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1.  Thematic review series: Adipocyte Biology. Adipose tissue function and plasticity orchestrate nutritional adaptation 
Journal of lipid research  2007;48(6):1253-1262.
This review focuses on adipose tissue biology and introduces the concept of adipose tissue plasticity and expandability as key determinants of obesity-associated metabolic dysregulation. This concept is fundamental to our understanding of adipose tissue as a dynamic organ at the center of nutritional adaptation. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms by which adipose tissue can affect peripheral energy homeostasis, particularly in the context of overnutrition. Two mechanisms emerge that provide a molecular understanding for obesity-associated insulin resistance. These are a) the dysregulation of adipose tissue expandability and b) the abnormal production of adipokines. This knowledge has the potential to pave the way for novel therapeutic concepts and strategies for managing and/or correcting complications associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4303760  PMID: 17374880
obesity; adipokines; lipotoxicity; insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome
2.  Targeting Fat to Prevent Diabetes 
Cell metabolism  2007;5(5):323-325.
An emerging view is that obesity causes metabolic problems when adipose tissue fails to meet the increased demands for fat storage. A study in this issue of Cell Metabolism (Waki et al., 2007) has identified harmine as a proadipogenic small molecule that promotes energy expenditure in white adipose tissue and delays the onset of obesity-associated diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4303763  PMID: 17488634
3.  Wnt signalling at the crossroads of nutritional regulation 
The Biochemical journal  2008;416(2):e11-e13.
The ability to sense and respond to nutritional cues is among the most fundamental processes that support life in living organisms. At the cellular level, a number of biochemical mechanisms have been proposed to mediate cellular glucose sensing. These include ATP-sensitive potassium channels, AMP-activated protein kinase, activation of PKC (protein kinase C), and flux through the hexosamine pathway. Less well known is how cellularly heterogenous organs couple nutrient availability to prioritization of cell autonomous functions and appropriate growth of the entire organ. Yet what is clear is that when such mechanisms fail or become inappropriately active they can lead to dire consequences such as diabetes, metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In this issue of the Biochemical Journal, Anagnostou and Shepherd report the identification of an important link between cellular glucose sensing and the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway in macrophages. Their data strongly indicate that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway of Wnt signalling is responsive to physiological concentrations of nutrients but also suggests that that this system could be inappropriately activated in the diabetic (hyperglycaemic) or other metabolically compromised pathological states. This opens the exciting possibility that organ-selective modulation of Wnt signalling may become an attractive therapeutic target to treat these diseases.
PMCID: PMC4303997  PMID: 18990086
glucose sensing; glycosylation; hexosamine pathway; metabolism; Wnt signalling
4.  Role of the POZ Zinc Finger Transcription Factor FBI-1 in Human and Murine Adipogenesis 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2003;279(12):11711-11718.
Poxvirus zinc finger (POZ) zinc finger domain transcription factors have been shown to play a role in the control of growth arrest and differentiation in several types of mesenchymal cells but not, as yet, adipocytes. We found that a POZ domain protein, factor that binds to inducer of short transcripts-1 (FBI-1), was induced during both murine and human preadipocyte differentiation with maximal expression levels seen at days 2–4. FBI-1 mRNA was expressed in human adipose tissue with the highest levels found in samples from morbidly obese subjects. Murine cell lines constitutively expressing FBI-1 showed evidence for accelerated adipogenesis with earlier induction of markers of differentiation and enhanced lipid accumulation, suggesting that FBI-1 may be an active participant in the differentiation process. Consistent with the properties of this family of proteins in other cell systems, 3T3L1 cells stably overexpressing FBI-1 showed reduced DNA synthesis and reduced expression of cyclin A, cyclin-dependent kinase 2, and p107, proteins known to be involved in the regulation of mitotic clonal expansion. In addition, FBI-1 reduced the transcriptional activity of the cyclin A promoter. Thus, FBI-1, a POZ zinc finger transcription factor, is induced during the early phases of human and murine preadipocyte differentiation where it may contribute to adipogenesis through influencing the switch from cellular proliferation to terminal differentiation.
PMCID: PMC4303998  PMID: 14701838
5.  Visfatin: the missing link between intra-abdominal obesity and diabetes? 
Trends in molecular medicine  2005;11(8):344-347.
Human obesity-related diabetes and the accompanying metabolic disorders have been specifically linked to increased visceral adipose tissue mass. Understanding the differences in biology of the two human fat depots (visceral and subcutaneous) might hold the key to therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing obesity-induced insulin resistance and alleviating symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. Visfatin (pre-B-cell colony-enhancing factor, PBEF) is a novel adipokine that appears to be preferentially produced by visceral adipose tissue and has insulin-mimetic actions. Could this molecule hold the keytofuture treatments for type 1 and 2 diabetes? This article discusses the pros and cons of visfatin action and how it might affect future therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC4303999  PMID: 16005682
6.  The Wnt antagonist Dickkopf-1 and its receptors are coordinately regulated during early human adipogenesis 
Journal of cell science  2006;119(0 12):2613-2620.
Secretion of Wnts by adipose cells has an important role in the control of murine adipogenesis. We present the first evidence that a Wnt antagonist, Dickkopf 1 (Dkk1), is secreted by human preadipocytes and promotes adipogenesis. DKK1 mRNA increases six hours after onset of human adipogenesis and this is followed by an increase in Dkk1 protein. With further differentiation, the mRNA and protein levels progressively decline such that they are undetectable in mature adipocytes. The transient induction in DKK1 correlates with downregulation of cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin levels, this being a surrogate marker of canonical Wnt signalling, and Wnt/β-catenin transcriptional activity. In addition, constitutive expression of Dkk1 in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes promotes their differentiation, further supporting the functional significance of increased Dkk1 levels during human adipogenesis. Concomitant downregulation of the Dkk1 receptors LRP5 and LRP6 is likely to potentiate the ability of Dkk1 to inhibit Wnt signalling and promote differentiation. Notably, Dkk1 is not expressed in primary murine preadipocytes or cell lines. The involvement of Dkk1 in human but not murine adipogenesis indicates that inter-species differences exist in the molecular control of this process. Given the public health importance of disorders of adipose mass, further knowledge of the pathways involved specifically in human adipocyte differentiation might ultimately be of clinical relevance.
PMCID: PMC4304001  PMID: 16763196
Adipocyte; Adipogenesis; Wnt; Dickkopf 1; LRP5; Human
7.  Adipogenesis and WNT signalling 
An inability of adipose tissue to expand consequent to exhausted capacity to recruit new adipocytes might underlie the association between obesity and insulin resistance. Adipocytes arise from mesenchymal precursors whose commitment and differentiation along the adipocytic lineage is tightly regulated. These regulatory factors mediate cross-talk between adipose cells, ensuring that adipocyte growth and differentiation are coupled to energy storage demands. The WNT family of autocrine and paracrine growth factors regulates adult tissue maintenance and remodelling and, consequently, is well suited to mediate adipose cell communication. Indeed, several recent reports, summarized in this review, implicate WNT signalling in regulating adipogenesis. Manipulating the WNT pathway to alter adipose cellular makeup, therefore, constitutes an attractive drug-development target to combat obesity-associated metabolic complications.
PMCID: PMC4304002  PMID: 19008118
8.  The Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor-γ Regulates Murine Pyruvate Carboxylase Gene Expression in Vivo and in Vitro* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(29):27466-27476.
Pyruvate carboxylase (PC) plays a crucial role in various metabolic pathways, including gluconeogenesis, lipogenesis, and glucose-induced insulin secretion. Here we showed for the first time that the PC gene is transcriptionally regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) in vitro and in vivo in white and brown adipose tissue. PC mRNA and protein are markedly increased during differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells and HIB-1B, in parallel with the expression of the adipogenic transcription factors, CCAAT-enhancer binding protein α, PPARγ1, and PPARγ2. Tumor necrosis factor-α, a cytokine that blocks differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells, suppressed PC expression. Co-transfection studies in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes or HEK293T cells with a 2.3-kb promoter fragment of mouse PC gene linked to a luciferase reporter construct and with plasmids overexpressing retinoid X receptor α/PPARγ1 or retinoid X receptor α/PPARγ2 showed a 6–8-fold increase above the basal promoter activity. Furthermore, treatment of these transfected cells with the PPARγ agonist doubled the promoter activity. Mutation of the putative PPAR-response element-(−386/−374) of this 2.3-kb PC promoter fragment abolished the PPARγ response. Gel shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that endogenous PPARγ binds to this functional PPAR-response element of the PC promoter. Mice with targeted disruption of the PPARγ2 gene displayed ~50–60% reduction of PC mRNA and protein in white adipose tissue. Similarly, in brown adipose tissue of PPARγ2-deficient mice subjected to cold exposure, PC mRNA was 40% lower than that of wild type mice. Impaired in vitro differentiation of white adipocytes of PPARγ2 knock-out mice was also associated with a marked reduction of PC mRNA. Our findings identified PC as a PPARγ-regulated gene and suggested a role for PPARγ regulating intermediary metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4304003  PMID: 15917242
9.  The Link Between Nutritional Status and Insulin Sensitivity Is Dependent on the Adipocyte-Specific Peroxisome Proliferator–Activated Receptor-γ2 Isoform 
Diabetes  2005;54(6):1706-1716.
The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) is critically required for adipogenesis. PPARγ exists as two isoforms, γ1 and γ2. PPARγ2 is the more potent adipogenic isoform in vitro and is normally restricted to adipose tissues, where it is regulated more by nutritional state than PPARγ1. To elucidate the relevance of the PPARγ2 in vivo, we generated a mouse model in which the PPARγ2 isoform was specifically disrupted. Despite similar weight, body composition, food intake, energy expenditure, and adipose tissue morphology, male mice lacking the γ2 isoform were more insulin resistant than wild-type animals when fed a regular diet. These results indicate that insulin resistance associated with ablation of PPARγ2 is not the result of lipodystrophy and suggests a specific role for PPARγ2 in maintaining insulin sensitivity independently of its effects on adipogenesis. Furthermore, PPARγ2 knockout mice fed a high-fat diet did not become more insulin resistant than those on a normal diet, despite a marked increase in their mean adipocyte cell size. These findings suggest that PPARγ2 is required for the maintenance of normal insulin sensitivity in mice but also raises the intriguing notion that PPARγ2 may be necessary for the adverse effects of a high-fat diet on carbohydrate metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4304004  PMID: 15919792
10.  Wnt signalling and the control of cellular metabolism 
The Biochemical journal  2010;427(1):1-17.
At the cellular level, the biological processes of cell proliferation, growth arrest, differentiation and apoptosis are all tightly coupled to appropriate alterations in metabolic status. In the case of cell proliferation, this requires redirecting metabolic pathways to provide the fuel and basic components for new cells. Ultimately, the successful co-ordination of cell-specific biology with cellular metabolism underscores multicellular processes as diverse as embryonic development, adult tissue remodelling and cancer cell biology. The Wnt signalling network has been implicated in all of these areas. While each of the Wnt-dependent signalling pathways are being individually delineated in a range of experimental systems, our understanding of how they integrate and regulate cellular metabolism is still in its infancy. In the present review we reassess the roles of Wnt signalling in functionally linking cellular metabolism to tissue development and function.
PMCID: PMC4301310  PMID: 20226003
diabetes; metabolic syndrome; metabolism; obesity; Wnt signalling
11.  Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 regulates adipose tissue expansion and is dysregulated in severe obesity 
The Wnt/β-catenin signalling network offers potential targets to diagnose and uncouple obesity from its metabolic complications. Here we investigate the role of the Wnt antagonist, secreted Frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) in promoting adipogenesis in vitro and adipose tissue expansion in vivo.
We use a combination of human and murine, in vivo and in vitro models of adipogenesis, adipose tissue expansion and obesity-related metabolic syndrome to profile the involvement of SFRP1.
Secreted Frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) is expressed in both murine and human mature adipocytes. The expression of SFRP1 is induced during in vitro adipogenesis and SFRP1 is preferentially expressed in mature adipocytes in human adipose tissue. Constitutive ectopic expression of SFRP1 is proadipogenic and inhibits the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway. In vivo endogenous levels of adipose SFRP1 are regulated in line with proadipogenic states. However, in longitudinal studies of high fat diet-fed mice we observed a dynamic temporal but biphasic regulation of endogenous SFRP1. In agreement with this profile we observed that SFRP1 expression in human tissues peaks in patients with mild obesity and gradually falls in morbidly obese subjects.
Our results suggest that SFRP1 is an endogenous modulator of Wnt/β-catenin signalling and participates in the paracrine regulation of human adipogenesis. The reduced adipose expression of SFRP1 in morbid obesity and its knock-on effect to prevent further adipose tissue expansion may contribute to the development of metabolic complications in these individuals.
PMCID: PMC4266104  PMID: 20514047
Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Adipose tissue; Adipogenesis; Wnt Signalling
12.  Adaptive Changes of the Insig1/SREBP1/SCD1 Set Point Help Adipose Tissue to Cope With Increased Storage Demands of Obesity 
Diabetes  2013;62(11):3697-3708.
The epidemic of obesity imposes unprecedented challenges on human adipose tissue (WAT) storage capacity that may benefit from adaptive mechanisms to maintain adipocyte functionality. Here, we demonstrate that changes in the regulatory feedback set point control of Insig1/SREBP1 represent an adaptive response that preserves WAT lipid homeostasis in obese and insulin-resistant states. In our experiments, we show that Insig1 mRNA expression decreases in WAT from mice with obesity-associated insulin resistance and from morbidly obese humans and in in vitro models of adipocyte insulin resistance. Insig1 downregulation is part of an adaptive response that promotes the maintenance of SREBP1 maturation and facilitates lipogenesis and availability of appropriate levels of fatty acid unsaturation, partially compensating the antilipogenic effect associated with insulin resistance. We describe for the first time the existence of this adaptive mechanism in WAT, which involves Insig1/SREBP1 and preserves the degree of lipid unsaturation under conditions of obesity-induced insulin resistance. These adaptive mechanisms contribute to maintain lipid desaturation through preferential SCD1 regulation and facilitate fat storage in WAT, despite on-going metabolic stress.
PMCID: PMC3806615  PMID: 23919961
13.  Understanding disease mechanisms with models of signaling pathway activities 
BMC Systems Biology  2014;8(1):121.
Understanding the aspects of the cell functionality that account for disease or drug action mechanisms is one of the main challenges in the analysis of genomic data and is on the basis of the future implementation of precision medicine.
Here we propose a simple probabilistic model in which signaling pathways are separated into elementary sub-pathways or signal transmission circuits (which ultimately trigger cell functions) and then transforms gene expression measurements into probabilities of activation of such signal transmission circuits. Using this model, differential activation of such circuits between biological conditions can be estimated. Thus, circuit activation statuses can be interpreted as biomarkers that discriminate among the compared conditions. This type of mechanism-based biomarkers accounts for cell functional activities and can easily be associated to disease or drug action mechanisms. The accuracy of the proposed model is demonstrated with simulations and real datasets.
The proposed model provides detailed information that enables the interpretation disease mechanisms as a consequence of the complex combinations of altered gene expression values. Moreover, it offers a framework for suggesting possible ways of therapeutic intervention in a pathologically perturbed system.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12918-014-0121-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4213475  PMID: 25344409
Signaling pathways; Probabilistic model; Disease mechanism; Precision medicine; Disease mechanism; Cancer; Fanconi anemia; Obesity; Stem cells
14.  When BAT is lacking, WAT steps up 
Cell Research  2013;23(7):868-869.
PMCID: PMC3698633  PMID: 23609798
15.  A New Role for Lipocalin Prostaglandin D Synthase in the Regulation of Brown Adipose Tissue Substrate Utilization 
Diabetes  2012;61(12):3139-3147.
In this study, we define a new role for lipocalin prostaglandin D synthase (L-PGDS) in the control of metabolic fuel utilization by brown adipose tissue (BAT). We demonstrate that L-PGDS expression in BAT is positively correlated with BAT activity, upregulated by peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1α or 1β and repressed by receptor-interacting protein 140. Under cold-acclimated conditions, mice lacking L-PGDS had elevated reliance on carbohydrate to provide fuel for thermogenesis and had increased expression of genes regulating glycolysis and de novo lipogenesis in BAT. These transcriptional differences were associated with increased lipid content in BAT and a BAT lipid composition enriched with de novo synthesized lipids. Consistent with the concept that lack of L-PGDS increases glucose utilization, mice lacking L-PGDS had improved glucose tolerance after high-fat feeding. The improved glucose tolerance appeared to be independent of changes in insulin sensitivity, as insulin levels during the glucose tolerance test and insulin, leptin, and adiponectin levels were unchanged. Moreover, L-PGDS knockout mice exhibited increased expression of genes involved in thermogenesis and increased norepinephrine-stimulated glucose uptake to BAT, suggesting that sympathetically mediated changes in glucose uptake may have improved glucose tolerance. Taken together, these results suggest that L-PGDS plays an important role in the regulation of glucose utilization in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3501861  PMID: 22923471
16.  Assessment of brown adipose tissue function 
In this review we discuss practical considerations for the assessment of brown adipose tissue in rodent models, focusing on mice. The central aim of the review is to provide a critical appraisal of the utility of specialized techniques for assessing brown adipose tissue function in vivo. We cover several of the most common specialized methods for analysing brown adipose tissue function in vivo, including assessment of maximal thermogenic capacity by indirect calorimetry and the measurement of sympathetic tone to brown adipose tissue. While these techniques are powerful, they are not readily available to all laboratories; therefore we also cover several simple measurements that, particularly in combination, can be used to determine if a mouse model is likely to have alterations in brown adipose tissue function. Such techniques include: pair feeding, analysis of brown adipose tissue lipid content and mRNA and protein markers of brown adipose tissue activation.
PMCID: PMC3671177  PMID: 23760815
brown adipose tissue; BAT; maximal thermogenic capacity; adipose tissue; energy expenditure; cold exposure
17.  Increasing Circulating IGFBP1 Levels Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Promotes Nitric Oxide Production, Lowers Blood Pressure, and Protects Against Atherosclerosis 
Diabetes  2012;61(4):915-924.
Low concentrations of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein-1 (IGFBP1) are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We investigated whether increasing IGFBP1 levels can prevent the development of these disorders. Metabolic and vascular phenotype were examined in response to human IGFBP1 overexpression in mice with diet-induced obesity, mice heterozygous for deletion of insulin receptors (IR+/−), and ApoE−/− mice. Direct effects of human (h)IGFBP1 on nitric oxide (NO) generation and cellular signaling were studied in isolated vessels and in human endothelial cells. IGFBP1 circulating levels were markedly suppressed in dietary-induced obese mice. Overexpression of hIGFBP1 in obese mice reduced blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased insulin-stimulated NO generation. In nonobese IR+/− mice, overexpression of hIGFBP1 reduced blood pressure and improved insulin-stimulated NO generation. hIGFBP1 induced vasodilatation independently of IGF and increased endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity in arterial segments ex vivo, while in endothelial cells, hIGFBP1 increased eNOS Ser1177 phosphorylation via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling. Finally, in ApoE−/− mice, overexpression of hIGFBP1 reduced atherosclerosis. These favorable effects of hIGFBP1 on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, NO production, and atherosclerosis suggest that increasing IGFBP1 concentration may be a novel approach to prevent cardiovascular disease in the setting of insulin resistance and diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3314358  PMID: 22357965
18.  Nicotine Induces Negative Energy Balance Through Hypothalamic AMP-Activated Protein Kinase 
Diabetes  2012;61(4):807-817.
Smokers around the world commonly report increased body weight after smoking cessation as a major factor that interferes with their attempts to quit. Numerous controlled studies in both humans and rodents have reported that nicotine exerts a marked anorectic action. The effects of nicotine on energy homeostasis have been mostly pinpointed in the central nervous system, but the molecular mechanisms controlling its action are still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of nicotine on hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its effect on energy balance. Here we demonstrate that nicotine-induced weight loss is associated with inactivation of hypothalamic AMPK, decreased orexigenic signaling in the hypothalamus, increased energy expenditure as a result of increased locomotor activity, increased thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT), and alterations in fuel substrate utilization. Conversely, nicotine withdrawal or genetic activation of hypothalamic AMPK in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus reversed nicotine-induced negative energy balance. Overall these data demonstrate that the effects of nicotine on energy balance involve specific modulation of the hypothalamic AMPK-BAT axis. These targets may be relevant for the development of new therapies for human obesity.
PMCID: PMC3314364  PMID: 22315316
20.  NPs — heart hormones that regulate brown fat? 
Thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is well characterized as being under the control of the sympathetic nervous system. The energy-burning capacity of BAT makes it an attractive target for anti-obesity therapies. However, previous attempts to manipulate BAT’s sympathetic activation have lacked specificity. In this issue of the JCI, Bordicchia et al. provide new data indicating that cardiac natriuretic peptides (NPs) are also able to activate thermogenic machinery in adipose tissue. Their findings suggest a novel strategy to increase energy dissipation in adipose tissue, independent of adrenergic receptors.
PMCID: PMC3287241  PMID: 22307322
21.  PGC-1α negatively regulates extrasynaptic NMDAR activity and excitotoxicity 
Under-expression of the transcriptional coactivator PGC-1α is causally linked to certain neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington’s Disease (HD). HD pathoprogression is also associated with aberrant NMDAR activity, in particular an imbalance between synaptic vs. extrasynaptic (NMDAREX) activity. Here we show that PGC-1α controls NMDAREX activity in neurons and that its suppression contributes to mutant Huntingtin (mHtt)-induced increases in NMDAREX activity and vulnerability to excitotoxic insults.
We found that knock-down of endogenous PGC-1α increased NMDAREX activity and vulnerability to excitotoxic insults in rat cortical neurons. In contrast exogenous expression of PGC-1α resulted in a neuroprotective reduction of NMDAREX currents without affecting synaptic NMDAR activity. Since HD models are associated with mHtt-mediated suppression of PGC-1α expression, as well as increased NMDAREX activity, we investigated whether these two events were linked. Expression of mHtt (148Q) resulted in a selective increase in NMDAREX activity, compared to wHtt (18Q), and increased vulnerability to NMDA excitotoxicity. Importantly, we observed that the effects of mHtt and PGC-1α knockdown on NMDAREX activity and vulnerability to excitotoxicity were non-additive and occluded each other, consistent with a common mechanism. Moreover, exogenous expression of PGC-1α reversed mtHtt-mediated increases in NMDAREX activity, and protected neurons against excitotoxic cell death. The link between mHtt, PGC-1α, and NMDAR activity was also confirmed in rat striatal neurons. Thus, targeting levels of PGC-1α expression may help reduce aberrant NMDAREX activity in disorders where PGC-1α is under-expressed.
PMCID: PMC3359835  PMID: 22593067
22.  Below Thermoneutrality, Changes in Activity Do Not Drive Changes in Total Daily Energy Expenditure between Groups of Mice 
Cell Metabolism  2012;16(5):665-671.
In this study we investigated the relationship between activity and energy expenditure (EE) in mice. By determining the relationship between activity and EE over a 24 hr period in an individual mouse, activity was calculated to account for 26.6% ± 1.1% of total EE at 30°C. However, when comparing across multiple mice, only 9.53% ± 1.1% of EE from activity appeared to be independent of other components involved in the thermogenic response, suggesting other metabolic processes may mask the contribution of activity to EE. In line with this concept, below thermoneutrality mice still expended a substantial amount of energy on activity; however, at 24°C, 20°C, or 5°C, no independent effect of EE from activity on total daily EE could be detected. Overall these results suggest that when studying mice at temperatures below thermoneutrality, activity is unlikely to explain differences in EE between groups of animals.
► Under standard lab conditions, more-active mice do not expend more energy
PMCID: PMC3556741  PMID: 23140644
23.  Deletion of the metabolic transcriptional coactivator PGC1β induces cardiac arrhythmia 
Cardiovascular Research  2011;92(1):29-38.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivators PGC1α and PGC1β modulate mitochondrial biogenesis and energy homeostasis. The function of these transcriptional coactivators is impaired in obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. We searched for transcriptomic, lipidomic, and electrophysiological alterations in PGC1β−/− hearts potentially associated with increased arrhythmic risk in metabolic diseases.
Methods and results
Microarray analysis in mouse PGC1β−/− hearts confirmed down-regulation of genes related to oxidative phosphorylation and the electron transport chain and up-regulation of hypertrophy- and hypoxia-related genes. Lipidomic analysis showed increased levels of the pro-arrhythmic and pro-inflammatory lipid, lysophosphatidylcholine. PGC1β−/− mouse electrocardiograms showed irregular heartbeats and an increased incidence of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia following isoprenaline infusion. Langendorff-perfused PGC1β−/− hearts showed action potential alternans, early after-depolarizations, and ventricular tachycardia. PGC1β−/− ventricular myocytes showed oscillatory resting potentials, action potentials with early and delayed after-depolarizations, and burst firing during sustained current injection. They showed abnormal diastolic Ca2+ transients, whose amplitude and frequency were increased by isoprenaline, and Ca2+ currents with negatively shifted inactivation characteristics, with increased window currents despite unaltered levels of CACNA1C RNA transcripts. Inwardly and outward rectifying K+ currents were all increased. Quantitiative RT-PCR demonstrated increased SCN5A, KCNA5, RYR2, and Ca2+-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II expression.
PGC1β−/− hearts showed a lysophospholipid-induced cardiac lipotoxicity and impaired bioenergetics accompanied by an ion channel remodelling and altered Ca2+ homeostasis, converging to produce a ventricular arrhythmic phenotype particularly during adrenergic stress. This could contribute to the increased cardiac mortality associated with both metabolic and cardiac disease attributable to lysophospholipid accumulation.
PMCID: PMC3172981  PMID: 21632884
Mitochondria; Cardiac arrhythmia; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1β; Metabolic disease; Lysophosphatidylcholine
24.  Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ-Dependent Regulation of Lipolytic Nodes and Metabolic Flexibility 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(8):1555-1565.
Optimal lipid storage and mobilization are essential for efficient adipose tissue. Nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) regulates adipocyte differentiation and lipid deposition, but its role in lipolysis and dysregulation in obesity is not well defined. This investigation aimed to understand the molecular impact of dysfunctional PPARγ on the lipolytic axis and to explore whether these defects are also confirmed in common forms of human obesity. For this purpose, we used the P465L PPARγ mouse as a model of dysfunctional PPARγ that recapitulates the human pparγ mutation (P467L). We demonstrated that defective PPARγ impairs catecholamine-induced lipolysis. This abnormal lipolytic response is exacerbated by a state of positive energy balance in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. We identified the protein kinase A (PKA) network as a PPARγ-dependent regulatory node of the lipolytic response. Specifically, defective PPARγ is associated with decreased basal expression of prkaca (PKAcatα) and d-akap1, the lipase genes Pnplaz (ATGL) and Lipe (HSL), and lipid droplet protein genes fsp27 and adrp in vivo and in vitro. Our data indicate that PPARγ is required for activation of the lipolytic regulatory network, dysregulation of which is an important feature of obesity-induced insulin resistance in humans.
PMCID: PMC3318581  PMID: 22310664
25.  Ablation of PGC1 beta prevents mTOR dependent endoplasmic reticulum stress response 
Experimental Neurology  2012;237(2):396-406.
Mitochondria dysfunction contributes to the pathophysiology of obesity, diabetes, neurodegeneration and ageing. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1β (PGC-1β) coordinates mitochondrial biogenesis and function as well as fatty acid metabolism. It has been suggested that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress may be one of the mechanisms linking mitochondrial dysfunction and these pathologies. Here we investigate whether PGC-1β ablation affects the ER stress response induced by specific nutritional and pharmacological challenges in the CNS. By using flow cytometry, western blot, real time PCR and several pharmacological and nutritional interventions in PGC-1β knock out and WT mice, we confirmed that PGC-1β coordinates mitochondria function in brain and reported for the first time that a) ablation of PGC-1β is associated with constitutive activation of mTORC1 pathway associated with increased basal GRP78 protein levels in hypothalamus and cortex of animals fed chow diet; and b) in animals fed chronically with high fat diet (HFD) or high protein diet (HPD), we observed a failure to appropriately induce ER stress response in the absence of PGC-1β, associated with an increase in mTOR pathway phosphorylation. This contrasted with the appropriate upregulation of ER stress response observed in wild type littermates. Additionally, inefficient in vitro induction of ER stress by thapsigargin seems result in apoptotic neuronal cell death in PGC-1β KO. Our data indicate that PGC-1β is required for a neuronal ER response to nutritional stress imposed by HFD and HPD diets and that genetic ablation of PGC-1β might increase the susceptibility to neuronal damage and cell death.
► The PGC-1β coordinates mitochondrial function and fatty acid metabolism. ► Ablation of PGC-1β associates with mTORC1 activation and basal increase of GRP78. ► Metabolic stress results in inefficient GRP78 increase in PGC-1β KO mice.
PMCID: PMC3549498  PMID: 22771762
PGC 1 beta; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Mitochondria; mTOR; Amino acids; Brain

Results 1-25 (63)