esterified fatty acids; Triglycerides; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
10.  Gingival vascular functions are altered in type 2 diabetes mellitus model and/or periodontitis model 
The association of vascular reactivity between diabetes and periodontal disease has not been clarified. Gingival blood flow was measured by laser Doppler flowmetry for 31 weeks in Wistar rats, Wistar rats orally challenged with Porphyromonas gingivalis (Wistar rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis), Goto-Kakizaki rats, and Goto-Kakizaki rats orally challenged with Porphyromonas gingivalis (Goto-Kakizaki rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis). Effects of alveolar bone resorption on periodontal tissue was enhanced in Wistar rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Goto-Kakizaki rats, with this effect being significantly enhanced by Goto-Kakizaki rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis. Using the L-band electron spin resonance technique, we succeeded in measuring oxidative stress as decay rate constant (K1 and K2) of 3-carbamoyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidin-1-yloxy in the oral and maxillofacial region of the animal models. The decay rate constant (K1) of 3-carbamoyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidin-1-yloxy was significantly greater in the oral and maxillofacial region of Goto-Kakizaki rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis compared to Wistar rats, Wistar rats + Porphyromonas gingivalis and Goto-Kakizaki rats groups. Gingival reactive hyperemia was attenuated by periodontal disease, and this effect was also remarkable in the diabetes mellitus model. Taken together, we found that vascular endothelial function was decreased in diabetes mellitus and/or periodontal disease animal models due to increasing oxidative stress in the gingival circulation.
PMCID: PMC3432819  PMID: 22962527
gingival circulation; oxidative stress; L-band ESR; diabetes mellitus; periodontitis
11.  Visceral Adiposity Is Not Associated With Inflammatory Markers in Trauma Patients 
The Journal of Trauma  2010;68(1):57-61.
Excess visceral adiposity induces chronic subclinical inflammation resulting in the metabolic syndrome. Whether excess visceral adiposity impacts posttraumatic inflammatory profiles more is unknown. We hypothesized that obese patients (body mass index >30 kg/m2) with higher visceral to subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution would have increased inflammatory outcomes.
A secondary analysis of a prospective cohort of adult trauma patients requiring >48 hours of intensive care unit care over a 55-month period was analyzed. Body fat distribution was determined by radiologist review of computed tomography scans at L1. Concentric freeform regions were defined manually, and area was calculated. Visceral adiposity was defined as subcutaneous fat area: visceral area >1.35 (the median), whereas subcutaneous adiposity was defined as a ratio <1.35. Primary outcomes were proinflammatory biomarkers known to be associated with chronic visceral obesity (white blood cell count, interleukin 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and tumor necrosis factor α). Secondary outcomes were all-cause in-hospital mortality, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and nosocomial infections.
Two hundred eighty-one (19%) obese patients with available computed tomography scans from 1,510 trauma patients were included. Visceral adiposity included 140 patients, subcutaneous adiposity included 141 patients. The two groups were similar in regards to age, Trauma Injury Severity Score, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score. There was no difference (p > 0.05) in proinflammatory biomarkers. Patients with visceral adiposity had similar clinical outcomes including mortality (p = 0.56), adult respiratory distress syndrome (p = 0.69), and infection (0.43).
Visceral body fat distribution in obese patients is not associated with increased inflammatory profiles or clinical outcomes after trauma. The impact of injury severity on acute inflammation likely overwhelms the metabolic disturbances and subclinical inflammation associated with visceral obesity in the chronic setting.
PMCID: PMC3371365  PMID: 20065758
Obesity; Trauma; Visceral adiposity; Visceral obesity
12.  Global microRNA expression profiles in insulin target tissues in a spontaneous rat model of type 2 diabetes 
Diabetologia  2010;53(6):1099-1109.
MicroRNAs regulate a broad range of biological mechanisms. To investigate the relationship between microRNA expression and type 2 diabetes, we compared global microRNA expression in insulin target tissues from three inbred rat strains that differ in diabetes susceptibility.
Using microarrays, we measured the expression of 283 microRNAs in adipose, liver and muscle tissue from hyperglycaemic (Goto–Kakizaki), intermediate glycaemic (Wistar Kyoto) and normoglycaemic (Brown Norway) rats (n = 5 for each strain). Expression was compared across strains and validated using quantitative RT-PCR. Furthermore, microRNA expression variation in adipose tissue was investigated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes exposed to hyperglycaemic conditions.
We found 29 significantly differentiated microRNAs (padjusted < 0.05): nine in adipose tissue, 18 in liver and two in muscle. Of these, five microRNAs had expression patterns that correlated with the strain-specific glycaemic phenotype. MiR-222 (padjusted = 0.0005) and miR-27a (padjusted = 0.006) were upregulated in adipose tissue; miR-195 (padjusted = 0.006) and miR-103 (padjusted = 0.04) were upregulated in liver; and miR-10b (padjusted = 0.004) was downregulated in muscle. Exposure of 3T3-L1 adipocytes to increased glucose concentration upregulated the expression of miR-222 (p = 0.008), miR-27a (p = 0.02) and the previously reported miR-29a (p = 0.02). Predicted target genes of these differentially expressed microRNAs are involved in pathways relevant to type 2 diabetes.
The expression patterns of miR-222, miR-27a, miR-195, miR-103 and miR-10b varied with hyperglycaemia, suggesting a role for these microRNAs in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, as modelled by the Gyoto–Kakizaki rat. We observed similar patterns of expression of miR-222, miR-27a and miR-29a in adipocytes as a response to increased glucose levels, which supports our hypothesis that altered expression of microRNAs accompanies primary events related to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-010-1667-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC2860560  PMID: 20198361
Expression; MicroRNA; Murine diabetes model
13.  Obesity and prostate cancer: gene expression signature of human periprostatic adipose tissue 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:108.
Periprostatic (PP) adipose tissue surrounds the prostate, an organ with a high predisposition to become malignant. Frequently, growing prostatic tumor cells extend beyond the prostatic organ towards this fat depot. This study aimed to determine the genome-wide expression of genes in PP adipose tissue in obesity/overweight (OB/OW) and prostate cancer patients.
Differentially expressed genes in human PP adipose tissue were identified using microarrays. Analyses were conducted according to the donors' body mass index characteristics (OB/OW versus lean) and prostate disease (extra prostatic cancer versus organ confined prostate cancer versus benign prostatic hyperplasia). Selected genes with altered expression were validated by real-time PCR. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used to investigate gene ontology, canonical pathways and functional networks.
In the PP adipose tissue of OB/OW subjects, we found altered expression of genes encoding molecules involved in adipogenic/anti-lipolytic, proliferative/anti-apoptotic, and mild immunoinflammatory processes (for example, FADS1, down-regulated, and LEP and ANGPT1, both up-regulated). Conversely, in the PP adipose tissue of subjects with prostate cancer, altered genes were related to adipose tissue cellular activity (increased cell proliferation/differentiation, cell cycle activation and anti-apoptosis), whereas a downward impact on immunity and inflammation was also observed, mostly related to the complement (down-regulation of CFH). Interestingly, we found that the microRNA MIRLET7A2 was overexpressed in the PP adipose tissue of prostate cancer patients.
Obesity and excess adiposity modified the expression of PP adipose tissue genes to ultimately foster fat mass growth. In patients with prostate cancer the expression profile of PP adipose tissue accounted for hypercellularity and reduced immunosurveillance. Both findings may be liable to promote a favorable environment for prostate cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3523039  PMID: 23009291
adipose tissue; gene expression; microarray, obesity; periprostatic; prostate cancer
14.  The endocannabinoid system links gut microbiota to adipogenesis 
We investigated several models of gut microbiota modulation: selective (prebiotics, probiotics, high-fat), drastic (antibiotics, germ-free mice) and mice bearing specific mutations of a key gene involved in the toll-like receptors (TLR) bacteria-host interaction (Myd88−/−). Here we report that gut microbiota modulates the intestinal endocannabinoid (eCB) system-tone, which in turn regulates gut permeability and plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels.The activation of the intestinal endocannabinoid system increases gut permeability which in turn enhances plasma LPS levels and inflammation in physiological and pathological conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.The investigation of adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis (both markers of adipogenesis) indicate that gut microbiota controls adipose tissue physiology through LPS-eCB system regulatory loops and may play a critical role in the adipose tissue plasticity during obesity.In vivo, ex vivo and in vitro studies indicate that LPS acts as a master switch on adipose tissue metabolism, by blocking the cannabinoid-driven adipogenesis.
Obesity and type II diabetes have reached epidemic proportions and are associated with a massive expansion of the adipose tissue. Recent data have shown that these metabolic disorders are characterised by low-grade inflammation of unknown molecular origin (Hotamisligil and Erbay, 2008; Shoelson and Goldfine, 2009); therefore, it is of the utmost importance to identify the link between inflammation and adipose tissue metabolism and plasticity. Among the latest important discoveries published in the field, two new concepts have driven this study. First, emerging data have shown that gut microbiota is involved in the control of energy homeostasis (Ley et al, 2005; Turnbaugh et al, 2006; Claus et al, 2008) Obesity is characterised by the massive expansion of adipose tissues and is associated with inflammation (Weisberg et al, 2003). It is possible that both this expansion and the associated inflammation are controlled by microbiota and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Cani et al, 2007a, 2008), a cell wall component of Gram-negative bacteria that is among the most potent inducers of inflammation (Cani et al, 2007a, 2007b, 2008; Cani and Delzenne, 2009). Second, obesity is also characterised by greater endocannabinoid (eCB) system tone (increased eCB plasma levels, altered expression of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1 mRNA) and increased eCB levels in the adipose tissue) (Engeli et al, 2005; Bluher et al, 2006; Matias et al, 2006; Cote et al, 2007; D'Eon et al, 2008; Starowicz et al, 2008; Di Marzo et al, 2009; Izzo et al, 2009).
Several studies have suggested a close relationship between LPS, gut microbiota and the eCB system. Indeed, LPS controls the synthesis of eCB in macrophages, whereas macrophage infiltration in the adipose tissue occurring during obesity is an important factor in the development of the metabolic disorders (Weisberg et al, 2003). We have shown that macrophage infiltration is not only dependent on the activation of the receptor CD14 by LPS, but is also dependent on the gut microbiota composition and the gut barrier function (gut permeability) (Cani et al, 2007a, 2008). Moreover, LPS controls the synthesis of eCBs both in vivo (Hoareau et al, 2009) and in vitro (Di Marzo et al, 1999; Maccarrone et al, 2001) through mechanisms dependent of the LPS receptor signalling pathway (Liu et al, 2003). Thus, obesity is nowadays associated with changes in gut microbiota and a higher endocannabinoid system tone, both having a function in the disease's pathophysiology.
Given that the convergent molecular mechanisms that may affect these different supersystem activities and adiposity remain to be elucidated, we tested the hypothesis that the gut microbiota and the eCB system control gut permeability and adipogenesis, by a LPS-dependent mechanism, under both physiological and obesity-related conditions.
First, we found that high-fat diet-induced obese and diabetic animals exhibit threefold higher colonic CB1 mRNA, whereas no modification was observed in the small intestinal segment (jejunum). Moreover, selective modulation of gut microbiota using prebiotics (i.e. non-digestible compounds fermented by specific bacteria in the gut) (Gibson and Roberfroid, 1995) reduces by about one half this effect. Similarly, in genetically obese mice (ob/ob), prebiotic treatment decreases colonic CB1 mRNA and colonic eCB concentrations (AEA) (Figure 2A). In addition, we have observed a modulation of FAAH and MGL mRNA (Figure 2A). Furthermore, we have found that antibiotic treatment decreasing the number of gut bacteria content was associated with a strong reduction of the CB1 receptor levels in the colon of healthy mice.
Second, we show that the endocannabinoid system controls gut barrier function (in vivo and in vitro) and endotoxaemia. More precisely, we designed two in vivo experiments in obese and lean mice (Figure 2). In a first experiment, we blocked the CB1 receptor in obese mice with a specific and selective antagonist (SR141716A) and found that the blockade of the CB1 receptor reduces plasma LPS levels by a mechanism linked to the improvement of the gut barrier function (Figure 2C) as shown by the lower alteration of tight junctions proteins (zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin) distribution and localisation, and independently of food intake behaviour (Figures 2D and 3). In a second set of experiments performed in lean wild-type mice, we mimicked the increased eCB system tone observed during obesity by chronic (4-week) infusion of a cannabinoid receptor agonist (HU-210) through mini-pumps implanted subcutaneously. We found that cannabinoid agonist administration significantly increased plasma LPS levels. Furthermore, increased plasma fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran levels were observed after oral gavage (Figure 2F and G). These sets of in vivo experiments strongly suggest that an overactive eCB system increases gut permeability. Finally, in a cellular model of intestinal epithelial barrier (Caco-2 cells monolayer), we found that CB1 receptor antagonist normalised LPS and the cannabinoid receptors agonist HU-210-induced epithelial barrier alterations.
Third, we provide evidence that adipogenesis is under the control of the gut microbiota, through the modulation of the gut and adipose tissue endocannabinoid systems in both physiological and pathological conditions. We found that the higher eCB system tone (found in obesity or mimicked by eCB agonist) participates to the regulation of adipogenesis by directly acting on the adipose tissue, but also indirectly by increasing plasma LPS levels, which consequently impair adipogenesis and promote inflammatory states. Here, we found that both the specific modulation of the gut microbiota and the blockade of the CB1 receptor decrease plasma LPS levels and is associated with higher adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis rate. One possible explanation for these surprising data could be as follows: plasma LPS levels might be under the control of CB1 in the intestine (gut barrier function); therefore, under particular pathophysiological conditions in vivo (e.g. obesity/type II diabetes), this could lead to higher circulating LPS levels. Furthermore, CB1 receptor blockade might paradoxically increase adipogenesis because of the ability of CB1 antagonist to reduce gut permeability and counteract the LPS-induced inhibitory effect on adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis (i.e. a disinhibition mechanism). In summary, given that these treatments reduce gut permeability and, hence, plasma LPS levels and inflammatory tone, we hypothesised that LPS could act as a regulator in this process. This hypothesis was further supported in vitro and in vivo by the observation that cannabinoid-induced adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis were directly altered (i.e. reduced) in the presence of physiological levels of LPS. In summary, because these treatments reduce gut permeability, hence, plasma LPS and inflammatory tone, we hypothesised that LPS acts as a regulator in this process. Altogether, our data provide the evidence that the consequences of obesity and gut microbiota dysregulation on gut permeability and metabolic endotoxaemia are clearly mediated by the eCB system, those observed on adiposity are likely the result of two systems interactions: LPS-dependent pathways activities and eCB system tone dysregulation (Figure 9).
Our results indicate that the endocannabinoid system tone and the plasma LPS levels have a critical function in the regulation of the adipose tissue plasticity. As obesity is commonly characterised by increased eCB system tone, higher plasma LPS levels, altered gut microbiota and impaired adipose tissue metabolism, it is likely that the increased eCB system tone found in obesity is caused by a failure or a vicious cycle within the pathways controlling the eCB system.
These findings show that two novel therapeutic targets in the treatment of obesity, the gut microbiota and the endocannabinoid system, are closely interconnected. They also provide evidence for the presence of a new integrative physiological axis between gut and adipose tissue regulated by LPS and endocannabinoids. Finally, we propose that the increased endotoxaemia and endocannabinoid system tone found in obesity might explain the altered adipose tissue metabolism.
Obesity is characterised by altered gut microbiota, low-grade inflammation and increased endocannabinoid (eCB) system tone; however, a clear connection between gut microbiota and eCB signalling has yet to be confirmed. Here, we report that gut microbiota modulate the intestinal eCB system tone, which in turn regulates gut permeability and plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels. The impact of the increased plasma LPS levels and eCB system tone found in obesity on adipose tissue metabolism (e.g. differentiation and lipogenesis) remains unknown. By interfering with the eCB system using CB1 agonist and antagonist in lean and obese mouse models, we found that the eCB system controls gut permeability and adipogenesis. We also show that LPS acts as a master switch to control adipose tissue metabolism both in vivo and ex vivo by blocking cannabinoid-driven adipogenesis. These data indicate that gut microbiota determine adipose tissue physiology through LPS-eCB system regulatory loops and may have critical functions in adipose tissue plasticity during obesity.
PMCID: PMC2925525  PMID: 20664638
adipose tissue; endocannabinoids; gut microbiota; lipopolysaccharide (LPS); obesity
15.  Prediabetic changes in gene expression induced by aspartame and monosodium glutamate in Trans fat-fed C57Bl/6 J mice 
The human diet has altered markedly during the past four decades, with the introduction of Trans hydrogenated fat, which extended the shelf-life of dietary oils and promoted a dramatic increase in elaidic acid (Trans-18.1) consumption. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame (ASP) were introduced to increase food palatability and reduce caloric intake. Nutrigenomics studies in small-animal models are an established platform for analyzing the interactions between various macro- and micronutrients. We therefore investigated the effects of changes in hepatic and adipose tissue gene expression induced by the food additives ASP, MSG or a combination of both additives in C57Bl/6 J mice fed a Trans fat-enriched diet.
Hepatic and adipose tissue gene expression profiles, together with body characteristics, glucose parameters, serum hormone and lipid profiles were examined in C57Bl/6 J mice consuming one of the following four dietary regimens, commencing in utero via the mother’s diet: [A] Trans fat (TFA) diet; [B] MSG + TFA diet; [C] ASP + TFA diet; [D] ASP + MSG + TFA diet.
Whilst dietary MSG significantly increased hepatic triglyceride and serum leptin levels in TFA-fed mice, the combination of ASP + MSG promoted the highest increase in visceral adipose tissue deposition, serum free fatty acids, fasting blood glucose, HOMA-IR, total cholesterol and TNFα levels. Microarray analysis of significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs) showed a reduction in hepatic and adipose tissue PPARGC1a expression concomitant with changes in PPARGC1a-related functional networks including PPARα, δ and γ. We identified 73 DEGs common to both adipose and liver which were upregulated by ASP + MSG in Trans fat-fed mice; and an additional 51 common DEGs which were downregulated.
The combination of ASP and MSG may significantly alter adiposity, glucose homeostasis, hepatic and adipose tissue gene expression in TFA-fed C57Bl/6 J mice.
PMCID: PMC3727955  PMID: 23783067
Gene expression; Nutrigenomics; Metabolic dysregulation; Adipose; Liver; Aspartame; Monosodium glutamate; Trans-hydrogenated fat
16.  Comparative analysis of the human hepatic and adipose tissue transcriptomes during LPS-induced inflammation leads to the identification of differential biological pathways and candidate biomarkers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:71.
Insulin resistance (IR) is accompanied by chronic low grade systemic inflammation, obesity, and deregulation of total body energy homeostasis. We induced inflammation in adipose and liver tissues in vitro in order to mimic inflammation in vivo with the aim to identify tissue-specific processes implicated in IR and to find biomarkers indicative for tissue-specific IR.
Human adipose and liver tissues were cultured in the absence or presence of LPS and DNA Microarray Technology was applied for their transcriptome analysis. Gene Ontology (GO), gene functional analysis, and prediction of genes encoding for secretome were performed using publicly available bioinformatics tools (DAVID, STRING, SecretomeP). The transcriptome data were validated by proteomics analysis of the inflamed adipose tissue secretome.
LPS treatment significantly affected 667 and 483 genes in adipose and liver tissues respectively. The GO analysis revealed that during inflammation adipose tissue, compared to liver tissue, had more significantly upregulated genes, GO terms, and functional clusters related to inflammation and angiogenesis. The secretome prediction led to identification of 399 and 236 genes in adipose and liver tissue respectively. The secretomes of both tissues shared 66 genes and the remaining genes were the differential candidate biomarkers indicative for inflamed adipose or liver tissue. The transcriptome data of the inflamed adipose tissue secretome showed excellent correlation with the proteomics data.
The higher number of altered proinflammatory genes, GO processes, and genes encoding for secretome during inflammation in adipose tissue compared to liver tissue, suggests that adipose tissue is the major organ contributing to the development of systemic inflammation observed in IR. The identified tissue-specific functional clusters and biomarkers might be used in a strategy for the development of tissue-targeted treatment of insulin resistance in patients.
PMCID: PMC3196688  PMID: 21978410
17.  Genomic and Metabolic Disposition of Non-Obese Type 2 Diabetic Rats to Increased Myocardial Fatty Acid Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78477.
Lipotoxicity of the heart has been implicated as a leading cause of morbidity in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). While numerous reports have demonstrated increased myocardial fatty acid (FA) utilization in obese T2DM animal models, this diabetic phenotype has yet to be demonstrated in non-obese animal models of T2DM. Therefore, the present study investigates functional, metabolic, and genomic differences in myocardial FA metabolism in non-obese type 2 diabetic rats. The study utilized Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats at the age of 24 weeks. Each rat was imaged with small animal positron emission tomography (PET) to estimate myocardial blood flow (MBF) and myocardial FA metabolism. Echocardiograms (ECHOs) were performed to assess cardiac function. Levels of triglycerides (TG) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were measured in both plasma and cardiac tissues. Finally, expression profiles for 168 genes that have been implicated in diabetes and FA metabolism were measured using quantitative PCR (qPCR) arrays. GK rats exhibited increased NEFA and TG in both plasma and cardiac tissue. Quantitative PET imaging suggests that GK rats have increased FA metabolism. ECHO data indicates that GK rats have a significant increase in left ventricle mass index (LVMI) and decrease in peak early diastolic mitral annular velocity (E’) compared to Wistar rats, suggesting structural remodeling and impaired diastolic function. Of the 84 genes in each the diabetes and FA metabolism arrays, 17 genes in the diabetes array and 41 genes in the FA metabolism array were significantly up-regulated in GK rats. Our data suggest that GK rats’ exhibit increased genomic disposition to FA and TG metabolism independent of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3804536  PMID: 24205240
18.  SirT1 Regulates Adipose Tissue Inflammation 
Diabetes  2011;60(12):3235-3245.
Macrophage recruitment to adipose tissue is a reproducible feature of obesity. However, the events that result in chemokine production and macrophage recruitment to adipose tissue during states of energetic excess are not clear. Sirtuin 1 (SirT1) is an essential nutrient-sensing histone deacetylase, which is increased by caloric restriction and reduced by overfeeding. We discovered that SirT1 depletion causes anorexia by stimulating production of inflammatory factors in white adipose tissue and thus posit that decreases in SirT1 link overnutrition and adipose tissue inflammation.
We used antisense oligonucleotides to reduce SirT1 to levels similar to those seen during overnutrition and studied SirT1-overexpressing transgenic mice and fat-specific SirT1 knockout animals. Finally, we analyzed subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies from two independent cohorts of human subjects.
We found that inducible or genetic reduction of SirT1 in vivo causes macrophage recruitment to adipose tissue, whereas overexpression of SirT1 prevents adipose tissue macrophage accumulation caused by chronic high-fat feeding. We also found that SirT1 expression in human subcutaneous fat is inversely related to adipose tissue macrophage infiltration.
Reduction of adipose tissue SirT1 expression, which leads to histone hyperacetylation and ectopic inflammatory gene expression, is identified as a key regulatory component of macrophage influx into adipose tissue during overnutrition in rodents and humans. Our results suggest that SirT1 regulates adipose tissue inflammation by controlling the gain of proinflammatory transcription in response to inducers such as fatty acids, hypoxia, and endoplasmic reticulum stress.
PMCID: PMC3219953  PMID: 22110092
19.  High Fat Diet Modulates Trypanosoma cruzi Infection Associated Myocarditis 
Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, has high affinity for lipoproteins and adipose tissue. Infection results in myocarditis, fat loss and alterations in lipid homeostasis. This study was aimed at analyzing the effect of high fat diet (HFD) on regulating acute T. cruzi infection-induced myocarditis and to evaluate the effect of HFD on lipid metabolism in adipose tissue and heart during acute T. cruzi infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
CD1 mice were infected with T. cruzi (Brazil strain) and fed either a regular control diet (RD) or HFD for 35 days following infection. Serum lipid profile, tissue cholesterol levels, blood parasitemia, and tissue parasite load were analyzed to evaluate the effect of diet on infection. MicroPET and MRI analysis were performed to examine the morphological and functional status of the heart during acute infection. qPCR and immunoblot analysis were carried out to analyze the effect of diet on the genes involved in the host lipid metabolism during infection. Oil red O staining of the adipose tissue demonstrated reduced lipolysis in HFD compared to RD fed mice. HFD reduced mortality, parasitemia and cardiac parasite load, but increased parasite load in adipocytes. HFD decreased lipolysis during acute infection. Both qPCR and protein analysis demonstrated alterations in lipid metabolic pathways in adipose tissue and heart in RD fed mice, which were further modulated by HFD. Both microPET and MRI analyses demonstrated changes in infected RD murine hearts which were ameliorated by HFD.
These studies indicate that Chagasic cardiomyopathy is associated with a cardiac lipidpathy and that both cardiac lipotoxicity and adipose tissue play a role in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. HFD protected mice from T. cruzi infection-induced myocardial damage most likely due to the effects of HFD on both adipogenesis and T. cruzi infection-induced cardiac lipidopathy.
Author Summary
Infection with Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent in Chagas disease, may result in heart disease. There has been an increase in obesity, diabetes, hypertension and ischemic cardiovascular disease in endemic areas. Previously, we demonstrated that adipose tissue is an early target and a reservoir for T. cruzi. T. cruzi has high affinity for lipoproteins, and that infected tissues there is an increase in intra-cellular cholesterol levels. It is likely that adipocytes and lipoproteins play a key role in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. The role of host lipids in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease is understudied. Diet plays a major role in the regulation of systemic and whole body lipid levels including adipogenesis and lipogenesis. We report, for the first time, the effect of diet on myocardial inflammation and damage observed during acute T. cruzi infection and provide data on the role of parasite associated LDL/HDL in the regulation of systemic lipid homeostasis in white adipose tissue (WAT) and in the heart. Interestingly, we demonstrate that a high fat diet protects mice from the consequences of infection-induced myocardial damage through effects on adipogenesis in adipose tissue and reduced cardiac lipidopathy.
PMCID: PMC4183439  PMID: 25275627
20.  Nutritional correlates and dynamics of diabetes in the Nile rat (Arvicanthis niloticus): a novel model for diet-induced type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome 
The prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome and related chronic diseases, among them non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus, are on the rise in the United States and throughout the world. Animal models that respond to environmental stressors, such as diet, are useful for investigating the outcome and development of these related diseases.
Within this context, growth and energy relationships were characterized in the Nile rat, an exotic African rodent, as a potential animal model for diet-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus and Metabolic Syndrome.
Compiled data from several studies established the relationship between age, body weight gain (including abdominal adiposity), food and water consumption, and blood glucose levels as determinants of diabetes in male and female Nile rats. Glucose Tolerance Testing, insulin, HbA1c, blood pressure measurements and plasma lipids further characterized the diabetes in relation to criteria of the Metabolic Syndrome, while diet modification with high-fat, low-fiber or food restriction attempted to modulate the disease.
The Nile rat fed lab chow demonstrates signs of the Metabolic Syndrome that evolve into diet-induced non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus characterized by hyperinsulinemia with rising blood glucose (insulin resistance), abdominal adiposity, and impaired glucose clearance that precedes increased food and water intake, as well as elevated HbA1c, marked elevation in plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, microalbuminuria, and hypertension. Males are more prone than females with rapid progression to diabetes depending on the challenge diet. In males diabetes segregated into early-onset and late-onset groups, the former related to more rapid growth and greater growth efficiency for the calories consumed. Interestingly, no correlation was found between blood glucose and body mass index (overall adiposity) in older male Nile rats in long term studies, whereas blood glucose and the perirenal fat pad, as well as liver and kidney weight, were positively related to early-onset diabetes. Rats weaned early (4-5 wks) and challenged with a high-fat Western-type diet developed diabetes faster, and body fat accumulation was more apparent, whereas food restriction curtailed it.
The Nile rat fed typical rodent diets develops hyperinsulinemia that precedes hyperglycemia (insulin resistance) leading to diet-induced type 2 diabetes associated with hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension. Dietary modulation affected growth rate (weight gain and central adiposity) to impact disease progression. This rodent model represents a novel system of gene-diet interactions affecting energy utilization that can provide insight into the prevention and treatment of the type 2 diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2868017  PMID: 20398338
BioFactors (Oxford, England)  2013;40(1):13-26.
Calorie restriction (CR) without malnutrition increases lifespan and produces significant improvements in biomarkers of metabolic health. The improvements are attributable in part to effects of CR on energy balance, which limit fat accumulation by restricting energy intake. Normal age-associated increases in adiposity and insulin resistance are associated with development of a systemic pro-inflammatory state, while chronic CR limits fat deposition and expression of inflammatory markers. Dietary methionine restriction (MR) has emerged as an effective CR mimetic because it produces a comparable extension in lifespan. MR also reduces adiposity through a compensatory increase in energy expenditure that effectively limits fat accumulation, but essentially nothing is known about the effects of MR on systemic inflammation. Here we review the relationships between these two interventions and discuss their transcriptional impact. In addition, using tissues from rats after long term consumption of CR or MR diets, transcriptional profiling was used to examine retrospectively the systems biology of 59 networks of molecules annotated to inflammation. Transcriptional effects of both diets occurred primarily in white adipose tissue and liver, and the responses to MR were far more robust than those to CR. The primary transcriptional targets of MR in both liver and white adipose tissue were phagocytes and macrophages, where expression of genes associated with immune cell infiltration and quantity was reduced. These findings support the conclusion that anti-inflammatory responses produced by CR and MR are not strictly dependent upon reduced adiposity, but are significantly influenced by the metabolic mechanisms through which energy balance is altered.
PMCID: PMC3796060  PMID: 23813805
obesity; animal models; insulin sensitivity; amino acid sensing
22.  Adipose Gene Expression Profiles Related to Metabolic Syndrome Using Microarray Analyses in Two Different Models 
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal  2014;38(5):356-365.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) agonist has a wide-ranging influence on multiple components of metabolic syndrome. The Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat is a useful animal model of metabolic syndrome. To determine genes related to metabolic syndrome, we examined overlapping genes that are simultaneously decreased by PPAR-γ agonists and increased in OLETF rats using microarrays in two different models.
In the first microarray analysis, PPAR-γ agonist-treated db/db mice were compared to standard diet-fed db/db mice. In the second microarray analysis, OLETF rats were compared to Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats (control of OLETF rats).
Among the overlapping genes, in the present study, we validated that lipocalin-2 expression was significantly decreased in the visceral adipose tissue of PPAR-γ agonist-treated db/db mice compared to standard diet-fed db/db mice and increased in OLETF rats compared to LETO rats using real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, we showed for the first time that lipocalin-2 expression was significantly increased in the visceral adipose tissues of obese humans compared with nonobese humans. In addition, the expression level of lipocalin-2 in human visceral adipose tissue had a significant positive correlation with body mass index, serum interleukin-6, adipocyte fatty acid binding protein levels, and white blood cell count.
Lipocalin-2 was confirmed to be a significant adipokine affected by PPAR-γ agonist and obesity in the present study. Also, for the first time in human visceral adipose tissue, it was determined that the expression of lipocalin-2 from obese humans was significantly increased and correlated with circulating inflammatory markers.
PMCID: PMC4209350  PMID: 25349823
Lipocalin-2; Microarray; PPAR gamma
23.  Transcriptional Profiling of Rats Subjected to Gestational Undernourishment: Implications for the Developmental Variations in Metabolic Traits 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e7271.
A link has been established between prenatal nutrition and the development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases later in life, a process referred to as developmental programming. It has been suggested that the trajectory of development is shifted by alterations in the maternal nutritional state leading to changes in developmental plasticity, in part underpinned by epigenetic changes in gene regulation. However, to date, only candidate gene approaches have been used to assess expression and molecular changes in the offspring of maternally undernourished animals. Furthermore, most work has focused on animals at an age where the programmed phenotype is already manifest and little is known about changes in gene expression in the offspring prior to development of obesity and related metabolic disorders. Gene expression profiles of liver, retroperitoneal white adipose fat, and biceps femoris skeletal muscle tissue from young adult male rats (55 days old) in which nutritional status had been manipulated in utero by maternal undernutrition (UN) were compared to the profiles of offspring of ad libitum fed mothers serving as the control group (AD) (8 offspring/group). The expression profiles were determined using the Illumina RatRef-12 BeadChip. No significant changes in expression were identified for skeletal muscle or white adipose tissue. However, studies of liver tissue showed 249 differentially expressed genes (143 up regulated, 106 down regulated). Although the animals at day 55 have yet to develop obesity they already show biochemical abnormalities and by day 110 express a phenotype characterized by increased adiposity and altered insulin sensitivity. An analysis of pathways affected suggests that intrauterine programming of UN animals to favor fat as an energy source results in mitochondrial dysfunction which initially affects the postnatal hepatic function and subsequently, via the resultant metabolic changes in other organs leads to the evolution of a phenotype similar to that of the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2749934  PMID: 19787071
24.  Differential Muscle Gene Expression as a Function of Disease Progression in Goto-Kakizaki Diabetic Rats 
The Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat, a polygenic non-obese model of type 2 diabetes, is a useful surrogate for study of diabetes-related changes independent of obesity. GK rats and appropriate controls were killed at 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 weeks post-weaning and differential muscle gene expression along with body and muscle weights, plasma hormones and lipids, and blood cell measurements were carried out. Gene expression analysis identified 204 genes showing 2-fold or greater differences between GK and controls in at least 3 ages. Array results suggested increased oxidative capacity in GK muscles, as well as differential gene expression related to insulin resistance, which was also indicated by HOMA-IR measurements. In addition, potential new biomarkers in muscle gene expression were identified that could be either a cause or consequence of T2DM. Furthermore, we demonstrate here the presence of chronic inflammation evident both systemically and in the musculature, despite the absence of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3093670  PMID: 21356272
type 2 diabetes; skeletal muscle; inflammation; microarrays; gene expression
25.  Ambient fine particulate matter and ozone exposures induce inflammation in epicardial and perirenal adipose tissues in rats fed a high fructose diet 
Inflammation and oxidative stress play critical roles in the pathogenesis of inhaled air pollutant-mediated metabolic disease. Inflammation in the adipose tissues niches are widely believed to exert important effects on organ dysfunction. Recent data from both human and animal models suggest a role for inflammation and oxidative stress in epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) as a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that inhalational exposure to concentrated ambient fine particulates (CAPs) and ozone (O3) exaggerates inflammation and oxidative stress in EAT and perirenal adipose tissue (PAT).
Eight- week-old Male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a normal diet (ND) or high fructose diet (HFr) for 8 weeks, and then exposed to ambient AIR, CAPs at a mean of 356 μg/m3, O3 at 0.485 ppm, or CAPs (441 μg/m3) + O3 (0.497 ppm) in Dearborn, MI, 8 hours/day, 5 days/week, for 9 days over 2 weeks.
EAT and PAT showed whitish color in gross, and less mitochondria, higher mRNA expression of white adipose specific and lower brown adipose specific genes than in brown adipose tissues. Exposure to CAPs and O3 resulted in the increase of macrophage infiltration in both EAT and PAT of HFr groups. Proinflammatory genes of Tnf-α, Mcp-1 and leptin were significantly upregulated while IL-10 and adiponectin, known as antiinflammatory genes, were reduced after the exposures. CAPs and O3 exposures also induced an increase in inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein expression, and decrease in mitochondrial area in EAT and PAT. We also found significant increases in macrophages of HFr-O3 rats. The synergetic interaction of HFr and dirty air exposure on the inflammation was found in most of the experiments. Surprisingly, exposure to CAPs or O3 induced more significant inflammation and oxidative stress than co-exposure of CAPs and O3 in EAT and PAT.
EAT and PAT are both white adipose tissues. Short-term exposure to CAPs and O3, especially with high fructose diet, induced inflammation and oxidative stress in EAT and PAT in rats. These findings may provide a link between air-pollution exposure and accelerated susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and metabolic complications.
PMCID: PMC3765456  PMID: 23968387
Particulate matter; Ozone; Epicardial adipose tissue; Perirenal adipose tissue; Inflammation; Oxidative stress

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