Objective: Adipocytes are robust protein secretors, most notably of adipokines, hormone-like polypeptides, which act in an endocrine and paracrine fashion to affect numerous physiological processes such as energy balance and insulin sensitivity. To understand how such proteins are assembled for secretion we describe the function of a novel endoplasmic reticulum oxidoreductase, adiporedoxin (Adrx).
Methods: Adrx knockdown and overexpressing 3T3-L1 murine adipocyte cell lines and a knockout mouse model were used to assess the influence of Adrx on secreted proteins as well as the redox state of ER resident chaperones. The metabolic phenotypes of Adrx null mice were characterized and compared to WT mice. The correlation of Adrx levels BMI, adiponectin levels, and other inflammatory markers from adipose tissue of human subjects was also studied.
Results: Adiporedoxin functions via a CXXC active site, and is upstream of protein disulfide isomerase whose direct function is disulfide bond formation, and ultimately protein secretion. Over and under expression of Adrx in vitro enhances and reduces, respectively, the secretion of the disulfide-bonded proteins including adiponectin and collagen isoforms. On a chow diet, Adrx null mice have normal body weights, and glucose tolerance, are moderately hyperinsulinemic, have reduced levels of circulating adiponectin and are virtually free of adipocyte fibrosis resulting in a complex phenotype tending towards insulin resistance. Adrx protein levels in human adipose tissue correlate positively with adiponectin levels and negatively with the inflammatory marker phospho-Jun kinase.
Conclusion: These data support the notion that Adrx plays a critical role in adipocyte biology and in the regulation of mouse and human metabolism via its modulation of adipocyte protein secretion.[Hide abstract]
Background: The selective estrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen, in combination with the Cre-ERT2 fusion protein, has been one of the mainstream methods to induce genetic recombination and has found widespread application in lineage tracing studies.
Methods & results: Here, we report that tamoxifen exposure at widely used concentrations remains detectable by mass-spectrometric analysis in adipose tissue after a washout period of 10 days. Surprisingly, its ability to maintain nuclear translocation of the Cre-ERT2 protein is preserved beyond 2 months of washout. Tamoxifen treatment acutely leads to transient lipoatrophy, followed by de novo adipogenesis that reconstitutes the original fat mass. In addition, we find a “synthetically lethal” phenotype for adipocytes when tamoxifen treatment is combined with adipocyte-specific loss-of-function mutants, such as an adipocyte-specific PPARγ knockout. This is observed to a lesser extent when alternative inducible approaches are employed.
Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential for tamoxifen-induced adipogenesis, and the associated drawbacks of the use of tamoxifen in lineage tracing studies, explaining the discrepancy in lineage tracing results from different systems with temporal control of gene targeting.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Macrophages are important producers of obesity-induced MCP-1; however, initial obesity-induced increases in MCP-1 production precede M1 macrophage accumulation in visceral adipose tissue (VAT). The initial cellular source of obesity-induced MCP-1 in vivo is currently unknown. Preliminary reports based on in vitro studies of preadipocyte cell lines and adherent stroma-vascular fraction cells suggest that resident stromal cells express MCP-1. In the past several years, elegant methods of identifying adipocyte progenitor cells (AdPCs) have become available, making it possible to study these cells in vivo. We have previously published that global deletion of transcription factor Inhibitor of Differentiation 3 (Id3) attenuates high fat diet-induced obesity, but it is unclear if Id3 plays a role in diet-induced MCP-1 production. We sought to determine the initial cellular source of MCP-1 and identify molecular regulators mediating MCP-1 production.
Methods: Id3+/+ and Id3−/− mice were fed either a standard chow or HFD for varying lengths of time. Flow cytometry, semi-quantitative real-time PCR, ELISAs and adoptive transfers were used to assess the importance of AdPCs during diet-induced obesity. Flow cytometry was also performed on a cohort of 14 patients undergoing bariatric surgery.
Results: Flow cytometry identified committed CD45−CD31−Ter119−CD29+CD34+Sca-1+CD24− adipocyte progenitor cells as producers of high levels of MCP-1 in VAT. High-fat diet increased AdPC numbers, an effect dependent on Id3. Loss of Id3 increased p21Cip1 levels and attenuated AdPC proliferation, resulting in reduced MCP-1 and M1 macrophage accumulation in VAT, compared to Id3+/+ littermate controls. AdPC rescue by adoptive transfer of 50,000 Id3+/+ AdPCs into Id3−/− recipient mice increased MCP-1 levels and M1 macrophage number in VAT. Additionally, flow cytometry identified MCP-1-producing CD45−CD31−CD34+CD44+CD90+ AdPCs in human omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue, with a higher percentage in omental adipose. Furthermore, high surface expression of CD44 marked abundant MCP-1 producers, only in visceral adipose tissue.
Conclusions: This study provides the first in vivo evidence, to our knowledge, that committed AdPCs in VAT are the initial source of obesity-induced MCP-1 and identifies the helix-loop-helix transcription factor Id3 as a critical regulator of p21Cip1 expression, AdPC proliferation, MCP-1 expression and M1 macrophage accumulation in VAT. Inhibition of Id3 and AdPC expansion, as well as CD44 expression in human AdPCs, may serve as unique therapeutic targets for the regulation of adipose tissue inflammation.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Failure to properly dispose of glucose in response to insulin is a serious health problem, occurring during obesity and is associated with type 2 diabetes development. Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake is facilitated by the translocation and plasma membrane fusion of vesicles containing glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), the rate-limiting step of post-prandial glucose disposal.
Methods: We analyzed the role of Tusc5 in the regulation of insulin-stimulated Glut4-mediated glucose uptake in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we measured Tusc5 expression in two patient cohorts.
Results: Herein, we report that TUSC5 controls insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes, in vitro and in vivo. TUSC5 facilitates the proper recycling of GLUT4 and other key trafficking proteins during prolonged insulin stimulation, thereby enabling proper protein localization and complete vesicle formation, processes that ultimately enable insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Tusc5 knockout mice exhibit impaired glucose disposal and TUSC5 expression is predictive of glucose tolerance in obese individuals, independent of body weight. Furthermore, we show that TUSC5 is a PPARγ target and in its absence the anti-diabetic effects of TZDs are significantly blunted.
Conclusions: Collectively, these findings establish TUSC5 as an adipose tissue-specific protein that enables proper protein recycling, linking the ubiquitous vesicle traffic machinery with tissue-specific insulin-mediated glucose uptake into adipose tissue and the maintenance of a healthy metabolic phenotype in mice and humans.[Hide abstract]
Objectives: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1 (PPARGCA1, PGC-1) transcriptional coactivators control gene programs important for nutrient metabolism. Islets of type 2 diabetic subjects have reduced PGC-1α expression and this is associated with decreased insulin secretion, yet little is known about why this occurs or what role it plays in the development of diabetes. Our goal was to delineate the role and importance of PGC-1 proteins to β-cell function and energy homeostasis.
Methods: We investigated how nutrient signals regulate coactivator expression in islets and the metabolic consequences of reduced PGC-1α and PGC-1β in primary and cultured β-cells. Mice with inducible β-cell specific double knockout of Pgc-1α/Pgc-1β (βPgc-1 KO) were created to determine the physiological impact of reduced Pgc1 expression on glucose homeostasis.
Results: Pgc-1α and Pgc-1β expression was increased in primary mouse and human islets by acute glucose and palmitate exposure. Surprisingly, PGC-1 proteins were dispensable for the maintenance of mitochondrial mass, gene expression, and oxygen consumption in response to glucose in adult β-cells. However, islets and mice with an inducible, β-cell-specific PGC-1 knockout had decreased insulin secretion due in large part to loss of the potentiating effect of fatty acids. Consistent with an essential role for PGC-1 in lipid metabolism, β-cells with reduced PGC-1s accumulated acyl-glycerols and PGC-1s controlled expression of key enzymes in lipolysis and the glycerolipid/free fatty acid cycle.
Conclusions: These data highlight the importance of PGC-1s in coupling β-cell lipid metabolism to promote efficient insulin secretion.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Physical activity and circadian rhythms are well-established determinants of human health and disease, but the relationship between muscle activity and the circadian regulation of muscle genes is a relatively new area of research. It is unknown whether muscle activity and muscle clock rhythms are coupled together, nor whether activity rhythms can drive circadian gene expression in skeletal muscle.
Methods: We compared the circadian transcriptomes of two mouse hindlimb muscles with vastly different circadian activity patterns, the continuously active slow soleus and the sporadically active fast tibialis anterior, in the presence or absence of a functional skeletal muscle clock (skeletal muscle-specific Bmal1 KO). In addition, we compared the effect of denervation on muscle circadian gene expression.
Results: We found that different skeletal muscles exhibit major differences in their circadian transcriptomes, yet core clock gene oscillations were essentially identical in fast and slow muscles. Furthermore, denervation caused relatively minor changes in circadian expression of most core clock genes, yet major differences in expression level, phase and amplitude of many muscle circadian genes.
Conclusions: We report that activity controls the oscillation of around 15% of skeletal muscle circadian genes independently of the core muscle clock, and we have identified the Ca2+-dependent calcineurin-NFAT pathway as an important mediator of activity-dependent circadian gene expression, showing that circadian locomotor activity rhythms drive circadian rhythms of NFAT nuclear translocation and target gene expression.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Circadian clocks are functional in all light-sensitive organisms, allowing an adaptation to the external world in anticipation of daily environmental changes. In view of the potential role of the skeletal muscle clock in the regulation of glucose metabolism, we aimed to characterize circadian rhythms in primary human skeletal myotubes and investigate their roles in myokine secretion.
Methods: We established a system for long-term bioluminescence recording in differentiated human myotubes, employing lentivector gene delivery of the Bmal1-luciferase and Per2-luciferase core clock reporters. Furthermore, we disrupted the circadian clock in skeletal muscle cells by transfecting siRNA targeting CLOCK. Next, we assessed the basal secretion of a large panel of myokines in a circadian manner in the presence or absence of a functional clock.
Results: Bioluminescence reporter assays revealed that human skeletal myotubes, synchronized in vitro, exhibit a self-sustained circadian rhythm, which was further confirmed by endogenous core clock transcript expression. Moreover, we demonstrate that the basal secretion of IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1 by synchronized skeletal myotubes has a circadian profile. Importantly, the secretion of IL-6 and several additional myokines was strongly downregulated upon siClock-mediated clock disruption.
Conclusions: Our study provides for the first time evidence that primary human skeletal myotubes possess a high-amplitude cell-autonomous circadian clock, which could be attenuated. Furthermore, this oscillator plays an important role in the regulation of basal myokine secretion by skeletal myotubes.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Available treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is suboptimal. Thus, identifying novel molecular target(s) exerting protective effects against these metabolic imbalances is of enormous medical significance. Sirt6 loss- and gain-of-function studies have generated confounding data regarding the role of this sirtuin on energy and glucose homeostasis, leaving unclear whether activation or inhibition of SIRT6 may be beneficial for the treatment of obesity and/or T2DM.
Methods: To address these issues, we developed and studied a novel mouse model designed to produce eutopic and physiological overexpression of SIRT6 (Sirt6BAC mice). These mutants and their controls underwent several metabolic analyses. These include whole-blood reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography assay, glucose and pyruvate tolerance tests, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp assays, and assessment of basal and insulin-induced level of phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT)/AKT in gastrocnemius muscle.
Results: Sirt6BAC mice physiologically overexpress functionally competent SIRT6 protein. While Sirt6BAC mice have normal body weight and adiposity, they are protected from developing high-caloric-diet (HCD)-induced hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance. Also, Sirt6BAC mice display increased circulating level of the polyamine spermidine. The ability of insulin to suppress endogenous glucose production was significantly enhanced in Sirt6BAC mice compared to wild-type controls. Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake was increased in Sirt6BAC mice in both gastrocnemius and soleus muscle, but not in brain, interscapular brown adipose, or epididymal adipose tissue. Insulin-induced p-AKT/AKT ratio was increased in gastrocnemius muscle of Sirt6BAC mice compared to wild-type controls.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that moderate, physiological overexpression of SIRT6 enhances insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and liver, engendering protective actions against diet-induced T2DM. Hence, the present study provides support for the anti-T2DM effect of SIRT6 and suggests SIRT6 as a putative molecular target for anti-T2DM treatment.[Hide abstract]
Objective: The ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) regulates energy homeostasis as well as social and emotional behaviors. Nearly all VMH neurons, including those in the sexually dimorphic ventrolateral VMH (VMHvl) subregion, release the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and use the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (Vglut2). Here, we asked how glutamatergic signaling contributes to the collective metabolic and behavioral responses attributed to the VMH and VMHvl.
Methods: Using Sf1-Cre and a Vglut2 floxed allele, Vglut2 was knocked-out in SF-1 VMH neurons (Vglut2Sf1-Cre). Metabolic and neurobehavioral assays were carried out initially on Vglut2fl/fl and Vglut2Sf1-Cre mice in a mixed, and then in the C57BL/6 genetic background, which is prone to hyperglycemia and diet induced obesity (DIO).
Results: Several phenotypes observed in Vglut2Sf1-Cre mice were largely unexpected based on prior studies that have perturbed VMH development or VMH glutamate signaling. In our hands, Vglut2 Sf1-Cre mice failed to exhibit the anticipated increase in body weight after high fat diet (HFD) or the impaired glucose homeostasis after fasting. Instead, there was a significant sex-dependent attenuation of DIO in Vglut2Sf1-Cre females. Vglut2Sf1-Cre males also display a sex-specific loss of conditioned-fear responses and aggression accompanied by more novelty-associated locomotion. Finally, unlike the higher anxiety noted in Sf1Nestin-Cre mice that lack a fully formed VMH, both male and female Vglut2Sf1-Cre mice were less anxious.
Conclusions: Loss of VMH glutamatergic signaling sharply decreased DIO in females, attenuated aggression and learned fear in males, and was anxiolytic in males and females. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that while glutamatergic output from the VMH appears largely dispensable for counter regulatory responses to hypoglycemia, it drives sex-dependent differences in metabolism and social behaviors and is essential for adaptive responses to anxiety-provoking stimuli in both sexes.[Hide abstract]
Objective: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), play a paramount role in the central regulation of energy balance. Despite the substantial body of genetic evidence implicating BDNF- or TrkB-deficiency in human obesity, the critical brain region(s) contributing to the endogenous role of BDNF/TrkB signaling in metabolic control remain unknown.
Methods: We assessed the importance of intact hypothalamic or hindbrain TrkB signaling in central regulation of energy balance by generating Nkx2.1-Ntrk2−/− and Phox2b-Ntrk2+/− mice, respectively, and comparing metabolic parameters (body weight, adiposity, food intake, energy expenditure and glucose homeostasis) under high-fat diet or chow fed conditions.
Results: Our data show that when fed a high-fat diet, male and female Nkx2.1-Ntrk2−/− mice have significantly increased body weight and adiposity that is likely driven by reduced locomotor activity and core body temperature. When maintained on a chow diet, female Nkx2.1-Ntrk2−/− mice exhibit an increased body weight and adiposity phenotype more robust than in males, which is accompanied by hyperphagia that precedes the onset of a body weight difference. In addition, under both diet conditions, Nkx2.1-Ntrk2−/− mice show increased blood glucose, serum insulin and leptin levels. Mice with complete hindbrain TrkB-deficiency (Phox2b-Ntrk2−/−) are perinatal lethal, potentially indicating a vital role for TrkB in visceral motor neurons that control cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive functions during development. Phox2b-Ntrk2+/− heterozygous mice are similar in body weight, adiposity and glucose homeostasis parameters compared to wild type littermate controls when maintained on a high-fat or chow diet. Interestingly, despite the absence of a body weight difference, Phox2b-Ntrk2+/− heterozygous mice exhibit pronounced hyperphagia.
Conclusion: Taken together, our findings suggest that the hypothalamus is a key brain region involved in endogenous BDNF/TrkB signaling and central metabolic control and that endogenous hindbrain TrkB likely plays a role in modulating food intake and survival of mice. Our findings also show that female mice lacking TrkB in the hypothalamus have a more robust metabolic phenotype.[Hide abstract]
Background: The proper establishment of hypothalamic feeding circuits during early development has a profound influence on energy homeostasis, and perturbing this process could predispose individuals to obesity and its associated consequences later in life. The maturation of hypothalamic neuronal circuitry in rodents takes place during the initial postnatal weeks, and this coincides with a dramatic surge in the circulating level of leptin, which is known to regulate the outgrowth of key neuronal projections in the maturing hypothalamus. Coincidently, this early postnatal period also marks the rapid proliferation and expansion of astrocytes in the brain.
Methods: Here we examined the effects of leptin on the proliferative capacity of astrocytes in the developing hypothalamus by treating postnatal mice with leptin. Mutant mice were also generated to conditionally remove leptin receptors from glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-expressing cells in the postnatal period.
Results and conclusions: We show that GFAP-expressing cells in the periventricular zone of the 3rd ventricle were responsive to leptin during the initial postnatal week. Leptin enhanced the proliferation of astrocytes in the postnatal hypothalamus and conditional removal of leptin receptors from GFAP-expressing cells during early postnatal period limited astrocyte proliferation. While increasing evidence demonstrates a direct role of leptin in regulating astrocytes in the adult brain, and given the essential function of astrocytes in modulating neuronal function and connectivity, our study indicates that leptin may exert its metabolic effects, in part, by promoting hypothalamic astrogenesis during early postnatal development.[Hide abstract]