Obesity is associated with genetic and environmental factors but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified obesity- and type 2 diabetes-associated genetic variants located within or near genes that modulate brain activity and development. Among the top hits is rs17782313 near MC4R, encoding for the melanocortin-4-receptor, which is expressed in brain regions that regulate eating. Here, we hypothesized rs17782313-associated changes in human brain regions that regulate eating behavior. Therefore, we examined effects of common variants at rs17782313 near MC4R on brain structure and eating behavior. Only in female homozygous carriers of the risk allele we found significant increases of gray matter volume (GMV) in the right amygdala, a region known to influence eating behavior, and the right hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory formation and learning. Further, we found bilateral increases in medial orbitofrontal cortex, a multimodal brain structure encoding the subjective value of reinforcers, and bilateral prefrontal cortex, a higher order regulation area. There was no association between rs17782313 and brain structure in men. Moreover, among female subjects only, we observed a significant increase of ‘disinhibition’, and, more specifically, on ‘emotional eating’ scores of the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire in carriers of the variant rs17782313’s risk allele. These findings suggest that rs17782313’s effect on eating behavior is mediated by central mechanisms and that these effects are sex-specific.
Recent studies revealed that autophagy is up-regulated in obese individuals, as evidenced by increased expression of autophagy related genes. As argued elsewhere, it is possible that initially insulin resistance functions as an adaptive mechanism to increase autophagy in order to protect cells against death. We have shown that Wistar Ottawa Karlsburg W (RT1u) rats (WOKW) develop a metabolic syndrome with insulin resistance in adipose tissue, closely resembling the human disease. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the autophagy phenotype in WOKW rats to clarify the interrelation between insulin resistance and autophagy in adipose tissue.
Subcutaneous and epidydimal adipose tissue samples of 5-months-old WOKW and healthy LEW.1 W male rats were investigated and protein levels (Western blot and immunhistochemistry) of key autophagy genes, including Atg5, Atg7, LC3-II/LC3-I and apoptosis marker cleaved caspase-3 were analyzed.
WOKW rats displayed a significant increase of autophagy related proteins (Atg5, Atg7) in adipose tissue compared with LEW.1 W. This increase was predominantly found in epididymal adipose tissue. Furthermore, the LC3-II/LC3-I ratio as a marker of autophagosomes was significantly up-regulated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of WOKW rats. Cleaved caspase-3 was just slightly detectable in visceral adipose tissue and not detected in subcutaneous fat.
Insulin resistance in adipose tissue of obese WOKW rats is associated with up-regulation of differing autophagy markers in visceral and subcutaneous fat depots. This fact not only qualifies the WOKW rat for further detailed analysis of genetic determinants of metabolic syndrome but also highlights its suitability for autophagy research.
Autophagy; WOKW; Insulin resistance; Adipose tissue; Atg5; Atg7
To compare the incidences of severe hypoglycemia and corresponding clinical circumstances in a German population between 2007–2010 and 1997–2000.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A screening for severe hypoglycemia was performed in the Lippe-Detmold area in Germany to sensitively detect severe hypoglycemia. This was defined as a symptomatic event requiring treatment with intravenous glucose and being confirmed by a blood glucose measurement of <50 mg/dL.
Severe hypoglycemia increased considerably from 264 events in 1997–2000 to 495 events in 2007–2010, which translated into an increase in frequency of severe hypoglycemia among all emergency admissions from 0.68 to 0.83% (P = 0.015). This was mostly related to intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy, particularly in the increasingly morbid group of hypoglycemic patients with type 2 diabetes indicated by lower HbA1c, more comedication (3.3 vs. 7.7 drugs), and more concomitant diseases (3.6 vs. 4.4) (all P values <0.001).
Within a 10-year period, there was an intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy in increasingly comorbid subjects, leading to a considerably higher incidence of severe hypoglycemia.
Acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase B gene (ACACB) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2268388 is reproducibly associated with type 2 diabetes (T2DM)-associated nephropathy (DN). ACACB knock-out mice are also protected from obesity. This study assessed relationships between rs2268388, body mass index (BMI) and gene expression in multiple populations, with and without T2DM. Among subjects without T2DM, rs2268388 DN risk allele (T) associated with higher BMI in Pima Indian children (n = 2021; p-additive = 0.029) and African Americans (AAs) (n = 177; p-additive = 0.05), with a trend in European Americans (EAs) (n = 512; p-additive = 0.09), but not Germans (n = 858; p-additive = 0.765). Association with BMI was seen in a meta-analysis including all non-T2DM subjects (n = 3568; p-additive = 0.02). Among subjects with T2DM, rs2268388 was not associated with BMI in Japanese (n = 2912) or EAs (n = 1149); however, the T allele associated with higher BMI in the subset with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 568 EAs; p-additive = 0.049, n = 196 Japanese; p-additive = 0.049). Association with BMI was strengthened in a T2DM meta-analysis that included an additional 756 AAs (p-additive = 0.080) and 48 Hong Kong Chinese (p-additive = 0.81) with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 1575; p-additive = 0.0033). The effect of rs2268388 on gene expression revealed that the T risk allele associated with higher ACACB messenger levels in adipose tissue (41 EAs and 20 AAs with BMI>30 kg/m2; p-additive = 0.018) and ACACB protein levels in the liver tissue (mixed model p-additive = 0.03, in 25 EA bariatric surgery patients with BMI>30 kg/m2 for 75 exams). The T allele also associated with higher hepatic triglyceride levels. These data support a role for ACACB in obesity and potential roles for altered lipid metabolism in susceptibility to DN.
Long-term dietary intervention frequently induces a rapid weight decline followed by weight stabilization/regain. Here, we sought to identify adipokine biomarkers that may reflect continued beneficial effects of dieting despite partial weight regain.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We analyzed the dynamics of fasting serum levels of 12 traditional metabolic biomarkers and novel adipokines among 322 participants in the 2-year Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) of low-fat, Mediterranean, or low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss.
We identified two distinct patterns: Pattern A includes biomarkers (insulin, triglycerides, leptin, chemerin, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and retinol-binding protein 4) whose dynamics tightly correspond to changes in body weight, with the trend during the weight loss phase (months 0–6) going in the opposite direction to that in the weight maintenance/regain phase (months 7–24) (P < 0.05 between phases, all biomarkers). Pattern B includes biomarkers (high molecular weight adiponectin, HDL cholesterol [HDL-C], high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP], fetuin-A, progranulin, and vaspin) that displayed a continued, cumulative improvement (P < 0.05 compared with baseline, all biomarkers) throughout the intervention. These patterns were consistent across sex, diabetic groups, and diet groups, although the magnitude of change varied. Hierarchical analysis suggested similar clusters, revealing that the dynamic of leptin (pattern A) was most closely linked to weight change and that the dynamic of hsCRP best typified pattern B.
hsCRP, HDL-C, adiponectin, fetuin-A, progranulin, and vaspin levels display a continued long-term improvement despite partial weight regain. This may likely reflect either a delayed effect of the initial weight loss or a continuous beneficial response to switching to healthier dietary patterns.
The molecular target of the adipokine vaspin (visceral adipose tissue-derived serpin; serpinA12) and its mode of action are unknown. Here, we provide the vaspin crystal structure and identify human kallikrein 7 (hK7) as a first protease target of vaspin inhibited by classical serpin mechanism with high specificity in vitro. We detect vaspin–hK7 complexes in human plasma and find co-expression of both proteins in murine pancreatic β-cells. We further demonstrate that hK7 cleaves human insulin in the A- and B-chain. Vaspin treatment of isolated pancreatic islets leads to increased insulin concentration in the media upon glucose stimulation without influencing insulin secretion. By application of vaspin and generated inactive mutants, we find the significantly improved glucose tolerance in C57BL/6NTac and db/db mice treated with recombinant vaspin fully dependent on the vaspin serpin activity and not related to vaspin-mediated changes in insulin sensitivity as determined by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp studies. Improved glucose metabolism could be mediated by increased insulin plasma concentrations 150 min after a glucose challenge in db/db mice, supporting the hypothesis that vaspin may inhibit insulin degradation by hK7 in the circulation. In conclusion, we demonstrate the inhibitory serpin nature and the first protease target of the adipose tissue-derived serpin vaspin, and our findings suggest hK7 inhibition by vaspin as an underlying physiological mechanism for its compensatory actions on obesity-induced insulin resistance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1258-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Vaspin; SerpinA12; Kallikrein 7; Crystal structure; Diabetes; Insulin
To investigate whether the metabolically important visceral adipose tissue (VAT) relates differently to structural and functional brain changes in comparison with body weight measured as body mass index (BMI). Moreover, we aimed to investigate whether these effects change with age.
University Clinic, Integrative Research and Treatment Centre.
We included 100 (mean BMI=26.0 kg/m², 42 women) out of 202 volunteers randomly invited by the city's registration office, subdivided into two age groups: young-to-mid-age (n=51, 20–45 years of age, mean BMI=24.9, 24 women) versus old (n=49, 65–70 years of age, mean BMI=27.0, 18 women).
Main outcome measures
VAT, BMI, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, brain structure (grey matter density), functional brain architecture (eigenvector centrality, EC).
We discovered a loss of cerebellar structure with increasing VAT in the younger participants, most significantly in regions involved in motor processing. This negative correlation disappeared in the elderly. Investigating functional brain architecture showed again inverse VAT–cerebellum correlations, whereas now regions involved in cognitive and emotional processing were significant. Although we detected similar results for EC using BMI, significant age interaction for both brain structure and functional architecture was only found using VAT.
Visceral adiposity is associated with cerebellar changes of both structure and function, whereas the regions involved contribute to motor, cognitive and emotional processes. Furthermore, these associations seem to be age dependent, with younger adults’ brains being adversely affected.
Basic Sciences; Neurology
The adipokine vaspin (visceral adipose tissue derived serine protease inhibitor, serpinA12) follows a meal-related diurnal variation in humans and intracerebroventricular vaspin administration leads to acutely reduced food intake in db/db mice. We therefore hypothesized that vaspin may play a role in human eating behaviour.
Materials and Methods
We measured serum vaspin concentrations in 548 subjects from a self-contained population of Sorbs (Germany) who underwent detailed metabolic testing including eating behaviour assessments using the three-factor eating questionnaire. In addition, genetic variation within vaspin was assessed by genotyping 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in all study subjects.
Serum vaspin concentrations correlated positively with restraint, disinhibition and hunger (all P<0.05), although the correlations did not withstand further adjustments for age, gender and BMI (all P>0.05). Independent of observed correlations, genetic variants in vaspin were associated with serum vaspin levels but showed no significant association with any of the eating behaviour phenotypes after accounting for multiple testing (P≥0.05 after adjusting for age, gender and BMI).
Our data suggest that serum vaspin concentrations might modulate human eating behaviour, which does not seem to be affected by common genetic variation in vaspin.
Population isolates have long been of interest to genetic epidemiologists because of their potential to increase power to detect disease-causing genetic variants. The Sorbs of Germany are considered as cultural and linguistic isolates and have recently been the focus of disease association mapping efforts. They are thought to have settled in their present location in eastern Germany after a westward migration from a largely Slavic-speaking territory during the Middle Ages. To examine Sorbian genetic diversity within the context of other European populations, we analyzed genotype data for over 30 000 autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms from over 200 Sorbs individuals. We compare the Sorbs with other European individuals, including samples from population isolates. Despite their geographical proximity to German speakers, the Sorbs showed greatest genetic similarity to Polish and Czech individuals, consistent with the linguistic proximity of Sorbian to other West Slavic languages. The Sorbs also showed evidence of subtle levels of genetic isolation in comparison with samples from non-isolated European populations. The level of genetic isolation was less than that observed for the Sardinians and French Basque, who were clear outliers on multiple measures of isolation. The finding of the Sorbs as only a minor genetic isolate demonstrates the need to genetically characterize putative population isolates, as they possess a wide range of levels of isolation because of their different demographic histories.
Sorbs; principle component analysis; genetic isolates; genetic diversity; population history; genetic distance
Heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) is the rate limiting enzyme in heme degradation and a key regulator of inflammatory processes. In animal models the course of pancreatitis was ameliorated by up-regulation of HMOX1 expression. Additionally, carbon monoxide released during heme breakdown inhibited proliferation of pancreatic stellate cells and might thereby prevent the development of chronic pancreatitis (CP). Transcription of HMOX1 in humans is influenced by a GT-repeat located in the promoter. As such, HMOX1 variants might be of importance in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis.
The GT-repeat and SNP rs2071746 were investigated with fluorescence labelled primers and by melting curve analysis in 285 patients with acute pancreatitis, 208 patients with alcoholic CP, 207 patients with idiopathic/hereditary CP, 147 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and in 289 controls, respectively. GT-repeat analysis was extended to a total of 446 alcoholic CP patients. In addition, we performed DNA sequencing in 145 patients with alcoholic CP, 138 patients with idiopathic/hereditary CP, 147 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and 151 controls. Exon 3 screening was extended to additional patients and controls.
S- and L-alleles of the GT-repeat, genotypes and alleles of SNP rs2071746 and non-synonymous variants detected by sequencing were found with similar frequencies in all groups.
Although functional data implicate a potential influence of HMOX1 variants on the pathogenesis of pancreatitis, we did not find any association. As rare non-synonymous HMOX1 variants were found in patients and controls, it is rather unlikely that they will have functional consequences essential for pancreatitis development.
Coffee is the most commonly used stimulant and caffeine is its main psychoactive ingredient. The heritability of coffee consumption has been estimated at around 50%. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association studies of coffee consumption among coffee drinkers from Iceland (n = 2680), the Netherlands (n = 2791), the Sorbs Slavonic population isolate in Germany (n = 771) and the USA (n = 369) using both directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (2.5 million SNPs). SNPs at the two most significant loci were also genotyped in a sample set from Iceland (n = 2430) and a Danish sample set consisting of pregnant women (n = 1620). Combining all data, two sequence variants significantly associated with increased coffee consumption: rs2472297-T located between CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 at 15q24 (P = 5.4 · 10−14) and rs6968865-T near aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) at 7p21 (P = 2.3 · 10−11). An effect of ∼0.2 cups a day per allele was observed for both SNPs. CYP1A2 is the main caffeine metabolizing enzyme and is also involved in drug metabolism. AHR detects xenobiotics, such as polycyclic aryl hydrocarbons found in roasted coffee, and induces transcription of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. The association of these SNPs with coffee consumption was present in both smokers and non-smokers.
Leptin-deficient ob/ob mice are a model of type 2 diabetes induced peripheral neuropathy. Ob/ob mice exhibit obesity, insulin resistance, hyperglycaemia, and alterations of peripheral nerve fibres and endoneural microvessels. Here we test the hypothesis that cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)-Ang-1, a soluble and stabile form of Ang-1 which promotes angiogenesis and nerve growth, improves regeneration of nerve fibres and endoneural microvessels in ob/ob mice.
Methods and Findings
COMP-Ang-1 (100 ng/ml) or NaCl were intraperitoneally (i.p.) injected into male (N = 184), 3-month old, ob/ob or ob/+ mice for 7 and 21 days. We measured expression of Nf68, GAP43, Cx32, Cx26, Cx43, and TNFα in sciatic nerves using Western blot analysis. To investigate the inflammation in sciatic nerves, numbers of macrophages and T-cells were counted after immunofluorescence staining. In ultrathin section, number of myelinated/non-mylinated nerve fibers, g-ratio, the thickness of Schwann cell basal lamina and microvessel endothelium were investigated.
Endoneural microvessels were reconstructed with intracardial FITC injection. Treatment with COMP-Ang-1 over 21 days significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and plasma cholesterol concentrations compared to saline treated ob/ob mice. In addition, COMP-Ang-1 treatment: 1) up-regulated expression of Nf68 and GAP43; 2) improved expression of gap junction proteins including connexin 32 and 26; 3) suppressed the expression of TNFα and Cx43 and 4) led to decreased macrophage and T-cell infiltration in sciatic nerve of ob/ob mice. The significant changes of sciatic nerve ultrastructure were not observed after 21-day long COMP-Ang-1 treatment. COMP-Ang-1 treated ob/ob mice displayed regeneration of small-diameter endoneural microvessels. Effects of COMP-Ang-1 corresponded to increased phosphorylation of Akt and p38 MAPK upon Tie-2 receptor.
COMP-Ang-1 recovers molecular biomarkers of neuropathy, promotes angiogenesis and suppresses inflammation in sciatic nerves of ob/ob mice suggesting COMP-Ang-1 as novel treatment option to improve morphologic and protein expression changes associated with diabetic neuropathy.
Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is an inflammatory disease that in some patients leads to exocrine and endocrine dysfunction. In industrialized countries the most common aetiology is chronic alcohol abuse. Descriptions of associated genetic alterations in alcoholic CP are rare. However, a common PNPLA3 variant (p.I148M) is associated with the development of alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC). Since, alcoholic CP and ALC share the same aetiology PNPLA3 variant (p.I148M) possibly influences the development of alcoholic CP.
Using melting curve analysis we genotyped the variant in 1510 patients with pancreatitis or liver disease (961 German and Dutch alcoholic CP patients, 414 German patients with idiopathic or hereditary CP, and 135 patients with ALC). In addition, we included in total 2781 healthy controls in the study.
The previously published overrepresentation of GG-genotype was replicated in our cohort of ALC (p-value <0.0001, OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.3). Distributions of genotype and allele frequencies of the p.I148M variant were comparable in patients with alcoholic CP, idiopathic and hereditary CP and in healthy controls.
The absence of an association of PNPLA3 p.I148M with alcoholic CP seems not to point to a common pathway in the development of alcoholic CP and alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are involved in the regulation of numerous physiological functions. Therefore, GPCR variants may have conferred important selective advantages during periods of human evolution. Indeed, several genomic loci with signatures of recent selection in humans contain GPCR genes among them the X-chromosomally located gene for GPR82. This gene encodes a so-called orphan GPCR with unknown function. To address the functional relevance of GPR82 gene-deficient mice were characterized. GPR82-deficient mice were viable, reproduced normally, and showed no gross anatomical abnormalities. However, GPR82-deficient mice have a reduced body weight and body fat content associated with a lower food intake. Moreover, GPR82-deficient mice showed decreased serum triacylglyceride levels, increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, most pronounced under Western diet. Because there were no differences in respiratory and metabolic rates between wild-type and GPR82-deficient mice our data suggest that GPR82 function influences food intake and, therefore, energy and body weight balance. GPR82 may represent a thrifty gene most probably representing an advantage during human expansion into new environments.
Recently, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs9514089 in SLC10A2 (apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter gene) has been identified as a susceptibility variant for cholelithiasis in humans.
Here we assessed the effects of rs9514089 on gallstone risk and related phenotypes of the metabolic syndrome in the self-contained population of Sorbs (183 cases with gallstones/826 controls). Furthermore, we performed a meta-analysis for effects of rs9514089 on susceptibility for cholelithiasis in three independent cohorts (Stuttgart: 56 cases/71 controls, Aachen: 184 cases/184 controls and Sorbs).
There was no significant association of rs9514089 with gallstone risk, serum lipid parameters and BMI in the Sorbs and in the meta-analysis of all three cohorts (p > 0.05). There was an effect trend in the subgroup of lean subjects but based on different effect directions in the three cohorts there was no significant association in the meta-analysis.
We were not able to replicate the effect of rs9514089 on gallstone risk in the Sorbs. Further analyses in larger cohorts are required to finally assess the role of genetic variants in SLC10A2 in human gallstone development and lipid metabolism.
Acetyl Coenzyme A carboxylase β (ACACB) is the rate-limiting enzyme in fatty acid oxidation, and continuous fatty acid oxidation in Acacb knock-out mice increases insulin sensitivity. Systematic human studies have not been performed to evaluate whether ACACB variants regulate gene expression and insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and adipose tissues. We sought to determine whether ACACB transcribed variants were associated with ACACB gene expression and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic African American (AA) and European American (EA) adults.
ACACB transcribed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 105 EAs and 46 AAs whose body mass index (BMI), lipid profiles and ACACB gene expression in subcutaneous adipose and skeletal muscle had been measured. Allelic expression imbalance (AEI) was assessed in lymphoblast cell lines from heterozygous subjects in an additional EA sample (n = 95). Selected SNPs were further examined for association with insulin sensitivity in a cohort of 417 EAs and 153 AAs.
ACACB transcribed SNP rs2075260 (A/G) was associated with adipose ACACB messenger RNA expression in EAs and AAs (p = 3.8×10−5, dominant model in meta-analysis, Stouffer method), with the (A) allele representing lower gene expression in adipose and higher insulin sensitivity in EAs (p = 0.04). In EAs, adipose ACACB expression was negatively associated with age and sex-adjusted BMI (r = −0.35, p = 0.0002).
Common variants within the ACACB locus appear to regulate adipose gene expression in humans. Body fat (represented by BMI) may further regulate adipose ACACB gene expression in the EA population.
The Sorbs are an ethnic minority in Germany with putative genetic isolation, making the population interesting for disease mapping. A sample of N = 977 Sorbs is currently analysed in several genome-wide meta-analyses. Since genetic differences between populations are a major confounding factor in genetic meta-analyses, we compare the Sorbs with the German outbred population of the KORA F3 study (N = 1644) and other publically available European HapMap populations by population genetic means. We also aim to separate effects of over-sampling of families in the Sorbs sample from effects of genetic isolation and compare the power of genetic association studies between the samples.
The degree of relatedness was significantly higher in the Sorbs. Principal components analysis revealed a west to east clustering of KORA individuals born in Germany, KORA individuals born in Poland or Czech Republic, Half-Sorbs (less than four Sorbian grandparents) and Full-Sorbs. The Sorbs cluster is nearest to the cluster of KORA individuals born in Poland. The number of rare SNPs is significantly higher in the Sorbs sample. FST between KORA and Sorbs is an order of magnitude higher than between different regions in Germany. Compared to the other populations, Sorbs show a higher proportion of individuals with runs of homozygosity between 2.5 Mb and 5 Mb. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) at longer range is also slightly increased but this has no effect on the power of association studies.
Oversampling of families in the Sorbs sample causes detectable bias regarding higher FST values and higher LD but the effect is an order of magnitude smaller than the observed differences between KORA and Sorbs. Relatedness in the Sorbs also influenced the power of uncorrected association analyses.
Sorbs show signs of genetic isolation which cannot be explained by over-sampling of relatives, but the effects are moderate in size. The Slavonic origin of the Sorbs is still genetically detectable.
Regarding LD structure, a clear advantage for genome-wide association studies cannot be deduced. The significant amount of cryptic relatedness in the Sorbs sample results in inflated variances of Beta-estimators which should be considered in genetic association analyses.
Recent genome-wide association studies identified novel candidate genes for fasting and 2 h blood glucose and insulin levels in adults. We investigated the role of four of these loci (ADCY5, GIPR, GCKR and VPS13C) in early impairment of glucose and insulin metabolism in children.
Research Design and Methods
We genotyped four variants (rs2877716; rs1260326; rs10423928; rs17271305) in 638 Caucasian children with detailed metabolic testing including an oGTT and assessed associations with measures of glucose and insulin metabolism (including fasting blood glucose, insulin levels and insulin sensitivity/secretion indices) by linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, BMI-SDS and pubertal stage.
The major allele (C) of rs2877716 (ADCY5) was nominally associated with decreased fasting plasma insulin (P = 0.008), peak insulin (P = 0.009) and increased QUICKI (P = 0.016) and Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (P = 0.013). rs17271305 (VPS13C) was nominally associated with 2 h blood glucose (P = 0.009), but not with any of the insulin or insulin sensitivity parameters. We found no association of the GIPR and GCKR variants with parameters of glucose and insulin metabolism. None of the variants correlated with anthropometric traits such as height, WHR or BMI-SDS, which excluded potential underlying associations with obesity.
Our data on obese children indicate effects of genetic variation within ADCY5 in early impairment of insulin metabolism and VPS13C in early impairment of blood glucose homeostasis.
Human trypsinogens are post-translationally sulfated on Tyr154 by the Golgi resident enzyme tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase-2 (TPST2). Tyrosine sulfation stimulates the autoactivation of human cationic trypsinogen. Because increased trypsinogen autoactivation has been implicated as a pathogenic mechanism in chronic pancreatitis, we hypothesized that genetic variants of TPST2 might alter the risk for the disease.
We sequenced the 4 protein-coding exons and the adjacent intronic sequences of TPST2 in 151 subjects with chronic pancreatitis and in 169 healthy controls. The functional effect of TPST2 variants on trypsinogen sulfation was analyzed in transfected HEK 293T cells.
We detected 10 common polymorphic variants, including 6 synonymous variants and 4 intronic variants, with similar frequencies in patients and controls. None of the 8 common haplotypes reconstructed from the frequent variants showed an association with chronic pancreatitis. In addition, we identified 5 rare TPST2 variants, which included 3 synonymous alterations, the c.458G>A (p.R153H) nonsynonymous variant and the c.-9C>T variant in the 5′ untranslated region. The p.R153H variant was found in a family with hereditary pancreatitis; however, it did not segregate with the disease. In functional assays, both the p.R153H and c.-9C>T TPST2 variants catalyzed trypsinogen sulfation as well as wild-type TPST2.
Genetic variants of human TPST2 exert no influence on the risk of chronic pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis; Genetic association study; Tyrosine sulfation; tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase-2 variant; tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase-2 haplotype; PHASE
A sustained imbalance of pancreatic proteases and their inhibitors seems to be important for the development of chronic pancreatitis (CP). Mesotrypsin (PRSS3) can degrade intrapancreatic trypsin inhibitors that protect against CP. Genetic variants that cause higher mesotrypsin activity might increase the risk for CP.
We analyzed all 5 exons and the adjacent non-coding sequences of PRSS3 by direct sequencing of 313 CP patients and 327 controls. Additionally, exon 4 was investigated in 855 patients and 1,294 controls and a c.454+191G>A variant in 855 patients and 1,467 controls. The c.499A>G (p.T167A) variant was analyzed functionally using transiently transfected HEK 293T cells.
In the exonic regions, the previously described common c.94_96delGAG (p.E32del) variant and a novel p.T167A non-synonymous alteration were identified. Extended analysis of the p.T167A variant revealed no association to CP and in functional assays p.T167A showed normal secretion and activity. Variants of the intronic regions, including the extensively analyzed c.454+191G>A alteration, were not associated with the disease. Haplotype reconstruction using variants with a minor allele frequency of >1% revealed no CP-associated haplotype.
Although the trypsin inhibitor-degrading activity qualified PRSS3 as a candidate for a novel CP susceptibility gene, we found no association between a specific variant or haplotype and CP in our cohort with a high suspicion of genetically determined disease.
Chronic pancreatitis; Mesotrypsinogen; PRSS3; Variant; Haplotype; PHASE v2.1
Several studies have shown that obesity is associated with changes in human brain function and structure. Since women are more susceptible to obesity than men, it seems plausible that neural correlates may also be different. However, this has not been demonstrated so far. To address this issue, we systematically investigated the brain's white matter (WM) structure in 23 lean to obese women (mean age 25.5 y, std 5.1 y; mean body mass index (BMI) 29.5 kg/m2, std 7.3 kg/m2) and 26 lean to obese men (mean age 27.1 y, std 5.0 y; mean BMI 28.8 kg/m2, std 6.8 kg/m2) with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There was no significant age (p>0.2) or BMI (p>0.7) difference between female and male participants. Using tract-based spatial statistics, we correlated several diffusion parameters including the apparent diffusion coefficient, fractional anisotropy (FA), as well as axial (λ∥) and radial diffusivity (λ⊥) with BMI and serum leptin levels. In female and male subjects, the putative axon marker λ∥ was consistently reduced throughout the corpus callosum, particularly in the splenium (r = −0.62, p<0.005). This suggests that obesity may be associated with axonal degeneration. Only in women, the putative myelin marker λ⊥ significantly increased with increasing BMI (r = 0.57, p<0.005) and serum leptin levels (r = 0.62, p<0.005) predominantly in the genu of the corpus callosum, suggesting additional myelin degeneration. Comparable structural changes were reported for the aging brain, which may point to accelerated aging of WM structure in obese subjects. In conclusion, we demonstrate structural WM changes related to an elevated body weight, but with differences between men and women. Future studies on obesity-related functional and structural brain changes should therefore account for sex-related differences.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in Western societies and contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality. The PPARγ and PGC-1α system plays an important role in regulating efficient energy utilization and oxidative phosphorylation both of which are decreased in obesity and insulin resistance.
We measured metabolic parameters and the expression of PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA using quantitative real-time PCR in omental and subcutaneous (SC) adipose tissue in an observational study of 153 individuals as well as in SC fat and skeletal muscle in an interventional study of 60 subjects (20 each with normal glucose tolerance, impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes) before and after intensive physical training for 4 weeks.
PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA expression in both fat depots as well as in skeletal muscle is associated with markers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. PGC-1α mRNA expression is significantly higher in SC compared to omental fat, whereas PPARγ expression is not significantly different between these fat depots. Skeletal muscle and SC fat PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA expression increased significantly in response to physical training.
Gene expression of PPARγ and PGC-1α in human adipose tissue is related to markers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. Increased muscle and adipose tissue PPARγ and PGC-1α expression in response to physical training may mediate the beneficial effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity.
PPARγ; PGC-1α; adipose tissue; obesity; diabetes; exercise training
Variants in the TCF7L2 have been shown to be associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Since the association with diabetes could be explained by effects on insulin secretion, we investigated whether patients with diabetes risk alleles at rs7903146 might have an altered hypoglycaemic response to sulfonylureas (SUs).
We recruited 189 patients with T2D being treated with SUs and determined the rs7903146 diabetes risk genotype. We used a logistic regression with secondary SU failure defined as an A1C ≥7.0% after 6 months of SU treatment.
In univariate regression analyses, TCF7L2 genotype was the only predictor of SU treatment failure. The rs7903146 T allele was significantly more frequent in the group of patients who failed to respond to SU (36%) than in the control group (26%) [P = 0.046; odds ratio (OR): 1.57 (1.01-2.45) in an additive mode of inheritance].
Our data suggest that patients with diabetes risk alleles in TCF7L2 have an altered hypoglycaemic response to SUs resulting in earlier secondary failure.
Human bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) is essential for BMP signalling and may be involved in the regulation of adipogenesis. The BMPR2 locus has been suggested as target of recent selection in human populations. We hypothesized that BMPR2 might have a role in the pathophysiology of obesity.
Research Design and Methods
Evolutionary analyses (dN/dS, Fst, iHS) were conducted in vertebrates and human populations. BMPR2 mRNA expression was measured in 190 paired samples of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue. The gene was sequenced in 48 DNA samples. Nine representative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped for subsequent association studies on quantitative traits related to obesity in 1830 German Caucasians. An independent cohort of 925 Sorbs was used for replication. Finally, relation of genotypes to mRNA in fat was examined.
The evolutionary analyses indicated signatures of selection on the BMPR2 locus. BMPR2 mRNA expression was significantly increased both in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue of 37 overweight (BMI>25 and <30 kg/m2) and 80 obese (BMI>30 kg/m2) compared with 44 lean subjects (BMI<25 kg/m2) (P<0.001). In a case-control study including lean and obese subjects, two intronic SNPs (rs6717924, rs13426118) were associated with obesity (adjusted P<0.05). Combined analyses including the initial cohort and the Sorbs confirmed a consistent effect for rs6717924 (combined P = 0.01) on obesity. Moreover, rs6717924 was associated with higher BMPR2 mRNA expression in visceral adipose tissue.
Combined BMPR2 genotype-phenotype-mRNA expression data as well as evolutionary aspects suggest a role of BMPR2 in the pathophysiology of obesity.