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1.  Methionine sulfoxide reductase A affects insulin resistance by protecting insulin receptor function 
Oxidative stress plays a significant role in the development of insulin resistance; however, the cellular targets of oxidation that cause insulin resistance have yet to be fully elucidated. Methionine sulfoxide reductases (Msr) reduce oxidized methionine residues, thereby repairing and protecting proteins from oxidation. Recently, several genome-wide analyses have found human obesity to be strongly correlated with polymorphisms near the methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA) locus. In this study, we tested whether modulation of MsrA expression significantly alters the development of obesity and/or insulin resistance in mice. We show that mice lacking MsrA (MsrA−/−) are prone to the development of high fat diet-induced insulin resistance and a reduced physiological insulin response compared to high fat-fed wild type mice. We also show that oxidative stress in C2C12 cell cultures reduces both insulin-stimulated phosphorylation and autophosphorylation of the insulin receptor. Tissues from high fat-fed mice show similar reduction in insulin receptor function and the lack of MsrA further diminishes these functions. Together, these data demonstrate for the first time that MsrA plays a role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. In addition, these data support a novel hypothesis that obesity-induced insulin resistance is caused in part by reduced function of insulin signaling proteins arising from protein oxidation.
PMCID: PMC3578155  PMID: 23089224
oxidative stress; methionine sulfoxide; diabetes; obesity; glucose homeostasis
2.  Genetic Disruption of SOD1 Gene Causes Glucose Intolerance and Impairs β-Cell Function 
Diabetes  2013;62(12):4201-4207.
Oxidative stress has been associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, it is not clear whether oxidative damage is a cause or a consequence of the metabolic abnormalities present in diabetic subjects. The goal of this study was to determine whether inducing oxidative damage through genetic ablation of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) leads to abnormalities in glucose homeostasis. We studied SOD1-null mice and wild-type (WT) littermates. Glucose tolerance was evaluated with intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests. Peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity was quantitated with the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. β-Cell function was determined with the hyperglycemic clamp and morphometric analysis of pancreatic islets. Genetic ablation of SOD1 caused glucose intolerance, which was associated with reduced in vivo β-cell insulin secretion and decreased β-cell volume. Peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity were not significantly altered in SOD1-null mice. High-fat diet caused glucose intolerance in WT mice but did not further worsen the glucose intolerance observed in standard chow–fed SOD1-null mice. Our findings suggest that oxidative stress per se does not play a major role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and demonstrate that oxidative stress caused by SOD1 ablation leads to glucose intolerance secondary to β-cell dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3837066  PMID: 24009256
3.  Rapamycin-induced metabolic defects are reversible in both lean and obese mice 
Aging (Albany NY)  2014;6(9):742-754.
The inhibition of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) by the macrolide rapamycin has many beneficial effects in mice, including extension of lifespan and reduction or prevention of several age-related diseases. At the same time, chronic rapamycin treatment causes impairments in glucose metabolism including hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. It is unknown whether these metabolic effects of rapamycin are permanent or whether they can be alleviated. Here, we confirmed that rapamycin causes glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in both inbred and genetically heterogeneous mice fed either low fat or high fat diets, suggesting that these effects of rapamycin are independent of genetic background. Importantly, we also found that these effects were almost completely lost within a few weeks of cessation of treatment, showing that chronic rapamycin treatment does not induce permanent impairment of glucose metabolism. Somewhat surprisingly, chronic rapamycin also promoted increased accumulation of adipose tissue in high fat fed mice. However, this effect too was lost when rapamycin treatment was ended suggesting that this effect of rapamycin is also not permanent. The reversible nature of rapamycin's alterations of metabolic function suggests that these potentially detrimental side-effects might be managed through alternative dosing strategies or concurrent treatment options.
PMCID: PMC4221917  PMID: 25324470
rapamycin; glucose; insulin; obesity; mTOR
4.  Oxidative damage associated with obesity is prevented by overexpression of CuZn- or Mn-superoxide dismutase 
The development of insulin resistance is the primary step in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. There are several risk factors associated with insulin resistance, yet the basic biological mechanisms that promote its development are still unclear. There is growing literature that suggests mitochondrial dysfunction and/or oxidative stress play prominent roles in defects in glucose metabolism. Here, we tested whether increased expression of CuZn-superoxide dismutase (Sod1) or Mn-superoxide dismutase (Sod2) prevented obesity-induced changes in oxidative stress and metabolism. Both Sod1 and Sod2 overexpressing mice were protected from high fat diet-induced glucose intolerance. Lipid oxidation (F2-isoprostanes) was significantly increased in muscle and adipose with high fat feeding. Mice with increased expression of either Sod1 or Sod2 showed a significant reduction in this oxidative damage. Surprisingly, mitochondria from the muscle of high fat diet-fed mice showed no significant alteration in function. Together, our data suggest that targeting reduced oxidative damage in general may be a more applicable therapeutic target to prevent insulin resistance than by improving mitochondrial function.
PMCID: PMC3768142  PMID: 23872067
diabetes; mitochondria; F2-isoprostane; oxidative stress
5.  Rapamycin-mediated lifespan increase in mice is dose and sex dependent and metabolically distinct from dietary restriction 
Aging Cell  2014;13(3):468-477.
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR kinase, increased median lifespan of genetically heterogeneous mice by 23% (males) to 26% (females) when tested at a dose threefold higher than that used in our previous studies; maximal longevity was also increased in both sexes. Rapamycin increased lifespan more in females than in males at each dose evaluated, perhaps reflecting sexual dimorphism in blood levels of this drug. Some of the endocrine and metabolic changes seen in diet-restricted mice are not seen in mice exposed to rapamycin, and the pattern of expression of hepatic genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism is also quite distinct in rapamycin-treated and diet-restricted mice, suggesting that these two interventions for extending mouse lifespan differ in many respects.
PMCID: PMC4032600  PMID: 24341993
aging; caloric restriction; glucose; IGF-1; insulin; longevity; mouse; mTOR; rapamycin; xenobiotic metabolism
6.  Reduction of glucose intolerance with high fat feeding is associated with anti-inflammatory effects of thioredoxin 1 overexpression in mice 
Pathobiology of Aging & Age Related Diseases  2012;2:10.3402/pba.v2i0.17101.
Aging is associated with reduced ability to maintain normal glucose homeostasis. It has been suggested that an age-associated increase in chronic pro-inflammatory state could drive this reduction in glucoregulatory function. Thioredoxins (Trx) are oxido-reductase enzymes that play an important role in the regulation of oxidative stress and inflammation. In this study, we tested whether overexpression of Trx1 in mice [Tg(TRX1)+/0] could protect from glucose metabolism dysfunction caused by high fat diet feeding. Body weight and fat mass gains with high fat feeding were similar in Tg(TRX1)+/0 and wild-type mice; however, high fat diet induced glucose intolerance was reduced in Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice relative to wild-type mice. In addition, expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α was reduced in adipose tissue of Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice compared to wild-type mice. These findings suggest that activation of thioredoxins may be a potential therapeutic target for maintenance of glucose metabolism with obesity or aging.
PMCID: PMC3417639  PMID: 22953037
oxidative stress; diabetes; obesity; glucose homeostasis; aging
7.  Mice Fed Rapamycin Have an Increase in Lifespan Associated with Major Changes in the Liver Transcriptome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83988.
Rapamycin was found to increase (11% to 16%) the lifespan of male and female C57BL/6J mice most likely by reducing the increase in the hazard for mortality (i.e., the rate of aging) term in the Gompertz mortality analysis. To identify the pathways that could be responsible for rapamycin's longevity effect, we analyzed the transcriptome of liver from 25-month-old male and female mice fed rapamycin starting at 4 months of age. Few changes (<300 transcripts) were observed in transcriptome of rapamycin-fed males; however, a large number of transcripts (>4,500) changed significantly in females. Using multidimensional scaling and heatmap analyses, the male mice fed rapamycin were found to segregate into two groups: one group that is almost identical to control males (Rapa-1) and a second group (Rapa-2) that shows a change in gene expression (>4,000 transcripts) with more than 60% of the genes shared with female mice fed Rapa. Using ingenuity pathway analysis, 13 pathways were significantly altered in both Rapa-2 males and rapamycin-fed females with mitochondrial function as the most significantly changed pathway. Our findings show that rapamycin has a major effect on the transcriptome and point to several pathways that would likely impact the longevity.
PMCID: PMC3883653  PMID: 24409289
8.  Mechanisms of stress resistance in Snell dwarf mouse fibroblasts: enhanced antioxidant and DNA base excision repair capacity, but no differences in mitochondrial metabolism 
Free radical biology & medicine  2009;46(8):1109-1118.
Dermal fibroblasts from long-lived Snell dwarf mice can withstand a variety of oxidative and non-oxidative stressors compared to normal littermate controls. Here, we report differences in the levels and activities of intracellular antioxidant and DNA repair enzymes between normal and Snell dwarf mice fibroblasts cultured under a variety of conditions, including: 3% and 20% ambient O2; the presence and absence of serum; and the addition of an exogenous oxidative stress. The only significant difference between normal and dwarf cells cultured in complete medium, at 20% O2, was an approximately 40% elevation of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in the mutant cells. Serum deprivation elicited increases in GPx in both genotypes, but these activities remained higher in dwarf mouse cells. Dwarf mouse cells deprived of serum and challenged with exposure to paraquat or hydrogen peroxide showed a generally greater upregulation of catalase and DNA base excision repair enzymes. As these toxins can interact with mitochondria to increase mitochondrial ROS production, we explored whether there were differences in mitochondrial metabolism between normal and dwarf mouse cells. However, neither mitochondrial content nor the apparent mitochondrial membrane potential differed between genotypes. Overall, the results suggest that superior hydrogen peroxide metabolism and a marginally greater DNA base excision repair capacity contribute to the stress resistance phenotype of Snell dwarf mouse fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC2683197  PMID: 19439226
intracellular antioxidant enzymes; base excision repair (BER); fibroblasts; Snell dwarf mice; stress resistance; lifespan; serum deprivation; paraquat; hydrogen peroxide
9.  Skin-derived fibroblasts from long-lived species are resistant to some, but not all, lethal stresses and to the mitochondrial inhibitor rotenone 
Aging cell  2006;6(1):1-13.
Fibroblast cell lines were developed from skin biopsies of eight species of wild-trapped rodents, one species of bat, and a group of genetically heterogeneous laboratory mice. Each cell line was tested in vitro for their resistance to six varieties of lethal stress, as well as for resistance to the nonlethal metabolic effects of the mitochondrial inhibitor rotenone and of culture at very low glucose levels. Standard linear regression of species-specific lifespan against each species mean stress resistance showed that longevity was associated with resistance to death induced by cadmium and hydrogen peroxide, as well as with resistance to rotenone inhibition. A multilevel regression method supported these associations, and suggested a similar association for resistance to heat stress. Regressions for resistance to cadmium, peroxide, heat, and rotenone remained significant after various statistical adjustments for body weight. In contrast, cells from longer-lived species did not show significantly greater resistance to ultraviolet light, paraquat, or the DNA alkylating agent methylmethanesulfonate. There was a strong correlation between species longevity and resistance to the metabolic effects of low-glucose medium among the rodent cell lines, but this test did not distinguish mice and rats from the much longer-lived little brown bat. These results are consistent with the idea that evolution of long-lived species may require development of cellular resistance to several forms of lethal injury, and provide justification for evaluation of similar properties in a much wider range of mammals and bird species.
PMCID: PMC2766812  PMID: 17156084
evolution; fibroblast; longevity; oxidation; stress
10.  Metabolic effects of intra-abdominal fat in GHRKO mice 
Aging Cell  2011;11(1):73-81.
Mice with targeted deletion of the growth hormone receptor (GHRKO mice) are GH resistant, small, obese, hypoinsulinemic, highly insulin sensitive and remarkably long-lived. To elucidate the unexpected coexistence of adiposity with improved insulin sensitivity and extended longevity, we examined effects of surgical removal of visceral (epididymal and perinephric) fat on metabolic traits related to insulin signaling and longevity. Comparison of results obtained in GHRKO mice and in normal animals from the same strain revealed disparate effects of visceral fat removal (VFR) on insulin and glucose tolerance, adiponectin levels, accumulation of ectopic fat, phosphorylation of insulin signaling intermediates, body temperature and respiratory quotient (RQ). Overall, VFR produced the expected improvements in insulin sensitivity and reduced body temperature and RQ in normal mice and had opposite effects in GHRKO mice. Some of the examined parameters were altered by VFR in opposite directions in GHRKO and normal mice, others were affected in only one genotype or exhibited significant genotype × treatment interactions. Functional differences between visceral fat of GHRKO and normal mice were confirmed by measurements of adipokine secretion, lipolysis and expression of genes related to fat metabolism. We conclude that in the absence of GH signaling the secretory activity of visceral fat is profoundly altered and unexpectedly promotes enhanced insulin sensitivity. The apparent beneficial effects of visceral fat in GHRKO mice may also explain why reducing adiposity by calorie restriction fails to improve insulin signaling or further extend longevity in these animals.
PMCID: PMC3257405  PMID: 22040032
GHRKO; insulin; adipose tissue
11.  Oxidative stress and diabetes: what can we learn about insulin resistance from antioxidant mutant mouse models? 
The development of metabolic dysfunctions like diabetes and insulin resistance in mammals is regulated by a myriad of factors. Oxidative stress seems to play a central role in this process as recent evidence shows a general increase in oxidative damage and a decrease in oxidative defense associated with several metabolic diseases. These changes in oxidative stress can be directly correlated with increased fat accumulation, obesity and consumption of high calorie/high fat diets. Modulation of oxidant protection through either genetic mutation or treatment with antioxidants can significantly alter oxidative stress resistance and accumulation of oxidative damage in laboratory rodents. Antioxidant mutant mice have previously been utilized to examine the role of oxidative stress in other disease models, but have been relatively unexplored as models to study the regulation of glucose metabolism. In this review, we will discuss the evidence for oxidative stress as a primary mechanism linking obesity and metabolic disorders and whether alteration of antioxidant status in laboratory rodents can significantly alter the development of insulin resistance or diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3249484  PMID: 22056908
oxidative stress; diabetes; obesity; adipose; insulin resistance
12.  Oxidative stress in the etiology of age-associated decline in glucose metabolism 
One of the most common pathologies in aging humans is the development of glucose metabolism dysfunction. The high incidence of metabolic dysfunction, in particular type 2 diabetes mellitus, is a significant health and economic burden on the aging population. However, the mechanisms that regulate this age-related physiological decline, and thus potential preventative treatments, remain elusive. Even after accounting for age-related changes in adiposity, lean mass, blood lipids, etc., aging is an independent factor for reduced glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance. Oxidative stress has been shown to have significant detrimental impacts on the regulation of glucose homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, oxidative stress has been shown to be modulated by age and diet in several model systems. This review provides an overview of these data and addresses whether increases in oxidative stress with aging may be a primary determinant of age-related metabolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3922939  PMID: 24764512
Oxidative stress; Insulin resistance; Muscle; Adipose; Mitochondria; Inflammation
13.  Short-Term Treatment With Rapamycin and Dietary Restriction Have Overlapping and Distinctive Effects in Young Mice 
Because rapamycin, an inhibitor of the nutrient sensor mammalian target of rapamycin, and dietary restriction both increase life span of mice, it has been hypothesized that they act through similar mechanisms. To test this hypothesis, we compared various biological parameters in dietary restriction mice (40% food restriction) and mice fed rapamycin (14 ppm). Both treatments led to a significant reduction in mammalian target of rapamycin signaling and a corresponding increase in autophagy. However, we observed striking differences in fat mass, insulin sensitivity, and expression of cell cycle and sirtuin genes in mice fed rapamycin compared with dietary restriction. Thus, although both treatments lead to significant downregulation of mammalian target of rapamycin signaling, these two manipulations have quite different effects on other physiological functions suggesting that they might increase life span through a common pathway as well as pathways that are altered differently by dietary restriction and rapamycin.
PMCID: PMC3598360  PMID: 22570137
Rapamycin; Dietary restriction; mTOR; Autophagy; Gene expression
14.  Rapamycin-induced insulin resistance is mediated by mTORC2 loss and uncoupled from longevity 
Science (New York, N.y.)  2012;335(6076):1638-1643.
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), extends the lifespans of yeast, flies, and mice. Calorie restriction, which increases lifespan and insulin sensitivity, is proposed to function by inhibition of mTORC1, yet paradoxically, chronic administration of rapamycin substantially impairs glucose tolerance and insulin action. We demonstrate that rapamycin disrupted a second mTOR complex, mTORC2, in vivo and that mTORC2 was required for the insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Further, decreased mTORC1 signaling was sufficient to extend lifespan independently from changes in glucose homeostasis, as female mice heterozygous for both mTOR and mLST8 exhibited decreased mTORC1 activity and extended lifespan, but had normal glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Thus, mTORC2 disruption is an important mediator of the effects of rapamycin in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3324089  PMID: 22461615
15.  Update on the oxidative stress theory of aging: Does oxidative stress play a role in aging or healthy aging? 
The oxidative stress theory of aging predicts that manipulations that alter oxidative stress/damage will alter aging. The gold standard for determining whether aging is altered is lifespan, i.e., does altering oxidative stress/damage change lifespan? Mice with genetic manipulations in the antioxidant defense system designed to directly address this prediction have, with few exceptions, shown no change in lifespan. However, when these transgenic/knockout mice are tested using models that develop various types of age-related pathology, they show alterations in progression and/or severity of pathology as predicted by the oxidative stress theory; increased oxidative stress accelerates pathology and reduced oxidative stress retards pathology. These contradictory observations might mean a) oxidative stress plays a very limited, if any, role in aging but a major role in healthspan; and/or b) the role that oxidative stress plays in aging depends on environment. In environments with minimal stress, as expected under optimal husbandry, oxidative damage plays little role in aging. However, under chronic stress, including pathological phenotypes that diminish optimal health, oxidative stress/damage plays a major role in aging. Under these conditions, enhanced antioxidant defenses exert an “anti-aging” action, leading to changes in lifespan, age-related pathology, and physiological function as predicted by the oxidative stress theory of aging.
PMCID: PMC2819595  PMID: 20036736
oxidative stress; aging; disease; lifespan; healthspan
16.  Overexpression of Mn Superoxide Dismutase Does Not Increase Life Span in Mice 
Genetic manipulations of Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), SOD2 expression have demonstrated that altering the level of MnSOD activity is critical for cellular function and life span in invertebrates. In mammals, Sod2 homozygous knockout mice die shortly after birth, and alterations of MnSOD levels are correlated with changes in oxidative damage and in the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. In this study, we directly tested the effects of overexpressing MnSOD in young (4–6 months) and old (26–28 months) mice on mitochondrial function, levels of oxidative damage or stress, life span, and end-of-life pathology. Our data show that an approximately twofold overexpression of MnSOD throughout life in mice resulted in decreased lipid peroxidation, increased resistance against paraquat-induced oxidative stress, and decreased age-related decline in mitochondrial ATP production. However, this change in MnSOD expression did not alter either life span or age-related pathology.
PMCID: PMC2759571  PMID: 19633237
Oxidative damage; Mn superoxide dismutase; Pathology; Aging
17.  Stress resistance and aging: Influence of genes and nutrition 
Previous studies have shown that dermal fibroblast cell lines derived from young adult mice of the long-lived Snell dwarf (dw/dw), Ames dwarf (df/df) and growth hormone receptor knockout (GHR-KO) mouse stocks are resistant, in vitro, to the cytotoxic effects of hydrogen peroxide, cadmium, ultraviolet light, paraquat, and heat. Here we show that, in contrast, fibroblasts from mice on low-calorie (CR) or low methionine (Meth-R) diets are not stress resistant in culture, despite the longevity induced by both dietary regimes. A second approach, involving induction of liver cell death in live animals using acetaminophen (APAP), documented hepatotoxin resistance in the CR and Meth-R mice, but dw/dw and GHR-KO mutant mice were not resistant to this agent, and were in fact more susceptible than littermate controls to the toxic effects of APAP. These data thus suggest that while resistance to stress is a common characteristic of experimental life span extension in mice, the cell types showing resistance may differ among the various models of delayed or decelerated aging.
PMCID: PMC2923407  PMID: 16713617
Stress resistance; Caloric restriction; Methionine restriction; Snell dwarf; Growth hormone receptor knockout
18.  Cells from long-lived mutant mice exhibit enhanced repair of UV lesions 
Fibroblasts isolated from long-lived hypopituitary dwarf mice are resistant to many cell stresses, including UV light and MMS, which induce cell death by producing DNA damage. Here we report that cells from Snell dwarf mice recover more rapidly than controls from the inhibition of RNA synthesis induced by UV damage. Recovery of mRNA synthesis in particular is more rapid in dwarf cells, suggesting enhanced repair of the actively transcribing genes in dwarf-derived cells. At early timepoints, there was no difference in the repair of CPD or 6-4PP in the whole genome, nor was there any significant difference in the repair of UV lesions in specific genes. However, at later time points we found that more lesions had been removed from the genome of dwarf-derived cells. We have also found that cells from dwarf mice express higher levels of the nucleotide excision repair proteins XPC and CSA, suggesting a causal link to enhanced DNA repair. Overall, these data suggest a mechanism for the UV resistance of Snell dwarf-derived fibroblasts that could contribute to the delay of aging and neoplasia in these mice.
PMCID: PMC2711434  PMID: 18375871
longevity; nucleotide excision repair; Snell dwarf; stress resistance; UV light
19.  Fibroblasts from Naked Mole-Rats Are Resistant to Multiple Forms of Cell Injury, But Sensitive to Peroxide, UV Light, and ER Stress 
Fibroblasts from long-lived mutant mice are resistant to many forms of lethal injury as well as to the metabolic effects of rotenone and low-glucose media. Here we evaluated fibroblasts from young adult naked mole-rats (NMR; Heterocephalus glaber), a rodent species in which maximal longevity exceeds 28 years. Compared to mouse cells NMR cells were resistant to cadmium, MMS, paraquat, heat, and low glucose media, consistent with the idea that cellular resistance to stress may contribute to disease resistance and longevity. Surprisingly, NMR cells were more sensitive than mouse cells to H2O2, UV light, and rotenone. NMR cells, like cells from Snell dwarf mice, were more sensitive to tunicamycin and thapsigargin, which interfere with the function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress). The sensitivity of both Snell dwarf and NMR cells to ER stress suggests that alterations in the unfolded protein response might modulate cell survival and aging rate.
PMCID: PMC2710579  PMID: 18375872
longevity; comparative biology; naked mole-rat; stress resistance; oxidation; endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress

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