Phenylalanine hydroxylase–deficient (PAH-deficient) phenylketonuria (PKU) results in systemic hyperphenylalaninemia, leading to neurotoxicity with severe developmental disabilities. Dietary phenylalanine (Phe) restriction prevents the most deleterious effects of hyperphenylalaninemia, but adherence to diet is poor in adult and adolescent patients, resulting in characteristic neurobehavioral phenotypes. Thus, an urgent need exists for new treatments. Additionally, rodent models of PKU do not adequately reflect neurocognitive phenotypes, and thus there is a need for improved animal models. To this end, we have developed PAH-null pigs. After selection of optimal CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing reagents by using an in vitro cell model, zygote injection of 2 sgRNAs and Cas9 mRNA demonstrated deletions in preimplantation embryos, with embryo transfer to a surrogate leading to 2 founder animals. One pig was heterozygous for a PAH exon 6 deletion allele, while the other was compound heterozygous for deletions of exon 6 and of exons 6–7. The affected pig exhibited hyperphenylalaninemia (2000–5000 μM) that was treatable by dietary Phe restriction, consistent with classical PKU, along with juvenile growth retardation, hypopigmentation, ventriculomegaly, and decreased brain gray matter volume. In conclusion, we have established a large-animal preclinical model of PKU to investigate pathophysiology and to assess new therapeutic interventions.
Erik A. Koppes, Bethany K. Redel, Marie A. Johnson, Kristen J. Skvorak, Lina Ghaloul-Gonzalez, Megan E. Yates, Dale W. Lewis, Susanne M. Gollin, Yijen L. Wu, Shawn E. Christ, Martine Yerle, Angela Leshinski, Lee D. Spate, Joshua A. Benne, Stephanie L. Murphy, Melissa S. Samuel, Eric M. Walters, Sarah A. Hansen, Kevin D. Wells, Uta Lichter-Konecki, Robert A. Wagner, Joseph T. Newsome, Steven F. Dobrowolski, Jerry Vockley, Randall S. Prather, Robert D. Nicholls
Symbiotic microbial colonization through the establishment of the intestinal microbiome is critical to many intestinal functions including nutrient metabolism, intestinal barrier integrity and immune regulation. Recent studies suggest that education of the intestinal immunity maybe ongoing in utero. However, the drivers of this process are unknown. The microbiome and its byproducts are one potential source. Whether a fetal intestinal microbiome exists is controversial and if microbially derived metabolites are present in utero is unknown. Here, we aimed to determine whether bacterial DNA and microbially-derived metabolites can be detected in second trimester human intestinal samples. Although, we were unable to amplify bacterial DNA from fetal intestines, we report a unique fetal metabolomic intestinal profile with an abundance of bacterially derived and host derived metabolites commonly produced in response to microbiota. Though we did not directly assess their source and function, we hypothesize that these microbial associated metabolites come either from the maternal microbiome and are vertically transmitted to the fetus to prime the fetal immune system and prepare the gastrointestinal tract for postnatal microbial encounters or are produced locally by bacteria that was below our detection threshold.
Yujia Li, Jessica M. Toothaker, Shira Ben-Simon, Lital Ozeri, Ron Schweitzer, Blake T. McCourt, Collin C. McCourt, Lael Werner, Scott B. Snapper, Dror S. Shouval, Soliman Khatib, Omry Koren, Sameer Agnihorti, George Tseng, Liza Konnikova
Cardiac energetic dysfunction has been reported in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and is an independent predictor of mortality. Identification of the mechanisms driving mitochondrial dysfunction, and therapeutic strategies to rescue these modifications, will improve myocardial energetics in T2D. We demonstrate using 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) that decreased cardiac ATP and phosphocreatine (PCr) concentrations occurred before contractile dysfunction or a reduction in PCr/ATP ratio in T2D. Real-time mitochondrial ATP synthesis rates and state 3 respiration rates were similarly depressed in T2D, implicating dysfunctional mitochondrial energy production. Driving this energetic dysfunction in T2D was an increase in mitochondrial protein acetylation, and increased ex vivo acetylation was shown to proportionally decrease mitochondrial respiration rates. Treating T2D rats in vivo with the mitochondrial deacetylase SIRT3 activator honokiol reversed the hyperacetylation of mitochondrial proteins and restored mitochondrial respiration rates to control levels. Using 13C-hyperpolarized MRS, respiration with different substrates, and enzyme assays, we localized this improvement to increased glutamate dehydrogenase activity. Finally, honokiol treatment increased ATP and PCr concentrations and increased total ATP synthesis flux in the T2D heart. In conclusion, hyperacetylation drives energetic dysfunction in T2D, and reversing acetylation with the SIRT3 activator honokiol rescued myocardial and mitochondrial energetics in T2D.
Matthew Kerr, Jack J. Miller, Dharendra Thapa, Sophie Stiewe, Kerstin N. Timm, Claudia N. Montes Aparicio, Iain Scott, Damian J. Tyler, Lisa C. Heather
The angiopoietin-like protein ANGPTL8 (A8) is one of three ANGPTLs (A8, A3, A4) that coordinate changes in triglyceride (TG) delivery to tissues by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that hydrolyzes TG. Previously we showed that A8, which is expressed in liver and adipose tissue, is required to redirect dietary TG from oxidative to storage tissues following food intake. Here we show that A8 from liver and adipose tissue have different roles in this process. Mice lacking hepatic A8 have no circulating A8, high intravascular LPL activity, low plasma TG levels, and evidence of decreased delivery of dietary lipids to adipose tissue. In contrast, mice lacking A8 in adipose tissue have higher postprandial TG levels and no alteration in fatty acid composition in adipocytes. Expression of A8, together with A4, in cultured cells reduced A4 secretion and A4-mediated LPL inhibition. Thus, hepatic A8 (with A3) acts in an endocrine fashion to inhibit intravascular LPL in oxidative tissues, whereas A8 in adipose tissue enhances LPL activity by autocrine/paracrine inhibition of A4. These combined actions of A8 ensure that TG stores are rapidly replenished and sufficient energy is available until the next meal.
Federico Oldoni, Haili Cheng, Serena Banfi, Viktoria Gusarova, Jonathan C. Cohen, Helen H. Hobbs
Orphan nuclear receptor estrogen-related receptor (ERR)γ stimulates bile acid production, however, the role and the regulatory mechanism of ERRγ in cholestatic liver disease are largely unknown. This study identifies that Sirt6 is a deacetylase of ERRγ and suggests a novel mechanism by which Sirt6 activation alleviates cholestatic liver damage and fibrosis through regulating ERRγ. We observed that hepatic expression of Sirt6 is repressed while that of ERRγ is upregulated in murine cholestasis models. Hepatocyte-specific Sirt6 knockout mice were more severely injured following a bile duct ligation (BDL) compared to wild-type mice and adenoviral re-expression of Sirt6 reversed liver damage and fibrosis as demonstrated by biochemical and histological analyses. Mechanistically, Sirt6 deacetylated ERRγ, thereby destabilized ERRγ and inhibited its transcriptional activity. Elimination of hepatic ERRγ using Ad-shERRγ abolished the deleterious effects of Sirt6 deficiency, while ERRγ overexpression aggravated cholestatic liver injury. Administration of a Sirt6 deacetylase activator prevented BDL-induced liver damage and fibrosis. In patients with cholestasis, Sirt6 expression was decreased while total- and acetylated-ERRγ levels were increased, confirming negative regulation of ERRγ by Sirt6. Thus, Sirt6 activation represents a new therapeutic strategy for treating cholestatic liver injury.
Lihua Hao, In Hyuk Bang, Jie Wang, Yuancheng Mao, Jae Do Yang, Soon-Young Na, Jeong Kon Seo, Hueng-Sik Choi, Eun Ju Bae, Byung-Hyun Park
BACKGROUND. Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) and metabolically healthy overweight (MH-OW) have been suggested to be an important and emerging phenotype with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, whether MHO and MH-OW are associated with all-cause mortality remains inconsistent. METHODS. The association of MHO and MH-OW and all-cause mortality was determined in China community-based prospective cohort study (Kailuan Study) including 93,272 adults at baseline. Data were analyzed from 2006 to 2017. Participants were categorized into six mutually exclusive groups according to the body mass index (BMI) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) status. The primary outcome is all-cause death, whereas accidental deaths were excluded. RESULTS. During a median follow-up of 11.04 years (interquartile range: 10.74-11.22 years), 8,977 deaths occurred. Compared to healthy participants with normal BMI (MH-NW), MH-OW had lowest risk of all-cause mortality (multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 0.926; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.861 to 0.997), whereas there was no increased or decreased risk for MHO (aHR: 1.009; 95% CI: 0.886 to 1.148). Stratified analyses and sensitivity analyses further validated that nonsignificant association between MHO and all-cause mortality. CONCLUSIONS. Overweight and obesity do not predicate increased risk of all-cause mortality in metabolic healthy Chinese individuals.
Qiuyue Tian, Anxin Wang, Yingting Zuo, Shuohua Chen, Haifeng Hou, Wei Wang, Shouling Wu, Youxin Wang
Kidney disease is one of the most devastating complications of diabetes, and tubular atrophy predicts diabetic kidney disease (DKD) progression to end stage renal disease. We have proposed that fatty acids bound to albumin contribute to tubular atrophy by inducing lipotoxicity, following filtration across damaged glomeruli, and subsequent proximal tubule reabsorption by a fatty acid transport protein-2 (FATP2)-dependent mechanism. To address this possibility, genetic (Leprdb/db eNOS-/-) and induced (high fat diet plus low dose streptozotocin) mouse models of obesity and DKD, were bred with global FATP2 gene (Slc27a2)-deleted mice, and then phenotyped. DKD-prone mice with the Slc27a2-/- genotype demonstrated normalization of glomerular filtration rate, reduced albuminuria, improved kidney histopathology, and longer lifespan compared to diabetic Slc27a2+/+ mice. Genetic and induced DKD-prone Slc27a2-/- mice also exhibited markedly reduced fasting plasma glucose, with mean values approaching euglycemia, despite increased obesity and decreased physical activity. Glucose lowering in DKD-prone Slc27a2-/- mice was accompanied by beta-cell hyperplasia and sustained insulin secretion. Together, our data indicate that FATP2 uniquely regulates DKD pathogenesis by a combined lipotoxicity and glucotoxicity (glucolipotoxicity) mechanism.
Shenaz Khan, Robert J. Gaivin, Caroline Abramovich, Michael Boylan, Jorge Calles, Jeffrey R. Schelling
De novo lipogenesis (DNL) plays a role in the development of hepatic steatosis. In humans with lipodystrophy, reduced adipose tissue causes lower plasma leptin, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and ectopic triglyceride (TG) accumulation. We hypothesized that recombinant leptin (metreleptin) for 6 months in 11 patients with lipodystrophy would reduce DNL by decreasing insulin resistance and glycemia, thus reducing circulating and hepatic-TG. The percentage of TG-rich lipoprotein particle (TRLP)-TG derived from DNL (%DNL) was measured by deuterium incorporation from body water into palmitate. At baseline, DNL was elevated with levels similar to levels previously shown in obesity-associated nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). After metreleptin, DNL decreased into the normal range. Similarly, absolute DNL (TRLP-TG x % DNL) decreased by 88% to near-normal levels. Metreleptin improved peripheral insulin sensitivity (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp) and lowered HbA1c and hepatic-TG. Both before and after metreleptin, DNL positively correlated with insulin resistance, insulin doses, and hepatic-TG, supporting the hypothesis that hyperinsulinemia stimulates DNL and that elevated DNL is integral to the pathogenesis of lipodystrophy-associated NAFLD.These data suggest that leptin-mediated improvement in insulin sensitivity increases clearance of blood glucose by peripheral tissues, reduces hepatic carbohydrate flux, and lowers insulinemia, resulting in DNL reductions, and improvements in hepatic steatosis and dyslipidemia.
Annah P. Baykal, Elizabeth J. Parks, Robert Shamburek, Majid M. Syed-Abdul, Shaji K. Chacko, Elaine Cochran, Megan Startzell, Ahmed M. Gharib, Ronald Ouwerkerk, Khaled Z. Abd-Elmoniem, Peter J. Walter, Mary Walter, Ranganath Muniyappa, Stephanie T. Chung, Rebecca J. Brown
It has been proposed that unmethylated insulin promoter fragments in plasma derive exclusively from β-cells, reflect their recent demise and can be used to assess β-cell damage in type 1 diabetes. Herein we describe an ultrasensitive assay for detection of a β-cell-specific DNA methylation signature, by simultaneous assessment of six DNA methylation markers, that identifies β-cell DNA in mixtures containing as little as 0.03% β-cell DNA (less than one β-cell genome equivalent). With this assay, plasma from non-diabetic individuals (N=218, aged 4-78 years) contained on average only one β-cell genome equivalent/ml. As expected, β-cell cfDNA was significantly elevated in islet transplant recipients shortly after transplantation. We also detected β-cell cfDNA in a patient with KATP congenital hyperinsulinism where substantial β-cell turnover is thought to occur. Strikingly, in contrast to previous reports, we observed no elevation of β-cell-derived cfDNA in autoantibody positive subjects at-risk for type 1 diabetes (N=32), individuals with recent-onset type 1 diabetes (<4 months, N=92), or those with a long-standing disease (>4 months, N=38). We discuss the utility of sensitive beta-cell cfDNA analysis and potential explanations for the lack of a β-cell cfDNA signal in T1D.
Daniel Neiman, David Gillis, Sheina Piyanzin, Daniel Cohen, Ori Fridlich, Joshua Moss, Aviad Zick, Tal Oron, Frida Sundberg, Gun Forsander, Oskar Skog, Olle Korsgren, Floris Levy-Khademi, Dan Arbell, Saar Hashavya, A.M. James Shapiro, Cate Speake, Carla Greenbaum, Jennifer Hosford, Amanda Posgai, Mark A. Atkinson, Benjamin Glaser, Desmond Schatz, Ruth Shemer, Yuval Dor
Reprogramming of host metabolism supports viral pathogenesis by fueling viral proliferation, by providing, for example, free amino acids and fatty acids as building blocks. To investigate metabolic effects of SARS-COV-2 infection, we evaluated serum metabolites of COVID-19 patients (n = 33; diagnosed by nucleic acid testing), as compared to COVID-19-negative controls (n = 16). Targeted and untargeted metabolomics analyses identified altered tryptophan metabolism into the kynurenine pathway, which regulates inflammation and immunity. Indeed, these changes in tryptophan metabolism correlated with interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Widespread dysregulation of nitrogen metabolism was also seen in infected patients, with altered levels of most amino acids, along with increased markers of oxidant stress (e.g., methionine sulfoxide, cystine), proteolysis, and renal dysfunction (e.g., creatine, creatinine, polyamines). Increased circulating levels of glucose and free fatty acids were also observed, consistent with altered carbon homeostasis. Interestingly, metabolite levels in these pathways correlated with clinical laboratory markers of inflammation (i.e., IL-6 and C-reactive protein) and renal function (i.e., blood urea nitrogen). In conclusion, this initial observational study identified amino acid and fatty acid metabolism as correlates of COVID-19, providing mechanistic insights, potential markers of clinical severity, and potential therapeutic targets.
Tiffany Thomas, Davide Stefanoni, Julie A. Reisz, Travis Nemkov, Lorenzo Bertolone, Richard O. Francis, Krystalyn E. Hudson, James C. Zimring, Kirk C. Hansen, Eldad A. Hod, Steven L. Spitalnik, Angelo D’Alessandro
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