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1.  High Fat and High Sucrose (Western) Diet Induce Steatohepatitis that is Dependent on Fructokinase 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;58(5):1632-1643.
Fructose intake from added sugars has been implicated as a cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Here we tested the hypothesis that fructose may interact with high fat diet to induce fatty liver, and to determine if this was dependent on a key enzyme in fructose metabolism, fructokinase. Wild type or fructokinase knockout mice were fed a low fat (11%), high fat (36%) or high fat (36%) and high sucrose (30%) diet for 15 weeks. Both wild type and fructokinase knockout mice developed obesity with mild hepatic steatosis and no evidence for hepatic inflammation on a high fat diet compared to a low fat diet. In contrast, wild type mice fed a high fat and high sucrose diet developed more severe hepatic steatosis with low grade inflammation and fibrosis, as noted by increased CD68, TNF-alpha, MCP-1, alpha-smooth muscle actin, and collagen I and TIMP1 expression. These changes were prevented in the fructokinase knockout mice.
An additive effect of high fat and high sucrose diet on the development of hepatic steatosis exists. Further, the combination of sucrose with high fat diet may induce steatohepatitis. The protection in fructokinase knockout mice suggests a key role for fructose (from sucrose) in this development of steatohepatitis. These studies emphasize the important role of fructose in the development of fatty liver and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
PMCID: PMC3894259  PMID: 23813872
nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; hepatic steatosis; hepatic fibrosis; fructose and ketohexokinase
2.  Sugar, Uric Acid, and the Etiology of Diabetes and Obesity 
Diabetes  2013;62(10):3307-3315.
The intake of added sugars, such as from table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup has increased dramatically in the last hundred years and correlates closely with the rise in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Fructose is a major component of added sugars and is distinct from other sugars in its ability to cause intracellular ATP depletion, nucleotide turnover, and the generation of uric acid. In this article, we revisit the hypothesis that it is this unique aspect of fructose metabolism that accounts for why fructose intake increases the risk for metabolic syndrome. Recent studies show that fructose-induced uric acid generation causes mitochondrial oxidative stress that stimulates fat accumulation independent of excessive caloric intake. These studies challenge the long-standing dogma that “a calorie is just a calorie” and suggest that the metabolic effects of food may matter as much as its energy content. The discovery that fructose-mediated generation of uric acid may have a causal role in diabetes and obesity provides new insights into pathogenesis and therapies for this important disease.
PMCID: PMC3781481  PMID: 24065788
3.  Fructokinase, Fructans, Intestinal Permeability, and Metabolic Syndrome: An Equine Connection? 
Fructose is a simple sugar present in honey and fruit, but can also exist as a polymer (fructans) in pasture grasses. Mammals are unable to metabolize fructans, but certain gram positive bacteria contain fructanases and can convert fructans to fructose in the gut. Recent studies suggest that fructose generated from bacteria, or directly obtained from the diet, can induce both increased intestinal permeability and features of metabolic syndrome, especially the development of insulin resistance. The development of insulin resistance is driven in part by the metabolism of fructose by fructokinase C in the liver, which results in oxidative stress in the hepatocyte. Similarly, the metabolism of fructose in the small bowel by intestinal fructokinase may lead to increased intestinal permeability and endotoxemia. While speculative, these observations raise the possibility that the mechanism by which fructans induce laminitis could involve intestinal and hepatic fructokinase. Further studies are indicated to determine the role of fructanases, fructose and fructokinase in equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis.
PMCID: PMC3576823  PMID: 23439477
Fructose; Fructans; Fructokinase; Laminitis; Equine Metabolic Syndrome
4.  Redefining Metabolic Syndrome as a Fat Storage Condition Based on Studies of Comparative Physiology 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(4):659-664.
The metabolic syndrome refers to a constellation of signs including abdominal obesity, elevated serum triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. Today approximately one third of the adult population has the metabolic syndrome. While there is little doubt that the signs constituting the metabolic syndrome frequently cluster, much controversy exists over the definition, pathogenesis, or clinical utility. Here we present evidence from the field of comparative physiology that the metabolic syndrome is similar to the biological process that animals engage to store fat in preparation for periods of food shortage. We propose that the metabolic syndrome be changed to fat storage condition to more clearly align with its etiology. Obesity in humans is likely the consequences of both genetic predisposition (driven in part by thrifty genes) and environment. Recent studies suggest that the loss of the uricase gene may be one factor that predisposes humans to obesity today. Understanding the process animals engage to switch from a lean insulin-sensitive to an obese insulin-resistant state may provide novel insights into the cause of obesity and diabetes in humans, and unique opportunities for reversing their pathology.
PMCID: PMC3660463  PMID: 23401356
hibernation; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; obesity
5.  Uric acid suppresses 1 alpha hydroxylase in vitro and in vivo 
Metabolism: clinical and experimental  2013;63(1):10.1016/j.metabol.2013.09.018.
Patients with gout have lower calcitriol levels that improve when uric acid is lowered. The mechanism of these observations is unknown. We hypothesized that uric acid inhibits 1- αhydroxylase.
Materials and methods
In vivo, Sprague Dawley rats were randomized to control (n=5), allantoxanamide (n=8), febuxostat (n=5), or allantoxanamide+febuxostat (n=7). Vitamin D, PTH, and 1-αhydroxylase protein were evaluated. In order to directly evaluate the effect of uric acid on 1-αhydroxylase, we conducted a series of dose response and time course experiments in vitro. Nuclear factor κ-B (NFκB) was inhibited pharmacologically. Finally, to evaluate the potential implications of these findings in humans, the association between uric acid and PTH in humans was evaluated in a cross-sectional analysis of data from the NHANES (2003-2006); n= 9773.
1,25(OH)2D and 1-αhydroxylase protein were reduced in hyperuricemic rats and improved with febuxostat treatment. Uric acid suppressed 1-αhydroxylase protein and mRNA expression in proximal tubular cells. This was prevented by NFκB inhibition. In humans, for every 1 mg/dL increase in uric acid, the adjusted odds ratio for an elevated PTH (>65 pg/mL) was 1.21 (95% C.I. 1.14, 1.28; P< 0.0001), 1.15 (95% C.I. 1.08, 1.22; P<0.0001), and 1.16 (95% C.I. 1.03, 1.31; P=0.02) for all subjects, subjects with estimated GFR ≥60, and subjects with estimated GFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 respectively.
Hyperuricemia suppresses 1-αhydroxylase leading to lower 1,25(OH)2D and higher PTH in rats. Our results suggest this is mediated by NFκB. The association between uric acid and PTH in NHANES suggests potential implications for human disease.
PMCID: PMC3859721  PMID: 24269076
uric acid; parathyroid hormone; mineral and bone disorders
6.  Uric Acid Level and Erectile Dysfunction In Patients With Coronary Artery Disease 
The journal of sexual medicine  2013;11(1):165-172.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a frequent complaint of elderly subjects, and is closely associated with endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Uric acid is also associated with endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and cardiovascular disease, raising the hypothesis that an increased serum uric acid might predict erectile dysfunction in patients who are at risk for coronary artery disease.
To evaluate the association of serum uric acid levels with presence and severity of ED in patients presenting with chest pain of presumed cardiac origin.
This is a cross-sectional study of 312 adult male patients with suspected coronary artery disease who underwent exercise stress test (EST) for workup of chest pain and completed a sexual health inventory for men (SHIM) survey form to determine the presence and severity of ED. Routine serum biochemistry (and uric acid levels) were measured. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess risk factors for ED.
Main Outcome Measures
The short version of the international index of erectile function (IIEF-5) questionnaire diagnosed ED (cutoff score ≤21). Serum Uric acid levels were determined. Patients with chest pain of suspected cardiac origin underwent an exercise stress test.
149 of 312 (47.7%) male subjects had ED by survey criteria. Patients with ED were older and had more frequent CAD, hypertension, diabetes, and impaired renal function, and also had significantly higher levels of uric acid, fibrinogen, glucose, CRP, triglycerides compared with patients without ED. Uric acid levels were associated with ED by univariate analysis (OR = 1.36, p = 0.002); however, this association was not observed in multivariate analysis adjusted for eGFR.
Subjects presenting with chest pain of presumed cardiac origin are more likely to have ED if they have elevated uric acid levels.
PMCID: PMC3962193  PMID: 24433559
Uric Acid; Erectile Dysfunction; Coronary Artery Disease; Endothelial Dysfunction
7.  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it Time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption? 
Postgraduate medicine  2011;123(5):39-49.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects nearly 10% of children in the United States, and the prevalence of this disorder has increased steadily over the past decades. The cause of ADHD is unknown, although recent studies suggest that it may be associated with a disruption in dopamine signaling whereby dopamine D2 receptors are reduced in reward-related brain regions. This same pattern of reduced dopamine-mediated signaling is observed in various reward-deficiency syndromes associated with food or drug addiction, as well as in obesity. While genetic mechanisms are likely contributory to cases of ADHD, the marked frequency of the disorder suggests that other factors are involved in the etiology. In this article, we revisit the hypothesis that excessive sugar intake may have an underlying role in ADHD. We review preclinical and clinical data suggesting overlaps among ADHD, sugar and drug addiction, and obesity. Further, we present the hypothesis that the chronic effects of excessive sugar intake may lead to alterations in mesolimbic dopamine signaling, which could contribute to the symptoms associated with ADHD. We recommend further studies to investigate the possible relationship between chronic sugar intake and ADHD.
PMCID: PMC3598008  PMID: 21904085
ADHD; sucrose; fructose; high-fructose corn syrup; reward-deficiency syndrome; dopamine; D2 receptor; obesity
8.  Early Diabetic Nephropathy 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(11):3678-3683.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major cause of mortality in type 1 diabetes. Reduced insulin sensitivity is a well-documented component of type 1 diabetes. We hypothesized that baseline insulin sensitivity would predict development of DN over 6 years.
We assessed the relationship between insulin sensitivity at baseline and development of early phenotypes of DN—microalbuminuria (albumin-creatinine ratio [ACR] ≥30 mg/g) and rapid renal function decline (glomerular filtration rate [GFR] loss >3 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year)—with three Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equations over 6 years. Subjects with diabetes (n = 449) and without diabetes (n = 565) in the Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 Diabetes study had an estimated insulin sensitivity index (ISI) at baseline and 6-year follow-up.
The ISI was lower in subjects with diabetes than in those without diabetes (P < 0.0001). A higher ISI at baseline predicted a lower odds of developing an ACR ≥30 mg/g (odds ratio 0.65 [95% CI 0.49–0.85], P = 0.003) univariately and after adjusting for HbA1c (0.69 [0.51–0.93], P = 0.01). A higher ISI at baseline conferred protection from a rapid decline of GFR as assessed by CKD-EPI cystatin C (0.77 [0.64–0.92], P = 0.004) and remained significant after adjusting for HbA1c and age (0.80 [0.67–0.97], P = 0.02). We found no relation between ISI and rapid GFR decline estimated by CKD-EPI creatinine (P = 0.38) or CKD-EPI combined cystatin C and creatinine (P = 0.50).
Over 6 years, a higher ISI independently predicts a lower odds of developing microalbuminuria and rapid GFR decline as estimated with cystatin C, suggesting a relationship between insulin sensitivity and early phenotypes of DN.
PMCID: PMC3816872  PMID: 24026551
10.  Serum from Minimal Change patients in relapse increases CD80 expression in cultured podocytes 
Minimal Change Disease (MCD) is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children and is associated with the expression of CD80 in podocytes with increased excretion of CD80 in urine. We hypothesized that serum from patients with MCD might stimulate CD80 expression in cultured podocytes.
Sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected from subjects with MCD in relapse and remission, and normal controls. Immortalized human podocytes were incubated with culture media containing patient sera or supernatants from patient and control peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures. CD80 expression was measured by quantitative PCR and western blot analysis.
Sera from MCD in relapse, but not in remission, significantly increased CD80 expression (1.8±0.7 vs 0.8±0.2) (mean±SD) (p<0.004) and CD80 protein secretion by podocytes (p<0.05 between relapse and normal controls). No such CD80 increase was observed when podocytes were incubated with supernatants of PBMC cultures from patients in relapse.
MCD sera from patients in relapse, but not in remission, stimulates CD80 expression in cultured podocytes. Identifying this factor in sera could provide insights into the pathogenesis of this disorder. No role in CD80 expression by podocytes was found for cytokines released by PBMCs.
PMCID: PMC3723775  PMID: 23689904
CD80; Minimal change disease; nephrotic syndrome
11.  Impaired Renal Function Further Increases Odds of 6-Year Coronary Artery Calcification Progression in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(9):2607-2614.
To determine whether baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) independently predict coronary artery calcification (CAC) progression, and to determine how eGFR changes over 6 years in adults with type 1 diabetes compared with nondiabetic adults.
The Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 Diabetes study participants (n = 1,066) with complete data for eGFR assessment at baseline and 6 years were included. Three Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equations (serum creatinine, cystatin C, and both) were used to estimate eGFR. The association of baseline ACR and eGFR with CAC progression was analyzed using multiple logistic regression.
Increasing categorical baseline ACR (<10, 10–30, and >30 µg/mg) predicted CAC progression in participants with type 1 diabetes (odds ratio [OR], 2.15; 95% CI, 1.50–3.09; 7.19 [3.90–13.26]; and 18.09 [8.48–38.62]), respectively, compared with nondiabetic subjects. Baseline eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 also predicted CAC progression (OR, 5–7, compared with nondiabetic participants). ORs for CAC progression were higher in women than in men when using the cystatin C–based Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equations. Participants with type 1 diabetes had greater eGFR decreases over 6 years than nondiabetic participants using cystatin C–based equations.
Although increasing ACR or decreasing eGFR predicts CAC progression, coronary atherosclerosis progresses faster in people with type 1 diabetes even in the absence of diabetic kidney disease. These findings emphasize the interaction between kidney disease and cardiovascular disease in type 1 diabetes and highlight the public health importance of lowering cardiorenal risk in people with type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3747879  PMID: 23835686
12.  Endogenous fructose production and metabolism in the liver contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome 
Nature communications  2013;4:10.1038/ncomms3434.
Carbohydrates with high glycemic index are proposed to promote the development of obesity, insulin resistance and fatty liver, but the mechanism by which this occurs remains unknown. High serum glucose concentrations glucose are known to induce the polyol pathway and increase fructose generation in the liver. Here we show that this hepatic, endogenously-produced fructose causes systemic metabolic changes. We demonstrate that mice unable to metabolize fructose are protected from an increase in energy intake and body weight, visceral obesity, fatty liver, elevated insulin levels and hyperleptinemia after exposure to 10% glucose for 14 weeks. In normal mice, glucose consumption is accompanied by aldose reductase and polyol pathway activation in steatotic areas. In this regard, we show that aldose reductase deficient mice were protected against glucose-induced fatty liver. We conclude that endogenous fructose generation and metabolism in the liver represents an important mechanism whereby glucose promotes the development of metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3833672  PMID: 24022321
Experimental and observational studies suggest a role for uric acid in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We examined the association between serum uric acid levels and NAFLD in a large population-based study from the United States.
A cross-sectional analysis of 10,732 nondiabetic adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988–1994. Sex specific uric acid quartiles were defined: ≤5.2, 5.3–6.0, 6.1–6.9, and >6.9 mg/dL for men and ≤3.7, 3.8–4.5, 4.6–5.3, and >5.3 mg/dL for women. NAFLD presence and severity were defined by ultrasonographic detection of steatosis in the absence of other liver diseases. We modeled the probability that more severe NAFLD would be associated with the highest quartiles of uric acid.
Compared to the 1st quartile, the odds ratio for NAFLD was 1.79 (95% C.I. 1.49–2.15, p < 0.001) and 3.14 (95% C.I. 2.63–3.75, p < 0.001) for the 3rd and 4th quartiles, respectively. After adjusting for demographics, hypertension, waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and aspartate aminotransferase, uric acid (4th quartile) was significantly associated with NAFLD (odds ratio 1.43; 95% C.I. 1.16–1.76, p < 0.001). Positive parameter estimates suggest increasing uric acid is associated with greater severity of NAFLD.
Elevated uric acid level is independently associated with ultrasound-diagnosed NAFLD in a nationally representative sample of United States nondiabetic adults. Increasing uric acid is associated with increasing severity of NAFLD on ultrasonography. These findings warrant further studies on the role of uric acid in NAFLD.
PMCID: PMC3565047  PMID: 23036645
hyperuricemia; NHANES; metabolic syndrome
14.  ALDH16A1 is a novel non-catalytic enzyme that may be involved in the etiology of gout via protein–protein interactions with HPRT1 
Chemico-biological interactions  2013;202(0):22-31.
Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis, is strongly associated with elevated uric acid concentrations in the blood (hyperuricemia). A recent study in Icelanders identified a rare missense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ALDH16A1 gene, ALDH16A1*2, to be associated with gout and serum uric acid levels. ALDH16A1 is a novel and rather unique member of the ALDH superfamily in relation to its gene and protein structures. ALDH16 genes are present in fish, amphibians, protista, bacteria but absent from archaea, fungi and plants. In most mammalian species, two ALDH16A1 spliced variants (ALDH16A1, long form and ALDH16A1_v2, short form) have been identified and both are expressed in HepG-2, HK-2 and HK-293 human cell lines. The ALDH16 proteins contain two ALDH domains (as opposed to one in the other members of the superfamily), four transmembrane and one coiled-coil domains. The active site of ALDH16 proteins from bacterial, frog and lower animals contain the catalytically important cysteine residue (Cys-302); this residue is absent from the mammalian and fish orthologs. Molecular modeling predicts that both the short and long forms of human ALDH16A1 protein would lack catalytic activity but may interact with the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT1) protein, a key enzyme involved in uric acid metabolism and gout. Interestingly, such protein-protein interactions with HPRT1 are predicted to be impaired for the long or short forms of ALDH16A1*2. These results lead to the intriguing possibility that association between ALDH16A1 and HPRT1 may be required for optimal HPRT activity with disruption of this interaction possibly contributing to the hyperuricemia seen in ALDH16A1*2 carriers.
PMCID: PMC3746320  PMID: 23348497
Aldehyde dehydrogenases; ALDH16A1; Gout; Hyperuricemia; HPRT1; Protein; protein interactions
15.  Combination of Captopril and Allopurinol Retards Fructose-Induced Metabolic Syndrome 
American Journal of Nephrology  2009;30(5):399-404.
Both ACE inhibitors and allopurinol have been shown to partially prevent metabolic syndrome induced by fructose. We tested the hypothesis that combined therapy might be more effective at blocking the metabolic syndrome induced with fructose.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a high fructose diet with or without allopurinol, captopril, or the combination for 20 weeks. A control group received a normal diet. All groups were pair-fed to assure equivalent caloric intake.
Despite reduced energy intake, the fructose-fed rats developed features of metabolic syndrome including elevated blood pressure, abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperuricemia and hyperinsulinemia. While both allopurinol and captopril alone tended to reduce features of the metabolic syndrome, the combined therapy was synergistic, with significant reduction in blood pressure, less accumulation of abdominal fat, an improvement in the dyslipidemia and a complete prevention of insulin resistance.
A high fructose diet can induce metabolic syndrome even in the setting of caloric restriction. Captopril and allopurinol synergistically reduce features of the metabolic syndrome, especially hypertension, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. Combination allopurinol and ACE inhibitor therapy might provide a superior means to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2783362  PMID: 19696478
Uric acid; High fructose diet; Insulin resistance; Hypertension
Uric acid, despite being a major antioxidant in the human plasma, both correlates and predicts development of obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, conditions associated with oxidative stress. While one explanation for this paradox could be that a rise in uric acid represents an attempted protective response by the host, we review the evidence that uric acid may function either as an antioxidant (primarily in plasma) or pro-oxidant (primarily within the cell). We suggest that it is the pro-oxidative effects of uric acid that occur in cardiovascular disease and may have a contributory role in the pathogenesis of these conditions.
PMCID: PMC2895915  PMID: 18600514
Uric acid; redox homeostasis; metabolic syndrome; cardiovascular disease
17.  Uncoupling of VEGF with Endothelial NO as a Potential Mechanism for Abnormal Angiogenesis in the Diabetic Nephropathy 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:184539.
Abnormal angiogenesis is a well characterized complication in diabetic retinopathy and is now recognized as a feature of diabetic nephropathy. The primary growth factor driving the increased angiogenesis in diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). While VEGF is considered an important growth factor for maintaining glomerular capillary integrity and function, increased action of VEGF in diabetic renal disease may carry adverse consequences. Studies by our group suggest that the effects of VEGF are amplified in the setting of endothelial dysfunction and low nitric oxide (NO) levels, which are a common feature in the diabetic state. The lack of NO may amplify the effects of VEGF to induce inflammation (via effects on the macrophage) and may lead to dysregulation of the vasculature, exacerbating features of diabetic renal disease. In this review, we summarize how an “uncoupling” of the VEGF-NO axis may contribute to the pathology of the diabetic kidney.
PMCID: PMC3872226  PMID: 24386643
18.  Uric acid-induced endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations and decreased intracellular ATP concentrations 
Nephron. Experimental nephrology  2012;121(0):e71-e78.
Endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations. We hypothesized that uric acid, which can induce endothelial dysfunction in vitro and in vivo, might also alter mitochondrial function.
Human aortic endothelial cells were exposed to soluble uric acid and measurements of oxidative stress, nitric oxide, mitochondrial density, ATP production, aconitase-2 and enoyl co-A hydratase-1 expression, and aconitase-2 activity in isolated mitochondria were determined. The effect of hyperuricemia upon renal mitochondrial integrity was also assessed in rats treated with oxonic acid that inhibits the enzyme uricase that degrades uric acid.
Uric acid induced endothelial dysfunction was associated with reduced mitochondrial mass and ATP production. Uric acid also decreased aconitase-2 activity and lowered enoyl CoA hydratase-1 expression. Hyperuricemic rats showed increased mitDNA damage in association with higher levels of intrarenal uric acid and oxidative stress.
Uric acid induced endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations and decreased intracellular ATP. These studies provide additional evidence for a deleterious effect of UA on vascular function that could be important in the pathogenesis and progression of hypertension, vascular disease and renal disease.
PMCID: PMC3656428  PMID: 23235493
nitric oxide; mitochondria; endothelial dysfunction; uric acid
19.  The role of T cells in the pathogenesis of primary hypertension 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2012;27(Suppl 4):iv2-iv5.
Accumulating evidence indicates that T cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Here we review the investigations that have shown that T cells are infiltrating the kidney in hypertension. Interstitial accumulation of immune cells is associated with increments in oxidative stress and renal angiotensin II activity that result in the impairment in pressure natriuresis. The severity of salt-sensitive hypertension is directly correlated with the intensity of immune cell infiltration in the kidney. Reducing the renal infiltration of T cells prevents or ameliorates hypertension and the induction of tubulointerstitial inflammation results in salt-sensitive hypertension. The potential participation of autoimmune mechanisms in the renal infiltration of immune competent cells is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3526981  PMID: 23036901
renal angiotensin II activity; salt-sensitive hypertension; T cells; tubulointerstial nephritis
20.  Pathogenesis of essential hypertension: historical paradigms and modern insights 
Journal of hypertension  2008;26(3):381-391.
Since its first identification in the late 1800s, a variety of etiologies for essential hypertension have been proposed. In this paper we review the primary proposed hypotheses in the context of both the time in which they were proposed as well as the subsequent studies performed over the years. From these various insights, we propose a current paradigm to explain the renal mechanisms underlying the hypertension epidemic today. Specifically, we propose that hypertension is initiated by agents that cause systemic and intrarenal vasoconstriction. Over time intrarenal injury develops with microvascular disease, interstitial T cell and macrophage recruitment with the induction of an autoimmune response, with local angiotensin II formation and oxidant generation. These changes maintain intrarenal vasoconstriction and hypoxia with a change in local vasoconstrictor-vasodilator balance favoring sodium retention. Both genetic and congenital (nephron number) mechanisms have profound influence on this pathway. As blood pressure rises, renal ischemia is ameliorated and sodium balance restored completely (in salt-resistant) or partially (in salt-sensitive) hypertension, but at the expense of a rightward shift in the pressure natriuresis curve and persistent hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2742362  PMID: 18300843
Fructose; hypertension; inflammation; microvascular disease; oxidative stress; salt; uric acid
21.  Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72934.
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3767665  PMID: 24039826
22.  The Planetary Biology of Ascorbate and Uric acid and their Relationship with the Epidemic of Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease 
Medical hypotheses  2008;71(1):22-31.
Humans have relatively low plasma ascorbate levels and high serum uric acid levels compared to most mammals due to the presence of genetic mutations in L-gulonolactone oxidase and uricase, respectively. We review the major hypotheses for why these mutations may have occurred. In particular, we suggest that both mutations may have provided a survival advantage to early primates by helping maintain blood pressure during periods of dietary change and environmental stress. We further propose that these mutations have the inadvertent disadvantage of increasing our risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease in today’s society characterized by Western diet and increasing physical inactivity. Finally, we suggest that a “planetary biology” approach in which genetic changes are analyzed in relation to their biologic action and historical context may provide the ideal approach towards understanding the biology of the past, present and future.
PMCID: PMC2495042  PMID: 18331782
23.  Higher Dietary Fructose Is Associated with Impaired Hepatic ATP Homeostasis in Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(3):952-960.
Fructose consumption predicts increased hepatic fibrosis in those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Due to its ability to lower hepatic adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, habitual fructose consumption could result in more hepatic ATP depletion and impaired ATP recovery. The degree of ATP depletion following an intravenous fructose challenge test in low versus high fructose consumers was assessed. We evaluated diabetic adults enrolled in the Look AHEAD Fatty Liver Ancillary Study (n=244) for whom dietary fructose consumption estimated by a 130-item Food Frequency questionnaire, hepatic ATP measured by phosphorus MRS (31P MRS) and uric acid (UA) levels were performed (n=105). In a subset of participants (n=25), an intravenous fructose challenge was utilized to assess change in hepatic ATP content. The relationships between dietary fructose, UA and hepatic ATP depletion at baseline and following intravenous fructose challenge was evaluated in low (<15 g/d) vs. high (≥15 g/d) fructose consumers. High dietary fructose consumers had slightly lower baseline hepatic ATP levels and a greater absolute change in hepatic α-ATP/Pi ratio (0.08 vs. 0.03, p=0.05) and γ-ATP /Pi ratio following an intravenous fructose challenge (0.03 vs. 0.06, p=0.06). Patients with high UA (≥5.5 mg/dl) showed a lower minimum liver ATP/Pi ratio post-fructose challenge (4.5 vs. 7.0, p = 0.04).
High fructose consumption depletes hepatic ATP and impairs recovery from ATP depletion following an intravenous fructose challenge. Subjects with high UA show a greater nadir in hepatic ATP in response to fructose. Both high dietary fructose intake and elevated UA level may predict more severe hepatic ATP depletion in response to fructose and hence may be risk factors for the development and progression of NAFLD.
PMCID: PMC3406258  PMID: 22467259
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Diabetes mellitus; Obesity; Fructose metabolism; Uric acid; Fructose consumption
24.  Urate Transporter Gene SLC22A12 Polymorphisms Associated with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Caucasians with Hypertension 
Kidney & blood pressure research  2012;35(6):477-482.
Hyperuricemia is associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. URAT1 is a urate transporter, and we tested the association of URAT1 transporter gene (SLC22A12) polymorphisms with obesity and the metabolic syndrome in hypertensive subjects.
Patients with essential hypertension (n = 414) from a randomized controlled study were genotyped for SLC22A12 SNPs rs11602903, rs505802 and rs11231825.
In Caucasians, SLC22A12 SNPs were associated with the body mass index (BMI). rs11602903 was associated with BMI (p < 0.0001), waist circumference (p = 0.003), HDL cholesterol (p = 0.018) and the metabolic syndrome (p = 0.033), and accounted for 7% of the variation of BMI in Caucasians. In African Americans, SLC22A12 SNP rs11602903 was not associated with BMI, waist circumference, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
The URAT1 gene SLC22A12 polymorphism may play a role in obesity and the metabolic syndrome in Caucasian hypertensive subjects.
PMCID: PMC3480975  PMID: 22688828
Hypertension; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; SLC22A12 polymorphisms; URAT1; Uric acid
25.  Endothelial dysfunction as a potential contributor in diabetic nephropathy 
Nature reviews. Nephrology  2010;7(1):36-44.
The mechanisms that drive the development of diabetic nephropathy remain undetermined. Only 30–40% of patients with diabetes mellitus develop overt nephropathy, which suggests that other contributing factors besides the diabetic state are required for the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with human diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy, and advanced diabetic glomerulopathy often exhibits thrombotic microangiopathy, including glomerular capillary microaneurysms and mesangiolysis, which are typical manifestations of endothelial dysfunction in the glomerulus. Likewise, diabetic mice with severe endothelial dysfunction owing to deficiency of endothelial nitric oxide synthase develop progressive nephropathy and retinopathy similar to the advanced lesions observed in humans with diabetes mellitus. Additionally, inhibitors of the renin–angiotensin system fail to be renoprotective in some individuals with diabetic nephropathy (due in part to aldosterone breakthrough) and in some mouse models of the disease. In this Review, we discuss the clinical and experimental evidence that supports a role for endothelial nitric oxide deficiency and subsequent endothelial dysfunction in the progression of diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. If endothelial dysfunction is the key factor required for diabetic nephropathy, then agents that improve endothelial function or raise intraglomerular nitric oxide level could be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC3653134  PMID: 21045790

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