Pharmacologic inhibition of the renal sodium/glucose cotransporter-2 induces glycosuria and reduces glycemia. Given that SGLT2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) reduce mortality and cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes, improved understanding of molecular mechanisms mediating these metabolic effects is required. Treatment of obese but nondiabetic mice with the SGLT2i canagliflozin (CANA) reduces adiposity, improves glucose tolerance despite reduced plasma insulin, increases plasma ketones, and improves plasma lipid profiles. Utilizing an integrated transcriptomic-metabolomics approach, we demonstrate that CANA modulates key nutrient-sensing pathways, with activation of 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), independent of insulin or glucagon sensitivity or signaling. Moreover, CANA induces transcriptional reprogramming to activate catabolic pathways, increase fatty acid oxidation, reduce hepatic steatosis and diacylglycerol content, and increase hepatic and plasma levels of FGF21. Given that these phenotypes mirror the effects of FGF21 to promote lipid oxidation, ketogenesis, and reduction in adiposity, we hypothesized that FGF21 is required for CANA action. Using FGF21-null mice, we demonstrate that FGF21 is not required for SGLT2i-mediated induction of lipid oxidation and ketogenesis but is required for reduction in fat mass and activation of lipolysis. Taken together, these data demonstrate that SGLT2 inhibition triggers a fasting-like transcriptional and metabolic paradigm but requires FGF21 for reduction in adiposity.
Soravis Osataphan, Chiara Macchi, Garima Singhal, Jeremy Chimene-Weiss, Vicencia Sales, Chisayo Kozuka, Jonathan M. Dreyfuss, Hui Pan, Yanin Tangcharoenpaisan, Jordan Morningstar, Robert Gerszten, Mary-Elizabeth Patti
Liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality and is distinguished by a relative paucity of chemotherapy options. It has been hypothesized that intratumor genetic heterogeneity may contribute to the high failure rate of chemotherapy. Here, we evaluated functional heterogeneity in a cohort of primary human liver cancer organoid lines. Each primary human liver cancer surgical specimen was used to generate multiple cancer organoid lines, obtained from distinct regions of the tumor. A total of 27 liver cancer lines were established and tested with 129 cancer drugs, generating 3,483 cell survival data points. We found a rich intratumor, functional (drug response) heterogeneity in our liver cancer patients. Furthermore, we established that the majority of drugs were either ineffective, or effective only in select organoid lines. In contrast, we found that a subset of drugs appeared pan-effective, displaying at least moderate activity in the majority of these cancer organoid lines. These drugs, which are FDA approved for indications other than liver cancers, deserve further consideration as either systemic or local therapeutics. Of note, molecular profiles, obtained for a reduced sample set, did not correlate with the drug response heterogeneity of liver cancer organoid lines. Taken together, these findings lay the foundation for in-depth studies of pan-effective drugs, as well as for functional personalized oncology approaches. Lastly, these functional studies demonstrate the utility of cancer organoid drug testing as part of a drug discovery pipeline.
Ling Li, Hildur Knutsdottir, Ken Hui, Matthew J. Weiss, Jin He, Benjamin Philosophe, Andrew M. Cameron, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Timothy M. Pawlik, Gabriel Ghiaur, Andrew J. Ewald, Esteban Mezey, Joel S. Bader, Florin M. Selaru
Obese individuals are often at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular diseases such as angina, thereby requiring combination therapies for their comorbidities. Ranolazine is a second-line antianginal agent that also improves glycemia, and our aim was to determine whether ranolazine modifies the progression of obesity-induced NAFLD. Twelve-week-old C57BL/6J male mice were fed a low-fat or high-fat diet for 10 weeks and then treated for 30 days with either vehicle control or ranolazine (50 mg/kg via daily s.c. injection). Glycemia was monitored via glucose/pyruvate/insulin tolerance testing, whereas in vivo metabolism was assessed via indirect calorimetry. Hepatic triacylglycerol content was quantified via the Bligh and Dyer method. Consistent with previous reports, ranolazine treatment reversed obesity-induced glucose intolerance, which was associated with reduced body weight and hepatic steatosis, as well as increased hepatic pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity. Ranolazine’s actions on hepatic PDH activity may be directly mediated, as ranolazine treatment reduced PDH phosphorylation (indicative of increased PDH activity) in HepG2 cells. Therefore, in addition to mitigating angina, ranolazine also reverses NAFLD, which may contribute to its documented glucose-lowering actions, situating ranolazine as an ideal antianginal therapy for obese patients comorbid for NAFLD and T2D.
Rami Al Batran, Keshav Gopal, Hanin Aburasayn, Amina Eshreif, Malak Almutairi, Amanda A. Greenwell, Scott A. Campbell, Bruno Saleme, Emily A. Court, Farah Eaton, Peter E. Light, Gopinath Sutendra, John R. Ussher
IQ motif–containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a ubiquitously expressed scaffolding protein that integrates multiple cellular processes, including motility, adhesion, and proliferation, but its role in metabolism is unknown. Here, we show that IQGAP1 is induced upon fasting and regulates β-oxidation of fatty acids and synthesis of ketone bodies in the liver. IQGAP1-null (Iqgap1–/–) mice exhibit reduced hepatic PPARα transcriptional activity, as evidenced during fasting, after ketogenic diet, and upon pharmacological activation. Conversely, we found that the activity of fed-state sensor mTORC1 is enhanced in Iqgap1–/– livers, but acute inhibition of mTOR in Iqgap1–/– mice was unable to rescue the defect in ketone body synthesis. However, reexpressing IQGAP1 in the livers of Iqgap1–/– mice was sufficient to promote ketone body synthesis, increase PPARα signaling, and suppress mTORC1 activity. Taken together, we uncover what we believe to be a previously unidentified role for IQGAP1 in regulating PPARα activity and ketogenesis.
Hanna L. Erickson, Sayeepriyadarshini Anakk
BACKGROUND. The clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss, defined as functional cure, is a clinical target in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CH). To understand the immune responses underlying functional cure, we evaluated cytokine and chemokine expression profiles from patients with resolving and nonresolving acute hepatitis B (AH). METHODS. We cross-sectionally evaluated 41 chemokines and cytokines at the peak of hepatitis in the sera from 41 self-limited AH patients who achieved HBsAg seroconversion, 8 AH patients who failed to clear HBsAg within 1 year after the diagnosis, 8 CH patients with hepatic flare, and 14 healthy volunteers. We longitudinally examined 41 chemokines and cytokines in the sera from 4 self-limited AH patients, 3 chimpanzees inoculated with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and 2 CH patients treated with nucleotide analogs and PEG–IFN-α, one resulting in functional cure. RESULTS. In AH patients and HBV-inoculated chimpanzees with HBsAg loss, CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, CXCL13, and IL-21 were elevated at hepatitis with subsequent decline of HBsAg. Interestingly, IL-21 elevation was observed only in resolving AH patients but not in nonresolvers. CXCL13 and IL-21 elevation was not observed in CH patients who failed to attain HBsAg loss, even at hepatic flare. A concomitant increase of CXCL13 and IL-21 was significant in CH patients who attained HBsAg seroconversion with a sequential therapy. CONCLUSION. Elevation of serum CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, CXCL13, and IL-21 might be a hallmark of functional cure of AH or CH patients.
Sachiyo Yoshio, Yohei Mano, Hiroyoshi Doi, Hirotaka Shoji, Tomonari Shimagaki, Yuzuru Sakamoto, Hironari Kawai, Michitaka Matsuda, Taizo Mori, Yosuke Osawa, Masaaki Korenaga, Masaya Sugiyama, Masashi Mizokami, Eiji Mita, Keiko Katayama, Junko Tanaka, Tatsuya Kanto
Macrophages polarize into heterogeneous proinflammatory M1 and antiinflammatory M2 subtypes. Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) protects against inflammatory processes such as ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), organ transplantation, and atherosclerosis. To test our hypothesis that HO-1 regulates macrophage polarization and protects against IRI, we generated myeloid-specific HO-1–knockout (mHO-1–KO) and –transgenic (mHO-1–Tg) mice, with deletion or overexpression of HO-1, in various macrophage populations. Bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMDMs) from mHO-1–KO mice, treated with M1-inducing LPS or M2-inducing IL-4, exhibited increased mRNA expression of M1 (CXCL10, IL-1β, MCP1) and decreased expression of M2 (Arg1 and CD163) markers as compared with controls, while BMDMs from mHO-1–Tg mice displayed the opposite. A similar pattern was observed in the hepatic M1/M2 expression profile in a mouse model of liver IRI. mHO-1–KO mice displayed increased hepatocellular damage, serum AST/ALT levels, Suzuki’s histological score of liver IRI, and neutrophil and macrophage infiltration, while mHO-1–Tg mice exhibited the opposite. In human liver transplant biopsies, subjects with higher HO-1 levels showed lower expression of M1 markers together with decreased hepatocellular damage and improved outcomes. In conclusion, myeloid HO-1 expression modulates macrophage polarization, and protects against liver IRI, at least in part by favoring an M2 phenotype.
Min Zhang, Kojiro Nakamura, Shoichi Kageyama, Akeem O. Lawal, Ke Wei Gong, May Bhetraratana, Takehiro Fujii, Dawoud Sulaiman, Hirofumi Hirao, Subhashini Bolisetty, Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski, Jesus A. Araujo
The hepatic glucose fasting response is gaining traction as a therapeutic pathway to enhance hepatic and whole-host metabolism. However, the mechanisms underlying these metabolic effects remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate the epidermal-type lipoxygenase, eLOX3 (encoded by its gene, Aloxe3), is a potentially novel effector of the therapeutic fasting response. We show that Aloxe3 is activated during fasting, glucose withdrawal, or trehalose/trehalose analogue treatment. Hepatocyte-specific Aloxe3 expression reduced weight gain and hepatic steatosis in diet-induced and genetically obese (db/db) mouse models. Aloxe3 expression, moreover, enhanced basal thermogenesis and abrogated insulin resistance in db/db diabetic mice. Targeted metabolomics demonstrated accumulation of the PPARγ ligand 12-KETE in hepatocytes overexpressing Aloxe3. Strikingly, PPARγ inhibition reversed hepatic Aloxe3–mediated insulin sensitization, suppression of hepatocellular ATP production and oxygen consumption, and gene induction of PPARγ coactivator-1α (PGC1α) expression. Moreover, hepatocyte-specific PPARγ deletion reversed the therapeutic effect of hepatic Aloxe3 expression on diet-induced insulin intolerance. Aloxe3 is, therefore, a potentially novel effector of the hepatocellular fasting response that leverages both PPARγ-mediated and pleiotropic effects to augment hepatic and whole-host metabolism, and it is, thus, a promising target to ameliorate metabolic disease.
Cassandra B. Higgins, Yiming Zhang, Allyson L. Mayer, Hideji Fujiwara, Alicyn I. Stothard, Mark J. Graham, Benjamin M. Swarts, Brian J. DeBosch
Adeno-associated viral vector–mediated (AAV-mediated) expression of allogeneic major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC class I) in recipient liver induces donor-specific tolerance in mouse skin transplant models in which a class I allele (H-2Kb or H-2Kd) is mismatched between donor and recipient. Tolerance can be induced in mice primed by prior rejection of a donor-strain skin graft, as well as in naive recipients. Allogeneic MHC class I may be recognized by recipient T cells as an intact molecule (direct recognition) or may be processed and presented as an allogeneic peptide in the context of self-MHC (indirect recognition). The relative contributions of direct and indirect allorecognition to tolerance induction in this setting are unknown. Using hepatocyte-specific AAV vectors encoding WT allogeneic MHC class I molecules, or class I molecules containing a point mutation (D227K) that impedes direct recognition of intact allogeneic MHC class I by CD8+ T cells without hampering the presentation of processed peptides derived from allogeneic MHC class I, we show here that tolerance induction depends upon recognition of intact MHC class I. Indirect recognition alone yielded a modest prolongation of subsequent skin graft survival, attributable to the generation of CD4+ Tregs, but it was not sufficient to induce tolerance.
Moumita Paul-Heng, Mario Leong, Eithne Cunningham, Daniel L. J. Bunker, Katherine Bremner, Zane Wang, Chuanmin Wang, Szun Szun Tay, Claire McGuffog, Grant J. Logan, Ian E. Alexander, Min Hu, Stephen I. Alexander, Tim D. Sparwasser, Patrick Bertolino, David G. Bowen, G. Alex Bishop, Alexandra Sharland
Chronic liver disease (CLD) is associated with tissue-destructive fibrosis. Considering that common mechanisms drive fibrosis across etiologies, and that steatosis is an important cofactor for pathology, we performed RNA sequencing on liver biopsies of patients with different fibrosis stages, resulting from infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) (with or without steatosis) or fatty liver disease. In combination with enhanced liver fibrosis score correlation analysis, we reveal a common set of genes associated with advanced fibrosis, as exemplified by those encoding the transcription factor ETS-homologous factor (EHF) and the extracellular matrix protein versican (VCAN). We identified 17 fibrosis-associated genes as candidate EHF targets and demonstrated that EHF regulates multiple fibrosis-associated genes, including VCAN, in hepatic stellate cells. Serum VCAN levels were also elevated in advanced fibrosis patients. Comparing biopsies from patients with HCV with or without steatosis, we identified a steatosis-enriched gene set associated with advanced fibrosis, validating follistatin-like protein 1 (FSTL1) as an exemplar of this profile. In patients with advanced fibrosis, serum FSTL1 levels were elevated in those with steatosis (versus those without). Liver Fstl1 mRNA levels were also elevated in murine CLD models. We thus reveal a common gene signature for CLD-associated liver fibrosis and potential biomarkers and/or targets for steatosis-associated liver fibrosis.
Divya Ramnath, Katharine M. Irvine, Samuel W. Lukowski, Leigh U. Horsfall, Zhixuan Loh, Andrew D. Clouston, Preya J. Patel, Kevin J. Fagan, Abishek Iyer, Guy Lampe, Jennifer L. Stow, Kate Schroder, David P. Fairlie, Joseph E. Powell, Elizabeth E. Powell, Matthew J. Sweet
Liver damage is typically inferred from serum measurements of cytoplasmic liver enzymes. DNA molecules released from dying hepatocytes are an alternative biomarker, unexplored so far, potentially allowing for quantitative assessment of liver cell death. Here we describe a method for detecting acute hepatocyte death, based on quantification of circulating, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments carrying hepatocyte-specific methylation patterns. We identified 3 genomic loci that are unmethylated specifically in hepatocytes, and used bisulfite conversion, PCR, and massively parallel sequencing to quantify the concentration of hepatocyte-derived DNA in mixed samples. Healthy donors had, on average, 30 hepatocyte genomes/ml plasma, reflective of basal cell turnover in the liver. We identified elevations of hepatocyte cfDNA in patients shortly after liver transplantation, during acute rejection of an established liver transplant, and also in healthy individuals after partial hepatectomy. Furthermore, patients with sepsis had high levels of hepatocyte cfDNA, which correlated with levels of liver enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients, in which elevated AST and ALT derive from damaged muscle rather than liver, did not have elevated hepatocyte cfDNA. We conclude that measurements of hepatocyte-derived cfDNA can provide specific and sensitive information on hepatocyte death, for monitoring human liver dynamics, disease, and toxicity.
Roni Lehmann-Werman, Judith Magenheim, Joshua Moss, Daniel Neiman, Ofri Abraham, Sheina Piyanzin, Hai Zemmour, Ilana Fox, Talya Dor, Markus Grompe, Giora Landesberg, Bao-Li Loza, Abraham Shaked, Kim Olthoff, Benjamin Glaser, Ruth Shemer, Yuval Dor
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