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Chronic hyperglycemia is thought to be the major stimulator of retinal dysfunction in diabetic retinopathy (DR). Thus, many diabetes-related systemic factors have been overlooked as inducers of DR pathology. Cell culture models of retinal cell types are frequently used to mechanistically study DR, but appropriate stimulators of DR-like factors are difficult to identify. Furthermore, elevated glucose, a gold standard for cell culture treatments, yields little to no response from many primary human retinal cells. Thus, the goal of this project was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the free fatty acid, palmitic acid and compare its use alone and in combination with elevated glucose as a stimulus for human Müller cells, a retinal glial cell type that is activated early in DR pathogenesis and uniquely responsive to fatty acids. Using RNA sequencing, we identified a variety of DR-relevant pathways, including NFκB signaling and inflammation, intracellular lipid signaling, angiogenesis, and MAPK signaling, that were stimulated by palmitic acid, while elevated glucose alone did not significantly alter any diabetes-relevant pathways. Co-treatment of high glucose with palmitic acid potentiated the expression of several DR-relevant angiogenic and inflammatory targets, including PTGS2 (COX-2) and CXCL8 (IL-8).
Experiments in a variety of cell types, including hepatocytes, consistently demonstrate the acutely lipotoxic effects of saturated fatty acids, such as palmitate (PA), but not unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleate (OA). PA+OA co-treatment fully prevents PA lipotoxicity through mechanisms that are not well defined but which have been previously attributed to more efficient esterification and sequestration of PA into triglycerides (TGs) when OA is abundant. However, this hypothesis has never been directly tested by experimentally modulating the relative partitioning of PA/OA between TGs and other lipid fates in hepatocytes. In this study, we found that addition of OA to PA-treated hepatocytes enhanced TG synthesis, reduced total PA uptake and PA lipid incorporation, decreased phospholipid saturation and rescued PA-induced ER stress and lipoapoptosis. Knockdown of diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), the rate-limiting step in TG synthesis, significantly reduced TG accumulation without impairing OA-mediated rescue of PA lipotoxicity. In both wild-type and DGAT-knockdown hepatocytes, OA co-treatment significantly reduced PA lipid incorporation and overall phospholipid saturation compared to PA-treated hepatocytes. These data indicate that OA's protective effects do not require increased conversion of PA into inert TGs, but instead may be due to OA's ability to compete against PA for cellular uptake and/or esterification and, thereby, normalize the composition of cellular lipids in the presence of a toxic PA load.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Formation of stable, long-circulating siRNA polyplexes is a significant challenge in translation of intravenously-delivered, polymeric RNAi cancer therapies. Here, we report that siRNA hydrophobization through conjugation to palmitic acid (siPA) improves stability, in vivo pharmacokinetics, and tumor gene silencing of PEGylated nanopolyplexes (siPA-NPs) with balanced cationic and hydrophobic content in the core relative to the analogous polyplexes formed with unmodified siRNA, si-NPs. Hydrophobized siPA loaded into the NPs at a lower charge ratio (N(+):P(-)) relative to unmodified siRNA, and siPA-NPs had superior resistance to siRNA cargo unpackaging in comparison to si-NPs upon exposure to the competing polyanion heparin and serum. In vitro, siPA-NPs increased uptake in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells (100% positive cells vs. 60% positive cells) but exhibited equivalent silencing of the model gene luciferase relative to si-NPs. In vivo in a murine model, the circulation half-life of intravenously-injected siPA-NPs was double that of si-NPs, resulting in a >2-fold increase in siRNA biodistribution to orthotopic MDA-MB-231 mammary tumors. The increased circulation half-life of siPA-NPs was dependent upon the hydrophobic interactions of the siRNA and the NP core component and not just siRNA hydrophobization, as siPA did not contribute to improved circulation time relative to unmodified siRNA when delivered using polyplexes with a fully cationic core. Intravenous delivery of siPA-NPs also achieved significant silencing of the model gene luciferase in vivo (∼40% at 24 h after one treatment and ∼60% at 48 h after two treatments) in the murine MDA-MB-231 tumor model, while si-NPs only produced a significant silencing effect after two treatments. These data suggest that stabilization of PEGylated siRNA polyplexes through a combination of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions between siRNA cargo and the polymeric carrier improves in vivo pharmacokinetics and tumor gene silencing relative to conventional formulations that are stabilized solely by electrostatic interactions.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs frequently in the setting of metabolic syndrome, but the factors leading to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are not fully understood. This study investigated Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling in human liver with the goal of delineating whether activation of this pathway segregates those with nonalcoholic fatty liver from those with NASH. Experiments were performed using liver biopsy tissue obtained from class III obese subjects undergoing bariatric surgery, and extended to an immortalized human hepatocyte HepaRG cell line and primary human hepatocytes. The bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and total free fatty acid levels were significantly increased in plasma of NASH patients. TLR4 mRNA levels were significantly increased in subjects with NASH compared with NAFL as was interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 3 in the myeloid differentiation factor 88-independent signaling pathway. In HepaRG cells, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation and functional activity increased following treatment with the fatty acid, palmitate, and following exposure to LPS compared with hepatocytes stimulated with a lipogenic treatment that induced de novo lipogenesis. Palmitate and LPS induction of NF-κB activity was partially attenuated by chemical- or small-interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of TLR4. Expression of TLR4 and its downstream mediators was upregulated with palmitate and LPS. Similar results were observed using primary human hepatocytes from a lean donor. Interestingly, NF-κB activity assays showed obese donor hepatocytes were resistant to chemical TLR4 inhibition. In conclusion, TLR4 expression is upregulated in a large cohort of NASH patients, compared with those with NAFL, and this occurs within the setting of increased LPS and fatty acids.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Clinical translation of siRNA therapeutics has been limited by the inability to effectively overcome the rigorous delivery barriers associated with intracellular-acting biologics. Here, to address both potency and longevity of siRNA gene silencing, pH-responsive micellar nanoparticle (NP) carriers loaded with siRNA conjugated to palmitic acid (siRNA-PA) were investigated as a combined approach to improve siRNA endosomal escape and stability. Conjugation to hydrophobic PA improved NP loading efficiency relative to unmodified siRNA, enabling complete packaging of siRNA-PA at a lower polymer:siRNA ratio. PA conjugation also increased intracellular uptake of the nucleic acid cargo by 35-fold and produced a 3.1-fold increase in intracellular half-life. The higher uptake and improved retention of siRNA-PA NPs correlated to a 2- and 11-fold decrease in gene silencing IC50 in comparison to siRNA NPs in fibroblasts and mesenchymal stem cells, respectively, for both the model gene luciferase and the therapeutically relevant gene prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 2 (PHD2) . PA conjugation also significantly increased longevity of silencing activity following a single treatment in fibroblasts. Thus, conjugation of PA to siRNA paired with endosomolytic NPs is a promising approach to enhance the functional efficacy of siRNA in tissue regenerative and other applications.
Copyright © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
High levels of saturated FAs (SFAs) are acutely toxic to a variety of cell types, including hepatocytes, and have been associated with diseases such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. SFA accumulation has been previously shown to degrade endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function leading to other manifestations of the lipoapoptotic cascade. We hypothesized that dysfunctional phospholipid (PL) metabolism is an initiating factor in this ER stress response. Treatment of either primary hepatocytes or H4IIEC3 cells with the SFA palmitate resulted in dramatic dilation of the ER membrane, coinciding with other markers of organelle dysfunction. This was accompanied by increased de novo glycerolipid synthesis, significant elevation of dipalmitoyl phosphatidic acid, diacylglycerol, and total PL content in H4IIEC3 cells. Supplementation with oleate (OA) reversed these markers of palmitate (PA)-induced lipotoxicity. OA/PA cotreatment modulated the distribution of PA between lipid classes, increasing the flux toward triacylglycerols while reducing its incorporation into PLs. Similar trends were demonstrated in both primary hepatocytes and the H4IIEC3 hepatoma cell line. Overall, these findings suggest that modifying the FA composition of structural PLs can protect hepatocytes from PA-induced ER stress and associated lipotoxicity.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
We identified acyl-coenzyme A-binding protein (ACBP) as part of a proteomic signature predicting the risk of having lung cancer. Because ACBP is known to regulate β-oxidation, which in turn controls cellular proliferation, we hypothesized that ACBP contributes to regulation of cellular proliferation and survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by modulating β-oxidation. We used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) to confirm the tissue localization of ABCP in pre-invasive and invasive NSCLCs. We correlated ACBP gene expression levels in NSCLCs with clinical outcomes. In loss-of-function studies, we tested the effect of the downregulation of ACBP on cellular proliferation and apoptosis in normal bronchial and NSCLC cell lines. Using tritiated-palmitate ((3)H-palmitate), we measured β-oxidation levels and tested the effect of etomoxir, a β-oxidation inhibitor, on proliferation and apoptosis. MALDI-IMS and IHC analysis confirmed that ACBP is overexpressed in pre-invasive and invasive lung cancers. High ACBP gene expression levels in NSCLCs correlated with worse survival (HR = 1.73). We observed a 40% decrease in β-oxidation and concordant decreases in proliferation and increases in apoptosis in ACBP-depleted NSCLC cells as compared with bronchial airway epithelial cells. Inhibition of β-oxidation by etomoxir in ACBP-overexpressing cells produced dose-dependent decrease in proliferation and increase in apoptosis (P = 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively). These data suggest a role for ACBP in controlling lung cancer progression by regulating β-oxidation.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.
Cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2) oxygenate arachidonic acid (AA) to generate prostaglandins. The enzymes associate with one leaflet of the membrane bilayer. We utilized nanodisc technology to investigate the function of human (hu) COX-2 and murine (mu) COX-2 in a lipid bilayer environment. huCOX-2 and muCOX-2 were incorporated into nanodiscs composed of POPC, POPS, DOPC, or DOPS phospholipids. Size-exclusion chromatography and negative stain electron microscopy confirm that a single COX-2 homodimer is incorporated into the nanodisc scaffold. Nanodisc-reconstituted COX-2 exhibited similar kinetic profiles for the oxygenation of AA, eicosapentaenoic acid, and 1-arachidonoyl glycerol compared to those derived using detergent solubilized enzyme. Moreover, changing the phospholipid composition of the nanodisc did not alter the ability of COX-2 to oxygenate AA or to be inhibited by various nonselective NSAIDs or celecoxib. The cyclooxygenase activity of nanodisc-reconstituted COX-2 was reduced by aspirin acetylation and potentiated by the nonsubstrate fatty acid palmitic acid to the same extent as detergent solubilized enzyme, independent of phospholipid composition. The stabilization and maintenance of activity afforded by the incorporation of the enzyme into nanodiscs generates a native-like lipid bilayer environment to pursue studies of COX utilizing solution-based techniques that are otherwise not tractable in the presence of detergents.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND- Palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid (18:0), palmitoleic acid (16:1n-7), and oleic acid (18:1n-9) are major saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that affect cellular signaling and metabolic pathways. They are synthesized via de novo lipogenesis and are the main saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet. Levels of these fatty acids have been linked to diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. METHODS AND RESULTS- Genome-wide association studies were conducted in 5 population-based cohorts comprising 8961 participants of European ancestry to investigate the association of common genetic variation with plasma levels of these 4 fatty acids. We identified polymorphisms in 7 novel loci associated with circulating levels of ≥1 of these fatty acids. ALG14 (asparagine-linked glycosylation 14 homolog) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:0 (P=2.7×10(-11)) and lower 18:0 (P=2.2×10(-18)). FADS1 and FADS2 (desaturases) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:1n-7 (P=6.6×10(-13)) and 18:1n-9 (P=2.2×10(-32)) and lower 18:0 (P=1.3×10(-20)). LPGAT1 (lysophosphatidylglycerol acyltransferase) polymorphisms were associated with lower 18:0 (P=2.8×10(-9)). GCKR (glucokinase regulator; P=9.8×10(-10)) and HIF1AN (factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor-1; P=5.7×10(-9)) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:1n-7, whereas PKD2L1 (polycystic kidney disease 2-like 1; P=5.7×10(-15)) and a locus on chromosome 2 (not near known genes) were associated with lower 16:1n-7 (P=4.1×10(-8)). CONCLUSIONS- Our findings provide novel evidence that common variations in genes with diverse functions, including protein-glycosylation, polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, phospholipid modeling, and glucose- and oxygen-sensing pathways, are associated with circulating levels of 4 fatty acids in the de novo lipogenesis pathway. These results expand our knowledge of genetic factors relevant to de novo lipogenesis and fatty acid biology.
The endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and the anandamide-congener, palmitoylethanolamide, are all substrates for the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase, and are endowed with anti-inflammatory actions exerted via cannabinoid receptors or, in the case of palmitoylethanolamide, also via other targets. We investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system during granuloma formation, a model of chronic inflammation sustained by neoangiogenesis, in rats. Granuloma was induced by subcutaneous lambda-carrageenin-soaked sponge implants on the back of male Wistar rats. After 96h, granulomas were detached and tissue formation was evaluated as wet weight; the endocannabinoid system was evaluated by the measurement of endocannabinoid levels, by LC-MS, and of cannabinoid receptor expression, by western blot analysis. Moreover, angiogenesis was evaluated by the measurement of both hemoglobin content and CD31 protein expression. Arachidonoylserotonin (AA-5-HT, 12.5-50mug/ml), an inhibitor of FAAH, and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA, 200-800mug/ml) were given locally only once at the time of implantation. Granuloma formation was accompanied by a significant decrease in endocannabinoid and palmitoylethanolamide levels paralleled by increased levels of the fatty acid amide hydrolase, responsible for their breakdown. Moreover, an increase of cannabinoid receptor expression was also observed. Pharmacological elevation of endocannabinoids and palmitoylethanolamide, obtained separately by arachidonoylserotonin and exogenous palmitoylethanolamide treatment, dose-dependently reduced inflammatory hallmarks including tumor necrosis factor-alpha as well as granuloma-dependent angiogenesis. The effect of arachidonoylserotonin was accompanied by near-normalization of 2-arachidonoylglycerol and palmitoylethanolamide levels in the tissue. These findings suggest that chronic inflammation might develop also because of endocannabinoid and palmitoylethanolamide tissue concentration impairment, the correction of which might be exploited to develop new anti-inflammatory drugs.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.