Obesity and diabetes affect more than half a billion individuals worldwide. Interestingly, the two conditions do not always coincide and the molecular determinants of "healthy" versus "unhealthy" obesity remain ill-defined. Chronic metabolic inflammation (metaflammation) is believed to be pivotal. Here, we tested a hypothesized anti-inflammatory role for heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in the development of metabolic disease. Surprisingly, in matched biopsies from "healthy" versus insulin-resistant obese subjects we find HO-1 to be among the strongest positive predictors of metabolic disease in humans. We find that hepatocyte and macrophage conditional HO-1 deletion in mice evokes resistance to diet-induced insulin resistance and inflammation, dramatically reducing secondary disease such as steatosis and liver toxicity. Intriguingly, cellular assays show that HO-1 defines prestimulation thresholds for inflammatory skewing and NF-?B amplification in macrophages and for insulin signaling in hepatocytes. These findings identify HO-1 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for metabolic disease.
CD36 is a scavenger receptor that exhibits pleiotropic functions, including adhesion to thrombospondin, inhibition of angiogenesis, transport of long-chain fatty acids, and clearance of apoptotic cells. In addition, it has been implicated in the host immune response because it acts as a coreceptor for TLR2 and plays a role in Staphylococcus aureus infection. However, its role in other Gram-positive bacterial infections is unclear. In this study, using mice deficient in CD36, we sought to examine the role of CD36 in pneumococcal pneumonia, a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. We show that CD36 is expressed on both alveolar macrophages and respiratory epithelial cells. Early in infection, CD36(-/-) mice have an exaggerated inflammatory response compared with wild-type littermate controls. In vitro studies using CD36(-/-) primary cells confirm the enhanced early inflammation in response to S. pneumoniae and its lipoteichoic acid, demonstrate that S. pneumoniae binds to cells via its phosphocholine residues, and suggest a role for CD36 in reducing inflammation induced by the phosphocholine residues of pneumococcal lipoteichoic acid. Later in infection, although CD36(-/-) mice exhibit impaired bacterial clearance, owing to a decreased capacity of CD36(-/-) macrophages to phagocytose S. pneumoniae, minor effects on mortality occur, in comparison with those in wild-type littermate control mice. These data show that CD36 contributes to the pulmonary host response during S. pneumoniae infection by virtue of its ability to act as a phagocytic receptor and as a modulator of the early innate immune response.
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