Glucokinase (GCK) is the key glucose phosphorylation enzyme which has attracted considerable attention as a candidate gene for type 2 diabetes (T2D) based on its enzyme function as the first rate-limiting step in the glycolysis pathway and regulates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In the past decade, the relationship between GCK and T2D has been reported in various ethnic groups. To derive a more precise estimation of the relationship and the effect of factors that might modify the risk, we performed this meta-analysis.
Necrotic death of macrophages has long been known to be present in atherosclerotic lesions but has not been studied. We examined the role of receptor interacting protein (RIP) 3, a mediator of necrotic cell death, in atherosclerosis and found that RIP3(-/-);Ldlr(-/-) mice were no different from RIP3(+/+);Ldlr(-/-) mice in early atherosclerosis but had significant reduction in advanced atherosclerotic lesions. Similar results were observed in Apoe(-/-) background mice. Bone marrow transplantation revealed that loss of RIP3 expression from bone-marrow-derived cells is responsible for the reduced disease progression. While no difference was found in apoptosis between RIP3(-/-);Ldlr(-/-) and RIP3(+/+);Ldlr(-/-) mice, electron microscopy revealed a significant reduction of macrophage primary necrosis in the advanced lesions of RIP3(-/-) mice. In vitro cellular studies showed that RIP3 deletion had no effect on oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-induced macrophage apoptosis, but prevented macrophage primary necrosis occurring in response to oxidized LDL under caspase inhibition or RIP3 overexpression conditions. RIP3-dependent necrosis is not postapoptotic, and the increased primary necrosis in advanced atherosclerotic lesions most likely resulted from the increase of RIP3 expression. Our data demonstrate that primary necrosis of macrophages is proatherogenic during advanced atherosclerosis development.
We examined whether betulin, a naturally abundant compound, has anticancer functions in human cancer cells. The results showed that betulin significantly inhibited cell viability in cervix carcinoma HeLa cells, hepatoma HepG2 cells, lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells, and breast cancer MCF-7 cells with IC(50) values ranging from 10 to 15 microg/mL. While betulin exhibited only moderate anticancer activity in other human cancer cells such as hepatoma SK-HEP-1 cells, prostate carcinoma PC-3, and lung carcinoma NCI-H460, with IC(50) values ranging from 20 to 60 microg/mL, it showed minor growth inhibition in human erythroleukemia K562 cells (IC(50) > 100 microg/mL). We further investigated the mechanism of anticancer activity by betulin, using HeLa cells as an experimental model. Betulin (10 microg/mL) induces apoptotic cell death, as evidenced by morphological characteristics such as membrane phosphatidylserine translocation, nuclear condensation/fragmentation, and apoptotic body formation. A kinetics analysis showed that the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c occurred as early as 30 min after treatment with betulin. Betulin, unlike its chemical derivative betulinic acid, did not directly trigger mitochondrial cytochrome c release in isolated mitochondria. Importantly, Bax and Bak were rapidly translocated to the mitochondria 30 min after betulin treatment. The sequential activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3/-7 and the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were observed behind those mitochondrial events. Furthermore, specific downregulation of either caspase-9, Bax, or Bak by siRNA effectively reduced PARP cleavage and caspase-3 activation. Taken together, the lines of evidence demonstrate that betulin triggers apoptosis of human cancer cells through the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.
The frequency of oesophageal adenocarcinoma is increasing in Western countries for unknown reasons, and correlates with a corresponding increase in the pre-malignant condition, Barretts Oesophagus, which raises the risk of adenocarcinoma by some 40- to 125-fold. We have examined how disease progression correlates with changes in expression of the p14ARF (ARF) tumour suppressor, a key regulator of the p53 tumour suppressor pathway that is silenced in some 30% of cancers overall, but for which a role in oesophageal cancer is unclear. We have used quantitative PCR, RT-PCR, methylation-specific PCR and chromatin-immunoprecipitation to examine the regulation and function of ARF in oesophageal adenocarcinoma tissue specimens and cell lines. We find highly significant reductions (P< 0.001) in ARF expression during disease progression from normal oesophageal epithelium to Barretts Oesophagus to adenocarcinoma, with 57/76 (75%) adenocarcinomas displaying undetectable levels of ARF expression. Retention of ARF expression in adenocarcinoma is a highly significant indicator of increased survival (P< 0.001) and outperforms all clinical variables in a multivariate model. CpG methylation as well as histone H3 methylation of lysines 9 and 27 contribute independently to ARF gene silencing in adenocarcinoma cell lines and can be reversed by 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine. The results suggest that silencing of ARF is involved in the pathogenesis of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and show that either DNA or histone methylation can provide the primary mechanism for ARF gene silencing. Silencing of ARF could provide a useful marker for increased risk of progression and poor prognosis.
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