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1.  Effect of combination tablets containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with hypertension 
Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and mortality. Patients who receive insufficient doses of antihypertensive agents or who are poorly adherent to multidrug treatment regimens often fail to achieve adequate blood pressure (BP) control. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) and calcium channel blocker (CCB) combination tablet containing a regular dose of irbesartan (100 mg) and a high dose of amlodipine (10 mg) with regard to lowering BP and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
We retrospectively evaluated data from 68 patients with essential hypertension whose treatment regimen was changed either from combination treatment with an independent ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB or from a combination tablet of ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB to a combination tablet containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg, because of incomplete BP control. Previous treatments did not include irbesartan as the ARB.
The combination tablet decreased systolic and diastolic BP. In addition, it significantly decreased serum uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, independent of the BP-lowering effect. Treatment with the combination tablet did not affect serum triglycerides, plasma glucose, glycated hemoglobin, serum potassium or creatinine levels, or the urinary albumin excretion rate.
The combination tablet containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg had a greater BP-lowering effect than an ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB. In addition, the combination tablet had more favorable effects on serum uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in patients with hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4296916  PMID: 25624765
blood pressure; combination tablet; uric acid; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
2.  Serum concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid is associated with cognitive function in patients with coronary artery disease 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:112.
Recent studies have shown that intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and coronary artery disease (CAD); however, it is currently unknown whether reduced serum n-3 PUFA is associated with cognitive impairment in patients with CAD.
We retrospectively evaluated cognitive function with the mini-mental state examination (MMSE), serum levels of PUFAs (including eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], docosahexaenoic acid [DHA], dihomogammalinolenic acid [DGLA], and arachidonic acid [AA]), cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, and history of current/previous smoking), and parameters of cardiac function (left ventricular ejection fraction and brain natriuretic peptide levels) in 146 Japanese CAD patients. The associations between the MMSE scores and the other parameters were evaluated.
Pearson correlation analysis showed that EPA (R = 0.25, P <0.01), EPA/AA ratio (R = 0.22, P = 0.01), and left ventricular ejection fraction (R = 0.15, P = 0.04) were positively associated with MMSE score, and that age (R = −0.20, P <0.01) and brain natriuretic peptide levels (R = −0.28, P <0.01) were inversely associated with MMSE score. Multiple regression analysis showed that age (P <0.05) was negatively associated with MMSE score, while EPA (P <0.01) and EPA/AA ratio (P <0.05) were positively associated with MMSE score; however, sex; body mass index; left ventricular ejection fraction; levels of DHA, AA, and DGLA; DHA/AA ratio; brain natriuretic peptide; and presence of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, and history of current/previous smoking were statistically excluded.
Serum EPA concentration is associated with cognitive function in patients with CAD, suggesting that a low serum EPA level is a risk factor for cognitive impairment independent of cardiac function, including left ventricular ejection fraction. This correlation potentially lends further support to a role of dietary n-3 PUFAs in preventing the cognitive decline in CAD patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-112) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4391466  PMID: 25471307
Eicosapentaenoic acid; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; Cognitive function; Mini-mental state examinations; Coronary artery disease
3.  MicroRNA-378 Regulates Adiponectin Expression in Adipose Tissue: A New Plausible Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111537.
Mechanisms regulating adiponectin expression have not been fully clarified. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression, are involved in biological processes, including obesity and insulin resistance. We evaluated whether the miRNA-378 pathway is involved in regulating adiponectin expression.
Methods and Results
First, we determined a putative target site for miRNA-378 in the 3 prime untranslated region (3'UTR) of the adiponectin gene by in silico analysis. The levels of adiponectin mRNA and protein were decreased in 3T3-L1 cells overexpressing the mimic of miRNA-378. Luminescence activity in HEK293T cells expressing a renilla-luciferase-adiponectin-3'UTR sequence was inhibited by overexpressing the mimic of miRNA-378, and the decrease was reversed by adding the inhibitor of miRNA-378. Moreover, we confirmed the inhibitory effects of the mimic were cancelled in a deleted mutant of the miR-378 3′-UTR binding site. Addition of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) led a upregulation of miR-378 and downregulation of adiponectin at mRNA and protein levels in 3T3-L1 cells. Level of miR-378 was higher and mRNA level of adiponectin was lower in diabetic ob/ob mice than those of normal C57BL/6 mice and levels of miR378 and adiponectin were negatively well correlated (r = −0.624, p = 0.004).
We found that levels of miRNA-378 could modulate adiponectin expression via the 3'UTR sequence-binding site. Our findings warrant further investigations into the role of miRNAs in regulating the adiponectin expression.
PMCID: PMC4224402  PMID: 25379946
4.  Association of lower limb muscle mass and energy expenditure with visceral fat mass in healthy men 
A high-calorie diet and physical inactivity, an imbalance between caloric intake and energy consumption, are major causes of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which manifests as accumulation of visceral fat and insulin resistance. However, the lifestyle-related factors associated with visceral fat mass in healthy men are not fully understood.
We evaluated visceral fat area (VFA), skeletal muscle mass, caloric intake, and energy expenditure in 67 healthy male participants (mean age, 36.9 ± 8.8 years; body mass index 23.4 ± 2.5 kg/m2).
Multiple regression analysis showed that the total skeletal muscle mass (P < 0.001) were negatively and age (P < 0.001) were positively associated with VFA. Lower limb muscle mass (P < 0.001) was strongly associated with VFA. However, total caloric intake, total energy expenditure, and energy expenditure during exercise were not associated with VFA.
Skeletal muscle mass especially lower limb muscle mass negatively contributes to visceral fat mass in healthy men. Therefore, maintaining lower limb muscular fitness through daily activity may be a useful strategy for controlling visceral obesity and metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3945716  PMID: 24571923
Exercise; Skeletal muscle; Metabolic syndrome; Prevention
5.  Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, restores endothelial function by reducing vascular inflammation and by increasing the phosphorylation ratio Ser1177/Thr497 of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in diabetic mice 
Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker (ARB), has a higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors and shows stronger inverse agonism compared to other ARBs. Possible benefits of azilsartan in diabetic vascular dysfunction have not been established.
We measured vascular reactivity of aortic rings in male KKAy diabetic mice treated with vehicle, 0.005% azilsartan, or 0.005% candesartan cilexetil for 3 weeks. Expression of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress was measured using semiquantitative RT-PCR in the vascular wall, perivascular fat, and skeletal muscle. Phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) at Ser1177 and Thr495 was measured using Western blotting, and the ratio of phosphorylation at Ser1177 to phosphorylation at Thr495 was used as a putative indicator of vascular eNOS activity.
(1) Vascular endothelium–dependent relaxation with acetylcholine in KKAy mice was improved by azilsartan treatment compared to candesartan cilexetil; (2) the ratio of Ser1177/Thr495 phosphorylation of eNOS was impaired in KKAy and was effectively restored by azilsartan; (3) anomalies in the expression levels of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP1), F4/80, NAD(P)H oxidase (Nox) 2, and Nox4 of the aortic wall and in the expression of TNFα in the perivascular fat were strongly attenuated by azilsartan compared to candesartan cilexetil.
These results provide evidence that azilsartan prevents endothelial dysfunction in diabetic mice, more potently than does candesartan cilexetil. Azilsartan’s higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors may underlie its efficacy in diabetic vascular dysfunction via a dual effect on uncoupled eNOS and on Nox.
PMCID: PMC3916073  PMID: 24485356
6.  Brown Rice and Its Component, γ-Oryzanol, Attenuate the Preference for High-Fat Diet by Decreasing Hypothalamic Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Mice 
Diabetes  2012;61(12):3084-3093.
Brown rice is known to improve glucose intolerance and prevent the onset of diabetes. However, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. In the current study, we investigated the effect of brown rice and its major component, γ-oryzanol (Orz), on feeding behavior and fuel homeostasis in mice. When mice were allowed free access to a brown rice–containing chow diet (CD) and a high-fat diet (HFD), they significantly preferred CD to HFD. To reduce hypothalamic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress on an HFD, mice were administered with 4-phenylbutyric acid, a chemical chaperone, which caused them to prefer the CD. Notably, oral administration of Orz, a mixture of major bioactive components in brown rice, also improved glucose intolerance and attenuated hypothalamic ER stress in mice fed the HFD. In murine primary neuronal cells, Orz attenuated the tunicamycin-induced ER stress. In luciferase reporter assays in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, Orz suppressed the activation of ER stress–responsive cis-acting elements and unfolded protein response element, suggesting that Orz acts as a chemical chaperone in viable cells. Collectively, the current study is the first demonstration that brown rice and Orz improve glucose metabolism, reduce hypothalamic ER stress, and, consequently, attenuate the preference for dietary fat in mice fed an HFD.
PMCID: PMC3501875  PMID: 22826028
7.  The Radioprotective 105/MD-1 Complex Contributes to Diet-Induced Obesity and Adipose Tissue Inflammation 
Diabetes  2012;61(5):1199-1209.
Recent accumulating evidence suggests that innate immunity is associated with obesity-induced chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders. Here, we show that a Toll-like receptor (TLR) protein, radioprotective 105 (RP105)/myeloid differentiation protein (MD)-1 complex, contributes to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity, adipose tissue inflammation, and insulin resistance. An HFD dramatically increased RP105 mRNA and protein expression in stromal vascular fraction of epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) in wild-type (WT) mice. RP105 mRNA expression also was significantly increased in the visceral adipose tissue of obese human subjects relative to nonobese subjects. The RP105/MD-1 complex was expressed by most adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs). An HFD increased RP105/MD-1 expression on the M1 subset of ATMs that accumulate in eWAT. Macrophages also acquired this characteristic in coculture with 3T3-L1 adipocytes. RP105 knockout (KO) and MD-1 KO mice had less HFD-induced adipose tissue inflammation, hepatic steatosis, and insulin resistance compared with wild-type (WT) and TLR4 KO mice. Finally, the saturated fatty acids, palmitic and stearic acids, are endogenous ligands for TLR4, but they did not activate RP105/MD-1. Thus, the RP105/MD-1 complex is a major mediator of adipose tissue inflammation independent of TLR4 signaling and may represent a novel therapeutic target for obesity-associated metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3331758  PMID: 22396206
8.  Eicosapentaenoic Acid Supplementation Changes Fatty Acid Composition and Corrects Endothelial Dysfunction in Hyperlipidemic Patients 
We investigated the effects of purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on vascular endothelial function and free fatty acid composition in Japanese hyperlipidemic subjects. In subjects with hyperlipidemia (total cholesterol ≥220 mg/dL and/or triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL), lipid profile and forearm blood flow (FBF) during reactive hyperemia were determined before and 3 months after supplementation with 1800 mg/day EPA. Peak FBF during reactive hyperemia was lower in the hyperlipidemic group than the normolipidemic group. EPA supplementation did not change serum levels of total, HDL, or LDL cholesterol, apolipoproteins, remnant-like particle (RLP) cholesterol, RLP triglycerides, or malondialdehyde-modified LDL cholesterol. EPA supplementation did not change total free fatty acid levels in serum, but changed the fatty acid composition, with increased EPA and decreased linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid. EPA supplementation recovered peak FBF after 3 months. Peak FBF recovery was correlated positively with EPA and EPA/arachidonic acid levels and correlated inversely with dihomo-γ-linolenic acid. EPA supplementation restores endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in hyperlipidemic patients despite having no effect on serum cholesterol and triglyceride patterns. These results suggest that EPA supplementation may improve vascular function at least partly via changes in fatty acid composition.
PMCID: PMC3541561  PMID: 23326753
9.  Telmisartan ameliorates insulin sensitivity by activating the AMPK/SIRT1 pathway in skeletal muscle of obese db/db mice 
Telmisartan is a well-established angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker that improves insulin sensitivity in animal models of obesity and insulin resistance, as well as in humans. Telmisartan has been reported to function as a partial agonist of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ, which is also targeted by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent deacetylase (SIRT1). Here, we investigated the pathways through which telmisartan acts on skeletal muscle, in vitro as well as in vivo.
Nine-week-old male db/db mice were fed a 60% high-fat diet, with orally administrated either vehicle (carboxymethyl-cellulose, CMC), 5 mg/kg telmisartan, or 5 mg/kg telmisartan and 1 mg/kg GW9662, a selective irreversible antagonist of PPARγ, for 5 weeks. Effects of telmisartan on Sirt1 mRNA, AMPK phosphorylation, and NAD+/NADH ratio were determined in C2C12 cultured myocytes.
Results and discussion
Telmisartan treatment improved insulin sensitivity in obese db/db mice fed a high-fat diet and led to reduction in the size of hypertrophic pancreatic islets in these mice. Moreover, in vitro treatment with telmisartan led to increased expression of Sirt1 mRNA in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells; the increase in Sirt1 mRNA in telmisartan-treated C2C12 myoblasts occurred concomitantly with an increase in AMPK phosphorylation, an increase in NAD+/NADH ratio, and increases in the mRNA levels of PGC1α, FATP1, ACO, and GLUT4.
Our results indicate that telmisartan acts through a PPARγ-independent pathway, but at least partially exerts its effects by acting directly on skeletal muscle AMPK/SIRT1 pathways.
PMCID: PMC3527353  PMID: 23137106
Adiponectin; AMP-activated protein kinase; Obesity; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ; SIRT1
10.  Gender disparities in the association between epicardial adipose tissue volume and coronary atherosclerosis: A 3-dimensional cardiac computed tomography imaging study in Japanese subjects 
Growing evidence suggests that epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) may contribute to the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). In this study, we explored gender disparities in EAT volume (EATV) and its impact on coronary atherosclerosis.
The study population consisted of 90 consecutive subjects (age: 63 ± 12 years; men: 47, women: 43) who underwent 256-slice multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) coronary angiography. EATV was measured as the sum of cross-sectional epicardial fat area on CT images, from the lower surface of the left pulmonary artery origin to the apex. Subjects were segregated into the CAD group (coronary luminal narrowing > 50%) and non-CAD group.
EATV/body surface area (BSA) was higher among men in the CAD group than in the non-CAD group (62 ± 13 vs. 33 ± 10 cm3/m2, p < 0.0001), but did not differ significantly among women in the 2 groups (49 ± 18 vs. 42 ± 9 cm3/m2, not significant). Multivariate logistic analysis showed that EATV/BSA was the single predictor for >50% coronary luminal narrowing in men (p < 0.0001). Predictors excluded were age, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia.
Increased EATV is strongly associated with coronary atherosclerosis in men.
PMCID: PMC3489699  PMID: 22963346
Atherosclerosis; Gender difference; Epicardial adipose tissue; Obesity
11.  Impaired Glucose Tolerance, but Not Impaired Fasting Glucose, Underlies Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(3):686-690.
Glucose intolerance is recognized as a predictor of congestive heart failure (CHF). However, the association of postprandial hyperglycemia or fasting hyperglycemia with CHF has not been clarified. We determined the impact of the total spectrum of glucose abnormalities on left ventricular (LV) geometry and diastolic function.
Two hundred and eighty-seven Japanese subjects who visited the university hospital to be checked for glucose intolerance or known type 2 diabetes were consecutively recruited. Participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test if they had no history of diabetes, and LV geometry and LV systolic and diastolic function were analyzed by Doppler echocardiography.
The frequency of LV diastolic dysfunction in subjects with normal glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), newly detected diabetes, and known diabetes were 13, 22, 50, 51, and 61%, respectively (χ2 = 54.2, P < 0.0001). IGT was a predictor for LV diastolic dysfunction after adjusting for age, sex, systolic blood pressure, and heart rate (odds ratio 3.43 [95% CI 1.09–11.2]), but IFG was not (0.49 [0.06–3.08]). IGT was a predictor after adjusting for established CHF risk factors but was no longer significant after adjusting for BMI and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance.
In this hospital-based registry of subjects without CHF, the prevalence of LV diastolic dysfunction was higher in subjects with IGT but not in those with IFG. Results suggest that IGT, as well as newly detected and known diabetes, could be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, partly through LV diastolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3041208  PMID: 21300789
12.  Increased oxidative stress in obesity and its impact on metabolic syndrome 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;114(12):1752-1761.
Obesity is a principal causative factor in the development of metabolic syndrome. Here we report that increased oxidative stress in accumulated fat is an important pathogenic mechanism of obesity-associated metabolic syndrome. Fat accumulation correlated with systemic oxidative stress in humans and mice. Production of ROS increased selectively in adipose tissue of obese mice, accompanied by augmented expression of NADPH oxidase and decreased expression of antioxidative enzymes. In cultured adipocytes, elevated levels of fatty acids increased oxidative stress via NADPH oxidase activation, and oxidative stress caused dysregulated production of adipocytokines (fat-derived hormones), including adiponectin, plasminogen activator inhibitor–1, IL-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein–1. Finally, in obese mice, treatment with NADPH oxidase inhibitor reduced ROS production in adipose tissue, attenuated the dysregulation of adipocytokines, and improved diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hepatic steatosis. Collectively, our results suggest that increased oxidative stress in accumulated fat is an early instigator of metabolic syndrome and that the redox state in adipose tissue is a potentially useful therapeutic target for obesity-associated metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC535065  PMID: 15599400

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