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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is among the most common and costly disorders worldwide. The goal of current medical management for T2D is to transiently ameliorate hyperglycemia through daily dosing of one or more antidiabetic drugs. Hypoglycemia and weight gain are common side effects of therapy, and sustained disease remission is not obtainable with nonsurgical approaches. On the basis of the potent glucose-lowering response elicited by activation of brain fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors, we explored the antidiabetic efficacy of centrally administered FGF1, which, unlike other FGF peptides, activates all FGF receptor subtypes. We report that a single intracerebroventricular injection of FGF1 at a dose one-tenth of that needed for antidiabetic efficacy following peripheral injection induces sustained diabetes remission in both mouse and rat models of T2D. This antidiabetic effect is not secondary to weight loss, does not increase the risk of hypoglycemia, and involves a novel and incompletely understood mechanism for increasing glucose clearance from the bloodstream. We conclude that the brain has an inherent potential to induce diabetes remission and that brain FGF receptors are potential pharmacological targets for achieving this goal.
Agonism of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) has been effective at treating aspects of addictive behavior for a number of abused substances, including cocaine. However, the molecular mechanisms and brain circuits underlying the therapeutic effects of GLP-1R signaling on cocaine actions remain elusive. Recent evidence has revealed that endogenous signaling at the GLP-1R within the forebrain lateral septum (LS) acts to reduce cocaine-induced locomotion and cocaine conditioned place preference, both considered dopamine (DA)-associated behaviors. DA terminals project from the ventral tegmental area to the LS and express the DA transporter (DAT). Cocaine acts by altering DA bioavailability by targeting the DAT. Therefore, GLP-1R signaling might exert effects on DAT to account for its regulation of cocaine-induced behaviors. We show that the GLP-1R is highly expressed within the LS. GLP-1, in LS slices, significantly enhances DAT surface expression and DAT function. Exenatide (Ex-4), a long-lasting synthetic analog of GLP-1 abolished cocaine-induced elevation of DA. Interestingly, acute administration of Ex-4 reduces septal expression of the retrograde messenger 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), as well as a product of its presynaptic degradation, arachidonic acid (AA). Notably, AA reduces septal DAT function pointing to AA as a novel regulator of central DA homeostasis. We further show that AA oxidation product γ-ketoaldehyde (γ-KA) forms adducts with the DAT and reduces DAT plasma membrane expression and function. These results support a mechanism in which postsynaptic septal GLP-1R activation regulates 2-AG levels to alter presynaptic DA homeostasis and cocaine actions through AA.
Oxidative stress (OS) in the retina plays an important role in the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Our previous work has shown that OS can quantitatively regulate the expression of AP-1 family genes in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). In this study, we sought to determine whether AP-1 genes can be used as cellular biomarkers of OS to evaluate the efficacy of ascorbate, the major aqueous-phase antioxidant in the blood, in reducing OS in RPE cells in vitro. Human ARPE19 cells were pretreated with increasing levels of ascorbate (0-500 µM) for 3 days which was then removed from the medium. OS was induced 24 h later by the addition of hydrogen peroxide for 1-4 h, to bring the final media concentration of H(2)O(2) to 500 µM. FosB, c-Fos, and ATF3 gene expression was examined from 0 to 24 h after OS. Pretreatment with 200 µM ascorbate maximally reduced the transcriptional OS response of AP-1 genes by up to 87% after 1 and 4 h, compared to controls. One hundred micromolar of ascorbate provided a statistically significant, but far more modest effect. Ascorbate supplementation of 100-200 µM appears to strongly inhibit OS-induced activation of AP-1 in vitro, but pretreatment with higher levels of ascorbate conferred no additional advantage. These studies suggest that there are optimal levels of antioxidant supplementation to the RPE in vitro. Laboratory assays based upon transcription factor biomarkers may be useful to define beneficial molecular responses to new antioxidants, alternative dosing regimens, and to explore therapeutic efficacy in OS models in vitro.
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Macrophages are essential components of innate immunity, and apoptosis of these cells impairs mucosal defense to microbes. Helicobacter pylori is a gastric pathogen that infects half of the world population and causes peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. The host inflammatory response fails to eradicate the organism. We have reported that H. pylori induces apoptosis of macrophages by generation of polyamines from ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), which is dependent on c-Myc as a transcriptional enhancer. We have now demonstrated that expression of c-Myc requires phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of ERK, which results in phosphorylation of c-Fos and formation of a specific activator protein (AP)-1 complex. Electromobility shift assay and immunoprecipitation revealed a previously unrecognized complex of phospho-c-Fos (pc-Fos) and c-Jun in the nucleus. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer demonstrated the interaction of pc-Fos and c-Jun. The capacity of this AP-1 complex to bind to putative AP-1 sequences was demonstrated by oligonucleotide pulldown and fluorescence polarization. Binding of the pc-Fos.c-Jun complex to the c-Myc promoter was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. A dominant-negative c-Fos inhibited H. pylori-induced expression of c-Myc and ODC and apoptosis. H. pylori infection of mice induced a rapid infiltration of macrophages into the stomach. Concomitant apoptosis depleted these cells, and this was associated with formation of a pc-Fos.c-Jun complex. Treatment of mice with an inhibitor of ERK phosphorylation attenuated phosphorylation of c-Fos, expression of ODC, and apoptosis in gastric macrophages. A unique AP-1 complex in gastric macrophages contributes to the immune escape of H. pylori.
The purpose of this study was to characterize the early molecular responses to quantified levels of oxidative stress (OS) in the human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Confluent ARPE-19 cells were cultured for 3 days in defined medium to stabilize gene expression. The cells were exposed to varying levels of OS (0-500 microM H(2)O(2)) for 1-8 h and gene expression was followed for up to 24-h after OS. Using real-time qPCR, we quantified the expression of immediate early genes from the AP-1 transcription factor family and other genes involved in regulating the redox status of the cells. Significant and quantitative changes were seen in the expression of six AP-1 transcription factor genes, FosB, c-Fos, Fra-1, c-Jun, JunB, and ATF3 from 1-8 h following OS. The peak level of induced transcription from OS varied from 2- to 128-fold over the first 4 h, depending on the gene and magnitude of OS. Increased transcription at higher levels of OS was also seen for up to 8-h for some of these genes. Protein translation was examined for 24-h following OS using Western blotting methods, and compared to the qPCR responses. We identified six AP-1 family genes that demonstrate quantitative upregulation of expression in response to OS. Two distinct types of quantifiable OS-specific responses were observed; dose-dependent responses, and threshold responses. Our studies show that different levels of OS can regulate the expression of AP-1 transcription factors quantitatively in the human RPE in vitro.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy requires the orchestration of highly regulated molecular pathways; a change in the abundance or activity of a specific gene product has the potential to adversely affect this process. The nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) transcription factors represent a family of gene transcription signaling intermediates that translate receptor-dependent signaling events into specific transcriptional responses using the Ras/Raf pathway.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Eight-week old NFAT4 knockout (KO) mice and their wild type counterparts (Balb-c) underwent two-thirds partial hepatectomy. The animals were sacrificed and their livers were harvested at specific time points during regeneration. Recovery of liver mass was measured for each time point. PCR analysis was used to analyze expression levels of the immediate early genes c-fos, c-jun and c-myc as well as downstream effectors of NFAT4 including FGF-18 and BMP-4.
RESULTS - Hepatocyte proliferation and thus liver regeneration following hepatectomy was suppressed in NFAT4 knockout (KO) mice. Statistical significance was reached at 1 h, 7 d, and 10 d (P < 0.05) with a 22% median reduction in regeneration of liver mass in the NFAT4 KO mice by 10 d, at which time liver regeneration should be complete in mice. The immediate early gene c-fos was elevated in NFAT4 KO mice during early regeneration with a median value at 1 h and 1 d of 1.60E-08 and 1.09E-08 versus 6.10E-09 and 1.55E-09 in the Balb-c mice. C-jun, in contrast, was elevated during late regeneration in the NFAT4 KO mice (3.40E-09 and 5.67E-09 at 7 and 10 d, respectively) in comparison with the Balb-c mice (7.76E-10 and 1.24E-09, respectively.). NFAT2 was also up-regulated in the NFAT4 KO mice; however, no changes were detected in its downstream effectors, CCR1 and CCL3.
CONCLUSIONS - We demonstrated that NFAT4 deficiency impairs hepatic regeneration in a murine model proving that NFAT4 plays an important yet unclear role in liver regeneration; its absence may be compensated by c-fos, c-jun, and NFAT2 expression changes.
Retinal dopaminergic amacrine neurons (DA neurons) play a central role in reconfiguring retinal function according to prevailing illumination conditions, yet the mechanisms by which light regulates their activity are poorly understood. We investigated the means by which sustained light responses are evoked in DA neurons. Sustained light responses were driven by cationic currents and persisted in vitro and in vivo in the presence of L-AP4, a blocker of retinal ON-bipolar cells. Several characteristics of these L-AP4-resistant light responses suggested that they were driven by melanopsin-expressing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), including long latencies, marked poststimulus persistence, and a peak spectral sensitivity of 478 nm. Furthermore, sustained DA neuron light responses, but not transient DA neuron responses, persisted in rod/cone degenerate retinas, in which ipRGCs account for virtually all remaining retinal phototransduction. Thus, ganglion-cell photoreceptors provide excitatory drive to DA neurons, most likely by way of the coramification of their dendrites and the processes of DA neurons in the inner plexiform layer. This unprecedented centrifugal outflow of ganglion-cell signals within the retina provides a novel basis for the restructuring of retinal circuits by light.
Recent clinical studies reveal that selective agonists of group II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors have robust efficacy in treating positive and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Group II mGlu receptor agonists also modulate the in vivo activity of psychotomimetic drugs and reduce the ability of psychotomimetic hallucinogens to increase glutamatergic transmission. Because increased excitation of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in pathophysiology of schizophrenia, the ability of group II mGlu receptor agonists to reduce hallucinogenic drug action in this region is believed to be directly related to their antipsychotic efficacy. A novel class of ligands, termed positive allosteric modulators, has recently been identified, displaying exceptional mGlu2 receptor selectivity. These compounds do not activate mGlu2 receptors directly but potentiate the ability of glutamate and other agonists to activate this receptor. We now report that the mGlu2 receptor-selective positive allosteric modulator biphenyl-indanone A (BINA) modulates excitatory neurotransmission in the mPFC and attenuates the in vivo actions of the hallucinogenic 5-HT(2A/2C) receptor agonist (-)2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine [(-)DOB]. BINA attenuates serotonin-induced increases in spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents in the mPFC, mimicking the effect of the mGlu2/3 receptor agonist (2S,2'R,3'R)-2-(2',3'-dicarboxycyclopropyl)glycine (DCG-IV). In addition, BINA reduced (-)DOB-induced head twitch behavior and Fos expression in mPFC, effects reversed by pretreatment with the mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist 2S-2-amino-2-(1S,2S-2-carboxycyclopropan-1-yl) -3 - (xanth-9-yl-)propionic acid (LY341495). These data confirm the relevance of excitatory signaling in the mPFC to the behavioral actions of hallucinogens and further support the targeting of mGlu2 receptors as a novel strategy for treating glutamatergic dysfunction in schizophrenia.
Non-receptor tyrosine kinase proline-rich protein tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) functions as an integrator of multiple signaling pathways involved in the regulation of fundamental cellular processes. Pyk2 expression, regulation, and functions in skin have not been examined. Here we investigated the expression and subcellular localization of Pyk2 in human epidermis and in primary human keratinocytes, and studied the mechanisms of Pyk2 activation by differentiation-inducing stimuli, and the role of Pyk2 as a regulator of keratinocyte differentiation. We demonstrate that Pyk2 is abundantly expressed in skin keratinocytes. Notably, the endogenous Pyk2 protein is predominantly localized in keratinocyte nuclei throughout all layers of healthy human epidermis, and in cultured human keratinocytes. Pyk2 is activated by treatment with keratinocyte-differentiating agents, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate and calcium via a mechanism that requires intracellular calcium release and functional protein kinase C (PKC) and Src activities. Particularly, differentiation-promoting PKC delta and PKC eta elicit Pyk2 activation. Our data show that Pyk2 increases promoter activity and endogenous protein levels of involucrin, a marker of keratinocyte terminal differentiation. This regulation is associated with increased expression of Fra-1 and JunD, activator protein-1 transcription factors known to be required for involucrin expression. Altogether, these results provide insights into Pyk2 signaling in epidermis and reveal a novel role for Pyk2 in regulation of keratinocyte differentiation.
Mice lacking DARPP-32, a striatal-enriched phosphoprotein, show abnormal behavioral and biochemical responses to cocaine, but the role of individual phosphorylation sites in DARPP-32 in these responses is unknown. We show here that mutation of Thr-34 in DARPP-32 mimicked the behavioral phenotype of the constitutive DARPP-32 knockout in cocaine-induced place conditioning, locomotor activity, and sensitization paradigms. In contrast, mutations of Thr75 did not affect conditioned place preference or the acute locomotor response to cocaine, but DARPP-32 Thr-75 mutants showed no locomotor sensitization in response to repeated cocaine administration. Consistent with these behavioral findings, we found that cocaine regulation of gene expression in striatum, including the acute induction of the immediate early genes c-fos and arc (activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated gene), was abolished in DARPP-32 Thr-34 mutants, but not in Thr-75 mutants. Similarly, induction of the transcription factor DeltaFosB in the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens) by chronic cocaine was diminished by the Thr-34, but not the Thr-75, mutation. These findings highlight distinct roles of the Thr-34 and Thr-75 phosphorylation sites of DARPP-32 in mediating short- and long-term behavioral and biochemical actions of cocaine.