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AIMS - Ghrelin is a gastric-derived hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion and has a multi-faceted role in the regulation of energy homeostasis, including glucose metabolism. Circulating ghrelin concentrations are modulated in response to nutritional status, but responses to ghrelin in altered metabolic states are poorly understood. We investigated the metabolic effects of ghrelin in obesity and early after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We assessed central and peripheral metabolic responses to acyl ghrelin infusion (1 pmol kg min ) in healthy, lean subjects (n = 9) and non-diabetic, obese subjects (n = 9) before and 2 weeks after RYGB. Central responses were assessed by GH and pancreatic polypeptide (surrogate for vagal activity) secretion. Peripheral responses were assessed by hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity during a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp.
RESULTS - Ghrelin-stimulated GH secretion was attenuated in obese subjects, but was restored by RYGB to a response similar to that of lean subjects. The heightened pancreatic polypeptide response to ghrelin infusion in the obese was attenuated after RYGB. Hepatic glucose production and hepatic insulin sensitivity were not altered by ghrelin infusion in RYGB subjects. Skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity was impaired to a similar degree in lean, obese and post-RYGB individuals in response to ghrelin infusion.
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that obesity is characterized by abnormal central, but not peripheral, responsiveness to ghrelin that can be restored early after RYGB before significant weight loss. Further work is necessary to fully elucidate the role of ghrelin in the metabolic changes that occur in obesity and following RYGB.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) family members are integrated into supramolecular complexes that modulate their location and function at excitatory synapses. However, a lack of structural information beyond isolated receptors or fragments thereof currently limits the mechanistic understanding of physiological iGluR signaling. Here, we report structural and functional analyses of the prototypical molecular bridge linking postsynaptic iGluR δ2 (GluD2) and presynaptic β-neurexin 1 (β-NRX1) via Cbln1, a C1q-like synaptic organizer. We show how Cbln1 hexamers "anchor" GluD2 amino-terminal domain dimers to monomeric β-NRX1. This arrangement promotes synaptogenesis and is essential for D: -serine-dependent GluD2 signaling in vivo, which underlies long-term depression of cerebellar parallel fiber-Purkinje cell (PF-PC) synapses and motor coordination in developing mice. These results lead to a model where protein and small-molecule ligands synergistically control synaptic iGluR function.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Clostridium perfringens ε-toxin (ETX) is a potent pore-forming toxin responsible for a central nervous system (CNS) disease in ruminant animals with characteristics of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and white matter injury. ETX has been proposed as a potential causative agent for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a human disease that begins with BBB breakdown and injury to myelin forming cells of the CNS. The receptor for ETX is unknown. Here we show that both binding of ETX to mammalian cells and cytotoxicity requires the tetraspan proteolipid Myelin and Lymphocyte protein (MAL). While native Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells are resistant to ETX, exogenous expression of MAL in CHO cells confers both ETX binding and susceptibility to ETX-mediated cell death. Cells expressing rat MAL are ~100 times more sensitive to ETX than cells expressing similar levels of human MAL. Insertion of the FLAG sequence into the second extracellular loop of MAL abolishes ETX binding and cytotoxicity. ETX is known to bind specifically and with high affinity to intestinal epithelium, renal tubules, brain endothelial cells and myelin. We identify specific binding of ETX to these structures and additionally show binding to retinal microvasculature and the squamous epithelial cells of the sclera in wild-type mice. In contrast, there is a complete absence of ETX binding to tissues from MAL knockout (MAL-/-) mice. Furthermore, MAL-/- mice exhibit complete resistance to ETX at doses in excess of 1000 times the symptomatic dose for wild-type mice. We conclude that MAL is required for both ETX binding and cytotoxicity.
BACKGROUND - Chronic systemic inflammation is common in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis (CKD5D) and has been considered a key mediator of the increased cardiovascular risk in this patient population. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) will attenuate the systemic inflammatory process in CKD5D patients.
METHODS - The design was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled pilot trial (NCT00655525). Thirty-eight patients were randomly assigned in a 1 : 1 fashion to receive 2.9 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5, n-3) plus docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6, n-3) versus placebo for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was change in pro-inflammatory chemokines measured by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Secondary outcomes were changes in systemic inflammatory markers. Analysis of covariance was used to compare percent change from baseline to 12 weeks.
RESULTS - Thirty-one patients completed 12 weeks and three patients completed 6 weeks of the study. Median age was 52 (interquartile range 45, 60) years, 74% were African-American and 79% were male. Supplementation of ω-3 PUFAs effectively decreased the LPS-induced PBMC expression of RANTES (Regulated upon Activation, Normal T cell Expressed and Secreted) and MCP-1 (Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1; unadjusted P = 0.04 and 0.06; adjusted for demographics P = 0.02 and 0.05, respectively). There was no significant effect of the intervention on serum inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and procalcitonin).
CONCLUSIONS - The results of this pilot study suggest that supplementation of ω-3 PUFAs is beneficial in decreasing the levels of endothelial chemokines, RANTES and MCP-1. Studies of larger sample size and longer duration are required to further evaluate effects of ω-3 PUFAs on systemic markers of inflammation, other metabolic parameters and clinical outcomes, particularly cardiovascular outcomes in CKD5D patients.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease for which there is an ever-expanding body of genetic and related pathophysiological information on disease pathogenesis. Many germline gene mutations have now been described, including mutations in the gene coding bone morphogenic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) and related genes. Recent advanced gene-sequencing methods have facilitated the discovery of additional genes with mutations among those with and those without familial forms of PAH (CAV1, KCNK3, EIF2AK4). The reduced penetrance, variable expressivity, and female predominance of PAH suggest that genetic, genomic, and other factors modify disease expression. These multi-faceted variations are an active area of investigation in the field, including but not limited to common genetic variants and epigenetic processes, and may provide novel opportunities for pharmacological intervention in the near future. They also highlight the need for a systems-oriented multi-level approach to incorporate the multitude of biological variations now associated with PAH. Ultimately, an in-depth understanding of the genetic factors relevant to PAH provides the opportunity for improved patient and family counseling about this devastating disease.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) regulates a wide range of cellular functions, including programmed cell death, axonal growth and degeneration, cell proliferation, myelination, and synaptic plasticity. The multiplicity of cellular functions governed by the receptor arises from the variety of ligands and co-receptors which associate with p75(NTR) and regulate its signaling. P75(NTR) promotes survival through interactions with Trk receptors, inhibits axonal regeneration via partnerships with Nogo receptor (Nogo-R) and Lingo-1, and promotes apoptosis through association with Sortilin. Signals downstream of these interactions are further modulated through regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) of p75(NTR) and by interactions with numerous cytosolic partners. In this chapter, we discuss the intricate signaling mechanisms of p75(NTR), emphasizing how these signals are differentially regulated to mediate these diverse cellular functions.
Presynaptic serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) transporters (SERT) regulate 5-HT signaling via antidepressant-sensitive clearance of released neurotransmitter. Polymorphisms in the human SERT gene (SLC6A4) have been linked to risk for multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism. Using BXD recombinant inbred mice, a genetic reference population that can support the discovery of novel determinants of complex traits, merging collective trait assessments with bioinformatics approaches, we examine phenotypic and molecular networks associated with SERT gene and protein expression. Correlational analyses revealed a network of genes that significantly associated with SERT mRNA levels. We quantified SERT protein expression levels and identified region- and gender-specific quantitative trait loci (QTLs), one of which associated with male midbrain SERT protein expression, centered on the protocadherin-15 gene (Pcdh15), overlapped with a QTL for midbrain 5-HT levels. Pcdh15 was also the only QTL-associated gene whose midbrain mRNA expression significantly associated with both SERT protein and 5-HT traits, suggesting an unrecognized role of the cell adhesion protein in the development or function of 5-HT neurons. To test this hypothesis, we assessed SERT protein and 5-HT traits in the Pcdh15 functional null line (Pcdh15(av-) (3J) ), studies that revealed a strong, negative influence of Pcdh15 on these phenotypes. Together, our findings illustrate the power of multidimensional profiling of recombinant inbred lines in the analysis of molecular networks that support synaptic signaling, and that, as in the case of Pcdh15, can reveal novel relationships that may underlie risk for mental illness.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.
In shotgun proteomics, database search algorithms rely on fragmentation models to predict fragment ions that should be observed for a given peptide sequence. The most widely used strategy (Naive model) is oversimplified, cleaving all peptide bonds with equal probability to produce fragments of all charges below that of the precursor ion. More accurate models, based on fragmentation simulation, are too computationally intensive for on-the-fly use in database search algorithms. We have created an ordinal-regression-based model called Basophile that takes fragment size and basic residue distribution into account when determining the charge retention during CID/higher-energy collision induced dissociation (HCD) of charged peptides. This model improves the accuracy of predictions by reducing the number of unnecessary fragments that are routinely predicted for highly-charged precursors. Basophile increased the identification rates by 26% (on average) over the Naive model, when analyzing triply-charged precursors from ion trap data. Basophile achieves simplicity and speed by solving the prediction problem with an ordinal regression equation, which can be incorporated into any database search software for shotgun proteomic identification.
Copyright © 2013. Production and hosting by Elsevier Ltd.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common cancers worldwide, usually develops in a liver already suffering from chronic damages, often cirrhosis. There has been marked progress in the treatment of HCC. However, effective treatments are limited to patients with less advanced HCC. The detection of HCC at an early stage is still a prerequisite for improved prognosis. To address this problem, a variety of screening modalities are used, including measurement of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and ultrasonography (US) at regular intervals in high-risk populations. Unfortunately, poor sensitivity and specificity of AFP and the operator-dependency of US limit the value of either test to diagnose early-stage lesions. Other tests, including Lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive AFP and des-gamma carboxyprothrombin (DCP), are currently being evaluated and may be superior to current tests. Recent developments in gene-expressing microarrays and proteomics promise even more potential diagnostic options. The strict application of the Early Detection Research Network methodology will aid in the assessment of their diagnostic utility, and provide an objective basis for the assessment of their clinical utility.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Mitochondrial isoenzyme of creatine kinase (MtCK) is reportedly highly expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Clinical relevance of serum MtCK activity in patients with HCC was assessed using a novel immuno-inhibition method.
METHODS - Among patients with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or C virus, 147 patients with HCC (12 with the first occurrence and 135 with recurrence) and 92 patients without HCC were enrolled.
RESULTS - Serum MtCK activity was higher in cirrhotic patients with HCC than in those without HCC or healthy subjects. Elevated serum MtCK activity in HCC patients decreased after radiofrequency ablation. In case of prediction of HCC, MtCK had a sensitivity of 62.6% and a specificity of 70.7% at a cut-off point of 8.0 U/L, with an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.722 vs. 0.713 for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and 0.764 for des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP). Among the HCC patients, serum MtCK activity was elevated in 52.9% individuals with serum AFP level < 20 ng/ml and 63.2% individuals with serum DCP level < 40 mAu/ml. Even in patients with a single HCC ≤ 2 cm, the sensitivity of serum MtCK activity for the prediction of HCC was 64.4%, which was comparable to the overall sensitivity. This increased activity was due to an increase in ubiquitous MtCK, not sarcomeric MtCK, and the enhanced mRNA expression of ubiquitous MtCK was observed in cell lines originating from HCCs in contrast to healthy liver tissues.
CONCLUSIONS - Serum MtCK activity merits consideration as a novel marker for HCC to be further tested as for its diagnostic and prognostic power.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.