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Targeted loss of GHR signaling in mouse skeletal muscle protects against high-fat diet-induced metabolic deterioration

Vijayakumar, Archana; Wu, YingJie; Sun, Hui; Li, Xiaosong; Jeddy, Zuha; Liu, Chengyu; Schwartz, Gary J; Yakar, Shoshana; LeRoith, Derek
Growth hormone (GH) exerts diverse tissue-specific metabolic effects that are not revealed by global alteration of GH action. To study the direct metabolic effects of GH in the muscle, we specifically inactivated the growth hormone receptor (ghr) gene in postnatal mouse skeletal muscle using the Cre/loxP system (mGHRKO model). The metabolic state of the mGHRKO mice was characterized under lean and obese states. High-fat diet feeding in the mGHRKO mice was associated with reduced adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, lower systemic inflammation, decreased muscle and hepatic triglyceride content, and greater energy expenditure compared with control mice. The obese mGHRKO mice also had an increased respiratory exchange ratio, suggesting increased carbohydrate utilization. GH-regulated suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (socs2) expression was decreased in obese mGHRKO mice. Interestingly, muscles of both lean and obese mGHRKO mice demonstrated a higher interleukin-15 and lower myostatin expression relative to controls, indicating a possible mechanism whereby GHR signaling in muscle could affect liver and adipose tissue function. Thus, our study implicates skeletal muscle GHR signaling in mediating insulin resistance in obesity and, more importantly, reveals a novel role of muscle GHR signaling in facilitating cross-talk between muscle and other metabolic tissues.
PMID: 22187377
ISSN: 0012-1797
CID: 160968

Reduced serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT) function causes insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis independent of food intake

Chen, Xiaoning; Margolis, Kara J; Gershon, Michael D; Schwartz, Gary J; Sze, Ji Y
Serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT) is a key regulator of serotonin neurotransmission and a major target of antidepressants. Antidepressants, such as selectively serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), that block SERT function are known to affect food intake and body weight. Here, we provide genetic evidence that food intake and metabolism are regulated by separable mechanisms of SERT function. SERT-deficient mice ate less during both normal diet and high fat diet feeding. The reduced food intake was accompanied with markedly elevated plasma leptin levels. Despite reduced food intake, SERT-deficient mice exhibited glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and progressively developed obesity and hepatic steatosis. Several lines of evidence indicate that the metabolic deficits of SERT-deficient mice are attributable to reduced insulin-sensitivity in peripheral tissues. First, SERT-deficient mice exhibited beta-cell hyperplasia and islet-mass expansion. Second, biochemical analyses revealed constitutively elevated JNK activity and diminished insulin-induced AKT activation in the liver of SERT-deficient mice. SERT-deficient mice exhibited hyper-JNK activity and hyperinsulinemia prior to the development of obesity. Third, enhancing AKT signaling by PTEN deficiency corrected glucose tolerance in SERT-deficient mice. These findings have potential implications for designing selective SERT drugs for weight control and the treatment of metabolic syndromes.
PMID: 22412882
ISSN: 1932-6203
CID: 5227482

Paradoxical coupling of triglyceride synthesis and fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle overexpressing DGAT1

Liu, Li; Shi, Xiaojing; Choi, Cheol Soo; Shulman, Gerald I; Klaus, Katherine; Nair, K Sreekumaran; Schwartz, Gary J; Zhang, Yiying; Goldberg, Ira J; Yu, Yi-Hao
OBJECTIVE: Transgenic expression of diacylglycerol acyltransferase-1 (DGAT1) in skeletal muscle leads to protection against fat-induced insulin resistance despite accumulation of intramuscular triglyceride, a phenomenon similar to what is known as the "athlete paradox." The primary objective of this study is to determine how DGAT1 affects muscle fatty acid oxidation in relation to whole-body energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We first quantified insulin sensitivity and the relative tissue contributions to the improved whole-body insulin sensitivity in muscle creatine kisase (MCK)-DGAT1 transgenic mice by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. Metabolic consequences of DGAT1 overexpression in skeletal muscles were determined by quantifying triglyceride synthesis/storage (anabolic) and fatty acid oxidation (catabolic), in conjunction with gene expression levels of representative marker genes in fatty acid metabolism. Whole-body energy metabolism including food consumption, body weights, oxygen consumption, locomotor activity, and respiration exchange ratios were determined at steady states. RESULTS: MCK-DGAT1 mice were protected against muscle lipoptoxicity, although they remain susceptible to hepatic lipotoxicity. While augmenting triglyceride synthesis, DGAT1 overexpression also led to increased muscle mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation efficiency, as compared with wild-type muscles. On a high-fat diet, MCK-DGAT1 mice displayed higher basal metabolic rates and 5-10% lower body weights compared with wild-type littermates, whereas food consumption was not different. CONCLUSIONS: DGAT1 overexpression in skeletal muscle led to parallel increases in triglyceride synthesis and fatty acid oxidation. Seemingly paradoxical, this phenomenon is characteristic of insulin-sensitive myofibers and suggests that DGAT1 plays an active role in metabolic "remodeling" of skeletal muscle coupled with insulin sensitization.
PMID: 19675136
ISSN: 0012-1797
CID: 762322

Increasing dietary leucine intake reduces diet-induced obesity and improves glucose and cholesterol metabolism in mice via multimechanisms

Zhang, Yiying; Guo, Kaiying; LeBlanc, Robert E; Loh, Daniella; Schwartz, Gary J; Yu, Yi-Hao
Leucine, as an essential amino acid and activator of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), promotes protein synthesis and suppresses protein catabolism. However, the effect of leucine on overall glucose and energy metabolism remains unclear, and whether leucine has beneficial effects as a long-term dietary supplement has not been examined. In the present study, we doubled dietary leucine intake via leucine-containing drinking water in mice with free excess to either a rodent chow or a high-fat diet (HFD). While it produced no major metabolic effects in chow-fed mice, increasing leucine intake resulted in up to 32% reduction of weight gain (P < 0.05) and a 25% decrease in adiposity (P < 0.01) in HFD-fed mice. The reduction of adiposity resulted from increased resting energy expenditure associated with increased expression of uncoupling protein 3 in brown and white adipose tissues and in skeletal muscle, while food intake was not decreased. Increasing leucine intake also prevented HFD-induced hyperglycemia, which was associated with improved insulin sensitivity, decreased plasma concentrations of glucagon and glucogenic amino acids, and downregulation of hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase. Additionally, plasma levels of total and LDL cholesterol were decreased by 27% (P < 0.001) and 53% (P < 0.001), respectively, in leucine supplemented HFD-fed mice compared with the control mice fed the same diet. The reduction in cholesterol levels was largely independent of leucine-induced changes in adiposity. In conclusion, increases in dietary leucine intake substantially decrease diet-induced obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypercholesterolemia in mice with ad libitum consumption of HFD likely via multiple mechanisms.
PMID: 17360978
ISSN: 0012-1797
CID: 762352

Hypothalamic K(ATP) channels control hepatic glucose production

Pocai, Alessandro; Lam, Tony K T; Gutierrez-Juarez, Roger; Obici, Silvana; Schwartz, Gary J; Bryan, Joseph; Aguilar-Bryan, Lydia; Rossetti, Luciano
Obesity is the driving force behind the worldwide increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Hyperglycaemia is a hallmark of diabetes and is largely due to increased hepatic gluconeogenesis. The medial hypothalamus is a major integrator of nutritional and hormonal signals, which play pivotal roles not only in the regulation of energy balance but also in the modulation of liver glucose output. Bidirectional changes in hypothalamic insulin signalling therefore result in parallel changes in both energy balance and glucose metabolism. Here we show that activation of ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channels in the mediobasal hypothalamus is sufficient to lower blood glucose levels through inhibition of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Finally, the infusion of a K(ATP) blocker within the mediobasal hypothalamus, or the surgical resection of the hepatic branch of the vagus nerve, negates the effects of central insulin and halves the effects of systemic insulin on hepatic glucose production. Consistent with these results, mice lacking the SUR1 subunit of the K(ATP) channel are resistant to the inhibitory action of insulin on gluconeogenesis. These findings suggest that activation of hypothalamic K(ATP) channels normally restrains hepatic gluconeogenesis, and that any alteration within this central nervous system/liver circuit can contribute to diabetic hyperglycaemia.
PMID: 15846348
ISSN: 1476-4687
CID: 2323552

Hypothalamic sensing of circulating fatty acids is required for glucose homeostasis

Lam, Tony K T; Pocai, Alessandro; Gutierrez-Juarez, Roger; Obici, Silvana; Bryan, Joseph; Aguilar-Bryan, Lydia; Schwartz, Gary J; Rossetti, Luciano
Increased glucose production is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes and alterations in lipid metabolism have a causative role in its pathophysiology. Here we postulate that physiological increments in plasma fatty acids can be sensed within the hypothalamus and that this sensing is required to balance their direct stimulatory action on hepatic gluconeogenesis. In the presence of physiologically-relevant increases in the levels of plasma fatty acids, negating their central action on hepatic glucose fluxes through (i) inhibition of the hypothalamic esterification of fatty acids, (ii) genetic deletion (Sur1-deficient mice) of hypothalamic K(ATP) channels or pharmacological blockade (K(ATP) blocker) of their activation by fatty acids, or (iii) surgical resection of the hepatic branch of the vagus nerve led to a marked increase in liver glucose production. These findings indicate that a physiological elevation in circulating lipids can be sensed within the hypothalamus and that a defect in hypothalamic lipid sensing disrupts glucose homeostasis.
PMID: 15735652
ISSN: 1078-8956
CID: 2323562

A brain-liver circuit regulates glucose homeostasis

Pocai, Alessandro; Obici, Silvana; Schwartz, Gary J; Rossetti, Luciano
Increased glucose production (GP) is the major determinant of fasting hyperglycemia in diabetes mellitus. Previous studies suggested that lipid metabolism within specific hypothalamic nuclei is a biochemical sensor for nutrient availability that exerts negative feedback on GP. Here we show that central inhibition of fat oxidation leads to selective activation of brainstem neurons within the nucleus of the solitary tract and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and markedly decreases liver gluconeogenesis, expression of gluconeogenic enzymes, and GP. These effects require central activation of ATP-dependent potassium channels (K(ATP)) and descending fibers within the hepatic branch of the vagus nerve. Thus, hypothalamic lipid sensing potently modulates glucose metabolism via neural circuitry that requires the activation of K(ATP) and selective brainstem neurons and intact vagal input to the liver. This crosstalk between brain and liver couples central nutrient sensing to peripheral nutrient production and its disruption may lead to hyperglycemia.
PMID: 16054044
ISSN: 1550-4131
CID: 2323522