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1.  Disruption of Myelin Leads to Ectopic Expression of KV1.1 Channels with Abnormal Conductivity of Optic Nerve Axons in a Cuprizone-Induced Model of Demyelination 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87736.
The molecular determinants of abnormal propagation of action potentials along axons and ectopic conductance in demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, like multiple sclerosis (MS), are poorly defined. Widespread interruption of myelin occurs in several mouse models of demyelination, rendering them useful for research. Herein, considerable myelin loss is shown in the optic nerves of cuprizone-treated demyelinating mice. Immuno-fluorescence confocal analysis of the expression and distribution of voltage-activated K+ channels (KV1.1 and 1.2 α subunits) revealed their spread from typical juxta-paranodal (JXP) sites to nodes in demyelinated axons, albeit with a disproportionate increase in the level of KV1.1 subunit. Functionally, in contrast to monophasic compound action potentials (CAPs) recorded in controls, responses derived from optic nerves of cuprizone-treated mice displayed initial synchronous waveform followed by a dispersed component. Partial restoration of CAPs by broad spectrum (4-aminopyridine) or KV1.1-subunit selective (dendrotoxin K) blockers of K+ currents suggest enhanced KV1.1-mediated conductance in the demyelinated optic nerve. Biophysical profiling of K+ currents mediated by recombinant channels comprised of different KV1.1 and 1.2 stoichiometries revealed that the enrichment of KV1 channels KV1.1 subunit endows a decrease in the voltage threshold and accelerates the activation kinetics. Together with the morphometric data, these findings provide important clues to a molecular basis for temporal dispersion of CAPs and reduced excitability of demyelinated optic nerves, which could be of potential relevance to the patho-physiology of MS and related disorders.
PMCID: PMC3912067  PMID: 24498366
2.  Exercise and diet enhance fat oxidation and reduce insulin resistance in older obese adults 
Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)  2008;104(5):10.1152/japplphysiol.00890.2007.
Older, obese, and sedentary individuals are at high risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise training improves metabolic anomalies associated with such diseases, but the effects of caloric restriction in addition to exercise in such a high risk group are not known. Changes in body composition and metabolism during a lifestyle intervention were investigated in twenty three older, obese men and women (aged 66 ± 1 years, BMI 33.2 ± 1.4 kg.m−2) with impaired glucose tolerance. All volunteers undertook twelve weeks of aerobic exercise training (5 days per week for 60 min @ 75% VO2max) with either normal caloric intake (eucaloric group, 1901 ± 277−1, n = 12) or a reduced-calorie diet (hypocaloric group, 1307 ± 70−1, n = 11), as dictated by nutritional counseling. Body composition (decreased fat mass; maintained fat-free mass), aerobic fitness (VO2max), leptinemia, insulin sensitivity, and intramyocellular lipid accumulation (IMCL) in skeletal muscle improved in both groups (P < 0.05). Improvements in body composition, leptin and basal fat oxidation were greater in the hypocaloric group. Following the intervention there was a correlation between the increase in basal fat oxidation and the decrease in IMCL (r = −0.53, P = 0.04). In addition, basal fat oxidation was associated with circulating leptin after (r = 0.65, P = 0.0007), but not before the intervention (r = 0.05, P = 0.84). In conclusion, these data show that exercise training improves resting substrate oxidation and creates a metabolic milieu that appears to promote lipid utilization in skeletal muscle, thus facilitating a reversal of insulin resistance. We also demonstrate that leptin sensitivity is improved, but that such a trend may rely on reducing caloric intake in addition to exercise training.
PMCID: PMC3860368  PMID: 18323464
obesity; leptin; substrate oxidation; insulin sensitivity
3.  Evaluation of common genetic variants in 82 candidate genes as risk factors for neural tube defects 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:62.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects (~1 in 1000 pregnancies in the US and Europe) that have complex origins, including environmental and genetic factors. A low level of maternal folate is one well-established risk factor, with maternal periconceptional folic acid supplementation reducing the occurrence of NTD pregnancies by 50-70%. Gene variants in the folate metabolic pathway (e.g., MTHFR rs1801133 (677 C > T) and MTHFD1 rs2236225 (R653Q)) have been found to increase NTD risk. We hypothesized that variants in additional folate/B12 pathway genes contribute to NTD risk.
A tagSNP approach was used to screen common variation in 82 candidate genes selected from the folate/B12 pathway and NTD mouse models. We initially genotyped polymorphisms in 320 Irish triads (NTD cases and their parents), including 301 cases and 341 Irish controls to perform case–control and family based association tests. Significantly associated polymorphisms were genotyped in a secondary set of 250 families that included 229 cases and 658 controls. The combined results for 1441 SNPs were used in a joint analysis to test for case and maternal effects.
Nearly 70 SNPs in 30 genes were found to be associated with NTDs at the p < 0.01 level. The ten strongest association signals (p-value range: 0.0003–0.0023) were found in nine genes (MFTC, CDKN2A, ADA, PEMT, CUBN, GART, DNMT3A, MTHFD1 and T (Brachyury)) and included the known NTD risk factor MTHFD1 R653Q (rs2236225). The single strongest signal was observed in a new candidate, MFTC rs17803441 (OR = 1.61 [1.23-2.08], p = 0.0003 for the minor allele). Though nominally significant, these associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple hypothesis testing.
To our knowledge, with respect to sample size and scope of evaluation of candidate polymorphisms, this is the largest NTD genetic association study reported to date. The scale of the study and the stringency of correction are likely to have contributed to real associations failing to survive correction. We have produced a ranked list of variants with the strongest association signals. Variants in the highest rank of associations are likely to include true associations and should be high priority candidates for further study of NTD risk.
PMCID: PMC3458983  PMID: 22856873
Neural tube defects; Spina bifida; Folic acid; One-carbon metabolism; Candidate gene
4.  Obese Reproductive-Age Women Exhibit a Proatherogenic Inflammatory Response During Hyperglycemia 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2007;15(10):2436-2444.
The objective was to determine if physiological hyperglycemia induces a proatherogenic inflammatory response in mononuclear cells (MNCs) in obese reproductiveage women.
Research Methods and Procedures
Seven obese and 6 age-matched lean women (20 to 39 years of age) underwent a 2-hour 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. The release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) from MNCs cultured in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was measured after isolation from blood samples drawn fasting and 2 hours after glucose ingestion. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and intra-nuclear nuclear factor κB (NFκB) from MNCs were quantified from the same blood samples. Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Total body fat and truncal fat were determined by DXA.
Obese women had a higher (p < 0.03) total body fat (42.2 ± 1.1 vs. 27.7 ± 2.0%), truncal fat (42.1 ± 1.2 vs. 22.3 ± 2.4%), and HOMA-IR (3.3 ± 0.5 vs. 1.8 ± 0.2). LPS-stimulated IL-6 release from MNCs was suppressed during hyperglycemia in lean subjects (1884 ± 495 vs. 638 ± 435 pg/mL, p < 0.05) but not in obese women (1184 ± 387 vs. 1403 ± 498 pg/mL). There was a difference (p < 0.05) between groups in the hyperglycemia-induced MNC-mediated release of IL-6 (−1196 ± 475 vs. 219 ± 175 pg/mL) and IL-1β (−79 ± 43 vs. 17 ± 12 pg/mL). In addition, the obese group exhibited increased (p < 0.05) MNC-derived ROS generation (39.3 ± 9.9 vs. −1.0 ± 12.8%) and intra-nuclear NFκB (9.4 ± 7.3 vs. −23.5 ± 13.5%). Truncal fat was positively correlated with the MNC-derived IL-6 response (ρ = 0.58, p < 0.05) and intra-nuclear NFκB (ρ = 0.64, p < 0.05).
These data suggest that obese reproductive-age women are unable to suppress proatherogenic inflammation during physiological hyperglycemia. Increased adiposity may be a significant contributor to this pro-inflammatory susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3000558  PMID: 17925469
inflammation; atherosclerosis; hyperglycemia; abdominal adiposity
5.  Retinol-binding Protein 4 (RBP4) Protein Expression Is Increased in Omental Adipose Tissue of Severely Obese Patients 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(4):663-666.
Visceral fat has been linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM); and emerging data links RBP4 gene expression in adipose tissue with insulin resistance. In this study, we examined RBP4 protein expression in omental adipose tissue obtained from 24 severely obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery, and 10 lean controls (4 males/6 females, BMI = 23.2 ± 1.5 kg/m2) undergoing elective abdominal surgeries. Twelve of the obese patients had T2DM (2 males/10 females, BMI: 44.7 ± 1.5 kg/m2) and 12 had normal glucose tolerance (NGT: 4 males/8 females, BMI: 47.6 ± 1.9 kg/m2). Adipose RBP4, glucose transport protein-4 (GLUT4), and p85 protein expression were determined by western blot. Blood samples from the bariatric patients were analyzed for serum RBP4, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. Adipose RBP4 protein expression (NGT: 11.0 ± 0.6; T2DM: 11.8 ± 0.7; lean: 8.7 ± 0.8 arbitrary units) was significantly increased in both NGT (P = 0.03) and T2DM (P = 0.005), compared to lean controls. GLUT4 protein was decreased in both NGT (P = 0.02) and T2DM (P = 0.03), and p85 expression was increased in T2DM subjects, compared to NGT (P = 0.03) and lean controls (P = 0.003). Regression analysis showed a strong correlation between adipose RBP4 protein and BMI for all subjects, as well as between adipose RBP4 and fasting glucose levels in T2DM subjects (r = 0.76, P = 0.004). Further, in T2DM, serum RBP4 was correlated with p85 expression (r = 0.68, P = 0.01), and adipose RBP4 protein trended toward an association with p85 protein (r = 0.55, P = 0.06). These data suggest that RBP4 may regulate adiposity, and p85 expression in obese-T2DM, thus providing a link to impaired insulin signaling and diabetes in severely obese patients.
PMCID: PMC2919818  PMID: 19816414

Results 1-6 (6)