The central nervous system (CNS) utilizes glucose independent of insulin. Nonetheless, insulin receptors and insulin-responsive glucose transporters (Glut4) often co-localize in neurons (Glut4 neurons) in anatomically and functionally distinct areas of the CNS. The apparent heterogeneity of Glut4 neurons has thus far thwarted attempts to understand their function. To answer this question, we used Cre-dependent, diphtheria toxin-mediated cell ablation to selectively remove basal hypothalamic Glut4 neurons, and investigate the resulting phenotypes. After Glut4 neuron ablation, mice demonstrate altered hormone and nutrient signaling in the CNS. Accordingly, they exhibit negative energy balance phenotype characterized by reduced food intake and increased energy expenditure, without locomotor deficits or gross neuronal abnormalities. Glut4 neuron ablation affects orexigenic melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons but has limited effect on NPY/AgRP and POMC neurons. The food intake phenotype can be partially normalized by GABA administration, suggesting that it arises from defective GABAergic transmission. Glut4-neuron-ablated mice show peripheral metabolic defects, including fasting hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance, decreased insulin levels, and elevated hepatic gluconeogenic genes. We conclude that Glut4 neurons integrate hormonal and nutritional cues and mediate CNS actions of insulin on energy balance and peripheral metabolism.
Insulin signaling in the CNS modulates satiety and glucose metabolism, but insulin target neurons are poorly defined. We have previously shown that ablation of insulin receptors (InsR) in Glut4-expressing tissues results in systemic abnormalities of insulin action. We propose that Glut4 neurons constitute an insulin-sensitive neuronal subset. We determined their gene expression profiles using flow-sorted hypothalamic Glut4 neurons. Gene ontology analyses demonstrated that Glut4 neurons are enriched in olfacto-sensory receptors, M2 acetylcholine receptors, and pathways required for the acquisition of insulin sensitivity. Following genetic ablation of InsR, transcriptome profiling of Glut4 neurons demonstrated impairment of the insulin, peptide hormone, and cAMP signaling pathways, with a striking upregulation of anion homeostasis pathway. Accordingly, hypothalamic InsR-deficient Glut4 neurons showed reduced firing activity. The molecular signature of Glut4 neurons is consistent with a role for this neural population in the integration of olfacto-sensory cues with hormone signaling to regulate peripheral metabolism.
Insulin integrates hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism, directing nutrients to storage as glycogen and triglyceride. In type 2 diabetes, levels of the former are low and the latter are exaggerated, posing a pathophysiologic and therapeutic conundrum. A branching model of insulin signalling, with FoxO1 presiding over glucose production and Srebp-1c regulating lipogenesis, provides a potential explanation. Here we illustrate an alternative mechanism that integrates glucose production and lipogenesis under the unifying control of FoxO. Liver-specific ablation of three FoxOs (L-FoxO1,3,4) prevents the induction of glucose-6-phosphatase and the repression of glucokinase during fasting, thus increasing lipogenesis at the expense of glucose production. We document a similar pattern in the early phases of diet-induced insulin resistance, and propose that FoxOs are required to enable the liver to direct nutritionally derived carbons to glucose versus lipid metabolism. Our data underscore the heterogeneity of hepatic insulin resistance during progression from the metabolic syndrome to overt diabetes, and the conceptual challenge of designing therapies that curtail glucose production without promoting hepatic lipid accumulation.
Pancreatic ? cell failure in type 2 diabetes is associated with functional abnormalities of insulin secretion and deficits of ? cell mass. It's unclear how one begets the other. We have shown that loss of ? cell mass can be ascribed to impaired FoxO1 function in different models of diabetes. Here we show that ablation of the three FoxO genes (1, 3a, and 4) in mature ? cells results in early-onset, maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)-like diabetes, with abnormalities of the MODY networks Hnf4?, Hnf1?, and Pdx1. FoxO-deficient ? cells are metabolically inflexible, i.e., they preferentially utilize lipids rather than carbohydrates as an energy source. This results in impaired ATP generation and reduced Ca(2+)-dependent insulin secretion. The present findings demonstrate a secretory defect caused by impaired FoxO activity that antedates dedifferentiation. We propose that defects in both pancreatic ? cell function and mass arise through FoxO-dependent mechanisms during diabetes progression.
Transcription factor forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) regulates energy expenditure (EE), food intake, and hepatic glucose production. These activities have been mapped to specific hypothalamic neuronal populations using cell type-specific knockout experiments in mice. To parse out the integrated output of FoxO1-dependent transcription from different neuronal populations and multiple hypothalamic regions, we used transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase from the Nkx2.1 promoter to ablate loxP-flanked Foxo1 alleles from a majority of hypothalamic neurons (Foxo1KO(Nkx2.1) mice). This strategy resulted in the expected inhibition of FoxO1 expression, but only produced a transient reduction of body weight as well as a decreased body length. The transient decrease of body weight in male mice was accompanied by decreased fat mass. Male Foxo1KO(Nkx2.1) mice show food intake similar to that in wild-type controls, and, although female knockout mice eat less, they do so in proportion to a reduced body size. EE is unaffected in Foxo1KO(Nkx2.1) mice, although small increases in body temperature are present. Unlike other neuron-specific Foxo1 knockout mice, Foxo1KO(Nkx2.1) mice are not protected from diet-induced obesity. These studies indicate that, unlike the metabolic effects of highly restricted neuronal subsets (proopiomelanocortin, neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide, and steroidogenic factor 1), those of neurons derived from the Nkx2.1 lineage either occur in a FoxO1-independent fashion or are compensated for through developmental plasticity.
Generation of surrogate sources of insulin-producing ?-cells remains a goal of diabetes therapy. While most efforts have been directed at differentiating embryonic or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into ?-like-cells through endodermal progenitors, we have shown that gut endocrine progenitor cells of mice can be differentiated into glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells by ablation of transcription factor Foxo1. Here we show that FOXO1 is present in human gut endocrine progenitor and serotonin-producing cells. Using gut organoids derived from human iPS cells, we show that FOXO1 inhibition using a dominant-negative mutant or lentivirus-encoded small hairpin RNA promotes generation of insulin-positive cells that express all markers of mature pancreatic ?-cells, release C-peptide in response to secretagogues and survive in vivo following transplantation into mice. The findings raise the possibility of using gut-targeted FOXO1 inhibition or gut organoids as a source of insulin-producing cells to treat human diabetes.
A continuous glucose monitor with a differential dielectric sensor implanted within the subcutaneous tissue that determines the glucose concentration in the interstitial fluid is presented. The device, created using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, consists of sensing and reference modules that are identical in design and placed in close proximity. Each module contains a microchamber housing a pair of capacitive electrodes residing on the device substrate and embedded in a suspended, perforated polymer diaphragm. The microchambers, enclosed in semi-permeable membranes, are filled with either a polymer solution that has specific affinity to glucose or a glucose-insensitive reference solution. To accurately determine the glucose concentration, changes in the permittivity of the sensing and the reference solutions induced by changes in glucose concentration are measured differentially. In vitro characterization demonstrated the sensor was capable of measuring glucose concentrations from 0 to 500 mg dL(-1) with resolution and accuracy of ~1.7 ?g dL(-1) and ~1.74 mg dL(-1), respectively. In addition, device drift was reduced to 1.4% (uncontrolled environment) and 11% (5 °C of temperature variation) of that from non-differential measurements, indicating significant stability improvements. Preliminary animal testing demonstrated that the differential sensor accurately tracks glucose concentration in blood. This sensor can potentially be used clinically as a subcutaneously implanted continuous monitoring device in diabetic patients.
Micromachined viscometric affinity glucose sensors have been previously demonstrated using vibrational cantilever and diaphragm. These devices featured a single glucose detection module that determines glucose concentrations through viscosity changes of glucose-sensitive polymer solutions. However, fluctuations in temperature and other environmental parameters might potentially affect the stability and reliability of these devices, creating complexity in their applications in subcutaneously implanted continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). To address these issues, we present a MEMS differential sensor that can effectively reject environmental disturbances while allowing accurate glucose detection. The sensor consists of two magnetically driven vibrating diaphragms situated inside microchambers filled with a boronic-acid based glucose-sensing solution and a reference solution insensitive to glucose. Glucose concentrations can be accurately determined by characteristics of the diaphragm vibration through differential capacitive detection. Our in-vitro and preliminary in-vivo experimental data demonstrate the potential of this sensor for highly stable subcutaneous CGM applications.
Bile acids (BAs) exert pleiotropic metabolic effects, and physicochemical properties of different BAs affect their function. In rodents, insulin regulates BA composition, in part by regulating the BA 12?-hydroxylase CYP8B1. However, it is unclear whether a similar effect occurs in humans. To address this question, we examined the relationship between clamp-measured insulin sensitivity and plasma BA composition in a cohort of 200 healthy subjects and 35 type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients. In healthy subjects, insulin resistance (IR) was associated with increased 12?-hydroxylated BAs (cholic acid, deoxycholic acid, and their conjugated forms). Furthermore, ratios of 12?-hydroxylated/non-12?-hydroxylated BAs were associated with key features of IR, including higher insulin, proinsulin, glucose, glucagon, and triglyceride (TG) levels and lower HDL cholesterol. In T2D patients, BAs were nearly twofold elevated, and more hydrophobic, compared with healthy subjects, although we did not observe disproportionate increases in 12?-hydroxylated BAs. In multivariate analysis of the whole dataset, controlling for sex, age, BMI, and glucose tolerance status, higher 12?-hydroxy/non-12?-hydroxy BA ratios were associated with lower insulin sensitivity and higher plasma TGs. These findings suggest a role for 12?-hydroxylated BAs in metabolic abnormalities in the natural history of T2D and raise the possibility of developing insulin-sensitizing therapeutics based on manipulations of BA composition.
Successful development of antiobesity agents requires detailed knowledge of neural pathways controlling body weight, eating behavior, and peripheral metabolism. Genetic ablation of FoxO1 in selected hypothalamic neurons decreases food intake, increases energy expenditure, and improves glucose homeostasis, highlighting the role of this gene in insulin and leptin signaling. However, little is known about potential effects of FoxO1 in other neurons. To address this question, we executed a broad-based neuronal ablation of FoxO1 using Synapsin promoter-driven Cre to delete floxed Foxo1 alleles. Lineage-tracing experiments showed that NPY/AgRP and POMC neurons were minimally affected by the knockout. Nonetheless, Syn-Cre-Foxo1 knockouts demonstrated a catabolic energy homeostatic phenotype with a blunted refeeding response, increased sensitivity to leptin and amino acid signaling, and increased locomotor activity, likely attributable to increased melanocortinergic tone. We confirmed these data in mice lacking the three Foxo genes. The effects on locomotor activity could be reversed by direct delivery of constitutively active FoxO1 to the mediobasal hypothalamus, but not to the suprachiasmatic nucleus. The data reveal that the integrative function of FoxO1 extends beyond the arcuate nucleus, suggesting that central nervous system inhibition of FoxO1 function can be leveraged to promote hormone sensitivity and prevent a positive energy balance.
Diabesity has become a popular term to describe the specific form of diabetes that develops late in life and is associated with obesity. While there is a correlation between diabetes and obesity, the association is not universally predictive. Defining the metabolic characteristics of obesity that lead to diabetes, and how obese individuals who develop diabetes different from those who do not, are important goals. The use of large-scale omics analyses (e.g., metabolomic, proteomic, transcriptomic, and lipidomic) of diabetes and obesity may help to identify new targets to treat these conditions. This report discusses how various types of omics data can be integrated to shed light on the changes in metabolism that occur in obesity and diabetes.
ADAM17 and its inhibitor TIMP3 are involved in nephropathy, but their role in diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is unclear. Diabetic Timp3(-/-) mice showed increased albuminuria, increased membrane thickness and mesangial expansion. Microarray profiling uncovered a significant reduction of Foxo1 expression in diabetic Timp3(-/-) mice compared to WT, along with FoxO1 target genes involved in autophagy, while STAT1, a repressor of FoxO1 transcription, was increased. Re-expression of Timp3 in Timp3(-/-) mesangial cells rescued the expression of Foxo1 and its targets, and decreased STAT1 expression to control levels; abolishing STAT1 expression led to a rescue of FoxO1, evoking a role of STAT1 in linking Timp3 deficiency to FoxO1. Studies on kidney biopsies from patients with diabetic nephropathy confirmed a significant reduction in TIMP3, FoxO1 and FoxO1 target genes involved in autophagy compared to controls, while STAT1 expression was strongly increased. Our study suggests that loss of TIMP3 is a hallmark of DKD in human and mouse models and designates TIMP3 as a new possible therapeutic target for diabetic nephropathy.
Increased hepatic lipid content is an early correlate of insulin resistance and can be caused by nutrient-induced activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTor). This activation of mTor increases basal Akt activity, leading to a self-perpetuating lipogenic cycle. We have previously shown that the developmental Notch pathway has metabolic functions in adult mouse liver. Acute or chronic inhibition of Notch dampens hepatic glucose production and increases Akt activity and may therefore be predicted to increase hepatic lipid content. Here we now show that constitutive liver-specific ablation of Notch signaling, or its acute inhibition with a decoy Notch1 receptor, prevents hepatosteatosis by blocking mTor complex 1 (mTorc1) activity. Conversely, Notch gain of function causes fatty liver through constitutive activation of mTorc1, an effect that is reversible by treatment with rapamycin. We demonstrate that Notch signaling increases mTorc1 complex stability, augmenting mTorc1 function and sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1c (Srebp1c)-mediated lipogenesis. These data identify Notch as a therapeutically actionable branch point of metabolic signaling at which Akt activation in the liver can be uncoupled from hepatosteatosis.
Insulin signaling in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) is critical to maintain endothelial function but also to mediate insulin action on peripheral glucose disposal. However, gene knockout studies have reached disparate conclusions. Thus, insulin receptor inactivation in ECs does not impair insulin action, whereas inactivation of Irs2 does. Previously, we have shown that endothelial ablation of the three Foxo genes protects mice from atherosclerosis. Interestingly, here we show that mice lacking FoxO isoforms in ECs develop hepatic insulin resistance through excessive generation of nitric oxide (NO) that impairs insulin action in hepatocytes via tyrosine nitration of insulin receptors. Coculture experiments demonstrate that NO produced in liver sinusoidal ECs impairs insulins ability to suppress glucose production in hepatocytes. The effects of liver sinusoidal ECs can be mimicked by NO donors and can be reversed by NO inhibitors in vivo and ex vivo. The findings are consistent with a model in which excessive, rather than reduced, insulin signaling in ECs predisposes to systemic insulin resistance, prompting a reevaluation of current approaches to insulin sensitization.
It is well accepted that the Mdm2 ubiquitin ligase acts as a major factor in controlling p53 stability and activity in vivo. Although several E3 ligases have been reported to be involved in Mdm2-independent p53 degradation, the roles of these ligases in p53 regulation in vivo remain largely unknown. To elucidate the physiological role of the ubiquitin ligase ARF-BP1, we generated arf-bp1 mutant mice. We found that inactivation of arf-bp1 during embryonic development in mice resulted in p53 activation and embryonic lethality, but the mice with arf-bp1 deletion specifically in the pancreatic ?-cells (arf-bp1(FL/Y)/RIP-cre) were viable and displayed no obvious abnormality after birth. Interestingly, these mice showed dramatic loss of ?-cells as mice aged, and >50% of these mice died of severe diabetic symptoms before reaching 1 year of age. Notably, the diabetic phenotype of these mice was largely reversed by concomitant deletion of p53, and the life span of the mice was significantly extended (p53(LFL/FL)/arf-bp1(FL/Y)/RIP-cre). These findings underscore an important role of ARF-BP1 in maintaining ?-cell homeostasis in aging mice and reveal that the stability of p53 is critically regulated by ARF-BP1 in vivo.
Insulin resistance renders macrophages more prone to cholesterol-induced apoptosis by promoting nuclear localization of transcription factor forkhead box transcription factor (Fox) O1. However, FoxO1 also decreases macrophage inflammation, raising the question of how the balance between proapoptotic and antiinflammatory effects is determined. We sought to identify the mechanism whereby FoxO1 dampens inflammation without promoting apoptosis. We hypothesized that nutrient-dependent FoxO1 acetylation plays a role in this process.
Appropriate regulation of insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS-2) expression in pancreatic ?-cells is essential to adequately compensate for insulin resistance. In liver, basal IRS-2 expression is controlled via a temporal negative feedback of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) to antagonize transcription factors forkhead box class O (FoxO)1/FoxO3a at an insulin response element (IRE) on the IRS-2 promoter. The purpose of the study was to examine if a similar mechanism controlled IRS-2 expression in ?-cells.
The association of type 2 diabetes with elevated plasma triglyceride (TG) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), and intrahepatic lipid accumulation represents a pathophysiological enigma and an unmet therapeutic challenge. Here, we uncover a link between insulin action through FoxO1, bile acid (BA) composition, and altered lipid homeostasis that brings new insight to this longstanding conundrum. FoxO1 ablation brings about two signature lipid abnormalities of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, elevated liver and plasma TG. These changes are associated with deficiency of 12?-hydroxylated BAs and their synthetic enzyme, Cyp8b1, that hinders the TG-lowering effects of the BA receptor, Fxr. Accordingly, pharmacological activation of Fxr with GW4064 overcomes the BA imbalance, restoring hepatic and plasma TG levels of FoxO1-deficient mice to normal levels. We propose that generation of 12?-hydroxylated products of BA metabolism represents a signaling mechanism linking hepatic lipid abnormalities with type 2 diabetes, and a treatment target for this condition.
Insulin resistance is a component of the metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. It has been recently shown that in liver insulin resistance is not complete. This so-called selective insulin resistance is characterized by defective insulin inhibition of hepatic glucose output while insulin-induced lipogenesis is maintained. How this occurs and whether uncoupled insulin action develops in other tissues is unknown. Here we show in a model of chronic hyperinsulinemia that adipocytes develop selective insulin resistance in which translocation of the GLUT4 glucose transporter to the cell surface is blunted yet nuclear exclusion of the FoxO1 transcription factor is preserved, rendering uncoupled insulin-controlled carbohydrate and lipid metabolisms. We found that in adipocytes FoxO1 nuclear exclusion has a lower half-maximal insulin dose than GLUT4 translocation, and it is because of this inherent greater sensitivity that control of FoxO1 by physiological insulin concentrations is maintained in adipocytes with compromised insulin signaling. Pharmacological and genetic interventions revealed that insulin regulates GLUT4 and FoxO1 through the PI3-kinase isoform p110?, although FoxO1 showed higher sensitivity to p110? activity than GLUT4. Transient down-regulation and overexpression of Akt isoforms in adipocytes demonstrated that insulin-activated PI3-kinase signals to GLUT4 primarily through Akt2 kinase, whereas Akt1 and Akt2 signal to FoxO1. We propose that the lower threshold of insulin activity for FoxO1s nuclear exclusion is in part due to its regulation by both Akt isoforms. Identification of uncoupled insulin action in adipocytes suggests this condition might be a general phenomenon of insulin target tissues contributing to insulin resistances pathophysiology.
FoxO1 integrates multiple metabolic pathways. Nutrient levels modulate FoxO1 acetylation, but the functional consequences of this posttranslational modification are unclear. To answer this question, we generated mice bearing alleles that encode constitutively acetylated and acetylation-defective FoxO1 proteins. Homozygosity for an allele mimicking constitutive acetylation (Foxo1(KQ/KQ)) results in embryonic lethality due to cardiac and angiogenesis defects. In contrast, mice homozygous for a constitutively deacetylated Foxo1 allele (Foxo1(KR/KR)) display a unique metabolic phenotype of impaired insulin action on hepatic glucose metabolism but decreased plasma lipid levels and low respiratory quotient that are consistent with a state of preferential lipid usage. Moreover, Foxo1(KR/KR) mice show a dissociation between weight gain and insulin resistance in predisposing conditions (high fat diet, diabetes, and insulin receptor mutations), possibly due to decreased cytokine production in adipose tissue. Thus, acetylation inactivates FoxO1 during nutrient excess whereas deacetylation selectively potentiates FoxO1 activity, protecting against excessive catabolism during nutrient deprivation.
Transcription factor FoxO1 promotes hepatic glucose production. Genetic inhibition of FoxO1 function prevents diabetes in experimental animal models, providing impetus to identify pharmacological approaches to modulate this function. Altered Notch signaling is evident in tumorigenesis, and Notch antagonists are in clinical testing for application in cancer. Here we report that FoxO1 and Notch coordinately regulate hepatic glucose metabolism. Combined haploinsufficiency of FoxO1 and Notch1 markedly raises insulin sensitivity in diet-induced insulin resistance, as does liver-specific knockout of the Notch transcriptional effector Rbp-J?. Conversely, Notch1 gain-of-function promotes insulin resistance in a FoxO1-dependent manner and induces glucose-6-phosphatase expression. Pharmacological blockade of Notch signaling with ?-secretase inhibitors raises insulin sensitivity after in vivo administration in lean mice and in obese, insulin-resistant mice. The data identify a heretofore unknown metabolic function of Notch and suggest that Notch inhibition is beneficial in diabetes treatment, in part by helping to offset excessive FoxO1-driven hepatic glucose production.
We review mechanisms that regulate production of glucose by the liver, focusing on areas of budding consensus, and endeavoring to provide a candid assessment of lingering controversies. We also attempt to reconcile data from tracer studies in humans and large animals with the growing compilation of mouse knockouts that display changes in glucose production. A clinical hallmark of diabetes, excessive glucose production remains key to its treatment. Hence, we attempt to integrate emerging pathways into the broader goal to rejuvenate the staid antidiabetic pharmacopeia.
Dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis are associated with reduced insulin sensitivity and diabetes, but the mechanism is unclear. Gain of function of the gene encoding deacetylase SirT1 improves insulin sensitivity and could be expected to protect against lipid abnormalities. Surprisingly, when transgenic mice overexpressing SirT1 (SirBACO) are placed on atherogenic diet, they maintain better glucose homeostasis, but develop worse lipid profiles and larger atherosclerotic lesions than controls. We show that transcription factor cAMP response element binding protein (Creb) is deacetylated in SirBACO mice. We identify Lys136 is a substrate for SirT1-dependent deacetylation that affects Creb activity by preventing its cAMP-dependent phosphorylation, leading to reduced expression of glucogenic genes and promoting hepatic lipid accumulation and secretion. Expression of constitutively acetylated Creb (K136Q) in SirBACO mice mimics Creb activation and abolishes the dyslipidemic and insulin-sensitizing effects of SirT1 gain of function. We propose that SirT1-dependent Creb deacetylation regulates the balance between glucose and lipid metabolism, integrating fasting signals.
Impaired insulin-dependent glucose disposal in muscle and fat is a harbinger of type 2 diabetes, but murine models of selective insulin resistance at these two sites are conspicuous by their failure to cause hyperglycemia. A defining feature of muscle and fat vis-à-vis insulin signaling is that they both express the insulin-sensitive glucose transporter Glut4. We hypothesized that diabetes is the result of impaired insulin signaling in all Glut4-expressing tissues.
Type 2 diabetes results from an impairment of insulin action. The first demonstrable abnormality of insulin signaling is a decrease of insulin-dependent glucose disposal followed by an increase in hepatic glucose production. In an attempt to dissect the relative importance of these two changes in disease progression, we have employed genetic knock-outs/knock-ins of the insulin receptor. Previously, we demonstrated that insulin receptor knock-out mice (Insr(-/-)) could be rescued from diabetes by reconstitution of insulin signaling in liver, brain, and pancreatic ? cells (L1 mice). In this study, we used a similar approach to reconstitute insulin signaling in tissues that display insulin-dependent glucose uptake. Using GLUT4-Cre mice, we restored InsR expression in muscle, fat, and brain of Insr(-/-) mice (GIRKI (Glut4-insulin receptor knock-in line 1) mice). Unlike L1 mice, GIRKI mice failed to thrive and developed diabetes, although their survival was modestly extended when compared with Insr(-/-). The data underscore the role of developmental factors in the presentation of murine diabetes. The broader implication of our findings is that diabetes treatment should not necessarily target the same tissues that are responsible for disease pathogenesis.
Maternal obesity can influence susceptibility to obesity and type 2 diabetes in progeny. We examined the relationship of maternal insulin resistance (IR), a metabolically important consequence of increased adiposity, to adverse consequences of obesity for fetal development. We used mice heterozygous for a null allele of the insulin receptor (Insr) to study the contributions of maternal IR to offspring phenotype without the potential confound of obesity per se, and how maternal consumption of high-fat diet (HFD) may, independently and interactively, affect progeny. In progeny fed a 60% HFD, body weight and adiposity were transiently (5-7 weeks) increased in wild-type (+/+) offspring of Insr(+/-) HFD-fed dams compared to offspring of wild-type HFD-fed dams. Offspring of HFD-fed wild-type dams had increased body weight, blood glucose, and plasma insulin concentrations compared to offspring of chow-fed wild-type dams. Quantification of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and neuropeptide-Y (NPY) populations in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH) of offspring of wild-type vs. Insr(+/-) dams was performed to determine whether maternal IR affects the formation of central feeding circuits. We found a 20% increase in the number of Pomc-expressing cells at postnatal day 9 in offspring of Insr(+/-) dams. In conclusion, maternal HFD consumption-distinct from overt obesity per se-was a major contributor to increased body weight, adiposity, IR, and liver triglyceride (TG) phenotypes in progeny. Maternal IR played a minor role in predisposing progeny to obesity and IR, though it acted synergistically with maternal HFD to exacerbate early obesity in progeny.
Signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases regulates pancreatic ? cell function. Inactivation of insulin receptor (InsR), IGF1 receptor (Igf1r), or Irs1 in ? cells impairs insulin secretion. Conversely, Irs2 ablation impairs ? cell replication. In this study, we examined aspects of the Igf1r regulatory signaling cascade in ? cells. To examine genetically the involvement of Irs1 and Irs2 in Igf1r signaling, we generated double mutant mice lacking Igf1r specifically in pancreatic ? cells in an Irs1- or Irs2-null background. We show that Igf1r/Irs1 double mutants do not differ phenotypically from Irs1 single mutants and exhibit hyperinsulinemia, while maintaining normal ? cell mass and glucose tolerance. In contrast, lack of Igf1r function in ? cells aggravates the consequences of Irs2 ablation in double mutants and results in lethal diabetes by 6 weeks of age. This additivity of phenotypic manifestations indicates that Irs2 serves a pathway that is largely independent of Igf1r signaling. Consistent with the view that the latter is the InsR pathway, we show that combined ? cell-specific knock-out of both Insr and Igf1r results in a phenocopy of double mutants lacking Igf1r and Irs2. We conclude that Igf1r signals primarily through Irs1 and affects insulin secretion, whereas ? cell proliferation is mainly regulated by InsR using Irs2 as a downstream signaling effector. The insulin and IGF pathways appear to control ? cell functions independently and selectively.
Hepatic glucose production (HGP) plays a vital role in maintaining the supply of glucose to the body, and transcription factor FoxO1 is known to confer hormone responsiveness onto HGP. Mice with a liver-specific FoxO1 deletion (L-FoxO1) show reduced HGP and reduced expression of glucose production genes. To determine the contribution of additional transcription factors to HGP, we created double and triple liver-specific knock-outs lacking FoxO1, FoxO3, and FoxO4 or the related protein FoxA2. We show that, when compared with single knock-out of FoxO1, triple ablation of FoxO genes causes more pronounced fasting hypoglycemia, increased glucose tolerance, and enhanced insulin sensitivity, with decreased plasma insulin levels. In contrast, combined ablation of FoxO1 and FoxA2 phenocopied the single knock-out of FoxO1. These data indicate that FoxOs work in concert to regulate multiple aspects of hepatic glucose metabolism.
Patients with diabetes suffer disproportionately from impaired lipid metabolism and cardiovascular disease, but the relevant roles of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia in these processes are unclear. Transcription factor FoxO1 is regulated dually by insulin and nutrients. In this study, we addressed the hypothesis that, in addition to its established role to regulate hepatic glucose production, FoxO1 controls aspects of lipid metabolism in the diabetic liver. Mice with a liver-specific deletion of FoxO1 (L-FoxO1) and their control littermates were rendered hyperglycemic by streptozotocin administration. Subsequently, we monitored serum lipids, liver VLDL secretion, and hepatic expression of genes related to lipid metabolism. Hepatic FoxO1 ablation resulted in increased VLDL secretion, increased cholesterol, and increased plasma free fatty acids, three hallmarks of the diabetic state. l-FoxO1 mice expressed increased levels of SREBP-2 and FGF21 without affecting lipogenic genes. We propose that FoxO1 fine tunes lipolysis through its actions on FGF21 and that hepatic FoxO1 ablation increases availability of substrates for hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol synthesis and VLDL secretion. The implications of these findings are that FoxO1 protects against excessive hepatic lipid production during hyperglycemia and that its inhibition by intensive insulin treatment may exacerbate paradoxically the lipid abnormalities of diabetes.
The activity of transcription factor FoxO1 is regulated by phosphorylation-dependent nuclear exclusion and deacetylation-dependent nuclear retention. It is unclear whether and how these two post-translational modifications affect each other. To answer this question, we expressed FoxO1 cDNAs with combined mutations of phosphorylation and acetylation sites in HEK-293 cells and analyzed their subcellular localization patterns. We show that mutations mimicking the acetylated state (KQ series) render FoxO1 more sensitive to Akt-mediated phosphorylation and nuclear exclusion and can reverse the constitutively nuclear localization of phosphorylation-defective FoxO1. Conversely, mutations mimicking the deacetylated state (KR series) promote FoxO1 nuclear retention. Oxidative stress and the Sirt1 activator resveratrol are thought to promote FoxO1 deacetylation and nuclear retention, thus increasing its activity. Accordingly, FoxO1 deacetylation was required for the effect of oxidative stress (induced by H(2)O(2)) to retain FoxO1 in the nucleus. H(2)O(2) also inhibited FoxO1 phosphorylation on Ser-253 and Thr-24, the key insulin-regulated sites, irrespective of its acetylation. In contrast, the effect of resveratrol was independent of FoxO1 acetylation and its phosphorylation on Ser-253 and Thr-24, suggesting that resveratrol acts on FoxO1 in a Sirt1- and Akt-independent manner. The dissociation of deacetylation from dephosphorylation in H(2)O(2)-treated cells indicates that the two modifications can occur independently of each other. It can be envisaged that FoxO1 exists in multiple nuclear forms with distinct activities depending on the balance of acetylation and phosphorylation.
Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) stimulate myoblast proliferation and differentiation. It remains elusive how these mutually exclusive cellular responses are elicited by the same growth factor. Here we report that whereas IGF promotes myoblast differentiation under normoxia, it stimulates proliferation under hypoxia. Hypoxia activates the HIF-1 transcriptional program and knockdown of HIF-1alpha changes the mitogenic action of IGF into myogenic action under hypoxia. Conversely, overexpression of HIF-1alpha abolishes the myogenic effect of IGF under normoxia. Under normoxia, IGF activates the Akt-mTOR, p38, and Erk1/2 MAPK pathways. Hypoxia suppresses basal and IGF-induced Akt-mTOR and p38 activity, whereas it enhances and prolongs IGF-induced Erk1/2 activation in a HIF-1-dependent fashion. Activation of Akt-mTOR and p38 promotes myogenesis, and p38 also inhibits proliferation. Activation of Erk stimulates myoblast proliferation but inhibits differentiation. These results suggest that hypoxia converts the myogenic action of IGFs into mitogenic action by differentially regulating multiple signaling pathways via HIF-1-dependent mechanisms. Our findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the paradoxical actions of IGFs during myogenesis and reveal a novel mechanism by which cells sense and integrate growth factor signals and oxygen availability in their microenvironments.
Physiological states of insulin resistance such as obesity and diabetes have been linked to abnormalities in female reproductive function. However, it is difficult to distinguish the direct effects of impaired insulin signaling from those of adiposity or hyperglycemia because these conditions often coexist in human syndromes and animal models of insulin resistance. In this study, we used lean, normoglycemic mouse lines with differing degrees of hyperinsulinemia and insulin receptor (Insr) expression to dissect the effects of altered insulin signaling on female reproduction. All three mouse lines [Ttr-Insr(-/-), Insr(+/-), and Insr(+/+) (wild type)] are able to maintain fertility. However, the insulin-resistant and hyperinsulinemic mice demonstrate altered duration of estrous cycles as well as aberrant distribution and morphology of ovarian follicles. These effects appear to be independent of hyperandrogenism in the mice. Pregnancy studies indicate decreased success in early progression of gestation. In successful pregnancies, decreased embryo weights and increased placental calcification also implicate altered insulin signaling in later gestational effects. Thus, abnormal insulin signaling, independent of adipose tissue mass, adipokine expression levels, and hyperglycemia, can affect parameters of the female hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and pregnancy outcomes.
Atherothrombotic vascular disease is the major cause of death and disability in obese and diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. Although increased systemic risk factors in the setting of insulin resistance contribute to this problem, it is likely exacerbated by direct effects of insulin resistance on the arterial wall cells that participate in atherosclerosis. A critical process in the progression of subclinical atherosclerotic lesions to clinically relevant lesions is necrotic breakdown of plaques. Plaque necrosis, which is particularly prominent in the lesions of diabetics, is caused by the combination of macrophage apoptosis and defective phagocytic clearance, or efferocytosis, of the apoptotic macrophages. One cause of macrophage apoptosis in advanced plaques is activation of a proapoptotic branch of the unfolded protein response, which is an endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway. Macrophages have a functional insulin receptor signaling pathway, and downregulation of this pathway in the setting insulin resistance enhances unfolded protein response-induced apoptosis. Moreover, other aspects of the obesity/insulin-resistance syndrome may adversely affect efferocytosis. These processes may therefore provide an important mechanistic link among insulin resistance, plaque necrosis, and atherothrombotic vascular disease and suggest novel therapeutic approaches to this expanding health problem.
The sites of insulin action in the central nervous system that regulate glucose metabolism and energy expenditure are incompletely characterized. We have shown that mice with hypothalamic deficiency (L1) of insulin receptors (InsRs) fail to regulate hepatic glucose production (HGP) in response to insulin.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Generation of oxidized LDLs and reduced nitric oxide (NO) availability because of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) dysfunction are critical events in atherosclerotic plaque formation. Biochemical mechanism leading from hyperglycemia to oxLDL formation and eNOS dysfunction is unknown.
Reduced food intake brings about an adaptive decrease in energy expenditure that contributes to the recidivism of obesity after weight loss. Insulin and leptin inhibit food intake through actions in the central nervous system that are partly mediated by the transcription factor FoxO1. We show that FoxO1 ablation in pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc)-expressing neurons in mice (here called Pomc-Foxo1(-/-) mice) increases Carboxypeptidase E (Cpe) expression, resulting in selective increases of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-Msh) and carboxy-cleaved beta-endorphin, the products of Cpe-dependent processing of Pomc. This neuropeptide profile is associated with decreased food intake and normal energy expenditure in Pomc-Foxo1(-/-) mice. We show that Cpe expression is downregulated by diet-induced obesity and that FoxO1 deletion offsets the decrease, protecting against weight gain. Moreover, moderate Cpe overexpression in the arcuate nucleus phenocopies features of the FoxO1 mutation. The dissociation of food intake from energy expenditure in Pomc-Foxo1(-/-) mice represents a model for therapeutic intervention in obesity and raises the possibility of targeting Cpe to develop weight loss medications.
An understanding of the mechanisms that govern pancreatic endocrine cell ontogeny may offer strategies for their somatic replacement in diabetic patients. During embryogenesis, transcription factor FoxO1 is expressed in pancreatic progenitor cells. Subsequently, it becomes restricted to beta cells and to a rare population of insulin-negative juxtaductal cells (FoxO1+ Ins(-)). It is unclear whether FoxO1+ Ins(-) cells give rise to endocrine cells. To address this question, we first evaluated FoxO1s role in pancreas development using gain- and loss-of-function alleles in mice. Premature FoxO1 activation in pancreatic progenitors promoted alpha-cell formation but curtailed exocrine development. Conversely, FoxO1 ablation in pancreatic progenitor cells, but not in committed endocrine progenitors or terminally differentiated beta cells, selectively increased juxtaductal beta cells. As these data indicate an involvement of FoxO1 in pancreatic lineage determination, FoxO1+ Ins(-) cells were clonally isolated and assayed for their capacity to undergo endocrine differentiation. Upon FoxO1 activation, FoxO1+ Ins(-) cultures converted into glucagon-producing cells. We conclude that FoxO1+ Ins(-) juxtaductal cells represent a hitherto-unrecognized pancreatic cell population with in vitro capability of endocrine differentiation.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with accelerated atherogenesis, which may result from a combination of factors, including dyslipidemia characterized by increased VLDL secretion, and insulin resistance. To assess the hypothesis that both hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance contribute to atherogenesis, we crossed mice deficient for the LDL receptor (Ldlr-/- mice) with mice that express low levels of IR in the liver and lack IR in peripheral tissues (the L1B6 mouse strain). Unexpectedly, compared with Ldlr-/- controls, L1B6Ldlr-/- mice fed a Western diet showed reduced VLDL and LDL levels, reduced atherosclerosis, decreased hepatic AKT signaling, decreased expression of genes associated with lipogenesis, and diminished VLDL apoB and lipid secretion. Adenovirus-mediated hepatic expression of either constitutively active AKT or dominant negative glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) markedly increased VLDL and LDL levels such that they were similar in both Ldlr-/- and L1B6Ldlr-/- mice. Knocking down expression of hepatic IR by adenovirus-mediated shRNA decreased VLDL triglyceride and apoB secretion in Ldlr-/- mice. Furthermore, knocking down hepatic IR expression in either WT or ob/ob mice reduced VLDL secretion but also resulted in decreased hepatic Ldlr protein. These findings suggest a dual action of hepatic IR on lipoprotein levels, in which the ability to increase VLDL apoB and lipid secretion via AKT/GSK is offset by upregulation of Ldlr.
We describe miniaturized differential glucose sensors based on affinity binding between glucose and a synthetic polymer. The sensors possess excellent resistance to environmental disturbances and can potentially allow wireless measurements of glucose concentrations within interstitial fluid in subcutaneous tissue for long-term, stable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
In liver, glucose utilization and lipid synthesis are inextricably intertwined. When glucose availability exceeds its utilization, lipogenesis increases, leading to increased intrahepatic lipid content and lipoprotein secretion. Although the fate of three-carbon metabolites is largely determined by flux rate through the relevant enzymes, insulin plays a permissive role in this process. But the mechanism integrating insulin receptor signaling to glucose utilization with lipogenesis is unknown. Forkhead box O1 (FoxO1), a downstream effector of insulin signaling, plays a central role in hepatic glucose metabolism through the regulation of hepatic glucose production. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which FoxO1 integrates hepatic glucose utilization with lipid synthesis. We show that FoxO1 overexpression in hepatocytes reduces activity of carbohydrate response element binding protein (Chrebp), a key regulator of lipogenesis, by suppressing O-linked glycosylation and reducing the protein stability. FoxO1 inhibits high glucose- or O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT)-induced liver-pyruvate kinase (L-PK) promoter activity by decreasing Chrebp recruitment to the L-PK promoter. Conversely, FoxO1 ablation in liver leads to the enhanced O-glycosylation and increased protein level of Chrebp owing to decreased its ubiquitination. We propose that FoxO1 regulation of Chrebp O-glycosylation is a mechanism linking hepatic glucose utilization with lipid synthesis.
The genome-wide identification of pairs of interacting proteins is an important step in the elucidation of cell regulatory mechanisms. Much of our present knowledge derives from high-throughput techniques such as the yeast two-hybrid assay and affinity purification, as well as from manual curation of experiments on individual systems. A variety of computational approaches based, for example, on sequence homology, gene co-expression and phylogenetic profiles, have also been developed for the genome-wide inference of protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Yet comparative studies suggest that the development of accurate and complete repertoires of PPIs is still in its early stages. Here we show that three-dimensional structural information can be used to predict PPIs with an accuracy and coverage that are superior to predictions based on non-structural evidence. Moreover, an algorithm, termed PrePPI, which combines structural information with other functional clues, is comparable in accuracy to high-throughput experiments, yielding over 30,000 high-confidence interactions for yeast and over 300,000 for human. Experimental tests of a number of predictions demonstrate the ability of the PrePPI algorithm to identify unexpected PPIs of considerable biological interest. The surprising effectiveness of three-dimensional structural information can be attributed to the use of homology models combined with the exploitation of both close and remote geometric relationships between proteins.
Diabetes is associated with ? cell failure. But it remains unclear whether the latter results from reduced ? cell number or function. FoxO1 integrates ? cell proliferation with adaptive ? cell function. We interrogated the contribution of these two processes to ? cell dysfunction, using mice lacking FoxO1 in ? cells. FoxO1 ablation caused hyperglycemia with reduced ? cell mass following physiologic stress, such as multiparity and aging. Surprisingly, lineage-tracing experiments demonstrated that loss of ? cell mass was due to ? cell dedifferentiation, not death. Dedifferentiated ? cells reverted to progenitor-like cells expressing Neurogenin3, Oct4, Nanog, and L-Myc. A subset of FoxO1-deficient ? cells adopted the ? cell fate, resulting in hyperglucagonemia. Strikingly, we identify the same sequence of events as a feature of different models of murine diabetes. We propose that dedifferentiation trumps endocrine cell death in the natural history of ? cell failure and suggest that treatment of ? cell dysfunction should restore differentiation, rather than promoting ? cell replication.
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) can disperse stored energy as heat. Promoting BAT-like features in white adipose (WAT) is an attractive, if elusive, therapeutic approach to staunch the current obesity epidemic. Here we report that gain of function of the NAD-dependent deacetylase SirT1 or loss of function of its endogenous inhibitor Deleted in breast cancer-1 (Dbc1) promote "browning" of WAT by deacetylating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (Ppar)-? on Lys268 and Lys293. SirT1-dependent deacetylation of Lys268 and Lys293 is required to recruit the BAT program coactivator Prdm16 to Ppar?, leading to selective induction of BAT genes and repression of visceral WAT genes associated with insulin resistance. An acetylation-defective Ppar? mutant induces a brown phenotype in white adipocytes, whereas an acetylated mimetic fails to induce "brown" genes but retains the ability to activate "white" genes. We propose that SirT1-dependent Ppar? deacetylation is a form of selective Ppar? modulation of potential therapeutic import.
Hypothalamic neurons expressing Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) are critical for initiating food intake, but druggable biochemical pathways that control this response remain elusive. Thus, genetic ablation of insulin or leptin signaling in AgRP neurons is predicted to reduce satiety but fails to do so. FoxO1 is a shared mediator of both pathways, and its inhibition is required to induce satiety. Accordingly, FoxO1 ablation in AgRP neurons of mice results in reduced food intake, leanness, improved glucose homeostasis, and increased sensitivity to insulin and leptin. Expression profiling of flow-sorted FoxO1-deficient AgRP neurons identifies G-protein-coupled receptor Gpr17 as a FoxO1 target whose expression is regulated by nutritional status. Intracerebroventricular injection of Gpr17 agonists induces food intake, whereas Gpr17 antagonist cangrelor curtails it. These effects are absent in Agrp-Foxo1 knockouts, suggesting that pharmacological modulation of this pathway has therapeutic potential to treat obesity.
Hepatic glucose production (HGP) is crucial for glucose homeostasis, but the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Here, we show that a calcium-sensing enzyme, CaMKII, is activated in a calcium- and IP3R-dependent manner by cAMP and glucagon in primary hepatocytes and by glucagon and fasting in vivo. Genetic deficiency or inhibition of CaMKII blocks nuclear translocation of FoxO1 by affecting its phosphorylation, impairs fasting- and glucagon/cAMP-induced glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, and lowers blood glucose levels, while constitutively active CaMKII has the opposite effects. Importantly, the suppressive effect of CaMKII deficiency on glucose metabolism is abrogated by transduction with constitutively nuclear FoxO1, indicating that the effect of CaMKII deficiency requires nuclear exclusion of FoxO1. This same pathway is also involved in excessive HGP in the setting of obesity. These results reveal a calcium-mediated signaling pathway involved in FoxO1 nuclear localization and hepatic glucose homeostasis.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of atherosclerosis. One factor underlying this is dyslipidemia, which in hyperinsulinemic subjects with early type 2 diabetes is typically characterized by increased VLDL secretion but normal LDL cholesterol levels, possibly reflecting enhanced catabolism of LDL via hepatic LDLRs. Recent studies have also suggested that hepatic insulin signaling sustains LDLR levels. We therefore sought to elucidate the mechanisms linking hepatic insulin signaling to regulation of LDLR levels. In WT mice, insulin receptor knockdown by shRNA resulted in decreased hepatic mTORC1 signaling and LDLR protein levels. It also led to increased expression of PCSK9, a known post-transcriptional regulator of LDLR expression. Administration of the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin caused increased expression of PCSK9, decreased levels of hepatic LDLR protein, and increased levels of VLDL/LDL cholesterol in WT but not Pcsk9-/- mice. Conversely, mice with increased hepatic mTORC1 activity exhibited decreased expression of PCSK9 and increased levels of hepatic LDLR protein levels. Pcsk9 is regulated by the transcription factor HNF1?, and our further detailed analyses suggest that increased mTORC1 activity leads to activation of PKC?, reduced activity of HNF4? and HNF1?, decreased PCSK9 expression, and ultimately increased hepatic LDLR protein levels, which result in decreased circulating LDL levels. We therefore suggest that PCSK9 inhibition could be an effective way to reduce the adverse side effect of increased LDL levels that is observed in transplant patients taking rapamycin as immunosuppressive therapy.
Restoration of regulated insulin secretion is the ultimate goal of therapy for type 1 diabetes. Here, we show that, unexpectedly, somatic ablation of Foxo1 in Neurog3(+) enteroendocrine progenitor cells gives rise to gut insulin-positive (Ins(+)) cells that express markers of mature ? cells and secrete bioactive insulin as well as C-peptide in response to glucose and sulfonylureas. Lineage tracing experiments showed that gut Ins(+) cells arise cell autonomously from Foxo1-deficient cells. Inducible Foxo1 ablation in adult mice also resulted in the generation of gut Ins(+) cells. Following ablation by the ?-cell toxin streptozotocin, gut Ins(+) cells regenerate and produce insulin, reversing hyperglycemia in mice. The data indicate that Neurog3(+) enteroendocrine progenitors require active Foxo1 to prevent differentiation into Ins(+) cells. Foxo1 ablation in gut epithelium may provide an approach to restore insulin production in type 1 diabetes.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in insulin-resistant (type 2) diabetes. Vascular endothelial dysfunction paves the way for atherosclerosis through impaired nitric oxide availability, inflammation, and generation of superoxide. Surprisingly, we show that ablation of the three genes encoding isoforms of transcription factor FoxO in endothelial cells prevents atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice by reversing these subphenotypes. Paradoxically, the atheroprotective effect of FoxO deletion is associated with a marked decrease of insulin-dependent Akt phosphorylation in endothelial cells, owing to reduced FoxO-dependent expression of the insulin receptor adaptor proteins Irs1 and Irs2. These findings support a model in which FoxO is the shared effector of multiple atherogenic pathways in endothelial cells. FoxO ablation lowers the threshold of Akt activity required for protection from atherosclerosis. The data demonstrate that FoxO inhibition in endothelial cells has the potential to mediate wide-ranging therapeutic benefits for diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease.
Complications of atherosclerosis are the leading cause of death of patients with type 2 (insulin-resistant) diabetes. Understanding the mechanisms by which insulin resistance and hyperglycemia contribute to atherogenesis in key target tissues (liver, vessel wall, hematopoietic cells) can assist in the design of therapeutic approaches. We have shown that hyperglycemia induces FoxO1 deacetylation and that targeted knock-in of alleles encoding constitutively deacetylated FoxO1 in mice (Foxo1(KR/KR)) improves hepatic lipid metabolism and decreases macrophage inflammation, setting the stage for a potential anti-atherogenic effect of this mutation. Surprisingly, we report here that when Foxo1(KR/KR) mice are intercrossed with low density lipoprotein receptor knock-out mice (Ldlr(-/-)), they develop larger aortic root atherosclerotic lesions than Ldlr(-/-) controls despite lower plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The phenotype is unaffected by transplanting bone marrow from Ldlr(-/-) mice into Foxo1(KR/KR) mice, indicating that it is independent of hematopoietic cells and suggesting that the primary lesion in Foxo1(KR/KR) mice occurs in the vessel wall. Experiments in isolated endothelial cells from Foxo1(KR/KR) mice indicate that deacetylation favors FoxO1 nuclear accumulation and exerts target gene-specific effects, resulting in higher Icam1 and Tnf? expression and increased monocyte adhesion. The data indicate that FoxO1 deacetylation can promote vascular endothelial changes conducive to atherosclerotic plaque formation.
Insulin receptor (InsR) signaling through transcription factor FoxO1 is important in the development of hypothalamic neuron feeding circuits, but knowledge about underlying mechanisms is limited. To investigate the role of InsR/FoxO1 signaling in the development and maintenance of these circuits, we surveyed the pool of hypothalamic neurons expressing Pomc mRNA in different mouse models of impaired hypothalamic InsR signaling. InsR ablation in the entire hypothalamus did not affect Pomc-neuron number at birth, but resulted in a 25% increase, most notably in the middle arcuate nucleus region, in young adults. Selective restoration of InsR expression in POMC neurons in these mice partly reversed the abnormality, resulting in a 10% decrease compared to age-matched controls. To establish whether FoxO1 signaling plays a role in this process, we examined POMC neuron number in mice with POMC-specific deletion of FoxO1, and detected a 23% decrease in age-matched animals, consistent with a cell-autonomous role of InsR/FoxO1 signaling in regulating POMC neuron number, distinct from its established role to activate Pomc transcription. These changes in Pomc cells occurred in the absence of marked changes in humoral factors or hypothalamic NPY neurons.
Peptide hormone fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) has insulin-mimetic properties. Dutchak et al. now suggest that FGF21 also acts in an autocrine fashion in adipocytes and is required to mediate effects of the PPAR? agonist class of antidiabetic drugs. Does this new property improve FGF21s fledgling clinical prospects or endorse a clinical resuscitation of PPAR? agonists?
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