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Open access

Neil R Chappell, Beth Zhou, Amy K Schutt, William E Gibbons, and Chellakkan S Blesson

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common ovulatory defect in women. Although most PCOS patients are obese, a subset of PCOS women are lean but show similar risks for adverse fertility outcomes. A lean PCOS mouse model was created using prenatal androgen administration. This developmentally programmed mouse model was used for this study. Our objective was to investigate if mitochondrial structure and functions were compromised in oocytes obtained from lean PCOS mouse. The lean PCOS mouse model was validated by performing glucose tolerance test, HbA1c levels, body weight and estrous cycle analyses. Oocytes were isolated and were used to investigate inner mitochondrial membrane potential, oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, ATP production, mtDNA copy number, transcript abundance and electron microscopy. Our results demonstrate that lean PCOS mice have similar weight to that of the controls but exhibit glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia along with dysregulated estrus cycle. Analysis of their oocytes show impaired inner mitochondrial membrane function, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased RNA transcript abundance. Electron microscopy of the oocytes showed impaired mitochondrial ultrastructure. In conclusion, the lean PCOS mouse model shows a decreased oocyte quality related to impaired mitochondrial ultrastructure and function.

Open access

Wenrui Wang and Chuan Zhang

The most distinctive pathological characteristics of diabetes mellitus induced by various stressors or immune-mediated injuries are reductions of pancreatic islet β-cell populations and activity. Existing treatment strategies cannot slow disease progression; consequently, research to genetically engineer β-cell mimetics through bi-directional plasticity is ongoing. The current consensus implicates β-cell dedifferentiation as the primary etiology of reduced β-cell mass and activity. This review aims to summarize the etiology and proposed mechanisms of β-cell dedifferentiation and to explore the possibility that there might be a time interval from the onset of β-cell dysfunction caused by dedifferentiation to the development of diabetes, which may offer a therapeutic window to reduce β-cell injury and to stabilize functionality. In addition, to investigate β-cell plasticity, we review strategies for β-cell regeneration utilizing genetic programming, small molecules, cytokines, and bioengineering to transdifferentiate other cell types into β-cells; the development of biomimetic acellular constructs to generate fully functional β-cell-mimetics. However, the maturation of regenerated β-cells is currently limited. Further studies are needed to develop simple and efficient reprogramming methods for assembling perfectly functional β-cells. Future investigations are necessary to transform diabetes into a potentially curable disease.

Open access

Caroline Serrano-Nascimento, Rafael Barrera Salgueiro, Kaio Fernando Vitzel, Thiago Pantaleão, Vânia Maria Corrêa da Costa, and Maria Tereza Nunes

Adequate maternal iodine consumption during pregnancy and lactation guarantees normal thyroid hormones (TH) production, which is crucial to the development of the fetus. Indeed, iodine deficiency is clearly related to maternal hypothyroidism and deleterious effects in the fetal development. Conversely, the effects of iodine excess (IE) consumption on maternal thyroid function are still controversial. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the impact of IE exposure during pregnancy and lactation periods on maternal hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis. IE-exposed dams presented reduced serum TH concentration and increased serum thyrotropin (TSH) levels. Moreover, maternal IE exposure increased the hypothalamic expression of Trh and the pituitary expression of Trhr, Dio2, Tsha and Tshb mRNA, while reduced the Gh mRNA content. Additionally, IE-exposed dams presented thyroid morphological alterations, increased thyroid oxidative stress and decreased expression of thyroid genes/proteins involved in TH synthesis, secretion and metabolism. Furthermore, Dio1 mRNA expression and D1 activity were reduced in the liver and the kidney of IE-treated animals. Finally, the mRNA expression of Slc5a5 and Slc26a4 were reduced in the mammary gland of IE-exposed rats. The latter results are in accordance with the reduction of prolactin expression and serum levels in IE-treated dams. In summary, our study indicates that the exposure to IE during pregnancy and lactation induces primary hypothyroidism in rat dams and impairs iodide transfer to the milk.

Open access

Tingting Shu, Zhigang Lv, Yuchun Xie, Junming Tang, and Xuhua Mao

It has been well established that glucotoxicity induces pancreatic β-cells dysfunction; however, the precise mechanism remains unclear. Our previous studies demonstrated that high glucose concentrations are associated with decreased hepcidin expression, which inhibits insulin synthesis. In this study, we focused on the role of low hepcidin level-induced increased iron deposition in β-cells and the relationship between abnormal iron metabolism and β-cell dysfunction. Decreased hepcidin expression increased iron absorption by upregulating transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) and divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) expression, resulting in iron accumulation within cells. Prussia blue stain and calcein-AM assays revealed greater iron accumulation in the cytoplasm of pancreatic tissue isolated from db/db mice, cultured islets and Min6 cells in response to high glucose stimulation. Increased cytosolic iron deposition was associated with greater Fe2+ influx into the mitochondria, which depolarized the mitochondria membrane potential, inhibited ATP synthesis, generated excessive ROS and induced oxidative stress. The toxic effect of excessive iron on mitochondrial function eventually resulted in impaired insulin secretion. The restricted iron content in db/db mice via reduced iron intake or accelerated iron clearance improved blood glucose levels with decreased fasting blood glucose (FBG), fasting blood insulin (FIns), HbA1c level, as well as improved intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT) results. Thus, our study may reveal the mechanism involved in the role of hepcidin in the glucotoxcity impaired pancreatic β cell function pathway.

Open access

Trevor Lewis, Eva Zeisig, and Jamie E Gaida

Background

While metabolic health is acknowledged to affect connective tissue structure and function, the mechanisms are unclear. Glucocorticoids are present in almost every cell type throughout the body and control key physiological processes such as energy homeostasis, stress response, inflammatory and immune processes, and cardiovascular function. Glucocorticoid excess manifests as visceral adiposity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. As these metabolic states are also associated with tendinopathy and tendon rupture, it may be that glucocorticoids excess is the link between metabolic health and tendinopathy.

Objective

To synthesise current knowledge linking glucocorticoid exposure to tendon structure and function.

Methods

Narrative literature review.

Results

We provide an overview of endogenous glucocorticoid production, regulation, and signalling. Next we review the impact that oral glucocorticoid has on risk of tendon rupture and the effect that injected glucocorticoid has on resolution of symptoms. Then we highlight the clinical and mechanistic overlap between tendinopathy and glucocorticoid excess in the areas of visceral adiposity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In these areas, we highlight the role of glucocorticoids and how these hormones might underpin the connection between metabolic health and tendon dysfunction.

Conclusions

There are several plausible pathways through which glucocorticoids might mediate the connection between metabolic health and tendinopathy.

Open access

Shane M Regnier, Andrew G Kirkley, Daniel Ruiz, Wakanene Kamau, Qian Wu, Kurunthachalam Kannan, and Robert M Sargis

Emerging evidence implicates environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes; however, the interactions between EDCs and traditional risk factors in disease pathogenesis remain incompletely characterized. The present study interrogates the interaction of the EDC tolylfluanid (TF) and traditional dietary stressors in the promotion of metabolic dysfunction. Eight-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat, high-sucrose diet (HFHSD) or a high-sucrose diet (HSD), with or without TF supplementation at 100 μg/g, for 12 weeks. Food intake, body weight and visceral adiposity were quantified. Glucose homeostasis was interrogated by intraperitoneal glucose and insulin tolerance tests at 9 and 10 weeks of exposure, respectively. After 12 weeks of dietary exposure, metabolic cage analyses were performed to interrogate nutrient handling and energy expenditure. In the background of an HFHSD, TF promoted glucose intolerance; however, weight gain and insulin sensitivity were unchanged, and visceral adiposity was reduced. In the background of an HSD, TF increased visceral adiposity; however, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were unchanged, while weight gain was reduced. Thus, these analyses reveal that the metabolic perturbations induced by dietary exposure to TF, including the directionality of alterations in body weight gain, visceral adiposity and glucose homeostasis, are influenced by dietary macronutrient composition, suggesting that populations may exhibit distinct metabolic risks based on their unique dietary characteristics.

Open access

Anastasia K Armeni, Konstantinos Assimakopoulos, Dimitra Marioli, Vassiliki Koika, Euthychia Michaelidou, Niki Mourtzi, Gregoris Iconomou, and Neoklis A Georgopoulos

Over the past decades, research attention has increasingly been paid to the neurobiological component of sexual behavior. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation of estrogen receptor α (ERA) gene polymorphism (rs2234693-PvuII) (T→C substitution) and oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism (rs53576) (G→A substitution) with sexuality parameters of young, healthy women. One hundred thirty-three Greek heterosexual women, students in higher education institutions, 20–25 years of age, sexually active, with normal menstrual cycles (28–35 days), were recruited in the study. Exclusion criteria were chronic and/or major psychiatric diseases, use of oral contraceptive pills (OCs), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid diseases as well as drugs that are implicated in hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal axis. T allele (wildtype) of rs2234693 (PvuII) polymorphism of ERA gene was correlated with increased levels of arousal and lubrication, whereas A allele (polymorphic) of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphism was correlated with increased arousal levels. The simultaneous presence of both T allele of rs2234693 (PvuII) and A allele of rs53576 (OXTR) polymorphisms (T + A group) was correlated with increased arousal, orgasm levels as well as female sexual function index full score. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the interaction between ERA and OXTR with regard to sexual function in women. Female sexuality is a complex behavioral trait that encompasses both biological and psychological components. It seems that variability in female sexual response stems from genetic variability that characterizes endocrine, neurotransmitter and central nervous system influences.

Open access

Ping Gu, Yuege Lin, Qi Wan, Dongming Su, and Qun Shu

Background

Increased insulin production and secretion by pancreatic β-cells are important for ensuring the high insulin demand during gestation. However, the underlying mechanism of β-cell adaptation during gestation or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) remains unclear. Oxytocin is an important physiological hormone in gestation and delivery, and it also contributes to the maintenance of β-cell function. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of oxytocin in β-cell adaptation during pregnancy.

Methods

The relationship between the blood oxytocin level and pancreatic β-cell function in patients with GDM and healthy pregnant women was investigated. Gestating and non-gestating mice were used to evaluate the in vivo effect of oxytocin signal on β-cells during pregnancy. In vitro experiments were performed on INS-1 insulinoma cells.

Results

The blood oxytocin levels were lower in patients with GDM than in healthy pregnant women and were associated with impaired pancreatic β-cell function. Acute administration of oxytocin increased insulin secretion in both gestating and non-gestating mice. A 3-week oxytocin treatment promoted the proliferation of pancreatic β-cells and increased the β-cell mass in gestating but not non-gestating mice. Antagonism of oxytocin receptors by atosiban impaired insulin secretion and induced GDM in gestating but not non-gestating mice. Oxytocin enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, and promoted cell proliferation in INS-1 cells.

Conclusions

These findings provide strong evidence that oxytocin is needed for β-cell adaptation during pregnancy to maintain β-cell function, and the lack of oxytocin could be associated with the risk of GDM.

Open access

Marieke Stientje Velema, Aline de Nooijer, Ad R M M Hermus, Henri J L M Timmers, Jacques W M Lenders, Olga Husson, and Jaap Deinum

Objective

To develop a primary aldosteronism (PA) disease-specific Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) questionnaire.

Methods

We included newly diagnosed patients with PA (n = 26), and patients with PA after adrenalectomy (n = 25) or treated with mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (n = 25). According to the guidelines for developing HRQoL questionnaires from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC): Phase I: systematic literature review followed by focus group meetings with patients (n = 13) resulting in a list of 94 HRQoL issues. Relevance of issues was rated by 18 other patients and by health care professionals (n = 15), resulting in 30 remaining issues. Phase II: selected issues were converted into questions. Phase III: the provisional questionnaire was pre-tested by a third group of patients (n = 45) who also completed the EORTC core Quality of Life questionnaire (QLQ-C30). Psychometric testing resulted in a final selection of questions with their scale structure.

Results

After the collection and selection of HRQoL issues a provisional questionnaire consisting of 30 items was formed. Of these items, 26 could be assigned to one of the four scales ‘physical and mental fatigue’, ‘anxiety and stress’, ‘fluid balance’ and ‘other complaints’ cumulatively accounting for 68% of variation in all items. All scales had good reliability and validity. There was a significant correlation of all four scales with the QLQ-C30 in most cases.

Conclusions

We developed the first PA-specific HRQoL questionnaire (PA-QoL) using standard, methodologically proven guidelines. After completion of the final validation (phase IV, international field testing), the questionnaire can be implemented into clinical practice.

Open access

Li Jing and Wang Chengji

Metabolomics was used to explore the effect of exercise intervention on type 2 diabetes. The rat model of type 2 diabetes was induced by an injection of streptozocin (30 mg/kg), after fed with 8-week high-fat diet. The rats were divided into three groups: the control group, the diabetic model group (DM) and the diabetes + exercise group (DME). After exercise for 10 weeks, blood samples were collected to test biomedical indexes, and 24-h urine samples were collected for the metabolomics experiment. In the DME group, fasting blood glucose (FBG), both total cholesterol (TC) and total plasma triglycerides (TG), were decreased significantly, compared with those in the DM group. Based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), a urinary metabolomics method was used to study the mechanism of exercise intervention on diabetes mellitus. Based on the principal component analysis (PCA), it was found that the DM group and control group were separated into two different clusters. The DME group was located between the DM group and the control group, closer to the control group. Twelve significantly changed metabolites of diabetes mellitus were detected and identified, including glycolate, 4-methyl phenol, benzoic acid, 1H-indole, arabinitol, threitol, ribonic acid, malic acid, 2,3-dihydroxy-butanoic, aminomalonic acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy hexanedioic acid. After exercise, seven metabolites were significantly changed, compared with the control group, the relative contents of benzoic acid, aminomalonic acid, tetrabutyl alcohol and ribonucleic acid in the diabetic exercise group decreased significantly. The relative contents of 2,3-dihydroxybutyric acid, l-ascorbic acid and 3-hydroxy adipic acid increased significantly. l-ascorbic acid and aminomalonic acid which related with the oxidative stress were significantly regulated to normal. The results showed that exercise could display anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effects. The exercise had antioxidation function in preventing the occurrence of complications with diabetes mellitus to some extent. The work illustrates that the metabolomics method is a useful tool to study the mechanism of exercise treatment.