We discovered the gene Collagen Triple Helix Repeat Containing 1 (Cthrc1) and reported its developmental expression and induction in adventitial cells of injured arteries and dermal cells of skin wounds. The role of Cthrc1 in normal adult tissues has not yet been determined.
We generated mutant mice with a novel Cthrc1 null allele by homologues recombination. Cthrc1 null mice appeared developmentally normal. On the C57BL/6J background, livers from Cthrc1 null mice accumulated vast quantities of lipid, leading to extensive macrovesicular steatosis. Glycogen levels in skeletal muscle and liver of Cthrc1 null mice on the 129S6/SvEv background were significantly increased. However, Cthrc1 expression is not detectable in these tissues in wild-type mice, suggesting that the lipid and glycogen storage phenotype may be a secondary effect due to loss of Cthrc1 production at a distant site. To investigate potential hormonal functions of Cthrc1, tissues from adult mice and pigs were examined for Cthrc1 expression by immunohistochemistry with monoclonal anti-Cthrc1 antibodies. In pigs, Cthrc1 was detected around chromophobe cells of the anterior pituitary, and storage of Cthrc1 was observed in colloid-filled follicles and the pituitary cleft. Pituitary follicles have been observed in numerous vertebrates including humans but none of the known pituitary hormones have hitherto been detected in them. In C57BL/6J mice, however, Cthrc1 was predominantly expressed in the paraventricular and supraoptic nucleus of the hypothalamus but not in the posterior pituitary. In human plasma, we detected Cthrc1 in pg/ml quantities and studies with 125I-labeled Cthrc1 revealed a half-life of 2.5 hours in circulation. The highest level of Cthrc1 binding was observed in the liver.
Cthrc1 has characteristics of a circulating hormone generated from the anterior pituitary, hypothalamus and bone. Hormonal functions of Cthrc1 include regulation of lipid storage and cellular glycogen levels with potentially broad implications for cell metabolism and physiology.
Circulating growth hormone (GH) levels rise in response to nutrient deprivation and fall in states of nutrient excess. Since GH regulates carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism, defining the mechanisms by which changes in metabolism alters GH secretion will aid in our understanding of the cause, progression and treatment of metabolic diseases. This review will summarize what is currently known regarding the impact of systemic metabolic signals on GH-axis function. In addition, ongoing studies using the Cre/loxP system to generate mouse models with selective somatotrope resistance to metabolic signals, will be discussed, where these models will serve to enhance our understanding of the specific role the somatotrope plays in sensing the metabolic environment and adjusting GH output in metabolic extremes.
growth hormone; somatotrope; fasting; obesity
Neurotrophins (NTs) are a family of secreted growth factor proteins primarily involved in the regulation of survival and appropriate development of neural cells, functioning by binding to their specific (TrkA, TtkB, and TrkC) and/or common NGFR receptor. NGFR is the common receptor of NTs, binding with low-affinity to all members of the family. Among different functions assigned to NGFR, it is also involved in apoptosis induction and tumorigenesis processes. Interestingly, some of the functions of NGFR appear to be ligand-independent, suggesting a probable involvement of non-coding RNA residing within the sequence of the gene. Here, we are reporting the existence of a conserved putative microRNA, named Hsa-mir-6165 [EBI accession#: FR873488]. Transfection of a DNA segment corresponding to the pre-mir-6165 sequence in Hela cell line caused the generation of mature exogenous mir-6165 (a ∼200,000 fold overexpression). Furthermore, using specific primers, we succeeded to detect the endogenous expression of mir-6165 in several glioma cell lines and glioma primary tumors known to express NGFR. Similar to the pro-apoptotic role of NGFR in some cell types, overexpression of pre-mir-6165 in U87 cell line resulted in an elevated rate of apoptosis. Moreover, coordinated with the increased level of mir-6165 in the transfected U87 cell line, two of its predicted target genes (Pkd1 and DAGLA) were significantly down-regulated. The latter findings suggest that some of the previously attributed functions of NGFR could be explained indirectly by co-transcription of mir-6165 in the cells.
Seasonal timing of reproduction and the number of clutches produced per season are two key avian life-history traits with major fitness consequences. Female condition may play an important role in these decisions. In mammals, body condition and leptin levels are correlated. In birds, the role of leptin remains unclear. We did two experiments where we implanted female great tits with a pellet releasing leptin evenly for 14 days, to manipulate their perceived body condition, or a placebo pellet. In the first experiment where females were implanted when feeding their first brood offspring we found, surprisingly, that placebo treated females were more likely to initiate a second brood compared to leptin treated females. Only one second brood fledged two chicks while five were deserted late in the incubation stage or when the first egg hatched. No difference was found in female or male return rate or in recruitment rate of fledglings of the first brood, possibly due to the desertion of the second broods. In our study population, where there is selection for early egg laying, earlier timing of reproduction might be hampered by food availability and thus nutritional state of the female before egg laying. We therefore implanted similar leptin pellets three weeks before the expected start of egg laying in an attempt to manipulate the laying dates of first clutches. However, leptin treated females did not initiate egg laying earlier compared to placebo treated females, suggesting that other variables than the perceived body condition play a major role in the timing of reproduction. Also, leptin treatment did not affect body mass, basal metabolic rate or feeding rates in captive females. Manipulating life history decisions using experimental protocols which do not alter individuals' energy balance are crucial in understanding the trade-off between costs and benefits of life history decisions.
We evaluated the effect of an oral administration of a plant-derived lactic acid bacterium, Pediococcus pentosaceus LP28 (LP28), on metabolic syndrome by using high fat diet-induced obese mice. The obese mice were divided into 2 groups and fed either a high fat or regular diet for 8 weeks. Each group was further divided into 3 groups, which took LP28, another plant-derived Lactobacillus plantarum SN13T (SN13T) or no lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The lean control mice were fed a regular diet without inducing obesity prior to the experiment. LP28 reduced body weight gain and liver lipid contents (triglyceride and cholesterol), in mice fed a high fat diet for 8 weeks (40%, 54%, and 70% less than those of the control group without LAB, and P = 0.018, P<0.001, and P = 0.021, respectively), whereas SN13T and the heat treated LP28 at 121°C for 15 min were ineffective. Abdominal visceral fat in the high fat diet mice fed with LP28 was also lower than that without LAB by 44%, although it was not significant but borderline (P = 0.076). The sizes of the adipocytes and the lipid droplets in the livers were obviously decreased. A real-time PCR analyses showed that lipid metabolism-related genes, such as CD36 (P = 0.013), SCD1 encoding stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (not significant but borderline, P = 0.066), and PPARγ encoding peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (P = 0.039), were down-regulated by taking LP28 continuously, when compared with those of the control group. In conclusion, LP28 may be a useful LAB strain for the prevention and reduction of the metabolic syndrome.
Ghrelin acts as an endocrine link connecting physiological processes regulating food intake, body composition, growth, and energy balance. Ghrelin is the only peptide known to undergo octanoylation. The enzyme mediating this process, ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT), is expressed in the gastrointestinal tract (GI; primary source of circulating ghrelin) as well as other tissues. The present study demonstrates that stomach GOAT mRNA levels correlate with circulating acylated-ghrelin levels in fasted and diet-induced obese mice. In addition, GOAT was found to be expressed in both the pituitary and hypothalamus (two target tissues of ghrelin’s actions), and regulated in response to metabolic status. Using primary pituitary cell cultures as a model system to study the regulation of GOAT expression, we found that acylated-ghrelin, but not desacyl-ghrelin, increased GOAT expression. In addition, growth-hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and leptin increased, while somatostatin (SST) decreased GOAT expression. The physiologic relevance of these later results is supported by the observation that pituitary GOAT expression in mice lacking GHRH, SST and leptin showed opposite changes to those observed after in vitro treatment with the corresponding peptides. Therefore, it seems plausible that these hormones directly contribute to the regulation of pituitary GOAT. Interestingly, in all the models studied, pituitary GOAT expression paralleled changes in the expression of a dominant spliced-variant of ghrelin (In2-ghrelin) and therefore this transcript may be a primary substrate for pituitary GOAT. Collectively, these observations support the notion that the GI tract is not the only source of acylated-ghrelin, but in fact locally-produced des-acylated-ghrelin could be converted to acylated-ghrelin within target tissues by locally active GOAT, to mediate its tissue-specific effects.
Ghrelin O-Acyl Transferase (GOAT); mouse models (fasting, obesity, knockouts); stomach; pituitary; hypothalamus
The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin is required for normal pubertal maturation in mice and humans and, therefore, leptin has been recognized as a crucial metabolic cue linking energy stores and the onset of puberty. Several lines of evidence have suggested that leptin acts via kisspeptin expressing neurons of the arcuate nucleus to exert its effects. Using conditional knockout mice, we have previously demonstrated that deletion of leptin receptors (LepR) from kisspeptin cells cause no puberty or fertility deficits. However, developmental adaptations and system redundancies may have obscured the physiologic relevance of direct leptin signaling in kisspeptin neurons. To overcome these putative effects, we re-expressed endogenous LepR selectively in kisspeptin cells of mice otherwise null for LepR, using the Cre-loxP system. Kiss1-Cre LepR null mice showed no pubertal development and no improvement of the metabolic phenotype, remaining obese, diabetic and infertile. These mice displayed decreased numbers of neurons expressing Kiss1 gene, similar to prepubertal control mice, and an unexpected lack of re-expression of functional LepR. To further assess the temporal coexpression of Kiss1 and Lepr genes, we generated mice with the human renilla green fluorescent protein (hrGFP) driven by Kiss1 regulatory elements and crossed them with mice that express Cre recombinase from the Lepr locus and the R26-tdTomato reporter gene. No coexpression of Kiss1 and LepR was observed in prepubertal mice. Our findings unequivocally demonstrate that kisspeptin neurons are not the direct target of leptin in the onset of puberty. Leptin signaling in kisspeptin neurons arises only after completion of sexual maturation.
This study was designed to determine the genotoxicity of a supraphysiological dose of triiodothyronine (T3) in both obese and calorie-restricted obese animals. Fifty male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to one of the two following groups: control (C; n = 10) and obese (OB; n = 40). The C group received standard food, whereas the OB group was fed a hypercaloric diet for 20 weeks. After this period, half of the OB animals (n = 20) were subjected to a 25%-calorie restriction of standard diet for 8 weeks forming thus a new group (OR), whereas the remaining OB animals were kept on the initial hypercaloric diet. During the following two weeks, 10 OR animals continued on the calorie restriction diet, whereas the remaining 10 rats of this group formed a new group (ORS) given a supraphysiological dose of T3 (25 µg/100 g body weight) along with the calorie restriction diet. Similarly, the remaining OB animals were divided into two groups, one that continued on the hypercaloric diet (OB, n = 10), and one that received the supraphysiological dose of T3 (25 µg/100 g body weight) along with the hypercaloric diet (OS, n = 10) for two weeks. The OB group showed weight gain, increased adiposity, insulin resistance, increased leptin levels and genotoxicity; T3 administration in OS animals led to an increase in genotoxicity and oxidative stress when compared with the OB group. The OR group showed weight loss and normalized levels of adiposity, insulin resistance, serum leptin and genotoxicity, thus having features similar to those of the C group. On the other hand, the ORS group, compared to OR animals, showed higher genotoxicity. Our results indicate that regardless of diet, a supraphysiological dose of T3 causes genotoxicity and potentiates oxidative stress.
Endoglin is a transmembrane auxiliary receptor for transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) that is predominantly expressed on proliferating endothelial cells. It plays a wide range of physiological roles but its importance on energy balance or insulin sensitivity has been unexplored. Endoglin deficient mice die during midgestation due to cardiovascular defects. Here we report for first time that heterozygous endoglin deficiency in mice decreases high fat diet-induced hepatic triglyceride content and insulin levels. Importantly, these effects are independent of changes in body weight or adiposity. At molecular level, we failed to detect relevant changes in the insulin signalling pathway at basal levels in liver, muscle or adipose tissues that could explain the insulin-dependent effect. However, we found decreased triglyceride content in the liver of endoglin heterozygous mice fed a high fat diet in comparison to their wild type littermates. Overall, our findings indicate that endoglin is a potentially important physiological mediator of insulin levels and hepatic lipid metabolism.
Pituitary stalk interruption syndrome (PSIS) is characterized by the absence of pituitary stalk, pituitary hypoplasia, and ectopic posterior pituitary. Due to the rarity of PSIS, clinical data are limited, especially in Chinese people. Herein, we analyzed the clinical characteristics of patients diagnosed with PSIS from our center over 10 years.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively analyzed the clinical manifestations and laboratory and MRI findings in 55 patients with PSIS.
Of the 55 patients with PSIS, 48 (87.3%) were male. The average age was 19.7±6.7 years and there was no familial case. A history of breech delivery was documented in 40 of 45 patients (88.9%) and 19 of 55 patients (34.5%) had a history of dystocia. Short stature was found in 47 of 55 patients (85.5%) and bone age delayed 7.26±5.37 years. Secondary sex characteristics were poor or undeveloped in most patients. The prevalence of deficiencies in growth hormone, gonadotropins, corticotropin, and thyrotropin were 100%, 95.8%, 81.8%, 76.3%, respectively. Hyperprolactinemia was found in 36.4% of patients. Three or more pituitary hormone deficiencies were found in 92.7% of the patients. All patients had normal posterior pituitary function and absent pituitary stalk on imaging. The average height of anterior pituitary was 28 mm, documented anterior pituitary hypoplasia. Midline abnormalities were presented in 9.1% of patients.
The clinical features of our Chinese PSIS patients seem to be different from other reported patients in regarding to the higher degree of hypopituitarism and lower prevalence of midline defects. In addition, our patients were older at the time of case detection and the bone age was markedly delayed. We also had no cases of familial PSIS.
Imbalanced maternal nutrition during gestation can cause alterations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system in offspring. The present study investigated the effects of maternal low- and high-protein diets during gestation in pigs on the maternal-fetal HPA regulation and expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (11β-HSD1 and 11β-HSD2) and c-fos mRNAs in the placenta and fetal brain. Twenty-seven German Landrace sows were fed diets with high (HP, 30%), low (LP, 6.5%) or adequate (AP, 12.1%) protein levels made isoenergetic by varying the carbohydrate levels. On gestational day 94, fetuses were recovered under general anesthesia for the collection of blood, brain and placenta samples. The LP diet in sows increased salivary cortisol levels during gestation compared to the HP and AP sows and caused an increase of placental GR and c-fos mRNA expression. However, the diurnal rhythm of plasma cortisol was disturbed in both LP and HP sows. Total plasma cortisol concentrations in the umbilical cord vessels were elevated in fetuses from HP sows, whereas corticosteroid-binding globulin levels were decreased in LP fetuses. In the hypothalamus, LP fetuses displayed an enhanced mRNA expression of 11β-HSD1 and a reduced expression of c-fos. Additionally, the 11β-HSD2 mRNA expression was decreased in both LP and HP fetuses. The present results suggest that both low and high protein∶carbohydrate dietary ratios during gestation may alter the expression of genes encoding key determinants of glucocorticoid hormone action in the fetus with potential long-lasting consequences for stress adaptation and health.
There is no universal consensus on the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and breast cancer. This meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the overall effect of overweight and obesity on breast cancer risk during pre- and post-menopausal period.
All major electronic databases were searched until April 2012 including Web of Knowledge, Medline, Scopus, and ScienceDirect. Furthermore, the reference lists and related scientific conference databases were searched.
All prospective cohort and case-control studies investigating the association between BMI and breast cancer were retrieved irrespective of publication date and language. Women were assessed irrespective of age, race and marital status. The exposure of interest was BMI. The primary outcome of interest was all kinds of breast cancers confirmed pathologically. Study quality was assessed using the checklist of STROBE. Study selection and data extraction were performed by two authors separately. The effect measure of choice was risk ratio (RRi) and rate ratio (RRa) for cohort studies and odds ratio (OR) in case-control studies.
Of 9163 retrieved studies, 50 studies were included in meta-analysis including 15 cohort studies involving 2,104,203 subjects and 3,414,806 person-years and 35 case-control studies involving 71,216 subjects. There was an inverse but non-significant correlation between BMI and breast cancer risk during premenopausal period: OR = 0.93 (95% CI 0.86, 1.02); RRi = 0.97 (95% CI 0.82, 1.16); and RRa = 0.99 (95% CI 0.94, 1.05), but a direct and significant correlation during postmenopausal period: OR = 1.15 (95% CI 1.07, 1.24); RRi = 1.16 (95% CI 1.08, 1.25); and RRa = 0.98 (95% CI 0.88, 1.09).
The results of this meta-analysis showed that body mass index has no significant effect on the incidence of breast cancer during premenopausal period. On the other hand, overweight and obesity may have a minimal effect on breast cancer, although significant, but really small and not clinically so important.
Maternal deprivation (MD) during neonatal life has diverse long-term effects, including affectation of metabolism. Indeed, MD for 24 hours during the neonatal period reduces body weight throughout life when the animals are maintained on a normal diet. However, little information is available regarding how this early stress affects the response to increased metabolic challenges during postnatal life. We hypothesized that MD modifies the response to a high fat diet (HFD) and that this response differs between males and females. To address this question, both male and female Wistar rats were maternally deprived for 24 hours starting on the morning of postnatal day (PND) 9. Upon weaning on PND22 half of each group received a control diet (CD) and the other half HFD. MD rats of both sexes had significantly reduced accumulated food intake and weight gain compared to controls when raised on the CD. In contrast, when maintained on a HFD energy intake and weight gain did not differ between control and MD rats of either sex. However, high fat intake induced hyperleptinemia in MD rats as early as PND35, but not until PND85 in control males and control females did not become hyperleptinemic on the HFD even at PND102. High fat intake stimulated hypothalamic inflammatory markers in both male and female rats that had been exposed to MD, but not in controls. Reduced insulin sensitivity was observed only in MD males on the HFD. These results indicate that MD modifies the metabolic response to HFD intake, with this response being different between males and females. Thus, the development of obesity and secondary complications in response to high fat intake depends on numerous factors.
Systematic differences between populations in their preferences for body size may arise as a result of an adaptive ‘prepared learning’ mechanism, whereby cues to health or status in the local population are internalized and affect body preferences. Alternatively, differences between populations may reflect their ‘visual diet’ as a cognitive byproduct of mere exposure. Here we test the relative importance of these two explanations for variation in body preferences. Two studies were conducted where female observers were exposed to pictures of high or low BMI women which were either aspirational (healthy, attractive models in high status clothes) or non-aspirational (eating disordered patients in grey leotards), or to combinations thereof, in order to manipulate their body-weight preferences which were tested at baseline and at post–test. Overall, results showed good support for visual diet effects (seeing a string of small or large bodies resulted in a change from pre- to post-test whether the bodies were aspirational or not) and also some support for the associative learning explanation (exposure to aspirational images of overweight women induced a towards preferring larger bodies, even when accompanied by equal exposure to lower weight bodies in the non-aspirational category). Thus, both influences may act in parallel.
Current evidence suggests that ghrelin, a stomach derived peptide, exerts its orexigenic action through specific modulation of Sirtuin1 (SIRT1)/p53 and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathways, which ultimately increase the expression of agouti-related protein (AgRP) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC). However, there is a paucity of data about the possible action of ghrelin on alternative metabolic pathways at this level. Here, we demonstrate that ghrelin elicits a marked upregulation of the hypothalamic mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. Of note, central inhibition of mTOR signaling with rapamycin decreased ghrelin’s orexigenic action and normalized the mRNA expression of AgRP and NPY, as well as their key downstream transcription factors, namely cAMP response-element binding protein (pCREB) and forkhead box O1 (FoxO1, total and phosphorylated). Taken together, these data indicate that, in addition to previous reported mechanisms, ghrelin also promotes feeding through modulation of hypothalamic mTOR pathway.
Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase prolactin (PRL) production and cell proliferation of pituitary lactotropes. It also causes a reduction in the lactotrope's response to dopaminergic agents and a differential expression of dopamine 2 receptor short (D2S) and long (D2L) isoforms in the pituitary. However, the role of each of these D2 receptor isoforms and its coupled G protein in mediation of ethanol actions on lactotropes is not known. We have addressed this issue by comparing ethanol effects on the level of PRL production gene transcription rate cellular protein, G proteins and cell proliferation in enriched lactotropes and lactotrope-derived PR1 cells containing various D2 receptor isoforms. Additionally, we determined the effects of G protein blockade on ethanol-induced PRL production and cell proliferation in these cells. We show here that the D2 receptor, primarily the D2S isoform, is critically involved in the regulation of ethanol actions on PRL production and cell proliferation in lactotropes. We also present data to elucidate that the presence of the pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive D2S receptor is critical to mediate the ethanol stimulatory action on Gs and the ethanol's inhibitory action on Gi3 protein in lactotropes. Additionally, we provide evidence for the existence of an inhibitory action of Gi3 on Gs that is under the control of the D2S receptor and is inhibited by ethanol. These results suggest that ethanol via the inhibitory action on D2S receptor activity suppresses Gi3 repression of Gs expression resulting in stimulation of PRL synthesis and cell proliferation in lactotropes.
Growth hormone (GH) stimulates whole-body lipid oxidation, but its regulation of muscle lipid oxidation is not clearly defined. Mice with a skeletal muscle-specific knockout of the GH receptor (mGHRKO model) are protected from high fat diet (HFD)–induced insulin resistance and display increased whole-body carbohydrate utilization. In this study we used the mGRHKO mice to investigate the role of muscle GHR signaling on lipid oxidation under regular chow (RC)- and HFD- fed conditions, and in response to fasting.
Expression of lipid oxidation genes was analyzed by real-time PCR in the muscles of RC- and HFD- fed mice, and after 24 h fasting in the HFD-fed mice. Expression of lipid oxidation genes was lower in the muscles of the mGHRKO mice relative to the controls, irrespective of diet. However, in response to 24 h fasting, the HFD-fed mGHRKO mice displayed up-regulation of lipid oxidation genes similar to the fasted controls. When subjected to treadmill running challenge, the HFD-fed mGHRKO mice demonstrated increased whole-body lipid utilization. Additionally, under fasted conditions, the adipose tissue of the mGHRKO mice displayed increased lipolysis as compared to both the fed mGHRKO as well as the fasted control mice.
Our data show that muscle GHR signaling regulates basal lipid oxidation, but not the induction of lipid oxidation in response to fasting. We further demonstrate that muscle GHR signaling is involved in muscle-adipose tissue cross-talk; however the mechanisms mediating this remain to be elucidated.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is characterized by headache often accompanied by gastrointestinal complaints that vary from anorexia through nausea to vomiting. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of high altitude on plasma levels of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) peptides and their association to AMS symptoms. Plasma levels of 6 GEP peptides were measured by radioimmunoassay in 11 subjects at 490 m (Munich, Germany) and, after rapid passive ascent to 3454 m (Jungfraujoch, Switzerland), over the course of three days. In a second study (n = 5), the same peptides and ghrelin were measured in subjects who consumed standardized liquid meals at these two elevations. AMS symptoms and oxygen saturation were monitored. In the first study, both fasting (morning 8 a.m.) and stimulated (evening 8 p.m.) plasma levels of pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and cholecystokinin (CCK) were significantly lower at high altitude as compared to baseline, whereas gastrin and motilin concentrations were significantly increased. Fasting plasma neurotensin was significantly enhanced whereas stimulated levels were reduced. Both fasting and stimulated plasma motilin levels correlated with gastrointestinal symptom severity (r = 0.294, p = 0.05, and r = 0.41, p = 0.006, respectively). Mean O2-saturation dropped from 96% to 88% at high altitude. In the second study, meal-stimulated integrated ( = area under curve) plasma CCK, PP, and neurotensin values were significantly suppressed at high altitude, whereas integrated levels of gastrin were increased and integrated VIP and ghrelin levels were unchanged. In summary, our data show that acute exposure to a hypobaric hypoxic environment causes significant changes in fasting and stimulated plasma levels of GEP peptides over consecutive days and after a standardized meal. The changes of peptide levels were not uniform. Based on the inhibition of PP and neurotensin release a reduction of the cholinergic tone can be postulated.
Growth hormone (GH) is an important regulator of metabolism and body composition. GH deficiency is associated with increased visceral body fat and other features of the metabolic syndrome. Here we performed a cross-sectional study to explore the association of GH levels with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is considered to be the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. A total of 1,667 subjects were diagnosed as NAFLD according the diagnostic criteria, and 5,479 subjects were defined as the controls. The subjects with NAFLD had significantly lower levels of serum GH than the controls. Those with low GH levels had a higher prevalence of NAFLD and the metabolic syndrome. A stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that GH levels were significantly associated with the risk factor for NAFLD (OR = 0.651, 95%CI = 0.574–0.738, P<0.001). Our results showed a significant association between lower serum GH levels and NAFLD.
The neuronal coordination of metabolic homeostasis requires the integration of hormonal signals with multiple interrelated central neuronal circuits to produce appropriate levels of food intake, energy expenditure and fuel availability. Ghrelin, a peripherally produced peptide hormone, circulates at high concentrations during nutrient scarcity. Ghrelin promotes food intake, an action lost in ghrelin receptor null mice and also helps maintain fasting blood glucose levels, ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients to the central nervous system. To better understand mechanisms of ghrelin action, we have examined the roles of ghrelin receptor (GHSR) expression in the mouse hindbrain. Notably, selective hindbrain ghrelin receptor expression was not sufficient to restore ghrelin-stimulated food intake. In contrast, the lowered fasting blood glucose levels observed in ghrelin receptor-deficient mice were returned to wild-type levels by selective re-expression of the ghrelin receptor in the hindbrain. Our results demonstrate the distributed nature of the neurons mediating ghrelin action.
The function of small intestinal monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) is unknown. Its expression in this tissue is surprising because one of the primary functions of the small intestine is to convert diet-derived MGs to triacylglycerol (TG), and not to degrade them. To elucidate the function of intestinal MGL, we generated transgenic mice that over-express MGL specifically in small intestine (iMGL mice). After only 3 weeks of high fat feeding, iMGL mice showed an obese phenotype; body weight gain and body fat mass were markedly higher in iMGL mice, along with increased hepatic and plasma TG levels compared to wild type littermates. The iMGL mice were hyperphagic and displayed reduced energy expenditure despite unchanged lean body mass, suggesting that the increased adiposity was due to both increased caloric intake and systemic effects resulting in a hypometabolic rate. The presence of the transgene resulted in lower levels of most MG species in intestinal mucosa, including the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). The results therefore suggest a role for intestinal MGL, and intestinal 2-AG and perhaps other MG species, in whole body energy balance via regulation of food intake as well as metabolic rate.
Astrocytes synthesize and release endozepines, a family of regulatory peptides, including the octadecaneuropeptide (ODN) an endogenous ligand of both central-type benzodiazepine (CBR) and metabotropic receptors. We have recently shown that ODN exerts a protective effect against hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress in astrocytes. The purpose of the present study was to determine the type of receptor and the transduction pathways involved in the protective effect of ODN in cultured rat astrocytes. We have first observed a protective activity of ODN at very low concentrations that was abrogated by the metabotropic ODN receptor antagonist cyclo1–8[DLeu5]OP, but not by the CBR antagonist flumazenil. We have also found that the metabotropic ODN receptor is positively coupled to adenylyl cyclase in astrocytes and that the glioprotective action of ODN upon H2O2-induced astrocyte death is PKA- and MEK-dependent, but PLC/PKC-independent. Downstream of PKA, ODN induced ERK phosphorylation, which in turn activated the expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2 and blocked the stimulation by H2O2 of the pro-apoptotic gene Bax. The effect of ODN on the Bax/Bcl-2 balance contributed to abolish the deleterious action of H2O2 on mitochondrial membrane integrity and caspase-3 activation. Finally, the inhibitory effect of ODN on caspase-3 activity was shown to be PKA and MEK-dependent. In conclusion, the present results demonstrate that the potent glioprotective action of ODN against oxidative stress involves the metabotropic ODN receptor coupled to the PKA/ERK-kinase pathway to inhibit caspase-3 activation.
The anterior insular cortex (AIC) is involved in emotional processes and gustatory functions which can be examined by imaging techniques. Such imaging studies showed increased activation in the insula in response to food stimuli as well as a differential activation in lean and obese people. Additionally, studies investigating lean subjects established the voluntary regulation of the insula by a real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging-brain computer interface (rtfMRI-BCI) approach. In this exploratory study, 11 lean and 10 obese healthy, male participants were investigated in a rtfMRI-BCI protocol. During the training sessions, all obese participants were able to regulate the activity of the AIC voluntarily, while four lean participants were not able to regulate at all. In successful regulators, functional connectivity during regulation vs. relaxation between the AIC and all other regions of the brain was determined by a seed voxel approach. Lean in comparison to obese regulators showed stronger connectivity in cingular and temporal cortices during regulation. We conclude, that obese people possess an improved capacity to self-regulate the anterior insula, a brain system tightly related to bodily awareness and gustatory functions.
Most physiological studies interested in alcohol-dependence examined ethanol as a pharmacological agent rather than a nutrient. We conducted two studies, which assessed the metabolic and endocrine factors involved in the regulation of alcohol and nutrient intake in alcohol-dependent (AD) subjects. We also examined the potential role of a disruption in energy balance in alcohol-dependence.
Methods and Results
In Study-1, quantitative dietetic interviews of eating and drinking habits were conducted with 97 AD subjects. The population was split around a median alcohol intake value of 12.5 kcal/kg/day. The results showed that the “low alcohol” drinking AD subjects had high Body Mass Index (BMI) and Fat Mass (FM) and alcohol intake was compensated for by a decrease in non-alcoholic intakes. “High alcohol” drinking AD subjects, on the other hand, had low BMI and FM and the total caloric intakes were largely above norms. In Study-2, 24 AD inpatients were submitted to dietetic interviews, calorimetry and blood samplings for the measurement of biomarkers of the regulation of metabolism and satiety, on day 2, 5 and 16 of abstinence. These patients were compared with 20 controls matched for age and gender. We observed in AD patients an increase in cortisol, leptin and PYY plasma levels and a decrease in ghrelin, which might explain the observed decrease in non-alcoholic intakes. However, alcoholic and non-alcoholic intakes correlated positively with basal metabolism and negatively with leptin and leptin/BMI.
For individuals consuming below12.5 kcal/kg/day of alcohol, alcohol intake is compensated for by a decrease in non-alcoholic nutrient intakes, probably due to changes in metabolic and satiety factors. For individuals consuming above 12.5 kcal/kg/day of alcohol, alcohol accelerates metabolism and decreases fat mass and leptin levels, and the total caloric intake largely exceeds norms. A dual model for regulation of energy intake in AD subjects is proposed.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) acting in the hypothalamus is one of the most powerful orexigenic agents known. Of the five known Y receptors, hypothalamic Y1 and Y5 have been most strongly implicated in mediating hyperphagic effects. However, knockout of individual Y1 or Y5 receptors induces late-onset obesity – and Y5 receptor knockout also induces hyperphagia, possibly due to redundancy in functions of these genes. Here we show that food intake in mice requires the combined actions of both Y1 and Y5 receptors. Germline Y1Y5 ablation in Y1Y5−/− mice results in hypophagia, an effect that is at least partially mediated by the hypothalamus, since mice with adult-onset Y1Y5 receptor dual ablation targeted to the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus (Y1Y5Hyp/Hyp) also exhibit reduced spontaneous or fasting-induced food intake when fed a high fat diet. Interestingly, despite hypophagia, mice with germline or hypothalamus-specific Y1Y5 deficiency exhibited increased body weight and/or increased adiposity, possibly due to compensatory responses to gene deletion, such as the decreased energy expenditure observed in male Y1Y5−/− animals relative to wildtype values. While Y1 and Y5 receptors expressed in other hypothalamic areas besides the PVN – such as the dorsomedial nucleus and the ventromedial hypothalamus – cannot be excluded from having a role in the regulation of food intake, these studies demonstrate the pivotal, combined role of both Y1 and Y5 receptors in the mediation of food intake.