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1.  Tissue-Specific Gene Expression and Regulation in Liver and Muscle Following Chronic Corticosteroid Administration 
Although corticosteroids (CSs) affect gene expression in multiple tissues, the array of genes that are regulated by these catabolic steroids is diverse, highly tissue specific, and depends on their functions in the tissue. Liver has many important functions in performing and regulating diverse metabolic processes. Muscle, in addition to its mechanical role, is critical in maintaining systemic energy homeostasis and accounts for about 80% of insulin-directed glucose disposal. Consequently, a better understanding of CS pharmacogenomic effects in these tissues would provide valuable information regarding the tissue-specificity of transcriptional dynamics, and would provide insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms of action for both beneficial and detrimental effects.
We performed an integrated analysis of transcriptional data from liver and muscle in response to methylprednisolone (MPL) infusion, which included clustering and functional annotation of clustered gene groups, promoter extraction and putative transcription factor (TF) identification, and finally, regulatory closeness (RC) identification.
This analysis allowed the identification of critical transcriptional responses and CS-responsive functions in liver and muscle during chronic MPL administration, the prediction of putative transcriptional regulators relevant to transcriptional responses of CS-affected genes which are also potential secondary bio-signals altering expression levels of target-genes, and the exploration of the tissue-specificity and biological significance of gene expression patterns, CS-responsive functions, and transcriptional regulation.
The analysis provided an integrated description of the genomic and functional effects of chronic MPL infusion in liver and muscle.
doi:10.4137/GRSB.S13134
PMCID: PMC3956809  PMID: 24653645
liver; muscle; glucocorticoids; corticosteroids; gene expression; gene regulation; promoter analysis
2.  Effects of High Fat Feeding on Liver Gene Expression in Diabetic Goto-Kakizaki Rats 
Effects of high fat diet (HFD) on obesity and, subsequently, on diabetes are highly variable and modulated by genetics in both humans and rodents. In this report, we characterized the response of Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, a spontaneous polygenic model for lean diabetes and healthy Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) controls, to high fat feeding from weaning to 20 weeks of age. Animals fed either normal diet or HFD were sacrificed at 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 weeks of age and a wide array of physiological measurements were made along with gene expression profiling using Affymetrix gene array chips. Mining of the microarray data identified differentially regulated genes (involved in inflammation, metabolism, transcription regulation, and signaling) in diabetic animals, as well as the response of both strains to HFD. Functional annotation suggested that HFD increased inflammatory differences between the two strains. Chronic inflammation driven by heightened innate immune response was identified to be present in GK animals regardless of diet. In addition, compensatory mechanisms by which WKY animals on HFD resisted the development of diabetes were identified, thus illustrating the complexity of diabetes disease progression.
doi:10.4137/GRSB.S10371
PMCID: PMC3516129  PMID: 23236253
diabetes; high fat diet; gene expression; microarray
3.  Pharmacodynamic/Pharmacogenomic Modeling of Insulin Resistance Genes in Rat Muscle After Methylprednisolone Treatment: Exploring Regulatory Signaling Cascades 
Corticosteroids (CS) effects on insulin resistance related genes in rat skeletal muscle were studied. In our acute study, adrenalectomized (ADX) rats were given single doses of 50 mg/kg methylprednisolone (MPL) intravenously. In our chronic study, ADX rats were implanted with Alzet mini-pumps giving zero-order release rates of 0.3 mg/kg/h MPL and sacrificed at various times up to 7 days. Total RNA was extracted from gastrocnemius muscles and hybridized to Affymetrix GeneChips. Data mining and literature searches identified 6 insulin resistance related genes which exhibited complex regulatory pathways. Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3), pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoenzyme 4 (PDK4), fatty acid translocase (FAT) and glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) dynamic profiles were modeled with mutual effects by calculated nuclear drug-receptor complex (DR(N)) and transcription factors. The oscillatory feature of endothelin-1 (ET-1) expression was depicted by a negative feedback loop. These integrated models provide testable quantitative hypotheses for these regulatory cascades.
PMCID: PMC2733097  PMID: 19787081
corticosteroid; glucocorticoid; microarrays; mathematical modeling; insulin resistance
4.  Pharmacodynamic Modeling of Acute and Chronic Effects of Methylprednisolone on Hepatic Urea Cycle Genes in Rats* 
Corticosteroids (CS) regulate many enzymes at both mRNA and protein levels. This study used microarrays to broadly assess regulation of various genes related to the greater urea cycle and employs pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling to quantitatively analyze and compare the temporal profiles of these genes during acute and chronic exposure to methylprednisolone (MPL). One group of adrenalectomized male Wistar rats received an intravenous bolus dose (50 mg/kg) of MPL, whereas a second group received MPL by a subcutaneous infusion (Alzet osmotic pumps) at a rate of 0.3 mg/kg/hr for seven days. The rats were sacrificed at various time points over 72 hours (acute) or 168 hours (chronic) and livers were harvested. Total RNA was extracted and Affymetrix® gene chips (RG_U34A for acute and RAE 230A for chronic) were used to identify genes regulated by CS. Besides five primary urea cycle enzymes, many other genes related to the urea cycle showed substantial changes in mRNA expression. Some genes that were simply up- or down-regulated after acute MPL showed complex biphasic patterns upon chronic infusion indicating involvement of secondary regulation. For the simplest patterns, indirect response models were used to describe the nuclear steroid-bound receptor mediated increase or decrease in gene transcription (e.g. tyrosine aminotransferase, glucocorticoid receptor). For the biphasic profiles, involvement of a secondary biosignal was assumed (e.g. ornithine decarboxylase, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein) and more complex models were derived. Microarrays were used successfully to explore CS effects on various urea cycle enzyme genes. PD models presented in this report describe testable hypotheses regarding molecular mechanisms and quantitatively characterize the direct or indirect regulation of various genes by CS.
PMCID: PMC2733100  PMID: 19787073
urea cycle; corticosteroids; methylprednisolone; pharmacodynamics; genomics

Results 1-4 (4)