Reduction of plasma cholesterol by citrus flavonoids is associated with effects on specific liver functions related to lipid handling. In previous in vivo studies, polymethoxylated flavones (PMF) reduced plasma cholesterol levels at lower doses than required for flavanones. To delineate hepatic mechanisms that underlie this differential potency, we used HepG2 cells to quantitate effects on expression of the LDL receptor (LDLR) gene. A dose-response analysis showed that 200 μmol/L hesperetin, a flavanone present as a disaccharide in oranges, increased LDLR mRNA levels 3.6- to 4.7-fold of the untreated control. In contrast, nobiletin, a PMF found at the highest concentration in oranges and tangerines, achieved maximal stimulation of 1.5- to 1.6-fold of control at only 5 μmol/L. Transcriptional regulation of the LDLR gene by citrus flavonoids has been implicated but, to our knowledge, not directly demonstrated. Here, using transfection vector constructs containing the upstream region of the LDLR gene, we show differences in both potency and efficacy in the induction of transcription, with peak stimulation of 5.3- to 7.5-fold of control at 150-160 μmol/L hesperetin and 3- to 3.8-fold of control at 10-20 μmol/L nobiletin. Hesperetin sustains induction, whereas nobiletin is inhibitory at high doses, resulting in an inverted-U dose response. The sterol regulatory element (SRE) in the LDLR gene upstream region plays a crucial role, because mutation of this site strongly attenuated induction in response to hesperetin or nobiletin. Thus, citrus flavonoids are likely to act through the SRE-binding proteins, with PMF initially activating these mechanisms at considerably lower concentrations than flavanones.
The global epidemic of metabolic syndrome and its complications demands rapid evaluation of new and accessible interventions. Insulin resistance is the central biochemical disturbance in the metabolic syndrome. The citrus-derived flavonoid, naringenin, has lipid-lowering properties and inhibits VLDL secretion from cultured hepatocytes in a manner resembling insulin. We evaluated whether naringenin regulates lipoprotein production and insulin sensitivity in the context of insulin resistance in vivo.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
LDL receptor–null (Ldlr−/−) mice fed a high-fat (Western) diet (42% calories from fat and 0.05% cholesterol) become dyslipidemic, insulin and glucose intolerant, and obese. Four groups of mice (standard diet, Western, and Western plus 1% or 3% wt/wt naringenin) were fed ad libitum for 4 weeks. VLDL production and parameters of insulin and glucose tolerance were determined.
We report that naringenin treatment of Ldlr−/− mice fed a Western diet corrected VLDL overproduction, ameliorated hepatic steatosis, and attenuated dyslipidemia without affecting caloric intake or fat absorption. Naringenin 1) increased hepatic fatty acid oxidation through a peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor (PPAR) γ coactivator 1α/PPARα-mediated transcription program; 2) prevented sterol regulatory element–binding protein 1c–mediated lipogenesis in both liver and muscle by reducing fasting hyperinsulinemia; 3) decreased hepatic cholesterol and cholesterol ester synthesis; 4) reduced both VLDL-derived and endogenously synthesized fatty acids, preventing muscle triglyceride accumulation; and 5) improved overall insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Thus, naringenin, through its correction of many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance, represents a promising therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome.
Despite its importance, the death rate of ovarian cancer has remained unchanged over the past five decades, demanding an improvement in prevention and treatment of this malignancy. With no known carcinogens, targeted prevention is currently unavailable, and efforts in early detection of this malignancy by screening biomarkers have failed. The inhibition of angiogenesis, also known as angioprevention, is a promising strategy to limit the growth of solid tumors, including ovarian cancers. Nobiletin, a polymethoxy flavonoid compound isolated from the tiansheng plant, has been shown to inhibit the growth of multiple types of human cancers. However, there are no reports involving the effect on nobiletin on human ovarian cancer. The present report shows that nobiletin potently decreases the viability of ovarian cancer cells in vitro. However, nobiletin does not affect the viability of normal ovarian epithelial cells at <40 μM. The antitumor activity of nobiletin was also observed in athymic mouse models and in chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) models. The anti-neoplastic activity of nobiletin was due to its ability to inhibit angiogenesis. We also studied the molecular mechanisms by which nobiletin suppresses angiogenesis. We observed that nobiletin inhibits secretion of the key angiogenesis mediators, Akt, HIF-1α, NF-κB and vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF) by ovarian cancer cells. Transient transfection experiments showed that nobiletin inhibits production of HIF-1α by downregulation of Akt. Such decreased levels of HIF-1α were responsible for nobiletin-induced suppression of VEGF. Our data suggest that nobiletin may be a promising anti-angiogenic agent relevant for therapy of ovarian cancers.
nobiletin; ovarian cancer; angiogenesis; HIF-1α; vascular epithelial growth factor; Akt
Background. Our previous study has demonstrated that nobiletin could reverse the behavioral alterations in stressed mice. However, the relation of its antidepressant-like action with neurotrophic molecular expression remains unknown. This study aimed to explore the antidepressant-like mechanism of nobiletin related to the neurotrophic system in rats exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). Methods. Depressive-like anhedonia (assessed by sucrose preference) and serum corticosterone secretion were evaluated in the CUMS, followed by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), its tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B (TrkB), and the downstream target synapsin I expressions in the hippocampus. Results. Anhedonia, which occurred within week 2, was rapidly ameliorated by nobiletin. While fluoxetine needed additional 2 weeks to improve the anhedonia. In addition, nobiletin administration for 5 weeks significantly ameliorated CUMS-induced increase in serum corticosterone levels. Furthermore, we also found that CUMS-induced deficits of hippocampal BDNF, TrkB, and synapsin I were ameliorated by nobiletin.
Conclusions. Taken together, these findings suggest that nobiletin produces rapidly acting antidepressant-like responses in the CUMS and imply that BDNF-TrkB pathway may play an important role in the antidepressant-like effect of nobiletin.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with accelerated atherogenesis, which may result from a combination of factors, including dyslipidemia characterized by increased VLDL secretion, and insulin resistance. To assess the hypothesis that both hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance contribute to atherogenesis, we crossed mice deficient for the LDL receptor (Ldlr–/– mice) with mice that express low levels of IR in the liver and lack IR in peripheral tissues (the L1B6 mouse strain). Unexpectedly, compared with Ldlr–/– controls, L1B6Ldlr–/– mice fed a Western diet showed reduced VLDL and LDL levels, reduced atherosclerosis, decreased hepatic AKT signaling, decreased expression of genes associated with lipogenesis, and diminished VLDL apoB and lipid secretion. Adenovirus-mediated hepatic expression of either constitutively active AKT or dominant negative glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) markedly increased VLDL and LDL levels such that they were similar in both Ldlr–/– and L1B6Ldlr–/– mice. Knocking down expression of hepatic IR by adenovirus-mediated shRNA decreased VLDL triglyceride and apoB secretion in Ldlr–/– mice. Furthermore, knocking down hepatic IR expression in either WT or ob/ob mice reduced VLDL secretion but also resulted in decreased hepatic Ldlr protein. These findings suggest a dual action of hepatic IR on lipoprotein levels, in which the ability to increase VLDL apoB and lipid secretion via AKT/GSK is offset by upregulation of Ldlr.
Spontaneous preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death and of neurological disabilities in survivors. A significant proportion of spontaneous preterm births are associated with infection. Infection activates inflammation which induces a cascade of events that leads to myometrial contractions and rupture of fetal membranes. In non-gestational tissues, the citrus flavone nobiletin has been shown to exert potent anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, in this study, we sought to determine the effect of nobiletin on pro-inflammatory mediators in human fetal membranes and myometrium. Human fetal membranes and myometrium were treated with bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the absence or presence of nobiletin. In addition, the effect of nobiletin in fetal membranes taken from spontaneous preterm deliveries with and without infection (i.e. histological chorioamnionitis) was also examined. In human fetal membranes and myometrium, nobiletin significantly decreased LPS-stimulated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8) and MMP-9 expression and pro-MMP-9 secretion. Additionally, nobiletin significantly decreased COX-2 expression and subsequent prostaglandin (PG) E2 production. Notably, nobiletin was also able to reduce the expression and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and MMP-9 in fetal membranes taken from women after spontaneous preterm birth. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that nobiletin can reduce infection-induced pro-inflammatory mediators in human fetal membranes and myometrium. These in vitro studies further support the increasing volume and quality of evidence that high fruit and vegetable intake in pregnancy is associated with a decreased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Nobiletin is a non-toxic dietary flavonoid that possesses anti-cancer properties. Nobiletin has been reported to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but the mechanism is not well understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of nobiletin in prostate cancer cell lines PC-3 and DU-145.
Nobiletin was isolated from a polymethoxy flavonoid mixture using HPLC, cell viability was analyzed with MTS-based assays. Protein expression was examined by ELISA and western blotting. Gene expression was examined by luciferase assay. And the pathways were examined by manipulating genetic components with plasmid transfection.
Data showed that nobiletin decreased cell viability in both prostate cell lines, with a greater reduction in viability in PC-3 cells. HIF-1α expression and AKT phosphorylation were decreased in both cell lines. The VEGF expression was inhibited in PC-3 but not DU-145 cells. cMyc expression was decreased in DU-145 cells. Nobiletin down-regulated NF-κB (p50) expression in nuclei of DU145 cells but not whole cells. It also suppressed NF-κB expression in both whole cells and nuclei of PC-3 cells. Increasing HIF-1α levels reversed nobiletin’s inhibitory effects on VEGF expression, and up-regulating AKT levels reversed its inhibitory effects on HIF-1α expression. We speculate that AKT influences cell viability probably by its effect on NF-κB in both prostate cells. The effect of nobiletin on VEGF expression in PC-3 cell lines was through the AKT/HIF-1α pathway.
Taken together, our results show that nobiletin suppresses cell viability through AKT pathways, with a more profound effect against the more metastatic PC-3 line. Due to this enhanced action against a more malignant cell type, nobiletin may be used to improve prostate cancer survival rates.
Nobiletin; Prostate cancer; VEGF; NF-κB; HIF-1α; cMyc
Insulin-resistant states, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, contribute substantially to accelerated atherogenesis. Null mutations of myostatin (Mstn) are associated with increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass. In this study, we determined whether Mstn disruption could prevent the development of insulin resistance, proatherogenic dyslipidemia, and atherogenesis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
C57BL/6 Ldlr−/− mice were cross-bred with C57BL/6 Mstn−/− mice for >10 generations to generate Mstn−/−/Ldlr−/− double-knockout mice. The effects of high-fat/high-cholesterol diet on body composition, plasma lipids, systemic and tissue-specific insulin sensitivity, hepatic steatosis, as well as aortic atheromatous lesion were characterized in Mstn−/−/Ldlr−/− mice in comparison with control Mstn+/+/Ldlr−/− mice.
Compared with Mstn+/+/Ldlr−/− controls, Mstn−/−/ Ldlr−/− mice were resistant to diet-induced obesity, and had greatly improved insulin sensitivity, as indicated by 42% higher glucose infusion rate and 90% greater muscle [3H]-2-deoxyglucose uptake during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Mstn−/−/Ldlr−/− mice were protected against diet-induced hepatic steatosis and had 56% higher rate of hepatic fatty acid β-oxidation than controls. Mstn−/−/Ldlr−/− mice also had 36% lower VLDL secretion rate and were protected against diet-induced dyslipidemia, as indicated by 30–60% lower VLDL and LDL cholesterol, free fatty acids, and triglycerides. Magnetic resonance angiography and en face analyses demonstrated 41% reduction in aortic atheromatous lesions in Ldlr−/− mice with Mstn deletion.
Inactivation of Mstn protects against the development of insulin resistance, proatherogenic dyslipidemia, and aortic atherogenesis in Ldlr−/− mice. Myostatin may be a useful target for drug development for prevention and treatment of obesity and its associated type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.
We investigated the differential roles of apolipoprotein E (apoE) isoforms in modulating diabetic dyslipidemia—a potential cause of the increased cardiovascular disease risk of patients with diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Diabetes was induced using streptozotocin (STZ) in human apoE3 (E3) or human apoE4 (E4) mice deficient in the LDL receptor (LDLR−/−).
Diabetic E3LDLR−/− and E4LDLR−/− mice have indistinguishable levels of plasma glucose and insulin. Despite this, diabetes increased VLDL triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in E4LDLR−/− mice twice as much as in E3LDLR−/− mice. Diabetic E4LDLR−/− mice had similar lipoprotein fractional catabolic rates compared with diabetic E3LDLR−/− mice but had larger hepatic fat stores and increased VLDL secretion. Diabetic E4LDLR−/− mice demonstrated a decreased reliance on lipid as an energy source based on indirect calorimetry. Lower phosphorylated acetyl-CoA carboxylase content and higher gene expression of fatty acid synthase in the liver indicated reduced fatty acid oxidation and increased fatty acid synthesis. E4LDLR−/− primary hepatocytes cultured in high glucose accumulated more intracellular lipid than E3LDLR−/− hepatocytes concomitant with a 60% reduction in fatty acid oxidation. Finally, the exaggerated dyslipidemia in diabetic E4LDLR−/− mice was accompanied by a dramatic increase in atherosclerosis.
ApoE4 causes severe dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis independent of its interaction with LDLR in a model of STZ-induced diabetes. ApoE4-expressing livers have reduced fatty acid oxidation, which contributes to the accumulation of tissue and plasma lipids.
Ammonia detoxification is essential for physiological well-being, and the urea cycle in liver plays a predominant role in ammonia disposal. Nobiletin (NOB), a natural dietary flavonoid, is known to exhibit various physiological efficacies. In the current study, we investigated a potential role of NOB in ammonia control and the underlying cellular mechanism.
C57BL/6 mice were fed with regular chow (RC), high-fat (HFD) or high-protein diet (HPD) and treated with either vehicle or NOB. Serum and/or urine levels of ammonia and urea were measured. Liver expression of genes encoding urea cycle enzymes and C/EBP transcription factors was determined over the circadian cycle. Luciferase reporter assays were carried out to investigate function of CCAAT consensus elements on the carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (Cps1) gene promoter. A circadian clock-deficient mouse mutant, ClockΔ19/Δ19, was utilized to examine a requisite role of the circadian clock in mediating NOB induction of Cps1.
NOB was able to lower serum ammonia levels in mice fed with RC, HFD or HPD. Compared with RC, HFD repressed the mRNA and protein expression of Cps1, encoding the rate-limiting enzyme of the urea cycle. Interestingly, NOB rescued CPS1 protein levels under the HFD condition via induction of the transcription factors C/EBPα and C/EBPβ. Expression of other urea cycle genes was also decreased by HFD relative to RC and again restored by NOB to varying degrees, which, in conjunction with Cps1 promoter reporter analysis, suggested a C/EBP-dependent mechanism for the co-induction of urea cycle genes by NOB. In comparison, HPD markedly increased CPS1 levels relative to RC, yet NOB did not further enrich CPS1 to a significant extent. Using the circadian mouse mutant ClockΔ19/Δ19, we also showed that a functional circadian clock, known to modulate C/EBP and CPS1 expression, was required for NOB induction of CPS1 under the HFD condition.
NOB, a dietary flavonoid, exhibits a broad activity in ammonia control across varying diets, and regulates urea cycle function via C/EBP-and clock-dependent regulatory mechanisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12986-015-0020-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Ammonia; Urea cycle; Circadian clock; Diet; Flavonoid; C/EBP
Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, chronic low-grade inflammation and atherosclerosis. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) participates in the cross-talk between inflammation and insulin resistance, being activated by both lipopolysaccharide and saturated fatty acids. This study was undertaken to determine whether TLR4 deficiency has a protective role in inflammation, insulin resistance and atherosclerosis induced by a diabetogenic diet.
Methods and Results
TLR4 and LDL receptor double knockout (Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/−) mice and Ldlr−/− mice were fed either a normal chow or a diabetogenic diet for 24 weeks. Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice fed a diabetogenic diet showed improved plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels but developed obesity, hyperinsulinemia and glucose intolerance equivalent to obese Ldlr−/− mice. Adipocyte hypertrophy, macrophage accumulation and local inflammation were not attenuated in intra-abdominal adipose tissue in Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice. However, TLR4 deficiency led to markedly decreased atherosclerosis in obese Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice. Compensatory up-regulation of TLR2 expression was observed both in obese TLR4 deficient mice and in palmitate-treated TLR4-silenced 3T3-L1 adipocytes.
TLR4 deficiency decreases atherosclerosis without affecting obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in LDL receptor deficient mice. Alternative pathways may be responsible for adipose tissue macrophage infiltration and insulin resistance that occurs in obesity.
Toll-like receptor 4; insulin resistance; atherosclerosis; inflammation; diabetogenic diet
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of atherosclerosis. One factor underlying this is dyslipidemia, which in hyperinsulinemic subjects with early type 2 diabetes is typically characterized by increased VLDL secretion but normal LDL cholesterol levels, possibly reflecting enhanced catabolism of LDL via hepatic LDLRs. Recent studies have also suggested that hepatic insulin signaling sustains LDLR levels. We therefore sought to elucidate the mechanisms linking hepatic insulin signaling to regulation of LDLR levels. In WT mice, insulin receptor knockdown by shRNA resulted in decreased hepatic mTORC1 signaling and LDLR protein levels. It also led to increased expression of PCSK9, a known post-transcriptional regulator of LDLR expression. Administration of the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin caused increased expression of PCSK9, decreased levels of hepatic LDLR protein, and increased levels of VLDL/LDL cholesterol in WT but not Pcsk9–/– mice. Conversely, mice with increased hepatic mTORC1 activity exhibited decreased expression of PCSK9 and increased levels of hepatic LDLR protein levels. Pcsk9 is regulated by the transcription factor HNF1α, and our further detailed analyses suggest that increased mTORC1 activity leads to activation of PKCδ, reduced activity of HNF4α and HNF1α, decreased PCSK9 expression, and ultimately increased hepatic LDLR protein levels, which result in decreased circulating LDL levels. We therefore suggest that PCSK9 inhibition could be an effective way to reduce the adverse side effect of increased LDL levels that is observed in transplant patients taking rapamycin as immunosuppressive therapy.
Chronic inflammation is considered a causal risk factor predisposing to insulin resistance. However, evidence is accumulating that inflammation confined to the liver may not be causal to metabolic dysfunction. To investigate this, we assessed if hepatic inflammation explains the predisposition towards insulin resistance in low-density lipoprotein receptor knock-out (Ldlr−/−) mice. For this, wild type (WT) and Ldlr−/− mice were fed a chow diet, a high fat (HF) diet, or a high fat, high cholesterol (HFC) diet for 2 weeks. Plasma lipid levels were elevated in chow-fed Ldlr−/− mice compared to WT mice. Although short-term HF or HFC feeding did not result in body weight gain and adipose tissue inflammation, dyslipidemia was worsened in Ldlr−/− mice compared to WT mice. In addition, dyslipidemic HF-fed Ldlr−/− mice had a higher hepatic glucose production rate than HF-fed WT mice, while peripheral insulin resistance was unaffected. This suggests that HF-fed Ldlr−/− mice suffered from hepatic insulin resistance. While HFC-fed Ldlr−/− mice displayed the anticipated increased hepatic inflammation, this did neither exacerbate systemic nor hepatic insulin resistance. Therefore, our results show that hepatic insulin resistance is unrelated to cholesterol-induced hepatic inflammation in Ldlr−/− mice, indicating that hepatic inflammation may not contribute to metabolic dysfunction per se.
Salvia-Nelumbinis naturalis (SNN), initially called Jiangzhi Granula as a formulae of Chinese medicinal decoction, has been used clinically to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and related syndromes. The mechanism of SNN action is unknown.
HepG2 cells were cultured in lipid-rich media supplemented with chemical components of SNN. Male Wistar rats (6 weeks of age) were fed a high calorie diet (15% fat, 15% sucrose, and 2% cholesterol) for eight weeks, and then treated with SNN for four weeks. Body and liver weight, lipids profiles, insulin and glucose levels, glucose and insulin tolerance were evaluated, the mRNA and protein expression of insulin receptor (InsR), insulin receptor substrate (IRS) 1/2, protein kinase B (PKB/Akt), protein expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), protein kinase C epsilon (PKC ε) in liver tissue were analysed.
Treatment with SNN components in lipid-laden HepG2 cells decreased lipid accumulation. Rats fed with a HC diet developed hepatosteatosis and accompanied hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, hyperleptinemia, and diabetic dyslipidemia. Prolonged HC diet feeding resulted in parabolic response in plasma triglyceride (TG) concentrations, indicative of compromised hepatic production of TG-rich lipoproteins. HC diet feeding also resulted in impaired insulin sensitivity and hepatic insulin signalling. Administration of SNN extracts alleviated hepatosteatosis and conferred to a normolipoproteinemia profile in the HC diet-fed rats. The efficacy of SNN extract in improving liver function and insulin sensitivity was comparable to that of simvastatin or pioglitazone. The improved insulin signaling by SNN treatment was associated with increased IRS and Akt phosphorylation and decreased SOCS3 expression. However, SNN failed to inhibit the PKC ε expression in the liver.
SNN is effective in reducing lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells and attenuating hepatosteatosis in HC diet-fed rats. Reduced hepatic lipid content in the rat liver was associated with improved insulin signalling.
Hepatosteatosis; Insulin resistance; Salvia-Nelumbinis naturalis
The expression of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) is enhanced in human atherosclerotic and calcific vascular lesions. While genetic gain- and loss-of-function experiments in mice have supported a causal role of BMP signaling in atherosclerosis and vascular calcification, it remains uncertain whether BMP signaling might be targeted pharmacologically to ameliorate both of these processes.
Methods and Results
We tested the impact of pharmacologic BMP inhibition upon atherosclerosis and calcification in low density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (LDLR−/−) mice. LDLR−/− mice fed a high-fat diet developed abundant vascular calcification within twenty weeks. Prolonged treatment of LDLR−/− mice with the small molecule BMP inhibitor LDN-193189 was well-tolerated and potently inhibited development of atheroma, as well as associated vascular inflammation, osteogenic activity, and calcification. Administration of recombinant BMP antagonist ALK3-Fc replicated the anti-atherosclerotic and anti-inflammatory effects of LDN-193189. Treatment of human aortic endothelial cells with LDN-193189 or ALK3-Fc abrogated the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by oxidized LDL, a known early event in atherogenesis. Unexpectedly, treatment of mice with LDN-193189 lowered LDL serum cholesterol by 35% and markedly decreased hepatosteatosis without inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase activity. Treatment with BMP2 increased, whereas LDN-193189 or ALK3-Fc inhibited apolipoprotein B100 secretion in HepG2 cells, suggesting that BMP signaling contributes to the regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis.
These results definitively implicate BMP signaling in atherosclerosis and calcification, while uncovering a previously unidentified role for BMP signaling in LDL cholesterol metabolism. BMP inhibition may be helpful in the treatment of atherosclerosis and associated vascular calcification.
atherosclerosis; inflammation; lipoproteins; hypercholesterolemia
Epidemiological evidence suggests that a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables may protect against colon cancer. Bioactive compounds, including flavonoids and limonoids, have been shown to possess anti-proliferative and anti-tumorigenic effects in various cancer models. This experiment investigated the effects of four citrus flavonoids and one limonoid mixture at the promotion stage of chemically induced colon cancer in rats. Male Sprague Dawley rats (n = 10 rats/group) were randomly allocated to one of six diets formulated to contain 0.1% apigenin, 0.02% naringenin, 0.1% hesperidin, 0.01% nobiletin, 0.035% limonin glucoside/obacunone glucoside mixture, or a control diet (0% flavonoid/limonoid). Rats received experimental diets for 10 wk and were injected with azoxymethane (15 mg/kg) at wk 3 and 4. Excised colons were evaluated for aberrant crypt foci (ACF) formation, colonocyte proliferation (PCNA assay), apoptosis (TUNEL assay), and expression of iNOS and COX-2 (immunoblotting). When compared to the control diet, apigenin lowered the number of high multiplicity ACF (HMACF > 4 AC/focus) by 57% (P < 0.05), while naringenin lowered both the number of HMACF by 51% (P < 0.05) and the proliferative index by 32% (P < 0.05). Both apigenin and naringenin increased apoptosis of luminal surface colonocytes (78% and 97%, respectively; P < 0.05) when compared to the control diet. Hesperidin, nobiletin, and the limonin glucoside/obacunone glucoside mixture did not affect these variables. The colonic mucosal protein levels of iNOS or COX-2 were not different among the six diet groups. The ability of dietary apigenin and naringenin to reduce HMACF, lower proliferation (naringenin only), and increase apoptosis may contribute toward colon cancer prevention. However, these effects were not due to mitigation of iNOS and COX-2 protein levels at the ACF stage of colon cancer.
Citrus; limonoids; flavonoids; colon cancer
Alcoholic steatosis is a fundamental metabolic disorder in the progression of alcoholic liver disease. Zinc deficiency is one of the most consistently observed biochemical/nutritional manifestations of alcoholic liver disease. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not dietary zinc supplementation to mice previously exposed to alcohol exposure could reverse alcoholic steatosis. Male 129S mice were pair-fed an alcohol or isocaloric maltose dextrin liquid diet for 16 weeks with or without dietary zinc supplementation for the last 4 weeks. Zinc supplementation significantly attenuated alcohol-mediated increases in hepatic triglyceride, cholesterol and free fatty acids in association with accelerated hepatic fatty acid oxidation and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) secretion. Hepatic genes related to fatty acid oxidation and VLDL secretion were upregulated by zinc supplementation, which was accompanied by restoring activity of hepatocyte nuclear factor-4α (HNF-4α) and peroxisome proliferators activated receptor-α (PPAR-α). Zinc supplementation enhanced alcohol metabolism and attenuated oxidative stress and liver injury. Zinc supplementation also normalized alcohol-mediated increases in plasma triglycerides and partially reversed decrease in gonadal adipose depot (GAD) mass. Studies in HepG2 cells showed that zinc deprivation significantly suppressed the DNA binding activities of HNF-4α and PPAR-α, and reduced HNF-4α and PPAR-α target proteins. Consequently, zinc deprivation caused cellular accumulation of lipid droplets, triglycerides and free fatty acids in the HepG2 cells. Conclusions: Zinc supplementation reverses alcoholic steatosis, and reactivation of HNF-4α and PPAR-α by increasing zinc availability and inhibiting oxidative stress are potential mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects of zinc on hepatic lipid homeostasis.
alcoholic fatty liver; fatty acid oxidation; VLDL secretion; trace element; zinc finger transcription factor
The deacetylase sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) exerts beneficial effects on lipid metabolism, but its roles in plasma LDL-cholesterol regulation and atherosclerosis are controversial. Thus, we applied the pharmacological Sirt1 activator SRT3025 in a mouse model of atherosclerosis and in hepatocyte culture.
Methods and results
Apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe−/−) mice were fed a high-cholesterol diet (1.25% w/w) supplemented with SRT3025 (3.18 g kg−1 diet) for 12 weeks. In vitro, the drug activated wild-type Sirt1 protein, but not the activation-resistant Sirt1 mutant; in vivo, it increased deacetylation of hepatic p65 and skeletal muscle Foxo1. SRT3025 treatment decreased plasma levels of LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol and reduced atherosclerosis. Drug treatment did not change mRNA expression of hepatic LDL receptor (Ldlr) and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (Pcsk9), but increased their protein expression indicating post-translational effects. Consistent with hepatocyte Ldlr and Pcsk9 accumulation, we found reduced plasma levels of Pcsk9 after pharmacological Sirt1 activation. In vitro administration of SRT3025 to cultured AML12 hepatocytes attenuated Pcsk9 secretion and its binding to Ldlr, thereby reducing Pcsk9-mediated Ldlr degradation and increasing Ldlr expression and LDL uptake. Co-administration of exogenous Pcsk9 with SRT3025 blunted these effects. Sirt1 activation with SRT3025 in Ldlr−/− mice reduced neither plasma Pcsk9, nor LDL-cholesterol levels, nor atherosclerosis.
We identify reduction in Pcsk9 secretion as a novel effect of Sirt1 activity and uncover Ldlr as a prerequisite for Sirt1-mediated atheroprotection in mice. Pharmacological activation of Sirt1 appears promising to be tested in patients for its effects on plasma Pcsk9, LDL-cholesterol, and atherosclerosis.
Sirt1; LDL-cholesterol; Pcsk9; LDL receptor; Atherogenesis
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a serious comorbidity in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Since plasma ceramides are increased in NAFLD and sphingomyelin, a ceramide metabolite, is an independent risk factor for CVD, the role of ceramides in dyslipidemia was assessed using LDLR-/- mice, a diet-induced model of NAFLD and atherosclerosis. Mice were fed a standard or Western diet (WD), with or without myriocin, an inhibitor of ceramide synthesis. Hepatic and plasma ceramides were profiled and lipid and lipoprotein kinetics were quantified. Hepatic and intestinal expression of genes and proteins involved in insulin, lipid and lipoprotein metabolism were also determined. WD caused hepatic oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, increased hepatic long-chain ceramides associated with apoptosis (C16 and C18) and decreased very-long-chain ceramide C24 involved in insulin signaling. The plasma ratio of ApoB/ApoA1 (proteins of VLDL/LDL and HDL) was increased 2-fold due to increased ApoB production. Myriocin reduced hepatic and plasma ceramides and sphingomyelin, and decreased atherosclerosis, hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and apoptosis without any effect on oxidative stress. These changes were associated with decreased lipogenesis, ApoB production and increased HDL turnover. Thus, modulation of ceramide synthesis may lead to the development of novel strategies for the treatment of both NAFLD and its associated atherosclerosis.
All fibrates are peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors (PPARs)-alpha agonists with ability to decrease triglyceride and increase high density lipoprotein- cholesterol (HDL-C). However, bezafibrate has a unique characteristic profile of action since it activates all three PPAR subtypes (alpha, gamma and delta) at comparable doses. Therefore, bezafibrate operates as a pan-agonist for all three PPAR isoforms. Selective PPAR gamma agonists (thiazolidinediones) are used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). They improve insulin sensitivity by up-regulating adipogenesis, decreasing free fatty acid levels, and reversing insulin resistance. However, selective PPAR gamma agonists also cause water retention, weight gain, peripheral edema, and congestive heart failure. The expression of PPAR beta/ delta in essentially all cell types and tissues (ubiquitous presence) suggests its potential fundamental role in cellular biology. PPAR beta/ delta effects correlated with enhancement of fatty acid oxidation, energy consumption and adaptive thermogenesis. Together, these data implicate PPAR beta/delta in fuel combustion and suggest that pan-PPAR agonists that include a component of PPAR beta/delta activation might offset some of the weight gain issues seen with selective PPAR gamma agonists, as was demonstrated by bezafibrate studies. Suggestively, on the whole body level all PPARs acting as one orchestra and balanced pan-PPAR activation seems as an especially attractive pharmacological goal. Conceptually, combined PPAR gamma and alpha action can target simultaneously insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia, whereas PPAR beta/delta properties may prevent the development of overweight. Bezafibrate, as all fibrates, significantly reduced plasma triglycerides and increased HDL-C level (but considerably stronger than other major fibrates). Bezafibrate significantly decreased prevalence of small, dense low density lipoproteins particles, remnants, induced atherosclerotic plaque regression in thoracic and abdominal aorta and improved endothelial function. In addition, bezafibrate has important fibrinogen-related properties and anti-inflammatory effects. In clinical trials bezafibrate was highly effective for cardiovascular risk reduction in patients with metabolic syndrome and atherogenic dyslipidemia. The principal differences between bezafibrate and other fibrates are related to effects on glucose level and insulin resistance. Bezafibrate decreases blood glucose level, HbA1C, insulin resistance and reduces the incidence of T2DM compared to placebo or other fibrates. Currently statins are the cornerstone of the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases related to atherosclerosis. However, despite the increasing use of statins as monotherapy for low density lipoprotein- cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction, a significant residual cardiovascular risk is still presented in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, which is typical for T2DM and metabolic syndrome. Recently, concerns were raised regarding the development of diabetes in statin-treated patients. Combined bezafibrate/statin therapy is more effective in achieving a comprehensive lipid control and residual cardiovascular risk reduction. Based on the beneficial effects of pan-PPAR agonist bezafibrate on glucose metabolism and prevention of new-onset diabetes, one could expect a neutralization of the adverse pro-diabetic effect of statins using the strategy of a combined statin/fibrate therapy.
Atherogenic dyslipidemia; Bezafibrate; Combined fibrate/statin therapy; Metabolic syndrome; PPAR; Prevention; Residual cardiovascular risk; Type 2 diabetes
The aim of this study was to deeper investigate the mechanisms through which
ENPP1, a negative modulator of insulin receptor (IR) activation, plays a role on
insulin signaling, insulin secretion and eventually glucose metabolism. ENPP1
cDNA (carrying either K121 or Q121 variant) was transfected in HepG2 liver-, L6
skeletal muscle- and INS1E beta-cells. Insulin-induced IR-autophosphorylation
(HepG2, L6, INS1E), Akt-Ser473,
ERK1/2-Thr202/Tyr204 and GSK3-beta Ser9
phosphorylation (HepG2, L6), PEPCK mRNA levels (HepG2) and
2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake (L6) was studied. GLUT 4 mRNA
(L6), insulin secretion and caspase-3 activation (INS1E) were also investigated.
Insulin-induced IR-autophosphorylation was decreased in HepG2-K, L6-K, INS1E-K
(20%, 52% and 11% reduction vs. untransfected cells) and
twice as much in HepG2-Q, L6-Q, INS1E-Q (44%, 92% and 30%).
Similar data were obtained with Akt-Ser473,
ERK1/2-Thr202/Tyr204 and GSK3-beta Ser9 in
HepG2 and L6. Insulin-induced reduction of PEPCK mRNA was progressively lower in
untransfected, HepG2-K and HepG2-Q cells (65%, 54%, 23%).
Insulin-induced glucose uptake in untransfected L6 (60% increase over
basal), was totally abolished in L6-K and L6-Q cells. GLUT 4 mRNA was slightly
reduced in L6-K and twice as much in L6-Q (13% and 25% reduction
vs. untransfected cells). Glucose-induced insulin secretion was 60%
reduced in INS1E-K and almost abolished in INS1E-Q. Serum deficiency activated
caspase-3 by two, three and four folds in untransfected INS1E, INS1E-K and
INS1E-Q. Glyburide-induced insulin secretion was reduced by 50% in
isolated human islets from homozygous QQ donors as compared to those from KK and
KQ individuals. Our data clearly indicate that ENPP1, especially when the Q121
variant is operating, affects insulin signaling and glucose metabolism in
skeletal muscle- and liver-cells and both function and survival of insulin
secreting beta-cells, thus representing a strong pathogenic factor predisposing
to insulin resistance, defective insulin secretion and glucose metabolism
Hepatic ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) expression is critical for maintaining plasma HDL concentrations, but its role in macrophage reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) and atherosclerosis is not fully understood. We investigated atherosclerosis development and RCT in hepatocyte specific ABCA1 knockout (HSKO) mice in the LDL receptor knockout (LDLrKO) C57BL/6 background.
Approach and Results
Male and female LDLrKO and HSKO/LDLrKO mice were switched from chow at 8 wks of age to an atherogenic diet (10% palm oil, 0.2% cholesterol) for 16 wks. Chow-fed HSKO/LDLrKO mice had HDL concentrations 10–20% of LDLrKO mice, but similar VLDL and LDL concentrations. Surprisingly, HSKO/LDLrKO mice fed the atherogenic diet had significantly lower (40–60%) VLDL, LDL, and HDL concentrations (50%) compared to LDLrKO mice. Aortic surface lesion area and cholesterol content were similar for both genotypes of mice, but aortic root intimal area was significantly lower (20–40%) in HSKO/LDLrKO mice. Although macrophage 3H-cholesterol efflux to apoB lipoprotein-depleted plasma was 24% lower for atherogenic diet-fed HSKO/LDLrKO vs. LDLrKO mice, variation in percentage efflux among individual mice was <2-fold compared to a 10-fold variation in plasma HDL concentrations, suggesting that HDL levels, per se, were not the primary determinant of plasma efflux capacity. In vivo RCT, resident peritoneal macrophage sterol content, biliary lipid composition, and fecal cholesterol mass were similar between both genotypes of mice.
The markedly reduced plasma HDL pool in HSKO/LDLrKO mice is sufficient to maintain macrophage RCT, which, along with reduced plasma VLDL and LDL concentrations, prevented the expected increase in atherosclerosis.
cardiovascular disease; atherosclerosis; lipids; lipoproteins; cholesterol
To determine if cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) plays a role in atherosclerosis, we investigated the effects of systemic CB2 gene deletion on hyperlipidemia-induced atherogenesis in low density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr−/−) mice.
Methods and results
Ldlr−/− and CB2/Ldlr double knockout (CB2−/−Ldlr−/−) mice were fed an atherogenic diet for 8 and 12 weeks. Morphometric analysis revealed no significant difference between the atherosclerotic lesion area in the proximal aortas of Ldlr−/− and CB2−/−Ldlr−/− mice after 8 or 12 weeks on the atherogenic diet. The macrophage and smooth muscle cell (SMC) content, as revealed by immunohistochemical staining, did not differ significantly between Ldlr−/− and CB2−/−Ldlr−/− lesions after 8 weeks. However, after 12 weeks, CB2−/−Ldlr−/− lesions displayed greater macrophage content (86.6 ± 4.1 versus 75.2 ± 7.5%, P < 0.05) and SMC content (11.1 ± 5.1 versus 4.2 ± 2.4%, P < 0.05) compared to controls. Lesional apoptosis, as determined by in situ TUNEL analysis, was reduced ∼50% in CB2−/−Ldlr−/− lesions after 12 weeks. CB2−/−Ldlr−/− lesions displayed significantly reduced collagen content and increased elastin fiber fragmentation after 12 weeks, which was associated with an ∼57% increase in matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP) levels. In vitro, CB2−/− macrophages secreted ∼1.8-fold more MMP9 activity than CB2+/+ macrophages.
CB2 receptor deficiency affects atherogenesis in Ldlr-null mice by increasing lesional macrophage and SMC content, reducing lesional apoptosis and altering extracellular matrix components, in part, by upregulating MMP9. These results suggest that pharmacological manipulation of CB2 receptors might exert multiple and complex effects on atherogenesis and plaque stability.
Atherosclerosis; Apoptosis; Cannabinoid receptor 2; Macrophages; Smooth muscle cells; Collagen; Elastin; Matrix metalloproteinase 9
The protective effect of raspberry ketone against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) was tested by using a high-fat diet-induced NASH model, and its mechanism was explored. Forty Sprague–Dawley rats with a 1:1 male to female ratio were randomly divided into five groups: the normal control (NC) group (n=8) fed normal diet for 8 weeks, the model control (MC) group (n=8) fed high-fat diet (82% standard diet, 8.3% yolk powder, 9.0% lard, 0.5% cholesterol, and 0.2% sodium taurocholate), and the raspberry ketone low-dose (0.5%) (RKL) group (n=8), the raspberry ketone middle-dose (1%) (RKM) group (n=8), and the raspberry ketone high-dose (2%) (RKH) group (n=8) fed high-fat diet for 4 weeks. After 8 weeks of experiment, all the rats were sacrificed, and blood lipid parameters (total cholesterol [TC], triglycerides [TG], high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C], and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C]), liver function parameters (serum alanine aminotransferase [ALT], aspartate aminotransferase [AST], and alkaline phosphatase [ALP]), leptin (LEP), free fatty acid (FFA), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), blood glucose (GLU), and insulin (INS) with calculated INS resistance index (IRI) and INS-sensitive index (ISI) were measured in rats. Therefore, we determined the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α activity in liver homogenate and the levels of low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), adiponection (APN), superoxide dismutase, and malondialdehyde (MDA). The liver tissues of rats in each group were imaged by electron microscopy with hematoxylin–eosin as the staining agent. The levels of TG, TC, LDL-C, ALT, AST, ALP, GLU, INS, IRI, FFA, LEP, TNF-α, MDA, and hs-CRP of MC rats were significantly increased (P<.05, P<.01). Therefore, the levels of HDL-C, ISI, PPAR-α, LDLR, and APN were significantly decreased (P<.05, P<.01). Compared with the MC group, each parameter in the RKL, RKM, and RKH groups was significantly improved (P<.05, P<.01). Thus raspberry ketone was an effective intervention for NASH in rats. It was believed that raspberry ketone had a dual effect of liver protection and fat reduction, and the mechanism was probably mediated by alleviation of fatty degeneration of liver cells, decreased liver inflammation, correction of dyslipidemia, reversal of LEP and INS resistance, and improved antioxidant capacity.
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; raspberry ketone
High-fat diet up-regulates either insulin resistance or triglycerides, which is assumed to be related to the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α and PPAR-γ. The beneficial effects of vitamin E on insulin resistance are well known; however, it is not clear if vitamin E with a high-fat diet alters the expression of PPAR-α and PPAR-γ. We investigated the effects of d-α-tocopherol supplementation on insulin sensitivity, blood lipid profiles, lipid peroxidation, and the expression of PPAR-α and PPAR-γ in a high-fat (HF) diet-fed male C57BL/6J model of insulin resistance. The animals were given a regular diet (CON; 10% fat), a HF diet containing 45% fat, or a HF diet plus d-α-tocopherol (HF-E) for a period of 20 weeks. The results showed that the HF diet induced insulin resistance and altered the lipid profile, specifically the triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) levels (P < 0.05). In this animal model, supplementation with d-α-tocopherol improved insulin resistance as well as the serum levels of TG and very-low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-C) (P < 0.05). Moreover, the treatment decreased the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the serum and liver while increasing hepatic PPAR-α expression and decreasing PPAR-γ expression. In conclusion, the oral administration of d-α-tocopherol with a high-fat diet had positive effects on insulin resistance, lipid profiles, and oxidative stress through the expression of PPAR-α and PPAR-γ in a high-fat diet-fed male mice.
High fat diet; supplementation; d-α-tocopherol; insulin resistance