The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and its endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, are involved in the regulation of food intake. Here we show that the lack of CB1 in mice with a disrupted CB1 gene causes hypophagia and leanness. As compared with WT (CB1+/+) littermates, mice lacking CB1 (CB1–/–) exhibited reduced spontaneous caloric intake and, as a consequence of reduced total fat mass, decreased body weight. In young CB1–/– mice, the lean phenotype is predominantly caused by decreased caloric intake, whereas in adult CB1–/– mice, metabolic factors appear to contribute to the lean phenotype. No significant differences between genotypes were detected regarding locomotor activity, body temperature, or energy expenditure. Hypothalamic CB1 mRNA was found to be coexpressed with neuropeptides known to modulate food intake, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), cocaine-amphetamine–regulated transcript (CART), melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), and prepro-orexin, indicating a possible role for endocannabinoid receptors within central networks governing appetite. CB1–/– mice showed significantly increased CRH mRNA levels in the paraventricular nucleus and reduced CART mRNA levels in the dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamic areas. CB1 was also detected in epidydimal mouse adipocytes, and CB1-specific activation enhanced lipogenesis in primary adipocyte cultures. Our results indicate that the cannabinoid system is an essential endogenous regulator of energy homeostasis via central orexigenic as well as peripheral lipogenic mechanisms and might therefore represent a promising target to treat diseases characterized by impaired energy balance.
Daniela Cota, Giovanni Marsicano, Matthias Tschöp, Yvonne Grübler, Cornelia Flachskamm, Mirjam Schubert, Dorothee Auer, Alexander Yassouridis, Christa Thöne-Reineke, Sylvia Ortmann, Federica Tomassoni, Cristina Cervino, Enzo Nisoli, Astrid C.E. Linthorst, Renato Pasquali, Beat Lutz, Günter K. Stalla, Uberto Pagotto
Hepatocyte nuclear factors-3 (Foxa-1–3) are winged forkhead transcription factors that regulate gene expression in the liver and pancreatic islets and are required for normal metabolism. Here we show that Foxa-2 is expressed in preadipocytes and induced de novo in adipocytes of genetic and diet-induced rodent models of obesity. In preadipocytes Foxa-2 inhibits adipocyte differentiation by activating transcription of the Pref-1 gene. Foxa-2 and Pref-1 expression can be enhanced in primary preadipocytes by growth hormone, suggesting that the antiadipogenic activity of growth hormone is mediated by Foxa-2. In differentiated adipocytes Foxa-2 expression leads to induction of gene expression involved in glucose and fat metabolism, including glucose transporter-4, hexokinase-2, muscle-pyruvate kinase, hormone-sensitive lipase, and uncoupling proteins-2 and -3. Diet-induced obese mice with haploinsufficiency in Foxa-2 (Foxa-2+/–) develop increased adiposity compared with wild-type littermates as a result of decreased energy expenditure. Furthermore, adipocytes of these Foxa-2+/– mice exhibit defects in glucose uptake and metabolism. These data suggest that Foxa-2 plays an important role as a physiological regulator of adipocyte differentiation and metabolism.
Christian Wolfrum, David Q. Shih, Satoru Kuwajima, Andrew W. Norris, C. Ronald Kahn, Markus Stoffel
The serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB plays key roles in the regulation of cell growth, survival, and metabolism. It remains unclear, however, whether the functions of individual Akt/PKB isoforms are distinct. To investigate the function of Akt2/PKBβ, mice lacking this isoform were generated. Both male and female Akt2/PKBβ-null mice exhibit mild growth deficiency and an age-dependent loss of adipose tissue or lipoatrophy, with all observed adipose depots dramatically reduced by 22 weeks of age. Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice are insulin resistant with elevated plasma triglycerides. In addition, Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice exhibit fed and fasting hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, and impaired muscle glucose uptake. In males, insulin resistance progresses to a severe form of diabetes accompanied by pancreatic β cell failure. In contrast, female Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice remain mildly hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic until at least one year of age. Thus, Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice exhibit growth deficiency similar to that reported previously for mice lacking Akt1/PKBα, indicating that both Akt2/PKBβ and Akt1/PKBα participate in the regulation of growth. The marked hyperglycemia and loss of pancreatic β cells and adipose tissue in Akt2/PKBβ-deficient mice suggest that Akt2/PKBβ plays critical roles in glucose metabolism and the development or maintenance of proper adipose tissue and islet mass for which other Akt/PKB isoforms are unable to fully compensate.
Robert S. Garofalo, Stephen J. Orena, Kristina Rafidi, Anthony J. Torchia, Jeffrey L. Stock, Audrey L. Hildebrandt, Timothy Coskran, Shawn C. Black, Dominique J. Brees, Joan R. Wicks, John D. McNeish, Kevin G. Coleman
Recent evidence suggests the existence of a hepatoportal vein glucose sensor, whose activation leads to enhanced glucose use in skeletal muscle, heart, and brown adipose tissue. The mechanism leading to this increase in whole body glucose clearance is not known, but previous data suggest that it is insulin independent. Here, we sought to further determine the portal sensor signaling pathway by selectively evaluating its dependence on muscle GLUT4, insulin receptor, and the evolutionarily conserved sensor of metabolic stress, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We demonstrate that the increase in muscle glucose use was suppressed in mice lacking the expression of GLUT4 in the organ muscle. In contrast, glucose use was stimulated normally in mice with muscle-specific inactivation of the insulin receptor gene, confirming independence from insulin-signaling pathways. Most importantly, the muscle glucose use in response to activation of the hepatoportal vein glucose sensor was completely dependent on the activity of AMPK, because enhanced hexose disposal was prevented by expression of a dominant negative AMPK in muscle. These data demonstrate that the portal sensor induces glucose use and development of hypoglycemia independently of insulin action, but by a mechanism that requires activation of the AMPK and the presence of GLUT4.
Rémy Burcelin, Valerie Crivelli, Christophe Perrin, Anabela Da Costa, James Mu, Barbara B. Kahn, Morris J. Birnbaum, C. Ronald Kahn, Peter Vollenweider, Bernard Thorens
Bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a potential treatment for autoimmune disease. The clinical application of this approach is, however, limited by the risks associated with allogeneic transplantation. In contrast, syngeneic transplantation would be safe and have wide clinical application. Because T cell tolerance can be induced by presenting antigen on resting antigen-presenting cells (APCs), we reasoned that hematopoietic stem cells engineered to express autoantigen in resting APCs could be used to prevent autoimmune disease. Proinsulin is a major autoantigen associated with pancreatic β cell destruction in humans with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and in autoimmune NOD mice. Here, we demonstrate that syngeneic transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells encoding proinsulin transgenically targeted to APCs totally prevents the development of spontaneous autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. This antigen-specific immunotherapeutic strategy could be applied to prevent T1D and other autoimmune diseases in humans.
Raymond J. Steptoe, Janine M. Ritchie, Leonard C. Harrison
Insulin is a major target of the autoimmune response associated with destruction of pancreatic β cells in type 1 diabetes. A peptide that spans the junction of the insulin B chain and the connecting (C) peptide in proinsulin has been reported to stimulate T cells from humans at risk for type 1 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes–prone NOD mice. Here we show that proinsulin B24–C36 peptide binds to I-Ag7, the MHC class II molecule of the NOD mouse, and, after intranasal administration, induces regulatory CD4+ T cells that, in the absence of CD8+ T cells, block the adoptive transfer of diabetes. Curiously, however, intranasal B24–C36 did not inhibit development of spontaneous diabetes in treated mice. We then determined that B24–C36, and its core sequence B25–C34, bind to Kd, the NOD mouse MHC class I molecule, and elicit CD8+ CTLs. When the CD8+ T lymphocyte epitope was truncated at the C34 valine anchor residue for binding to Kd, the residual CD4+ T cell epitope, B24–C32/33, significantly inhibited diabetes development after a single intranasal dose. This study identifies a novel CTL epitope in proinsulin and demonstrates that the therapeutic potential of a “tolerogenic” autoantigen peptide can be compromised by the presence of an integral CTL epitope.
Nathan R. Martinez, Petra Augstein, Antonis K. Moustakas, George K. Papadopoulos, Silvia Gregori, Luciano Adorini, David C. Jackson, Leonard C. Harrison
Protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) is a scaffolding protein that targets protein phosphatase 1α (PP1α) to glycogen, and links it to enzymes involved in glycogen synthesis and degradation. We generated mice that possess a heterozygous deletion of the PTG gene. These mice have reduced glycogen stores in adipose tissue, liver, heart, and skeletal muscle, corresponding with decreased glycogen synthase activity and glycogen synthesis rate. Although young PTG heterozygous mice initially demonstrate normal glucose tolerance, progressive glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance develop with aging. Insulin resistance in older PTG heterozygous mice correlates with a significant increase in muscle triglyceride content, with a corresponding attenuation of insulin receptor signaling. These data suggest that PTG plays a critical role in glycogen synthesis and is necessary to maintain the appropriate metabolic balance for the partitioning of fuel substrates between glycogen and lipid.
Sean M. Crosson, Ahmir Khan, John Printen, Jeffrey E. Pessin, Alan R. Saltiel
Mice with 50% Pdx1, a homeobox gene critical for pancreatic development, had worsening glucose tolerance with age and reduced insulin release in response to glucose, KCl, and arginine from the perfused pancreas. Surprisingly, insulin secretion in perifusion or static incubation experiments in response to glucose and other secretagogues was similar in islets isolated from Pdx1+/– mice compared with Pdx1+/+ littermate controls. Glucose sensing and islet Ca2+ responses were also normal. Depolarization-evoked exocytosis and Ca2+ currents in single Pdx1+/– cells were not different from controls, arguing against a ubiquitous β cell stimulus-secretion coupling defect. However, isolated Pdx1+/– islets and dispersed β cells were significantly more susceptible to apoptosis at basal glucose concentrations than Pdx1+/+ islets. BclXL and Bcl-2 expression were reduced in Pdx1+/– islets. In vivo, increased apoptosis was associated with abnormal islet architecture, positive TUNEL, active caspase-3, and lymphocyte infiltration. Although similar in young mice, both β cell mass and islet number failed to increase with age and were approximately 50% less than controls by one year. These results suggest that an increase in apoptosis, with abnormal regulation of islet number and β cell mass, represents a key mechanism whereby partial PDX1 deficiency leads to an organ-level defect in insulin secretion and diabetes.
James D. Johnson, Noreen T. Ahmed, Dan S. Luciani, Zhiqiang Han, Hung Tran, Jun Fujita, Stanley Misler, Helena Edlund, Kenneth S. Polonsky
Adipose tissue lipolysis supplies circulating FFAs, which largely meet lipid fuel needs; however, excess FFAs, can contribute to the adverse health consequences of obesity. Because “normal” FFA release has not been well defined, average (mean of 4 days) basal FFA release and its potential regulation factors were measured in 50 lean and obese adults (25 women). Resting energy expenditure (REE), but not body composition, predicted most of the interindividual variation in FFA release. There was a significant, positive linear relationship between palmitate release and REE; however, women released approximately 40% more FFA than men relative to REE. Neither plasma palmitate concentrations nor respiratory quotient by indirect calorimetry differed between men and women. Glucose release rates were not different in men and women whether related to REE or fat free mass. These findings indicate that nonoxidative FFA clearance is greater in women than in men. This could be an advantage at times of increased fuel needs. We conclude that “normal” adipose tissue lipolysis is different in men and women and that the fuel export role of adipose tissue in obesity will need to be reassessed.
Søren Nielsen, ZengKui Guo, Jeanine B. Albu, Samuel Klein, Peter C. O’Brien, Michael D. Jensen
Bone marrow harbors cells that have the capacity to differentiate into cells of nonhematopoietic tissues of neuronal, endothelial, epithelial, and muscular phenotype. Here we demonstrate that bone marrow–derived cells populate pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Bone marrow cells from male mice that express, using a CRE-LoxP system, an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) if the insulin gene is actively transcribed were transplanted into lethally irradiated recipient female mice. Four to six weeks after transplantation, recipient mice revealed Y chromosome and EGFP double-positive cells in their pancreatic islets. Neither bone marrow cells nor circulating peripheral blood nucleated cells of donor or recipient mice had any detectable EGFP. EGFP-positive cells purified from islets express insulin, glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2), and transcription factors typically found in pancreatic β cells. Furthermore, in vitro these bone marrow–derived cells exhibit — as do pancreatic β cells — glucose-dependent and incretin-enhanced insulin secretion. These results indicate that bone marrow harbors cells that have the capacity to differentiate into functionally competent pancreatic endocrine β cells and that represent a source for cell-based treatment of diabetes mellitus. The results generated with the CRE-LoxP system also suggest that in vivo cell fusion is an unlikely explanation for the “transdifferentiation” of bone marrow–derived cells into differentiated cell phenotypes.
Andreea Ianus, George G. Holz, Neil D. Theise, Mehboob A. Hussain