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1.  Emerging roles of zinc finger proteins in regulating adipogenesis 
Proteins containing the zinc finger domain(s) are named zinc finger proteins (ZFPs), which are one of the largest classes of transcription factors in eukaryotic genomes. A large number of ZFPs have been studied and many of them were found to be involved regulating normal growth and development of cells and tissues through diverse signal transduction pathways. Recent studies revealed that a small but increasing number of ZFPs could function as key transcriptional regulators involved in adipogenesis. As the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disorders, the investigation of molecular regulatory mechanisms of adipocyte development must be more completely understood to develop novel and long term impact strategies for ameliorating obesity. In this review, we discuss recent work which has documented that ZFPs are important functional contributors to the regulation of adipogenesis. Taken altogether these data lead to the conclusion that ZFPs may become promising targets to combat human obesity.
PMCID: PMC4100687  PMID: 23760207
Zinc finger; adipose tissue; adipocyte; obesity; Zfp423; adiposity; adipogenesis
2.  Maternal obesity down-regulates microRNA (miRNA) let-7g expression, a possible mechanism for enhanced adipogenesis during ovine fetal skeletal muscle development 
Obesity in women of childbearing age is increasing at an alarming rate. Growing evidence shows that maternal obesity induces detrimental effects on offspring health including pre-disposition to obesity. We have shown that maternal obesity increases fetal intramuscular adipogenesis at mid-gestation. However, the mechanisms are poorly understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate mRNA stability. We hypothesized that maternal obesity alters fetal muscle miRNA expression, thereby influencing intramuscular adipogenesis.
Non-pregnant ewes received a control diet (Con, fed 100% of NRC recommendations, n = 6) or obesogenic diet (OB; 150% NRC recommendations, n = 6) from 60 days before to 75 days after conception when the fetal longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle was sampled and miRNA expression analyzed by miRNA microarray. One of miRNAs with differential expression between Con and OB fetal muscle, let-7g, was further tested for its role in adipogenesis and cell proliferation in C3H10T1/2 cells.
A total of 155 miRNAs were found with a signal above 500, among which, 3 miRNAs, hsa-miR-381, hsa-let-7g and bta-miR-376d, were differentially expressed between Con and OB fetuses, and confirmed by QRT-PCR analyses. Reduced expression of miRNA let-7g, an abundantly expressed miRNA, in OB fetal muscle was correlated with higher expression of its target genes. Over-expression of let-7g in C3H10T1/2 cells reduced their proliferation rate. Expression of adipogenic markers decreased in cells over-expressing let-7g, and the formation of adipocytes was also reduced. Over-expression of let-7g decreased expression of inflammatory cytokines.
Fetal muscle miRNA expression was altered due to maternal obesity, and let-7g down-regulation may enhance intramuscular adipogenesis during fetal muscle development in the setting of maternal obesity.
PMCID: PMC4100693  PMID: 22614057
Maternal obesity; fetus; skeletal muscle; microRNA; adipogenesis; let-7g; muscle; adipocyte
3.  Fetal muscle development, mesenchymal multipotent cell differentiation and associated signaling pathways 
Journal of animal science  2010;89(2):583-590.
Meat animals are raised for their carcasses, and carcasses are composed from muscle, fat and bone. Enhancing muscle growth and reducing fat accumulation improve the efficiency of animal production. Fetal stage is crucial for skeletal muscle development. Due to extensive efforts to increase lean growth, marbling (intramuscular fat) is reducing in beef, pork and chicken breast, which impairs the eating quality of meat. Because fat is the major contributor to meat flavor, the presence of intramuscular fat is indispensible for the high eating quality of meat. However, up to now, our understanding of adipogenesis (formation of fat cells) in skeletal muscle is limited. Adipocyte differentiation in skeletal muscle initiates from mesenchymal multipotent cells, which are abundant in skeletal muscle at early developmental stages. In this review, the known cellular mechanisms regulating adipogenesis from multipotent cells are summarized, which include hedgehog, Wingless and Int (Wnt)/α-catenin, and bone morphogenesis protein (BMP) mediated signaling pathways, as well as AMP-activated protein kinase. Promoting adipogenesis inside skeletal muscle will dramatically increase intramuscular fat, improving the quality of meat.
PMCID: PMC4100697  PMID: 20852073
adipogenesis; meat; skeletal muscle; mesenchymal stem cells; signaling; marbling
4.  Trenbolone enhances myogenic differentiation via enhancing β-catenin signaling in muscle-derived stem cells of cattle 
Domestic animal endocrinology  2011;40(4):222-229.
Testosterone is a key hormone regulating animal growth and development, which promotes skeletal muscle growth and inhibits fat deposition; however the underlying mechanisms remain poorly defined. Because canonical Wingless and Int (Wnt)/β-catenin signaling promotes myogenesis, we hypothesized that testosterone regulates myogenesis through enhancing the β-catenin signaling pathway and the expression of its targeted genes. Muscle-derived stem cells were prepared from the skeletal muscle of fetal calf at day 180 of gestation, and treated with or without trenbolone (10 nM), a synthetic analog of testosterone, in a myogenic medium. Trenbolone treatment increased the protein levels of MyoD and myosin heavy chain, as well as the androgen receptor content. The myogenic effect of trenbolone was blocked by cyproterone acetate, a specific inhibitor of androgen receptor, showing that the myogenic effect of trenbolone was mediated by the androgen receptor. Immunoprecipitation (IP) showed that androgen receptor and β-catenin formed a complex, which was increased by trenbolone treatment. Trenbolone activated AMP-activated protein kinase, which might phosphorylate β-catenin at Ser 552, stabilizing β-catenin. Indeed, both cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin levels were increased following trenbolone treatment. As a result, β-catenin mediated transcriptional activity was enhanced by trenbolone treatment. In conclusion, these data provide evidences that testosterone increases cellular β-catenin content which promotes the expression of β-catenin targeted genes and myogenesis in the muscle-derived stem cells of cattle.
PMCID: PMC4100702  PMID: 21402455
AMPK; β-catenin; cattle; myogenesis; testosterone; trenbolone
5.  Post-Receptor Crosstalk between Growth Hormone and Insulin Signal in Rats Born Small for Gestational Age with Catch-Up Growth 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100459.
Insulin resistance has been observed in individuals born small for gestational age (SGA) with catch-up growth (CUG), yet the mechanisms involved remain unclear. This study examined the role of GH and insulin signaling crosstalk in insulin resistance of SGA rats with CUG.
Design and Methods
SGA rats were developed by dietary restriction in pregnant rats. GH receptor inhibition was performed on four-week old CUG-SGA and AGA rats. Phosphorylation of IRS-1, AKT, and ERK, and expression of SOCS3 in the skeletal muscle were determined via immunoblot analysis at baseline and after insulin stimulation in CUG-SGA, NCUG-SGA and AGA groups.
Compared to AGA controls, phosphorylation of IRS-1 and AKT in response to insulin stimulation in CUG-SGA rats was significantly blunted (P<0.05), and phosphorylation of ERK at baseline was dramatically activated (P<0.05). SOCS3 expression was significantly increased in CUG-SGA compared to AGA (P = 0.001) and NCUG-SGA (P = 0.006) rats, and was significantly suppressed following GHR inhibition (P<0.05). Furthermore, phosphorylation of IRS-1 and AKT in response to insulin stimulation increased after GHR inhibition (P<0.05).
Insulin resistance in CUG-SGA rats is associated with impairment of IRS-1-PI3K-AKT signaling, which may result from GH signaling-induced up-regulation of SOCS3.
PMCID: PMC4070916  PMID: 24963636
6.  Effect of Selenium-Enriched Garlic Oil against Cytotoxicity Induced by OX-LDL in Endothelial Cells 
Objective. To detect the effect of selenium-enriched garlic oil (Se-garlic oil) against cytotoxicity induced by ox-LDL in endothelial cells. Methods. Se-garlic oil was extracted by organic solvent extraction. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used to detect the content of allicin in the Se-garlic oil. Hydride generation atomic fluorescence spectrometry (HG-AFS) was used to detect the content of Se in the Se-garlic oil. ECV-304 cells were separated into five groups (blank, ox-LDL, and low-, medium-, and high-dose Se-garlic oil). Methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) assay was used to detect the cytoactivity of each cell group after culturing for 24, 48, and 72 hours. Flow cytometry (FCM) stained with annexin V-FITC/PI was used to detect the apoptosis of the cells from the blank, Se-garlic oil, ox-LDL, and Se-garlic oil + ox-ldl groups after 48 hours of incubation. Results. The amount of allicin in Se-garlic oil was 142.66 mg/ml, while, in Se, it was 198 mg/kg. When ox-LDL was added to low-, medium-, and high-dose Se-garlic oil, the cell viability rates of ECV-304 cells treated in the three groups were all higher, while the apoptosis rates were significantly lower than those of the ox-LDL group (P < 0.05). However, there was no significant difference between the apoptosis rates of the blank, Se-garlic oil, and Se-garlic oil + ox-LDL groups (P > 0.05). Conclusion. Se-garlic oil could inhibit the cytotoxic effect induced by ox-LDL in endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC4060495  PMID: 24987429
7.  Grape seed extract prevents skeletal muscle wasting in interleukin 10 knockout mice 
Muscle wasting is frequently a result of cancers, AIDS, chronic diseases and aging, which often links to muscle inflammation. Although grape seed extract (GSE) has been widely used as a human dietary supplement for health promotion and disease prevention primarily due to its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammative effects, it is unknown whether GSE affects muscle wasting. The objective is to test the effects of GSE supplementation on inflammation and muscle wasting in interleukin (IL)-10 knockout mice, a recently developed model for human frailty.
Male IL-10 knockout (IL10KO) C57BL/6 mice at 6 weeks of age were assigned to either 0% or 0.1% GSE (in drinking water) groups (n = 10) for 12 weeks, when skeletal muscle was sampled for analyses. Wild-type C57BL/6 male mice were used as controls.
Tibialis anterior muscle weight and fiber size of IL10KO mice were much lower than wild-type mice. IL10KO enhanced nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling and inflammasome formation when compared to wild-type mice. Phosphorylation of anabolic signaling was inhibited, whereas muscle specific ubiquitin ligase, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and apoptotic signaling were up-regulated in IL10KO mice. GSE supplementation effectively rectified these adverse changes in IL10KO muscle, which provide an explanation for the enhanced muscle mass, reduced protein degradation and apoptosis in GSE supplemented mice compared to IL10KO mice without supplementation.
GSE supplementation effectively prevents muscle wasting in IL10KO mice, showing that GSE can be used as an auxiliary treatment for muscle loss associated with chronic inflammation and frailty.
PMCID: PMC4041050  PMID: 24884473
Apoptosis; Atrophy; Grape seed extract; IL-10; Inflammasome; Inflammation; Skeletal muscle; Wasting
8.  AMP-Activated Protein Kinase α1 but Not α2 Catalytic Subunit Potentiates Myogenin Expression and Myogenesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(22):4517-4525.
The link between AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and myogenesis remains poorly defined. AMPK has two catalytic α subunits, α1 and α2. We postulated that AMPK promotes myogenesis in an isoform-specific manner. Primary myoblasts were prepared from AMPK knockout (KO) mice and AMPK conditional KO mice, and knockout of the α1 but not the α2 subunit resulted in downregulation of myogenin and reduced myogenesis. Myogenin expression and myogenesis were nearly abolished in the absence of both AMPKα1 and AMPKα2, while enhanced AMPK activity promoted myogenesis and myotube formation. The AMPKα1-specific effect on myogenesis was likely due to the dominant expression of α1 in myoblasts. These results were confirmed in C2C12 cells. To further evaluate the necessity of the AMPKα1 subunit for myogenesis in vivo, we prepared both DsRed AMPKα1 knockout myoblasts and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) wild-type myoblasts, which were cotransplanted into tibialis anterior muscle. A number of green fluorescent muscle fibers were observed, showing the fusion of engrafted wild-type myoblasts with muscle fibers; on the other hand, very few or no red muscle fibers were observed, indicating the absence of myogenic capacity of AMPKα1 knockout myoblasts. In summary, these results indicate that AMPK activity promotes myogenesis through a mechanism mediated by AMPKα1.
PMCID: PMC3838187  PMID: 24043309
9.  Effects of Dietary Cholesterol and Its Oxidation Products on Pathological Lesions and Cholesterol and Lipid Oxidation in the Rabbit Liver 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:598612.
This study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary cholesterol (CHO) and cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) on the induction of pathological lesions in rabbit liver tissues. Liver lesions were induced only when the levels of CHO and COPs in the diet were very high. The amount of CHO measured in the liver increased when dietary CHO was increased; by comparison, dietary COPs affected liver CHO amounts to a lesser extent. The TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) value measured for the liver samples also increased when dietary CHO and COP levels were elevated, and the TBARS value was more strongly affected by the amount of COPs in the diet than by the amount of CHO. At 6 and 12 weeks, COP levels were the highest in the group that received 1.2 g CHO + 0.8 g COPs, followed by the 0.5 g CHO + 0.5 g COPs and 1.6 g CHO + 0.4 g COPs groups; the control (0 g) group showed the lowest COP levels among all groups. In this study, we found that not only dietary CHO but also COPs were involved in hypercholesterolemia induced liver lesions when the amount of CHO and COPs was high.
PMCID: PMC3950612  PMID: 24696857
10.  Associations between Serum Apelin-12 Levels and Obesity-Related Markers in Chinese Children 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86577.
To investigate possible correlations between apelin-12 levels and obesity in children in China and associations between apelin-12 and obesity-related markers, including lipids, insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR).
Forty-eight obese and forty non-obese age- and gender-matched Chinese children were enrolled between June 2008 and June 2009. Mean age was 10.42±2.03 and 10.86±2.23 years in obesity and control groups, respectively. Main outcome measures were apelin-12, BMI, lipids, glucose and insulin. HOMA-IR was calculated for all subjects.
All obesity group subjects had significantly higher total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), insulin levels and HOMA-IR (all P<0.05). In separate analyses, obese girls had significantly higher LDL-C, insulin and HOMA-IR than controls, and obese boys had significantly higher TC, TG, insulin and HOMA-IR than controls (all P<0.05). Apelin-12 levels were significantly higher in obese girls compared to controls (P = 0.024), and correlated positively with TG in all obese subjects. Among obese girls, apelin-12 levels correlated positively with TG, insulin and HOMA-IR after adjusting for age and BMI. In all boys (obese and controls) apelin-12 was positively associated with fasting plasma glucose (FPG). No significant correlations were found in either group between apelin-12 levels and other characteristics after adjusting for age, sex, and BMI.
Apelin-12 levels are significantly higher in obese vs. non-obese girls in China and correlate significantly with obesity-related markers insulin, HOMA-IR, and TG. Increased apelin-12 levels may be involved in the pathological mechanism of childhood obesity.
PMCID: PMC3903556  PMID: 24475149
11.  Microvascular invasion (MVI) is a poorer prognostic predictor for small hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:38.
Small hepatocellular carcinoma (SHCC) is a special type of hepatocellular carcinoma with the maximum tumor diameter ≤ 3 cm and excellent long-term outcomes. However, the prognostic factors for SHCC remain controversial. The purpose of this study is to clarify the predictive factors of SHCC.
The study population consisted of 458 patients underwent hepatectomy for single SHCC between January 2006 and December 2008. Clinical data (included age, gender, virus infection, serum alfa-fetoprotein level, cirrhosis, capsule, border), histopathologic features (included differentiation, morphology subtype, microvascular invasion, tumor infiltrative lymphocytes (TIL), inflammatory injury grade and fibrosis stage of surrounding liver), were evaluated to identify prognostic factors influencing SHCC patients’ survival and microvascular invasion.
There were 384 males (83.8%) and 74 (16.2%) females with median ages of 52 years. The median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) durations were 53 and 54 months, respectively. About 91.9% (n = 421) SHCC were infected by Hepatitis B. One hundred forty-seven of the 446 (33.0%) patients with pre-operation serum AFP level record had serum alfa-fetoprotein (AFP) level ≥ 200 ug/ml and 178 of the 280 (63.8%) patients with post-operation serum AFP level record had AFP level ≥ 20 ug/ml. Liver cirrhosis was present in 411 cases (89.7%), while 434 (97.3%) tumors had clear border, and 250 (55.6%) tumors were encapsulated.
MVI was identified in 83 patients (18.1%). In univariate analysis, a significant association between the presence of MVI and shortened PFS and OS was found (p = 0.012, 0.028, respectively). Histological differentiation had strong relationship with MVI (p = 0.009), in terms of MVI was more easily presented in patients with worse histological differentiation. In patients with MVI, worse survival was correlated with female patients, patients with G2 or G3 histological differentiation, pre-operation serum AFP level ≥ 200 ug/ml or post-operation serum AFP level ≥ 20 ug/ml, and TIL ≥ 50/HPF.
MVI is an independent poorer prognostic factor for PFS and OS of single SHCC patients. Tumor histological differentiation was closely related with MVI.
PMCID: PMC3922738  PMID: 24460749
Small hepatocellular carcinoma; Microvascular invasion; a-fetoprotein; Clinical features; Pathological features
12.  Developmental Programming of Fetal Skeletal Muscle and Adipose Tissue Development 
Journal of Genomics  2013;1:29-38.
All important developmental milestones are accomplished during the fetal stage, and nutrient fluctuation during this stage produces lasting effects on offspring health, so called fetal programming or developmental programming. The fetal stage is critical for skeletal muscle development, as well as adipose and connective tissue development. Maternal under-nutrition at this stage affects the proliferation of myogenic precursor cells and reduces the number of muscle fibers formed. Maternal over-nutrition results in impaired myogenesis and elevated adipogenesis. Because myocytes, adipocytes and fibrocytes are all derived from mesenchymal stem cells, molecular events which regulate the commitment of stem cells to different lineages directly impact fetal muscle and adipose tissue development. Recent studies indicate that microRNA is intensively involved in myogenic and adipogenic differentiation from mesenchymal stem cells, and epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation are expected to alter cell lineage commitment during fetal muscle and adipose tissue development.
PMCID: PMC4091428  PMID: 25031653
Maternal nutrition; fetal muscle development
13.  Cellular and Molecular Implications of Mature Adipocyte Dedifferentiation 
Journal of Genomics  2013;1:5-12.
There is a voluminous amount of scientific literature dealing with the involvement of adipocytes in molecular regulation of carcass composition, obesity, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes. To form adipocytes (process termed adipogenesis) nearly all scientific papers refer to the use of preadipocytes, adipofibroblasts, stromal vascular cells or adipogenic cell lines, and their differentiation to form lipid-assimilating cells containing storage triacylglyceride. However, mature adipocytes, themselves, possess ability to undergo dedifferentiation, form proliferative-competent progeny cells (the exact plasticity is unknown) and reinitiate formation of cells capable of lipid metabolism and storage. The progeny cells would make a viable (and alternative) cell system for the evaluation of cell ability to reestablish lipid assimilation, ability to differentially express genes (as compared to other adipogenic cells), and to form other types of cells (multi-lineage potential). Understanding the dedifferentiation process itself and/or dedifferentiated fat cells could contribute to our knowledge of normal growth processes, or to disease function. Indeed, the ability of progeny cells to form other cell types could turn-out to be important for processes of tissue reconstruction/engineering and may have implications in clinical, biochemical or molecular processes.
PMCID: PMC4091435  PMID: 25031650
mature adipocytes; dedifferentiation; review.
14.  AMP-activated protein kinase stimulates myostatin expression in C2C12 cells 
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of energy metabolism in skeletal muscle; AMPK induces muscle protein degradation but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Myostatin is a powerful negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass and growth in mammalian species. We hypothesized that AMPK stimulates myostatin expression, which provides an explanation for the negative role of AMPK in muscle growth. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that AMPK stimulates myostatin expression using C2C12 cells as a model. Activation of AMPK by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-d-riboruranoside (AICAR) dramatically increased the mRNA expression and protein content of myostatin in C2C12 myotubes, and to a lesser degree in myoblasts. Metformin, another AMPK activator, also stimulated myostatin expression at low concentrations. In addition, ectopic expression of AMPK wild-type α subunit (enhancing AMPK activity) and AMPK K45R mutant (knockdown AMPK activity) enhanced and reduced myostatin expression respectively. These results indicate that AMPK stimulates myostatin expression in C2C12 cells, providing an explanation for the negative effect of AMPK on muscle growth.
PMCID: PMC3486733  PMID: 22995402
AMPK; myostatin; AICAR; metformin; C2C12 cells
15.  Astragaloside IV Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis of Mice by Counteracting Oxidative Stress at Multiple Levels 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76495.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune neuroinflammatory disease found mostly in young adults in the western world. Oxidative stress induced neuronal apoptosis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of MS. In current study, astragaloside IV (ASI), a natural saponin molecule isolated from Astragalus membranceus, given at 20 mg/kg daily attenuated the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice significantly. Further studies disclosed that ASI treatment inhibited the increase of ROS and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, down-regulation of SOD and GSH-Px activities, and elevation of iNOS, p53 and phosphorylated tau in central nervous system (CNS) as well as the leakage of BBB of EAE mice. Meanwhile, the decreased ratio of Bcl-2/Bax was reversed by ASI. Moreover, ASI regulated T-cell differentiation and infiltration into CNS. In neuroblast SH-SY5Y cells, ASI dose-dependently reduced cellular ROS level and phosphorylation of tau in response to hydrogen peroxide challenge by modulation of Bcl-2/Bax ratio. ASI also inhibited activation of microglia both in vivo and in vitro. iNOS up-regulation induced by IFNγ stimulation was abolished by ASI dose-dependently in BV-2 cells. In summary, ASI prevented the severity of EAE progression possibly by counterbalancing oxidative stress and its effects via reduction of cellular ROS level, enhancement of antioxidant defense system, increase of anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory pathways, as well as modulation of T-cell differentiation and infiltration into CNS. The study suggested ASI may be effective for clinical therapy/prevention of MS.
PMCID: PMC3790693  PMID: 24124567
18.  Adipogenesis: It Is Not Just Lipid That Comprises Adipose Tissue 
Journal of Genomics  2013;1:1-4.
Adipogenesis is the initial component of forming cells (adipocytes) capable of assimilating lipid. Lipid metabolism is a metabolic process whereby lipid is stored for use when energy is required. Both processes involve cellular and molecular components. The gene regulations of each are different and (yet) confusingly, markers for both are used interchangeably. The focus of this paper is to provide elementary information regarding both processes and to introduce this issue of Journal of Genomics, whereby important aspects of adipogenesis and lipid metabolism involving gene expression are provided.
PMCID: PMC4091430  PMID: 25031649
Adipogenesis; Lipid Metabolism; Gene Regulation
19.  Interactions between TLR7 and TLR9 agonists and receptors regulate innate immune responses by astrocytes and microglia 
Glia  2010;58(6):650-664.
Toll like receptors 7 (TLR7) and 9 (TLR9) are important mediators of innate immune responses. Both receptors are located in endosomal compartments, recognize nucleic acids and signal via Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88). In the current study, we analyzed TLR7 and TLR9 induced activation of astrocytes and microglia, two cell types that contribute to innate immune responses in the CNS. TLR7 and TLR9 agonists induced similar cytokine profiles in each cell types. However, there were notable differences in the cytokine profile between astrocytes and microglia, including the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and anti-apoptotic cytokines G-CSF and IL-9 by microglia but not astrocytes. Costimulation studies demonstrated that the TLR7 agonist, imiquimod, could inhibit TLR9 agonist-induced innate immune responses, in both cell types, in a concentration dependent manner. Surprisingly, this inhibition was not mediated by TLR7, as deficiency in TLR7 did not alter suppression of the TLR9 agonist-induced responses. The suppression of innate immune responses was also not due to an inhibition of TLR9 agonist uptake. This suggested that imiquimod suppression may be a direct effect, possibly by blocking CpG-ODN binding and/or signaling with TLR9, thus limiting cell activation. An antagonistic relationship was also observed between the two receptors in microglia, with TLR7 deficiency resulting in enhanced cytokine responses to CpG-ODN stimulation. Thus, both TLR7 and its agonist can have inhibitory effects on TLR9-induced cytokine responses in glial cells.
PMCID: PMC3767435  PMID: 19998480
brain; cytokines; costimulation; imiquimod; CpG-ODN
20.  Characterization of the Pichia pastoris Protein-O-mannosyltransferase Gene Family 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68325.
The methylotrophic yeast, Pichiapastoris, is an important organism used for the production of therapeutic proteins. However, the presence of fungal-like glycans, either N-linked or O-linked, can elicit an immune response or enable the expressed protein to bind to mannose receptors, thus reducing their efficacy. Previously we have reported the elimination of β-linked glycans in this organism. In the current report we have focused on reducing the O-linked mannose content of proteins produced in P. pastoris, thereby reducing the potential to bind to mannose receptors. The initial step in the synthesis of O-linked glycans in P. pastoris is the transfer of mannose from dolichol-phosphomannose to a target protein in the yeast secretory pathway by members of the protein-O-mannosyltransferase (PMT) family. In this report we identify and characterize the members of the P. pastoris PMT family. Like Candida albicans, P. pastoris has five PMT genes. Based on sequence homology, these PMTs can be grouped into three sub-families, with both PMT1 and PMT2 sub-families possessing two members each (PMT1 and PMT5, and PMT2 and PMT6, respectively). The remaining sub-family, PMT4, has only one member (PMT4). Through gene knockouts we show that PMT1 and PMT2 each play a significant role in O-glycosylation. Both, by gene knockouts and the use of Pmt inhibitors we were able to significantly reduce not only the degree of O-mannosylation, but also the chain-length of these glycans. Taken together, this reduction of O-glycosylation represents an important step forward in developing the P. pastoris platform as a suitable system for the production of therapeutic glycoproteins.
PMCID: PMC3698189  PMID: 23840891
21.  Bovine dedifferentiated adipose tissue (DFAT) cells 
Adipocyte  2013;2(3):148-159.
Dedifferentiated fat cells (DFAT cells) are derived from lipid-containing (mature) adipocytes, which possess the ability to symmetrically or asymmetrically proliferate, replicate, and redifferentiate/transdifferentiate. Robust cell isolation and downstream culture methods are needed to isolate large numbers of DFAT cells from any (one) adipose depot in order to establish population dynamics and regulation of the cells within and across laboratories. In order to establish more consistent/repeatable methodology here we report on two different methods to establish viable DFAT cell cultures: both traditional cell culture flasks and non-traditional (flat) cell culture plates were used for ceiling culture establishment. Adipocytes (maternal cells of the DFAT cells) were easier to remove from flat culture plates than flasks and the flat plates also allowed cloning rings to be utilized for cell/cell population isolation. While additional aspects of usage of flat-bottomed cell culture plates may yet need to be optimized by definition of optimum bio-coating to enhance cell attachment, utilization of flat plate approaches will allow more efficient study of the dedifferentiation process or the DFAT progeny cells. To extend our preliminary observations, dedifferentiation of Wagyu intramuscular fat (IMF)-derived mature adipocytes and redifferentiation ability of DFAT cells utilizing the aforementioned isolation protocols were examined in traditional basal media/differentiation induction media (DMI) containing adipogenic inducement reagents. In the absence of treatment approximately 10% isolated Wagyu IMF-mature adipocytes dedifferentiated spontaneously and 70% DFAT cells displayed protracted adipogenesis 12 d after confluence in vitro. Lipid-free intracellular vesicles in the cytoplasm (vesicles possessing an intact membrane but with no any observable or stainable lipid inside) were observed during redifferentiation. One to 30% DFAT cells redifferentiated into lipid-assimilating adipocytes in the DMI media, with distinct lipid-droplets in the cytoplasm and with no observable lipid-free vesicles inside. Moreover, a high confluence level promoted the redifferentiation efficiency of DFAT cells. Wagyu IMF dedifferentiated DFAT cells exhibited unique adipogenesis modes in vitro, revealing a useful cell model for studying adipogenesis and lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3756103  PMID: 23991361
adipocytes; DFAT cells; differentiation; vesicles; adipogenesis; ceiling culture
22.  Effects of Cortisol and Dexamethasone on Insulin Signalling Pathways in Skeletal Muscle of the Ovine Fetus during Late Gestation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52363.
Before birth, glucocorticoids retard growth, although the extent to which this is mediated by changes in insulin signalling pathways in the skeletal muscle of the fetus is unknown. The current study determined the effects of endogenous and synthetic glucocorticoid exposure on insulin signalling proteins in skeletal muscle of fetal sheep during late gestation. Experimental manipulation of fetal plasma glucocorticoid concentration was achieved by fetal cortisol infusion and maternal dexamethasone treatment. Cortisol infusion significantly increased muscle protein levels of Akt2 and phosphorylated Akt at Ser473, and decreased protein levels of phosphorylated forms of mTOR at Ser2448 and S6K at Thr389. Muscle GLUT4 protein expression was significantly higher in fetuses whose mothers were treated with dexamethasone compared to those treated with saline. There were no significant effects of glucocorticoid exposure on muscle protein abundance of IR-β, IGF-1R, PKCζ, Akt1, calpastatin or muscle glycogen content. The present study demonstrated that components of the insulin signalling pathway in skeletal muscle of the ovine fetus are influenced differentially by naturally occurring and synthetic glucocorticoids. These findings may provide a mechanism by which elevated concentrations of endogenous glucocorticoids retard fetal growth.
PMCID: PMC3530600  PMID: 23300651
23.  A Comparative Evaluation of the Efficacy of Two Novel Desensitising Dentifrices 
A comparison of the desensitising efficacy of two commercially available dentifrices with different modes of action was conducted in a randomised, examiner-blind, two-arm, parallel group, 8-week, longitudinal clinical study. Dentifrice A, (Sensodyne Multi Action Iso-Active), contained 50000 ppm KNO3 and 1450 ppm fluoride as NaF. Dentifrice B, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief, contained a combination of 80000 ppm arginine, bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and 1450 ppm fluorine as NaMFP. Subjects (N = 110), stratified into two groups (N = 55), brushed twice-daily for 60 s, over an 8-week period. Sensitivity status, compliance, and safety were determined at 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks. A fixed-effects ANCOVA statistical model was applied to the Intent-To-Treat population using a two-sided 5% significance level. After 8 weeks, the treatment groups using Dentifrice A and Dentifrice B exhibited mean reductions from baseline of 49% and 45% in air sensitivity visual analogue scale (VAS) score, 61% (both) in examiner-based Schiff Sensitivity score, and clinically significant reductions in tactile pain threshold; all reductions were statistically significant (P < 0.0001). Both treatment groups also exhibited significant reductions across all sensitivity measures at 1, 2, and 4 weeks (P ≤ 0.0059, Dentifrice A; P ≤ 0.0137, Dentifrice B).
PMCID: PMC3523144  PMID: 23304149
24.  Study of Channel Characteristics for Galvanic-Type Intra-Body Communication Based on a Transfer Function from a Quasi-Static Field Model 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(12):16433-16450.
Intra-Body Communication (IBC), which modulates ionic currents over the human body as the communication medium, offers a low power and reliable signal transmission method for information exchange across the body. This paper first briefly reviews the quasi-static electromagnetic (EM) field modeling for a galvanic-type IBC human limb operating below 1 MHz and obtains the corresponding transfer function with correction factor using minimum mean square error (MMSE) technique. Then, the IBC channel characteristics are studied through the comparison between theoretical calculations via this transfer function and experimental measurements in both frequency domain and time domain. High pass characteristics are obtained in the channel gain analysis versus different transmission distances. In addition, harmonic distortions are analyzed in both baseband and passband transmissions for square input waves. The experimental results are consistent with the calculation results from the transfer function with correction factor. Furthermore, we also explore both theoretical and simulation results for the bit-error-rate (BER) performance of several common modulation schemes in the IBC system with a carrier frequency of 500 kHz. It is found that the theoretical results are in good agreement with the simulation results.
PMCID: PMC3571791  PMID: 23443387
Body Sensor Network (BSN); BER; channel characteristics; Intra-Body Communication (IBC); modulation scheme; quasi-static field model; transfer function
25.  Insulin resistance and adiponectin levels are associated with height catch-up growth in pre-pubertal Chinese individuals born small for gestational age 
Background and objective
The study was performed to determine whether catch-up growth is associated with the development of insulin resistance and to explore serum endocrine markers associated with the metabolism of adipose tissue in a Chinese population born small for gestational age(SGA)
Subjects and methods
We recruited 56 children born SGA with catch-up growth and 55 born without catch-up growth, who were further grouped into groups I (with BMI catch-up) and II (without BMI catch-up) respectively, as well as 52 children born appropriate for gestational age (AGA) with normal height. Their serum fasting insulin, fasting glucose, insulin-like growth factor-1, adiponectin, IGFBP-1, triglyceride concentrations, and the homeostasis assessment model for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were evaluated.
(1) The HOMA-IR values in SGA-I with catch-up growth group were significantly higher than those in SGA-II with catch-up growth, SGA-I without catch-up growth and AGA children respectively. (2) The serum adiponectin levels of individuals in the SGA-I without catch-up growth and SGA-II with catch-up growth groups were significantly lower than those from the SGA-II without catch-up growth group. There was no difference in triglyceride or IGFBP-1 levels among the groups. (3) The degree of HOMA-IR was positively correlated with age, current BMI and △height SDS in SGA children.
The development of insulin resistance and lower levels of adiponectin were closely correlated with higher BMI and the postnatal height catch-up growth in SGA children.
PMCID: PMC3574033  PMID: 23186039
Small for gestational age; Catch-up growth; Insulin resistance; Adiponectin

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