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1.  PNPLA3 has retinyl-palmitate lipase activity in human hepatic stellate cells 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(15):4077-4085.
Retinoids are micronutrients that are stored as retinyl esters in the retina and hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). HSCs are key players in fibrogenesis in chronic liver diseases. The enzyme responsible for hydrolysis and release of retinyl esters from HSCs is unknown and the relationship between retinoid metabolism and liver disease remains unclear. We hypothesize that the patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) protein is involved in retinol metabolism in HSCs. We tested our hypothesis both in primary human HSCs and in a human cohort of subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (N = 146). Here we show that PNPLA3 is highly expressed in human HSCs. Its expression is regulated by retinol availability and insulin, and increased PNPLA3 expression results in reduced lipid droplet content. PNPLA3 promotes extracellular release of retinol from HSCs in response to insulin. We also show that purified wild-type PNPLA3 hydrolyzes retinyl palmitate into retinol and palmitic acid. Conversely, this enzymatic activity is markedly reduced with purified PNPLA3 148M, a common mutation robustly associated with liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma development. We also find the PNPLA3 I148M genotype to be an independent (P = 0.009 in a multivariate analysis) determinant of circulating retinol-binding protein 4, a reliable proxy for retinol levels in humans. This study identifies PNPLA3 as a lipase responsible for retinyl-palmitate hydrolysis in HSCs in humans. Importantly, this indicates a potential novel link between HSCs, retinoid metabolism and PNPLA3 in determining the susceptibility to chronic liver disease.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu121
PMCID: PMC4082369  PMID: 24670599
2.  Cardiovascular Events After Bariatric Surgery in Obese Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(12):2613-2617.
OBJECTIVE
Obese individuals with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The effect of bariatric surgery on cardiovascular events in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes remains to be determined. The Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study is a prospective, controlled intervention study that examines the effects of bariatric surgery on hard end points. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of bariatric surgery on cardiovascular events in the SOS study participants with type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
All SOS study participants with type 2 diabetes at baseline were included in the analyses (n = 345 in the surgery group and n = 262 in the control group). Mean follow-up was 13.3 years (interquartile range 10.2–16.4) for all cardiovascular events.
RESULTS
Bariatric surgery was associated with a reduced myocardial infarction incidence (38 events among the 345 subjects in the surgery group vs. 43 events among the 262 subjects in the control group; log-rank P = 0.017; adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.56 [95% CI 0.34–0.93]; P = 0.025). No effect of bariatric surgery was observed on stroke incidence (34 events among the 345 subjects in the surgery group vs. 24 events among the 262 subjects in the control group; log-rank P = 0.852; adjusted HR 0.73 [0.41–1.30]; P = 0.29). The effect of surgery in reducing myocardial infarction incidence was stronger in individuals with higher serum total cholesterol and triglycerides at baseline (interaction P value = 0.02 for both traits). BMI (interaction P value = 0.12) was not related to the surgery outcome.
CONCLUSIONS
Bariatric surgery reduces the incidence of myocardial infarction in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Preoperative BMI should be integrated with metabolic parameters to maximize the benefits of bariatric surgery.
doi:10.2337/dc12-0193
PMCID: PMC3507566  PMID: 22855732
3.  PNPLA 3 I148M genetic variant associates with insulin resistance and baseline viral load in HCV genotype 2 but not in genotype 3 infection 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:82.
Background
Hepatic steatosis in HCV patients has been postulated as a risk factor associated with a higher frequency of fibrosis and cirrhosis. A single genetic variant, PNPLA3 I148M, has been widely associated with increased hepatic steatosis. Previous studies of the PNPLA3 I148M sequence variant in HCV infected individuals have reported an association between this variant and prevalence of steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. To evaluate the impact of PNPLA3 I148M variant on metabolic traits and treatment response in HCV genotype 2 and 3 infected patients.
Methods
Three hundred and eighty-two treatment naïve HCV genotype 2 or 3 infected patients were included in a phase III, open label, randomized, multicenter, investigator-initiated trial (the NORDynamIC study), in which pretreatment liver biopsies were mandatory. PNPLA3I148M genotyping was performed in a total of 359 Caucasian patients.
Results
In HCV genotype 2 infected patients carrying the PNPLA3 148M allele, there was significantly increased insulin resistance (P = 0.023) and lower viral load (P = 0.005) at baseline as well as the first seven days of antiviral treatment. These results were not observed in HCV genotype 3 infected patients.
Conclusions
Our results suggest a possible association between the PNPLA3 148M allele and insulin resistance as well as baseline viral load in HCV genotype 2, but not in genotype 3.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-82
PMCID: PMC3495049  PMID: 22978414
Hepatitis C; PNPLA 3; Insulin resistance; Viral load
4.  Paradoxical Lower Serum Triglyceride Levels and Higher Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Susceptibility in Obese Individuals with the PNPLA3 148M Variant 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39362.
Background
Obesity is highly associated with elevated serum triglycerides, hepatic steatosis and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The I148M (rs738409) genetic variant of patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 gene (PNPLA3) is known to modulate hepatic triglyceride accumulation, leading to steatosis. No association between PNPLA3 I148M genotype and T2D in Europeans has been reported. Aim of this study is to examine the relationship between PNPLA3 I148M genotypes and serum triglycerides, insulin resistance and T2D susceptibility by testing a gene-environment interaction model with severe obesity.
Methods and Findings
PNPLA3 I148M was genotyped in a large obese cohort, the SOS study (n = 3,473) and in the Go-DARTS (n = 15,448), a T2D case-control study. Metabolic parameters were examined across the PNPLA3 I148M genotypes in participants of the SOS study at baseline and at 2- and 10-year follow up after bariatric surgery or conventional therapy. The associations with metabolic parameters were validated in the Go-DARTS study. Serum triglycerides were found to be lower in the PNPLA3 148M carriers from the SOS study at baseline and from the Go-DARTS T2D cohort. An increased risk for T2D conferred by the 148M allele was found in the SOS study (O.R. 1.09, 95% C.I. 1.01-1.39, P = 0.040) and in severely obese individuals in the Go-DARTS study (O.R. 1.37, 95% C.I. 1.13-1.66, P = 0.001). The 148M allele was no longer associated with insulin resistance or T2D after bariatric surgery in the SOS study and no association with the 148M allele was observed in the less obese (BMI<35) individuals in the Go-DARTS study (P for interaction  = 0.002). This provides evidence for the obesity interaction with I48M allele and T2D risk in a large-scale cross-sectional and a prospective interventional study.
Conclusions
Severely obese individuals carrying the PNPLA3 148M allele have lower serum triglyceride levels, are more insulin resistant and more susceptible to T2D. This study supports the hypothesis that obesity-driven hepatic lipid accumulation may contribute to T2D susceptibility.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039362
PMCID: PMC3377675  PMID: 22724004
5.  Lack of effect of apolipoprotein C3 polymorphisms on indices of liver steatosis, lipid profile and insulin resistance in obese Southern Europeans 
Background
Apolipoprotein C3 (APOC3) is a component of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, and APOC3 rs2854116 and rs2854117 polymorphisms have been associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypertriglyceridaemia, and insulin-resistance.
Objective
To determine if the APOC3 variants alter the susceptibility of obese subjects to develop liver damage, hypertrigliceridaemia, and insulin-resistance.
Methods
The study was carried out on 585 unrelated obese Italians (median body mass index BMI = 41 kg/m2) who were genotyped for the rs2854116 and rs2854117 variants. All participants underwent oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT), with measurement of glucose, insulin, lipid parameters. Indices of insulin-resistance (HOMA and ISI) were calculated. Alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) were used as markers of liver injury.
Results
The study subjects were divided into two groups: those homozygous for the wild-type alleles at both SNPs (-482C and -455T alleles) and those who were carriers of at least one variant allele or both (-482T, -455C or both). Also each SNP was analysed independently. No significant differences were found in ALT and AST levels and in the lipid profile between the two groups. Insulin concentrations, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were similar in the two groups.
Conclusion
We did not identify any significant association between APOC3 polymorphisms and fatty liver disease, lipids, and insulin-resistance in obese subjects, thus not confirming the suggested role of these APOC3 gene sequence variants.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-93
PMCID: PMC3135552  PMID: 21663607
hepatic transaminases; NAFLD; BMI; obesity; tryglicerides; HDL; atherogenic dyslipidemia
6.  The COBLL1 C allele is associated with lower serum insulin levels and lower insulin resistance in overweight and obese children 
Background Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic worldwide, and it is associated with metabolic complications, such as insulin resistance. Recently, a genetic variation (rs7607980) in the COBLL1 gene has been associated with lower insulin resistance in adults. The aim of the study was to investigate if the association between COBLL1 rs7607980 genetic variant and lower insulin resistance was present early in life.
Methods This sequence variant was genotyped in 878 overweight and obese children (mean age: 10 years) from Sardinia, Italy, from the outpatient clinic of the Pediatric Endocrine Unit, at the Regional Hospital for Microcitaemia in Cagliari. Insulin resistance was assessed by measurement of fasting circulating insulin levels before and after an oral glucose tolerance test and by HOMA-IR.
Results The COBLL1 rs7607980 C allele was associated with lower fasting insulin and HOMA-IR levels (p = 0.002 and p = 0.035, respectively) in overweight and obese children. Importantly, lower insulin levels were also observed 2 h after oral glucose tolerance test in C allele carriers (p = 0.009).
Conclusions The present study shows for the first time, the association between COBLL1 rs7607980 C allele, lower serum insulin levels and lower insulin resistance in overweight and obese children. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
doi:10.1002/dmrr.2408
PMCID: PMC3799017  PMID: 23463496
COBLL1; insulin resistance; children; genetics; obesity; rs7607980

Results 1-6 (6)