Solute carrier family 11, member 2 (SLC11A2) is the only transmembrane iron transporter known to be involved in cellular iron uptake. It is widely expressed and has been postulated to play important roles in intestinal iron absorption, erythroid iron utilization, hepatic iron accumulation, placental iron transfer, and other processes. Previous studies have suggested that other transporters might exist, but their physiological significance remained uncertain. To define the activities of Slc11a2 in vivo, we inactivated the murine gene that encodes it globally and selectively. We found that fetal Slc11a2 is not needed for materno-fetal iron transfer but that Slc11a2 activity is essential for intestinal non-heme iron absorption after birth. Slc11a2 is also required for normal hemoglobin production during the development of erythroid precursors. However, hepatocytes and most other cells must have an alternative, as-yet-unknown, iron uptake mechanism. We previously showed that Slc11a2 serves as the primary portal for intestinal iron entry in hemochromatosis. However, inactivation of murine Hfe ameliorates the phenotype of animals lacking Slc11a2.
Hiromi Gunshin, Yuko Fujiwara, Angel O. Custodio, Cristina DiRenzo, Sylvie Robine, Nancy C. Andrews
Thrombomodulin (TM) is an endothelial anticoagulant cofactor that promotes thrombin-mediated formation of activated protein C (APC). We have found that the N-terminal lectin-like domain (D1) of TM has unique antiinflammatory properties. TM, via D1, binds high-mobility group-B1 DNA-binding protein (HMGB1), a factor closely associated with necrotic cell damage following its release from the nucleus, thereby preventing in vitro leukocyte activation, in vivo UV irradiation–induced cutaneous inflammation, and in vivo lipopolysaccharide-induced lethality. Our data also demonstrate antiinflammatory properties of a peptide spanning D1 of TM and suggest its therapeutic potential. These findings highlight a novel mechanism, i.e., sequestration of mediators, through which an endothelial cofactor, TM, suppresses inflammation quite distinctly from its anticoagulant cofactor activity, thereby preventing the interaction of these mediators with cell surface receptors on effector cells in the vasculature.
Kazuhiro Abeyama, David M. Stern, Yuji Ito, Ko-ichi Kawahara, Yasushi Yoshimoto, Motoyuki Tanaka, Tomonori Uchimura, Nobuo Ida, Yoshiaki Yamazaki, Shingo Yamada, Yasuhiko Yamamoto, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Satoshi Iino, Noboru Taniguchi, Ikuro Maruyama
The kidney not only regulates fluid and electrolyte balance but also functions as an endocrine organ. For instance, it is the major source of circulating erythropoietin and renin. Despite currently available therapies, there is a marked increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among patients suffering from end-stage renal disease. We hypothesized that the current understanding of the endocrine function of the kidney was incomplete and that the organ might secrete additional proteins with important biological roles. Here we report the identification of a novel flavin adenine dinucleotide–dependent amine oxidase (renalase) that is secreted into the blood by the kidney and metabolizes catecholamines in vitro (renalase metabolizes dopamine most efficiently, followed by epinephrine, and then norepinephrine). In humans, renalase gene expression is highest in the kidney but is also detectable in the heart, skeletal muscle, and the small intestine. The plasma concentration of renalase is markedly reduced in patients with end-stage renal disease, as compared with healthy subjects. Renalase infusion in rats caused a decrease in cardiac contractility, heart rate, and blood pressure and prevented a compensatory increase in peripheral vascular tone. These results identify renalase as what we believe to be a novel amine oxidase that is secreted by the kidney, circulates in blood, and modulates cardiac function and systemic blood pressure.
Jianchao Xu, Guoyong Li, Peili Wang, Heino Velazquez, Xiaoqiang Yao, Yanyan Li, Yanling Wu, Aldo Peixoto, Susan Crowley, Gary V. Desir
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important opportunistic pathogen that can cause chronic and often life-threatening infections of the respiratory tract, particularly in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). Because infections with P. aeruginosa remain the major cause of the high morbidity and mortality of CF, a vaccine against P. aeruginosa would be very useful for preventing this disorder. The outer membrane protein F (OprF) of P. aeruginosa is a promising vaccine candidate and various B cell epitopes within OprF have been identified. Given that adenovirus (Ad) vectors have strong immunogenic potential and can function as adjuvants for genetic vaccines, the present study evaluates the immunogenic and protective properties of a novel replication-deficient Ad vector in which the Ad hexon protein was modified to include a 14–amino acid epitope of P. aeruginosa OprF (Epi8) in loop 1 of the hypervariable region 5 of the hexon (AdZ.Epi8). Immunization of C57BL/6 mice with AdZ.Epi8 resulted in detectable serum anti–P. aeruginosa and anti-OprF humoral responses. These responses were haplotype dependent, with higher serum anti-OprF titers in CBA mice than in BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice. AdZ.Epi8 induced Epi8-specific IFN-γ–positive CD4 and CD8 T cell responses and resulted in protection against a lethal pulmonary challenge with agar-encapsulated P. aeruginosa. Importantly, repeated administration of AdZ.Epi8 resulted in boosting of the anti-OprF humoral and anti-Epi8 cellular response, whereas no boosting effect was present in the response against the transgene β-galactosidase. These observations suggest that Ad vectors expressing pathogen epitopes in their capsid will protect against an extracellular pathogen and will allow boosting of the epitope-specific humoral response with repeated administration, a strategy that should prove useful in developing Ad vectors as vaccines where humoral immunity will be protective.
Stefan Worgall, Anja Krause, Michael Rivara, Kyung-Kim Hee, Enrico V. Vintayen, Neil R. Hackett, Peter W. Roelvink, Joseph T. Bruder, Thomas J. Wickham, Imre Kovesdi, Ronald G. Crystal
CD36 mediates the transfer of fatty acids (FAs) across the plasma membranes of muscle and adipose cells, thus playing an important role in regulating peripheral FA metabolism in vivo. In the proximal intestine, CD36 is localized in abundant quantities on the apical surface of epithelial cells, a pattern similar to that of other proteins implicated in the uptake of dietary FAs. To define the role of CD36 in the intestine, we examined FA utilization and lipoprotein secretion by WT and CD36-null mice in response to acute and chronic fat feeding. CD36-null mice given a fat bolus by gavage or fed a high-fat diet accumulated neutral lipid in the proximal intestine, which indicated abnormal lipid processing. Using a model in which mice were equipped with lymph fistulae, we obtained evidence of defective lipoprotein secretion by directly measuring lipid output. The secretion defect appeared to reflect an impaired ability of CD36-null enterocytes to efficiently synthesize triacylglycerols from dietary FAs in the endoplasmic reticulum. In the plasma of intact mice, the reduced intestinal lipid secretion was masked by slow clearance of intestine-derived lipoproteins. The impaired clearance occurred despite normal lipoprotein lipase activity and likely reflected feedback inhibition of the lipase by FAs due to their defective removal from the plasma. We conclude that CD36 is important for both secretion and clearance of intestinal lipoproteins. CD36 deficiency results in hypertriglyceridemia both in the postprandial and fasting states and in humans may constitute a risk factor for diet-induced type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Victor A. Drover, Mohammad Ajmal, Fatiha Nassir, Nicholas O. Davidson, Andromeda M. Nauli, Daisy Sahoo, Patrick Tso, Nada A. Abumrad
Endogenous cannabinoids acting at CB1 receptors stimulate appetite, and CB1 antagonists show promise in the treatment of obesity. CB1–/– mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity even though their caloric intake is similar to that of wild-type mice, suggesting that endocannabinoids also regulate fat metabolism. Here, we investigated the possible role of endocannabinoids in the regulation of hepatic lipogenesis. Activation of CB1 in mice increases the hepatic gene expression of the lipogenic transcription factor SREBP-1c and its targets acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Treatment with a CB1 agonist also increases de novo fatty acid synthesis in the liver or in isolated hepatocytes, which express CB1. High-fat diet increases hepatic levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide), CB1 density, and basal rates of fatty acid synthesis, and the latter is reduced by CB1 blockade. In the hypothalamus, where FAS inhibitors elicit anorexia, SREBP-1c and FAS expression are similarly affected by CB1 ligands. We conclude that anandamide acting at hepatic CB1 contributes to diet-induced obesity and that the FAS pathway may be a common molecular target for central appetitive and peripheral metabolic regulation.
Douglas Osei-Hyiaman, Michael DePetrillo, Pál Pacher, Jie Liu, Svetlana Radaeva, Sándor Bátkai, Judith Harvey-White, Ken Mackie, László Offertáler, Lei Wang, George Kunos
Insulin exerts its potent effects on hepatic glucose fluxes via direct and indirect mechanisms. Whereas a liver-specific insulin receptor (IR) knockout (LIRKO) mouse exhibits glucose intolerance as well as insulin resistance, it is unclear whether a more acute decrease in the expression of hepatic IR would be sufficient to induce hepatic insulin resistance. Here we report that the downregulation of hepatic IR expression by up to 95% does not modify hepatic insulin action. The i.p. administration (2 injections over 1 week) of an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ASO) directed to reduce insulin expression downregulated hepatic IR expression in C57BL6J mice. A high dose of IR-ASO decreased IR protein approximately 95%, while a control-ASO failed to modify IR expression. At this dose, the IR-ASO also decreased IR expression in adipose tissue but did not significantly decrease IR expression in hypothalamus or skeletal muscle. Insulin action was assessed with insulin clamp studies in conscious mice. The rate of glucose infusion during the clamp studies was comparable in control-ASO– and IR-ASO–treated mice. Importantly, the depletion of liver IR protein markedly impaired downstream insulin signaling in the liver, but it failed to modify the rate of glucose production. Thus, near ablation of liver IR does not alter insulin action on glucose production.
Christoph Buettner, Rima Patel, Evan D. Muse, Sanjay Bhanot, Brett P. Monia, Rob McKay, Silvana Obici, Luciano Rossetti
Partial restoration of insulin receptor Insr expression in brain, liver, and pancreatic β cells is sufficient for rescuing Insr knockout mice from neonatal death, preventing diabetes ketoacidosis, and normalizing life span and reproductive function. However, the transgenically rescued mice (referred to as L1) have marked hyperinsulinemia, and approximately 30% develop late-onset type 2 diabetes. Analyses of protein expression indicated that L1 mice had modestly reduced Insr content but normal insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation in the liver. Conversely, L1 mice had a near complete ablation of Insr protein product in the arcuate and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus, which was associated with a failure to undergo insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation in the hypothalamus. To test whether reconstitution of insulin signaling in the liver is sufficient for restoring in vivo hepatic insulin action, we performed euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp studies in conscious L1 and WT mice. During the clamp, L1 mice required an approximately 50% lower rate of glucose infusion than did WT controls, while the rate of glucose disappearance was not significantly altered. Conversely, the rate of glucose production was increased approximately 2-fold in L1 mice. Thus, restoration of hepatic insulin signaling in Insr knockout mice fails to normalize the in vivo response to insulin.
Haruka Okamoto, Silvana Obici, Domenico Accili, Luciano Rossetti
Elevated plasma levels of VLDL triglycerides (TGs) are characteristic of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and are associated with increased production rates (PRs) of VLDL TGs and apoB. Lipoprotein lipase–mediated (LPL-mediated) lipolysis of VLDL TGs may also be reduced in T2DM if the level of LPL is decreased and/or the level of plasma apoC-III, an inhibitor of LPL-mediated lipolysis, is increased. We studied the effects of pioglitazone (Pio), a PPARγ agonist that improves insulin sensitivity, on lipoprotein metabolism in patients with T2DM. Pio treatment reduced TG levels by increasing the fractional clearance rate (FCR) of VLDL TGs from the circulation, without changing direct removal of VLDL particles. This indicated increased lipolysis of VLDL TGs during Pio treatment, a mechanism supported by our finding of increased plasma LPL mass and decreased levels of plasma apoC-III. Lower apoC-III levels were due to reduced apoC-III PRs. We saw no effects of Pio on the PR of either VLDL TG or VLDL apoB. Thus, Pio, a PPARγ agonist, reduced VLDL TG levels by increasing LPL mass and inhibiting apoC-III PR. These 2 changes were associated with an increased FCR of VLDL TGs, almost certainly due to increased LPL-mediated lipolysis.
Kazunori Nagashima, Carlos Lopez, Daniel Donovan, Colleen Ngai, Nelson Fontanez, André Bensadoun, Jamila Fruchart-Najib, Steve Holleran, Jeffrey S. Cohn, Rajasekhar Ramakrishnan, Henry N. Ginsberg
Patients with Tangier disease exhibit extremely low plasma HDL concentrations resulting from mutations in the ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A, member 1 (ABCA1) protein. ABCA1 controls the rate-limiting step in HDL particle assembly by mediating efflux of cholesterol and phospholipid from cells to lipid-free apoA-I, which forms nascent HDL particles. ABCA1 is widely expressed; however, the specific tissues involved in HDL biogenesis are unknown. To determine the role of the liver in HDL biogenesis, we generated mice with targeted deletion of the second nucleotide-binding domain of Abca1 in liver only (Abca1–L/–L). Abca1–L/–L mice had total plasma and HDL cholesterol concentrations that were 19% and 17% those of wild-type littermates, respectively. In vivo catabolism of HDL apoA-I from wild-type mice or human lipid-free apoA-I was 2-fold higher in Abca1–L/–L mice compared with controls due to a 2-fold increase in the catabolism of apoA-I by the kidney, with no change in liver catabolism. We conclude that in chow-fed mice, the liver is the single most important source of plasma HDL. Furthermore, hepatic, but not extrahepatic, Abca1 is critical in maintaining the circulation of mature HDL particles by direct lipidation of hepatic lipid-poor apoA-I, slowing its catabolism by the kidney and prolonging its plasma residence time.
Jenelle M. Timmins, Ji-Young Lee, Elena Boudyguina, Kimberly D. Kluckman, Liam R. Brunham, Anny Mulya, Abraham K. Gebre, Jonathan M. Coutinho, Perry L. Colvin, Thomas L. Smith, Michael R. Hayden, Nobuyo Maeda, John S. Parks
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