Friedreich ataxia is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease associated with a high diabetes prevalence. No treatment is available to prevent or delay disease progression. Friedreich ataxia is caused by intronic GAA trinucleotide repeat expansions in the frataxin-encoding FXN gene that reduce frataxin expression, impair iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, cause oxidative stress, and result in mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Here we examined the metabolic, neuroprotective and frataxin-inducing effects of glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogs in in vivo and in vitro models and in Friedreich ataxia patients. The GLP-1 analog exenatide improved glucose homeostasis of frataxin-deficient mice through enhanced insulin content and secretion in pancreatic β-cells. Exenatide induced frataxin and iron-sulfur cluster-containing proteins in β-cells and brain, and was protective to sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia. GLP-1 analogs also induced frataxin expression, reduced oxidative stress and improved mitochondrial function in Friedreich ataxia patients’ induced pluripotent stem cell-derived β-cells and sensory neurons. The frataxin-inducing effect of exenatide was confirmed in a pilot trial in Friedreich ataxia patients, showing modest frataxin induction in platelets over a 5-week treatment course. Taken together, GLP-1 analogs improve mitochondrial function in frataxin-deficient cells and induce frataxin expression. Our findings identify incretin receptors as a therapeutic target in Friedreich ataxia.
Mariana Igoillo-Esteve, Ana F. Oliveira, Cristina Cosentino, Federica Fantuzzi, Céline Demarez, Sanna Toivonen, Amélie Hu, Satyan Chintawar, Miguel Lopes, Nathalie Pachera, Ying Cai, Baroj Abdulkarim, Myriam Rai, Lorella Marselli, Piero Marchetti, Mohammad Tariq, Jean-Christophe Jonas, Marina Boscolo, Massimo Pandolfo, Décio L. Eizirik, Miriam Cnop
Background: Inflammation is implicated in many aging-related disorders. In animal models, menopause leads to increased gut permeability and inflammation. Our primary objective was to determine if gut permeability increases during the menopause transition (MT) in women. Our exploratory objectives were to examine whether greater gut permeability is associated with more inflammation and lower bone mineral density (BMD).Methods: We included 65 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Key measures were markers of gut permeability (gut barrier dysfunction [fatty acid binding protein 2 [FABP2]) and immune activation secondary to gut microbial translocation (lipopolysaccharide binding protein [LBP], soluble CD14 [sCD14]); inflammation (high-sensitivity CRP); and lumbar spine (LS) or total hip (TH) BMD. Results: In our primary analysis, FABP2, LBP, and sCD14 increased by 22.8% (P = 0.001), 3.7% (P = 0.05), and 8.9% (P = 0.0002), respectively from pre- to postmenopause. In exploratory, repeated measures, mixed-effects linear regression (adjusted for age at the premenopausal visit, body mass index, race/ethnicity, and study site), greater gut permeability was associated with greater inflammation, and lower LS and TH BMD. Conclusions: Gut permeability increases during the MT. Greater gut permeability is associated with more inflammation and lower BMD. Future studies should examine the longitudinal associations of gut permeability, inflammation, and BMD.Funding: NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, and NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (U01NR004061, U01AG012505, U01AG012535, U01AG012531, U01AG012539, U01AG012546, U01AG012553, U01AG012554, U01AG012495).
Albert Shieh, Marta Epeldegui, Arun S Karlamangla, Gail A. Greendale
Small molecule inhibitors of Dual Specificity, Tyrosine Phosphorylation-Regulated Kinase 1A (DYRK1A), including harmine and others, are able to drive human beta cell regeneration. While DYRK1A is certainly a target of this class, whether it is the only, or the most important target, is uncertain. Here, we employ a combined pharmacologic and genetic approach to refine the potential mitogenic targets of the DYRK1A inhibitor family in human islets. A combination of human beta cell RNAseq, DYRK1A inhibitor kinome screens, pharmacologic inhibitors, and targeted silencing of candidate genes confirms that DYRK1A is a central target. Surprisingly, however, DYRK1B also proves to be an important target: silencing DYRK1A results in an increase in DYRK1B; simultaneous silencing of both DYRK1A and DYRK1B yields greater beta cell proliferation than silencing either individually. Importantly, other potential kinases, such as the CLK and the GSK3 families, are excluded as important harmine targets. Finally, we describe adenoviruses that are able to silence up to seven targets simultaneously. Collectively, we report that inhibition of both DYRK1A and DYRK1B is required for induction of maximal rates of human beta cell proliferation, and provide clarity for future efforts at structure-based drug design for human beta cell regenerative drugs.
Courtney Ackeifi, Ethan Swartz, Kunal Kumar, Hongtao Liu, Suebsuwong Chalada, Esra Karakose, Donald K. Scott, Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña, Roberto Sanchez, Robert J. DeVita, Andrew F. Stewart, Peng Wang
Biallelic mutations of the gene encoding the transcription factor NEUROG3 are associated with a rare disorder that presents in neonates as generalized malabsorption – due to a complete absence of enteroendocrine cells – followed, in early childhood or beyond, by insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The commonly delayed onset of IDDM suggests a differential requirement for NEUROG3 in endocrine cell generation in the human pancreas versus the intestine. However, previously identified human mutations were hypomorphic, and hence may have had residual function in pancreas. We report two patients with biallelic functionally null variants of the NEUROG3 gene who nonetheless did not present with IDDM during infancy, but instead developed permanent IDDM during middle childhood ages. The variants show no evidence of function in traditional promoter-based assays of NEUROG3 function and also fail to exhibit function in a variety of novel in vitro and in vivo molecular assays designed to discern residual NEUROG3 function. These findings imply that unlike in mice, pancreatic endocrine cell generation in humans is not entirely dependent on NEUROG3 expression, and hence suggests the presence of unidentified redundant in vivo pathways in human pancreas capable of yielding beta-cell mass sufficient to maintain euglycemia until early childhood.
R. Sergio Solorzano-Vargas, Matthew Bjerknes, Jiafang Wang, S. Vincent Wu, Manuel G. Garcia-Careaga, Duke Pisit, Hazel Cheng, Michael S. German, Senta Georgia, Martin G. Martín
Salt sensitivity of blood pressure (SSBP) and hypertension are common, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) degrades angiotensin II (ANGII). We hypothesized that decreasing ERAP1 increases BP via ANGII-mediated effects on aldosterone (ALDO) production and/or renovascular function. Compared with WT littermate mice, ERAP1-deficient (ERAP1+/–) mice had increased tissue ANGII, systolic and diastolic BP, and SSBP, indicating that ERAP1 deficiency leads to volume expansion. However, the mechanisms underlying the volume expansion differed according to sex. Male ERAP1+/– mice had increased ALDO levels and normal renovascular responses to volume expansion (decreased resistive and pulsatility indices and increased glomerular volume). In contrast, female ERAP1+/– mice had normal ALDO levels but lacked normal renovascular responses. In humans, ERAP1 rs30187, a loss-of-function gene variant that reduces ANGII degradation in vitro, is associated with hypertension. In our cohort from the Hypertensive Pathotype (HyperPATH) Consortium, there was a significant dose-response association between rs30187 risk alleles and systolic and diastolic BP as well as renal plasma flow in men, but not in women. Thus, lowering ERAP1 led to volume expansion and increased BP. In males, the volume expansion was due to elevated ALDO with normal renovascular function, whereas in females the volume expansion was due to impaired renovascular function with normal ALDO levels.
Sanjay Ranjit, Jian Yao Wong, Jia W. Tan, Chee Sin Tay, Jessica M. Lee, Kelly Yin Han Wong, Luminita H. Pojoga, Danielle L. Brooks, Amanda E. Garza, Stephen A. Maris, Isis Akemi Katayama, Jonathan S. Williams, Alicia Rivera, Gail K. Adler, Gordon H. Williams, Jose R. Romero
Islet transplantation is an effective therapy for achieving and maintaining normoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, the supply of transplantable human islets is limited. Upon removal from the pancreas, islets rapidly disintegrate and lose function, resulting in a short interval for studies of islet biology and pretransplantation assessment. Here, we developed a biomimetic platform that can sustain human islet physiology for a prolonged period ex vivo. Our approach involved the creation of a multichannel perifusion system to monitor dynamic insulin secretion and intracellular calcium flux simultaneously, enabling the systematic evaluation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion under multiple conditions. Using this tool, we developed a nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel–based islet-preserving platform (iPreP) that can preserve islet viability, morphology, and function for nearly 12 weeks ex vivo, and with the ability to ameliorate glucose levels upon transplantation into diabetic hosts. Our platform has potential applications in the prolonged maintenance of human islets, providing an expanded time window for pretransplantation assessment and islet studies.
Yi-Ju Chen, Taiji Yamazoe, Karla F. Leavens, Fabian L. Cardenas-Diaz, Andrei Georgescu, Dongeun Huh, Paul Gadue, Ben Z. Stanger
The choroid plexus (ChP) is a highly vascularized tissue found in the brain ventricles, with an apical epithelial cell layer surrounding fenestrated capillaries. It is responsible for the production of most of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricular system, subarachnoid space, and central canal of the spinal cord, while also constituting the blood-CSF barrier (BCSFB). In addition, epithelial cells of the choroid plexus (EChP) synthesize neurotrophic factors and other signaling molecules that are released into the CSF. Here we show that insulin is produced in EChP of mice and humans, and its expression and release are regulated by serotonin. Insulin mRNA and immune-reactive protein, including C-peptide, are present in EChP, as detected by several experimental approaches, and in much higher levels than any other brain region and non-pancreatic peripheral tissues. Moreover, insulin is produced in primary cultured mouse EChP, and its release, albeit Ca2+-sensitive, is not regulated by glucose. Instead, activation of the 5HT2C receptor by serotonin treatment led to activation of IP3-sensitive channels and Ca2+ mobilization from intracellular storage, leading to insulin secretion. In vivo depletion of brain serotonin in the dorsal raphe nucleus negatively affected insulin expression in the ChP, suggesting an endogenous modulation of ChP insulin by serotonin. Therefore, for the first time to our knowledge, here we show that insulin is produced by EChP in the brain, and its release is modulated at least by serotonin, and not glucose.
Caio Henrique Mazucanti, Qing-Rong Liu, Doyle Lang, Nicholas Huang, Jennifer F. O’Connell, Simonetta Camandola, Josephine M. Egan
During pregnancy the maternal pancreatic islets of Langerhans undergo adaptive changes to compensate for gestational insulin resistance. Kisspeptin has been shown to stimulate insulin release, through its receptor, GPR54. The placenta releases high levels of kisspeptin into the maternal circulation, suggesting a role in modulating the islet adaptation to pregnancy. In the present study we show that pharmacological blockade of endogenous kisspeptin in pregnant mice resulted in impaired glucose homeostasis. This glucose intolerance was due to a reduced insulin response to glucose as opposed to any effect on insulin sensitivity. A β cell–specific GPR54-knockdown mouse line was found to exhibit glucose intolerance during pregnancy, with no phenotype observed outside of pregnancy. Furthermore, in pregnant women circulating kisspeptin levels significantly correlated with insulin responses to oral glucose challenge and were significantly lower in women with gestational diabetes (GDM) compared with those without GDM. Thus, kisspeptin represents a placental signal that plays a physiological role in the islet adaptation to pregnancy, maintaining maternal glucose homeostasis by acting through the β cell GPR54 receptor. Our data suggest reduced placental kisspeptin production, with consequent impaired kisspeptin-dependent β cell compensation, may be a factor in the development of GDM in humans.
James E. Bowe, Thomas G. Hill, Katharine F. Hunt, Lorna I.F. Smith, Sian J.S. Simpson, Stephanie A. Amiel, Peter M. Jones
Intestinally derived glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), encoded by the preproglucagon (Gcg) gene, is believed to function as an incretin. However, our previous work questioned this dogma and demonstrated that pancreatic peptides rather than intestinal Gcg peptides, including GLP-1, are a primary regulator of glucose homeostasis in normal mice. The objective of these experiments was to determine whether changes in nutrition or alteration of gut hormone secretion by bariatric surgery would result in a larger role for intestinal GLP-1 in the regulation of insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. Multiple transgenic models, including mouse models with intestine- or pancreas tissue–specific Gcg expression and a whole-body Gcg-null mouse model, were generated to study the role of organ-specific GLP-1 production on glucose homeostasis under dietary-induced obesity and after weight loss from bariatric surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy; VSG). Our findings indicated that the intestine is a major source of circulating GLP-1 after various nutrient and surgical stimuli. However, even with the 4-fold increase in intestinally derived GLP-1 with VSG, it is pancreatic peptides, not intestinal Gcg peptides, that are necessary for surgery-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis.
Ki-Suk Kim, Chelsea R. Hutch, Landon Wood, Irwin J. Magrisso, Randy J. Seeley, Darleen A. Sandoval
It is proposed that the impaired sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia induced by recurrent insulin-induced hypoglycemia (RH) is an adaptive phenomenon induced by specific changes in microRNA expression in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH). To test this hypothesis, genome-wide microRNAomic profiling of the VMH by RNA-sequencing was performed in control rats and rats treated for RH. Differential expression analysis identified microRNA-7a-5p and microRNA-665 as potential mediators of this phenomenon. To further test this hypothesis, experiments were conducted consisting of targeted lentiviral-mediated overexpression of microRNA-7a-5p and downregulation of microRNA-665 in the VMH. Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemic clamp experiments demonstrated that targeted overexpression of microRNA-7a-5p (but not downregulation of microRNA-665) in the VMH of RH rats restored the epinephrine response to hypoglycemia. This restored response to hypoglycemia was associated with a restoration of GABAA receptor gene expression. Finally, a direct interaction of microRNA-7a-5p with the 3′-UTR of GABAA receptor α1-subunit (Gabra1) gene was demonstrated in a luciferase assay. These findings indicate that (a) the impaired sympathoadrenal response RH induces is associated with changes in VMH microRNA expression and (b) microRNA-7a-5p, possibly via direct downregulation of GABA receptor gene expression, may serve as a mediator of the altered sympathoadrenal response to hypoglycemia.
Rahul Agrawal, Griffin Durupt, Dinesh Verma, Michael Montgomery, Adriana Vieira-de Abreu, Casey Taylor, Sankar Swaminathan, Simon J. Fisher
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