Featured ArticlesVolume 4 | No. 8 | August 2015
|Glucagon-to-insulin ratio is pivotal for splanchnic regulation of FGF-21Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) is regarded as an important endocrine metabolic regulator and holds promise as a therapeutic target in type 2 diabetes. Schiøler Hansen and colleagues provide evidence that the splanchnic bed contributes to the systemic levels of FGF-21 during rest and exercise in humans. They demonstrate that the glucagon-to-insulin ratio is pivotal for the FGF-21 regulation in humans.|
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Background & aims: Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) is a liver-derived metabolic regulator induced by energy deprivation. However, its regulation in humans is incompletely understood. We addressed the origin and regulation of FGF-21 secretion in humans.
Methods: By determination of arterial-to-venous differences over the liver and the leg during exercise, we evaluated the organ-specific secretion of FGF-21 in humans. By four different infusion models manipulating circulating glucagon and insulin, we addressed the interaction of these hormones on FGF-21 secretion in humans.
Results: We demonstrate that the splanchnic circulation secretes FGF-21 at rest and that it is rapidly enhanced during exercise. In contrast, the leg does not contribute to the systemic levels of FGF-21. To unravel the mechanisms underlying the regulation of exercise-induced hepatic release of FGF-21, we manipulated circulating glucagon and insulin. These studies demonstrated that in humans glucagon stimulates splanchnic FGF-21 secretion whereas insulin has an inhibitory effect.
Conclusions: Collectively, our data reveal that 1) in humans, the splanchnic bed contributes to the systemic FGF-21 levels during rest and exercise; 2) under normo-physiological conditions FGF-21 is not released from the leg; 3) a dynamic interaction of glucagon-to-insulin ratio regulates FGF-21 secretion in humans.[Hide abstract]
|Glucose intolerance induced by blockade of central FGF receptors is linked to an acute stress response.Growing evidence suggests that in rodent models of obesity and type 2 diabetes, glucose homeostasis is improved by activation of neuronal fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs). The findings of Rojas and colleagues provide the first evidence that intracerebroventricular injection of an FGFR antagonist elicits a rapid but transient stress response that is characterized by sympathoadrenal activation, elevation of plasma lactate levels, and impairment of glucose-induced insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.|
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Objective: Central administration of ligands for fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) such as fibroblast growth factor-19 (FGF19) and FGF21 exert glucose-lowering effects in rodent models of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Conversely, intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of the non-selective FGFR inhibitor (FGFRi) PD173074 causes glucose intolerance, implying a physiological role for neuronal FGFR signaling in glucose homeostasis. The current studies were undertaken to identify neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the glucose intolerance induced by pharmacological blockade of central FGFRs.
Methods: Overnight fasted, lean, male, Long-Evans rats received icv injections of either PD173074 or vehicle (Veh) followed 30 min later by performance of a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT). Minimal model analysis of glucose and insulin data from the FSIGT was performed to estimate insulin-dependent and insulin-independent components of glucose disposal. Plasma levels of lactate, glucagon, corticosterone, non-esterified free fatty acids (NEFA) and catecholamines were measured before and after intravenous (iv) glucose injection.
Results: Within 20 min of icv PD173074 injection (prior to the FSIGT), plasma levels of lactate, norepinephrine and epinephrine increased markedly, and each returned to baseline rapidly (within 8 min) following the iv glucose bolus. In contrast, plasma glucagon levels were not altered by icv FGFRi at either time point. Consistent with a previous report, glucose tolerance was impaired following icv PD173074 compared to Veh injection and, based on minimal model analysis of FSIGT data, this effect was attributable to reductions of both insulin secretion and the basal insulin effect (BIE), consistent with the inhibitory effect of catecholamines on pancreatic β-cell secretion. By comparison, there were no changes in glucose effectiveness at zero insulin (GEZI) or the insulin sensitivity index (SI). To determine if iv glucose (given during the FSIGT) contributed to the rapid resolution of the sympathoadrenal response induced by icv FGFRi, we performed an additional study comparing groups that received iv saline or iv glucose 30 min after icv FGFRi. Our finding that elevated plasma catecholamine levels returned rapidly to baseline irrespective of whether rats subsequently received an iv bolus of saline or glucose indicates that the rapid reversal of sympathoadrenal activation following icv FGFRi was unrelated to the subsequent glucose bolus.
Conclusions: The effect of acute inhibition of central FGFR signaling to impair glucose tolerance likely involves a stress response associated with pronounced, but transient, sympathoadrenal activation and an associated reduction of insulin secretion. Whether this effect is a true consequence of FGFR blockade or involves an off-target effect of the FGFR inhibitor requires additional study.[Hide abstract]
|Knockout of STAT3 does not prevent high-fat diet-induced insulin resistanceElevated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling has been implicated in obesity-induced insulin resistance. White and colleagues investigate whether muscle-speciﬁc knockout of STAT3 enhances insulin sensitivity, whole body energy homeostasis, or glucose tolerance. They find that knockout of STAT3 does not improve sensitivity in control diet-fed mice or ameliorate the detrimental effects of high-fat diet feeding on insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, or body composition. Inhibition of skeletal muscle STAT3 does not appear to be a promising approach for modulating skeletal muscle insulin action.|
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Objective: Increased signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling has been implicated in the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance, though its contribution, in vivo, remains to be fully defined. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether knockout of skeletal muscle STAT3 would prevent high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance.
Methods: We used Cre-LoxP methodology to generate mice with muscle-specific knockout (KO) of STAT3 (mKO). Beginning at 10 weeks of age, mKO mice and their wildtype/floxed (WT) littermates either continued consuming a low fat, control diet (CON; 10% of calories from fat) or were switched to a HFD (60% of calories from fat) for 20 days. We measured body composition, energy expenditure, oral glucose tolerance and in vivo insulin action using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. We also measured insulin sensitivity in isolated soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles using the 2-deoxy-glucose (2DOG) uptake technique.
Results: STAT3 protein expression was reduced ∼75-100% in muscle from mKO vs. WT mice. Fat mass and body fat percentage did not differ between WT and mKO mice on CON and were increased equally by HFD. There were also no genotype differences in energy expenditure or whole-body fat oxidation. As determined, in vivo (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps) and ex vivo (2DOG uptake), skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity did not differ between CON-fed mice, and was impaired similarly by HFD.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that STAT3 activation does not underlie the development of HFD-induced skeletal muscle insulin resistance.[Hide abstract]
|A novel crosstalk between Alk7 and cGMP signaling regulates brown adipocyte functionThe activin receptor-like kinase 7 (Alk7) is highly expressed in adipose tissues and is down-regulated in obese patients. Balkow and colleagues found that Alk7 and cGMP/PKGI signaling is tightly connected in brown adipocytes (BAs) to ensure a balance between the adipogenic and thermogenic program - favoring the thermogenic capabilities of BA if Alk7 is activated together with cGMP. Understanding the link between the cGMP/PKGI and Alk7 signaling pathway could proof beneficial when looking for new targets for anti-obesity drug development.|
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Objective: Obesity is an enormous burden for patients and health systems world-wide. Brown adipose tissue dissipates energy in response to cold and has been shown to be metabolically active in human adults. The type I transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) receptor Activin receptor-like kinase 7 (Alk7) is highly expressed in adipose tissues and is down-regulated in obese patients. Here, we studied the function of Alk7 in brown adipocytes.
Methods: Using pharmacological and genetic tools, Alk7 signaling pathway and its effects were studied in murine brown adipocytes. Brown adipocyte differentiation and activation was analyzed.
Results: Alk7 is highly upregulated during differentiation of brown adipocytes. Interestingly, Alk7 expression is increased by cGMP/protein kinase G (PKG) signaling, which enhances brown adipocyte differentiation. Activin AB effectively activates Alk7 and SMAD3 signaling. Activation of Alk7 in brown preadipocytes suppresses the master adipogenic transcription factor PPARγ and differentiation. Stimulation of Alk7 during late differentiation of brown adipocytes reduces lipid content and adipogenic marker expression but enhances UCP1 expression.
Conclusions: We found a so far unknown crosstalk between cGMP and Alk7 signaling pathways. Tight regulation of Alk7 is required for efficient differentiation of brown adipocytes. Alk7 has differential effects on adipogenic differentiation and the development of the thermogenic program in brown adipocytes.[Hide abstract]
|Macrophages are essential for CTGF-mediated adult β-cell proliferationConnective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF/CCN2) is a β-cell proliferative factor. Riley and colleagues show that macrophages specifically are required for effective CTGF mediated β-cell mass expansion following injury. The authors have identified a novel interaction between CTGF and the immune system to promote β-cell proliferation and regeneration. As all forms of diabetes are demarked by both inflammation and insufficient functional β-cell mass, these studies highlight the significance of understanding the role of the immune system in promoting β-cell regeneration.|
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Objective: Promotion of endogenous β-cell mass expansion could facilitate regeneration in patients with diabetes. We discovered that the secreted protein CTGF (aka CCN2) promotes adult β-cell replication and mass regeneration after injury via increasing β-cell immaturity and shortening the replicative refractory period. However, the mechanism of CTGF-mediated β-cell proliferation is unknown. Here we focused on whether CTGF alters cells of the immune system to enhance β-cell replication.
Methods: Using mouse models for 50% β-cell ablation and conditional, β-cell-specific CTGF induction, we assessed changes in immune cell populations by performing immunolabeling and gene expression analyses. We tested the requirement for macrophages in CTGF-mediated β-cell proliferation via clodronate-based macrophage depletion.
Results: CTGF induction after 50% β-cell ablation increased both macrophages and T-cells in islets. An upregulation in the expression of several macrophage and T-cell chemoattractant genes was also observed in islets. Gene expression analyses suggest an increase in M1 and a decrease in M2 macrophage markers. Depletion of macrophages (without changes in T cell number) blocked CTGF-mediated β-cell proliferation and prevented the increase in β-cell immaturity.
Conclusions: Our data show that macrophages are critical for CTGF-mediated adult β-cell proliferation in the setting of partial β-cell ablation. This is the first study to link a specific β-cell proliferative factor with immune-mediated β-cell proliferation in a β-cell injury model.[Hide abstract]