Recently published - More

Abstract

Peptides derived from pre-proglucagon (GCG peptides) act in both the periphery and the CNS to change food intake, glucose homeostasis, and metabolic rate while playing a role in anxiety behaviors and physiological responses to stress. Although the actions of GCG peptides produced in the gut and pancreas are well described, the role of glutamatergic GGC peptide–secreting hindbrain neurons in regulating metabolic homeostasis has not been investigated. Here, we have shown that chemogenetic stimulation of GCG-producing neurons reduces metabolic rate and food intake in fed and fasted states and suppresses glucose production without an effect on glucose uptake. Stimulation of GCG neurons had no effect on corticosterone secretion, body weight, or conditioned taste aversion. In the diet-induced obese state, the effects of GCG neuronal stimulation on gluconeogenesis were lost, while the food intake–lowering effects remained, resulting in reductions in body weight and adiposity. Our work suggests that GCG peptide–expressing neurons can alter feeding, metabolic rate, and glucose production independent of their effects on hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, aversive conditioning, or insulin secretion. We conclude that GCG neurons likely stimulate separate populations of downstream cells to produce a change in food intake and glucose homeostasis and that these effects depend on the metabolic state of the animal.

Authors

Ronald P. Gaykema, Brandon A. Newmyer, Matteo Ottolini, Vidisha Raje, Daniel M. Warthen, Philip S. Lambeth, Maria Niccum, Ting Yao, Yiru Huang, Ira G. Schulman, Thurl E. Harris, Manoj K. Patel, Kevin W. Williams, Michael M. Scott

×

Abstract

Autoimmune responses to meiotic germ cell antigens (MGCA) that are expressed on sperm and testis occur in human infertility and after vasectomy. Many MGCA are also expressed as cancer/testis antigens (CTA) in human cancers, but the tolerance status of MGCA has not been investigated. MGCA are considered to be uniformly immunogenic and nontolerogenic, and the prevailing view posits that MGCA are sequestered behind the Sertoli cell barrier in seminiferous tubules. Here, we have shown that only some murine MGCA are sequestered. Nonsequestered MCGA (NS-MGCA) egressed from normal tubules, as evidenced by their ability to interact with systemically injected antibodies and form localized immune complexes outside the Sertoli cell barrier. NS-MGCA derived from cell fragments that were discarded by spermatids during spermiation. They egressed as cargo in residual bodies and maintained Treg-dependent physiological tolerance. In contrast, sequestered MGCA (S-MGCA) were undetectable in residual bodies and were nontolerogenic. Unlike postvasectomy autoantibodies, which have been shown to mainly target S-MGCA, autoantibodies produced by normal mice with transient Treg depletion that developed autoimmune orchitis exclusively targeted NS-MGCA. We conclude that spermiation, a physiological checkpoint in spermatogenesis, determines the egress and tolerogenicity of MGCA. Our findings will affect target antigen selection in testis and sperm autoimmunity and the immune responses to CTA in male cancer patients.

Authors

Kenneth S.K. Tung, Jessica Harakal, Hui Qiao, Claudia Rival, Jonathan C.H. Li, Alberta G.A. Paul, Karen Wheeler, Patcharin Pramoonjago, Constance M. Grafer, Wei Sun, Robert D. Sampson, Elissa W.P. Wong, Prabhakara P. Reddi, Umesh S. Deshmukh, Daniel M. Hardy, Huanghui Tang, C. Yan Cheng, Erwin Goldberg

×

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are negative modulators of gene expression that fine-tune numerous biological processes. miRNA loss-of-function rarely results in highly penetrant phenotypes, but rather, influences cellular responses to physiologic and pathophysiologic stresses. Here, we have reported that a single member of the evolutionarily conserved miR-7 family, miR-7a2, is essential for normal pituitary development and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) function in adulthood. Genetic deletion of mir-7a2 causes infertility, with low levels of gonadotropic and sex steroid hormones, small testes or ovaries, impaired spermatogenesis, and lack of ovulation in male and female mice, respectively. We found that miR-7a2 is highly expressed in the pituitary, where it suppresses golgi glycoprotein 1 (GLG1) expression and downstream bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) signaling and also reduces expression of the prostaglandin F2a receptor negative regulator (PTGFRN), an inhibitor of prostaglandin signaling and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion. Our results reveal that miR-7a2 critically regulates sexual maturation and reproductive function by interconnecting miR-7 genomic circuits that regulate FSH and LH synthesis and secretion through their effects on pituitary prostaglandin and BMP4 signaling.

Authors

Kashan Ahmed, Mary P. LaPierre, Emanuel Gasser, Rémy Denzler, Yinjie Yang, Thomas Rülicke, Jukka Kero, Mathieu Latreille, Markus Stoffel

×

Abstract

Microvascular endothelial cells (ECs) are increasingly recognized as organ-specific gatekeepers of their microenvironment. Microvascular ECs instruct neighboring cells in their organ-specific vascular niches through angiocrine factors, which include secreted growth factors (angiokines), extracellular matrix molecules, and transmembrane proteins. However, the molecular regulators that drive organ-specific microvascular transcriptional programs and thereby regulate angiodiversity are largely elusive. In contrast to other ECs, which form a continuous cell layer, liver sinusoidal ECs (LSECs) constitute discontinuous, permeable microvessels. Here, we have shown that the transcription factor GATA4 controls murine LSEC specification and function. LSEC-restricted deletion of Gata4 caused transformation of discontinuous liver sinusoids into continuous capillaries. Capillarization was characterized by ectopic basement membrane deposition, formation of a continuous EC layer, and increased expression of VE-cadherin. Correspondingly, ectopic expression of GATA4 in cultured continuous ECs mediated the downregulation of continuous EC-associated transcripts and upregulation of LSEC-associated genes. The switch from discontinuous LSECs to continuous ECs during embryogenesis caused liver hypoplasia, fibrosis, and impaired colonization by hematopoietic progenitor cells, resulting in anemia and embryonic lethality. Thus, GATA4 acts as master regulator of hepatic microvascular specification and acquisition of organ-specific vascular competence, which are indispensable for liver development. The data also establish an essential role of the hepatic microvasculature in embryonic hematopoiesis.

Authors

Cyrill Géraud, Philipp-Sebastian Koch, Johanna Zierow, Kay Klapproth, Katrin Busch, Victor Olsavszky, Thomas Leibing, Alexandra Demory, Friederike Ulbrich, Miriam Diett, Sandhya Singh, Carsten Sticht, Katja Breitkopf-Heinlein, Karsten Richter, Sanna-Maria Karppinen, Taina Pihlajaniemi, Bernd Arnold, Hans-Reimer Rodewald, Hellmut G. Augustin, Kai Schledzewski, Sergij Goerdt

×

Abstract

Mutations in laminin α2-subunit (Lmα2, encoded by LAMA2) are linked to approximately 30% of congenital muscular dystrophy cases. Mice with a homozygous mutation in Lama2 (dy2J mice) express a nonpolymerizing form of laminin-211 (Lm211) and are a model for ambulatory-type Lmα2-deficient muscular dystrophy. Here, we developed transgenic dy2J mice with muscle-specific expression of αLNNd, a laminin/nidogen chimeric protein that provides a missing polymerization domain. Muscle-specific expression of αLNNd in dy2J mice resulted in strong amelioration of the dystrophic phenotype, manifested by the prevention of fibrosis and restoration of forelimb grip strength. αLNNd also restored myofiber shape, size, and numbers to control levels in dy2J mice. Laminin immunostaining and quantitation of tissue extractions revealed increased Lm211 expression in αLNNd-transgenic dy2J mice. In cultured myotubes, we determined that αLNNd expression increased myotube surface accumulation of polymerization-deficient recombinant laminins, with retention of collagen IV, reiterating the basement membrane (BM) changes observed in vivo. Laminin LN domain mutations linked to several of the Lmα2-deficient muscular dystrophies are predicted to compromise polymerization. The data herein support the hypothesis that engineered expression of αLNNd can overcome polymerization deficits to increase laminin, stabilize BM structure, and substantially ameliorate muscular dystrophy.

Authors

Karen K. McKee, Stephanie C. Crosson, Sarina Meinen, Judith R. Reinhard, Markus A. Rüegg, Peter D. Yurchenco

×

Abstract

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a prothrombotic disorder initiated by antibodies against complexes between human platelet factor 4 (hPF4) and heparin. A better understanding of the events that initiate the prothrombotic state may improve approaches to antithrombotic management. Here, we visualized thrombus formation in an in vivo murine model and an endothelialized microfluidic system that simulate the pathogenesis of HIT. hPF4 released from platelets predominantly bound to peri-injury endothelium and formed HIT antigenic complexes that were dissociated by heparin. In mice expressing both hPF4+ and human platelet IgG Fc receptor IIA (FcγRIIA), infusion of the HIT-like monoclonal antibody KKO increased fibrin and platelet deposition at sites of injury, followed immediately by antigen formation on proximate endothelial cells. After a few minutes, HIT antigen was detected within the thrombus itself at the interface between the platelet core and the surrounding shell. We observed similar results in the humanized, endothelialized microfluidic system. hPF4 and KKO selectively bound to photochemically injured endothelium at sites where surface glycocalyx was reduced. These studies support the concept that the perithrombus endothelium is the predominant site of HIT antigen assembly. This suggests that disrupting antigen formation along the endothelium or protecting the endothelium may provide a therapeutic opportunity to prevent thrombotic complications of HIT, while sparing systemic hemostatic pathways.

Authors

Vincent Hayes, Ian Johnston, Gowthami M. Arepally, Steven E. McKenzie, Douglas B. Cines, Lubica Rauova, Mortimer Poncz

×

Abstract

Blood vessels have a unified mission to circulate blood throughout the body; however, they have additional diverse and specialized roles in various organs. For example, in the liver, discontinuous sinusoids, which are fenestrated capillaries with intercellular gaps and a fragmented basement membrane, facilitate delivery of macromolecules to highly metabolic hepatocytes. During embryonic development, discontinuous sinusoids also allow circulating hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells to populate the liver and promote blood cell differentiation. In this issue of the JCI, Géraud et al. describe an essential role for the transcription factor GATA4 in promoting the development of discontinuous sinusoids. In the absence of liver sinusoidal GATA4, mouse embryos developed hepatic capillaries with upregulated endothelial cell junction proteins and a continuous basement membrane. These features prevented hematopoietic progenitor cells from transmigrating into the developing liver, and Gata4-mutant embryos died from subsequent liver hypoplasia and anemia. This study highlights the surprising and extensive transcriptional control GATA4 exercises over specialized liver vascular development and function.

Authors

Courtney T. Griffin, Siqi Gao

×

Abstract

Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) signaling in the CNS has been linked to reduced food intake, lower body weight, improved glucose homeostasis, and activation of CNS stress axes. GLP-1 is produced by cells that express proglucagon (GCG); however, the stimuli that activate GCG+ neurons are not well known, which has made understanding the role of this neuronal population in the CNS a challenge. In this issue of the JCI, Gaykema et al. use designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD) technology to specifically activate GCG+ neurons in mouse models. While activation of GCG+ neurons did reduce food intake, and variably decreased hepatic glucose production, other GLP-1–associated effects were not observed — e.g., activation of stress axes or stimulation of insulin secretion — in response to GCG+ neuron activation. The authors have provided a valuable model to study this set of neurons in vivo, and their results provide new insights into the function of GCG+ neural activity in the brain and raise questions that will move research on this clinically relevant neural system forward.

Authors

Jonathan E. Campbell, David A. D’Alessio

×

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as important regulators of a variety of biological processes and pathways. In this issue of the JCI, Ahmed et al. reveal that miR-7a2 is a critical regulator of sexual maturation and reproductive function, as mice lacking miR-7a2 develop hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and infertility. Using a bioinformatics approach, the authors identified several miR-7a2 target genes and pathways that have not been previously associated with gonadotropin biosynthesis and/or secretion. Together, these results identify miR-7a2–regulated genes involved in reproductive hormone biosynthesis pathways and provide a framework for future studies aimed at understanding rare reproductive conditions.

Authors

William F. Crowley, Ravi Balasubramanian

×

Abstract

Muscular dystrophies result from a defect in the linkage between the muscle fiber cytoskeleton and the basement membrane (BM). Congenital muscular dystrophy type MDC1A is caused by mutations in laminin α2 that either reduce its expression or impair its ability to polymerize within the muscle fiber BM. Defects in this BM lead to muscle fiber damage from the force of contraction. In this issue of the JCI, McKee and colleagues use a laminin polymerization–competent, designer chimeric BM protein in vivo to restore function of a polymerization-defective laminin, leading to normalized muscle structure and strength in a mouse model of MDC1A. Delivery of such a protein to patients could ameliorate many aspects of their disease.

Authors

Steven D. Funk, Jeffrey H. Miner

×

Advertisement

February 2017

127 2 cover

February 2017 Issue

On the cover:
Kisspeptin puts love on the brain

Comninos et al. report that the peptide hormone kisspeptin is a central regulator of sexual and emotional brain processing in men, in addition to its established roles in regulating the reproductive axis. The cover image includes a functional neuroimage of limbic brain activity following kisspeptin administration in response to images that were sexual (red) or couple-bonding related (purple).

×
Jci tm 2017 02

February 2017 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

×

Review Series - More

Metabolism and Inflammation

Series edited by Alan R. Saltiel and Jerrold M. Olefsky

Metabolic syndrome constitutes a constellation of conditions, including central obesity, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia. These conditions enhance the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver/cirrhosis, hypertension, and cancer. The finding over 20 years ago that the inflammatory mediator TNF is overexpressed in adipose fundamentally changed our understanding of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that metabolic syndrome in humans is characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation in multiple organs and we are now beginning to delineate the mechanisms by which inflammation and metabolism influence each other. Reviews in this series examine the activation of the innate and adaptive immune system in obesity; inflammation within diabetic islets, brain, liver, gut, and muscle; the role of inflammation in fibrosis and angiogenesis; the factors that contribute to the initiation of inflammation; and therapeutic approaches to modulate inflammation in the context of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that an inflammatory program is activated early in adipose expansion and during chronic obesity, permanently skewing the immune system to a pro-inflammatory phenotype.

×