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Chunliang Yang, Junyi Li, Fei Sun, Haifeng Zhou, Jia Yang, and Chao Yang

Hyperglycemia is the consequence of blood glucose dysregulation and a driving force of diabetic complications including retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular diseases. The serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase-1 (SGK1) has been suggested in the modulation of various pathophysiological activities. However, the role of SGK1 in blood glucose homeostasis remains less appreciated. In this review, we intend to summarize the function of SGK1 in glucose level regulation and to examine the evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of SGK1 inhibitors in hyperglycemia. Ample evidence points to the controversial roles of SGK1 in pancreatic insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity, which reflects the complex interplay between SGK1 activation and blood glucose fluctuation. Furthermore, SGK1 is engaged in glucose absorption and excretion in intestine and kidney and participates in the progression of hyperglycemia-induced secondary organ damage. As a net effect, blockage of SGK1 activation via either pharmacological inhibition or genetic manipulation seems to be helpful in glucose control at varying diabetic stages.

Open access

Yali Cheng, Qiaoying Lv, Bingying Xie, Bingyi Yang, Weiwei Shan, Chengcheng Ning, Bing Li, Liying Xie, Chao Gu, Xuezhen Luo, Xiaojun Chen, and Qin Zhu

Unopposed estrogen stimulation and insulin resistance are known to play important roles in endometrial cancer (EC), but the interaction between these two factors and how they contribute to endometrial lesions are not completely elucidated. To investigate the endometrial transcriptome profile and the associated molecular pathway alterations, we established an ovariectomized C57BL/6 mouse model treated with subcutaneous implantation of 17-β estradiol (E2) pellet and/or high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks to mimic sustained estrogen stimulation and insulin resistance. Histomorphologically, we found that both E2 and E2 + HFD groups showed markedly enlarged uterus and increased number of endometrial glands. The endometrium samples were collected for microarray assay. GO and KEGG analysis showed that genes regulated by E2 and/or HFD are mainly responsible for immune response, inflammatory response and metabolic pathways. Further IPA analysis demonstrated that the acute phase response signaling, NF-κB signaling, leukocyte extravasation signaling, PPAR signaling and LXR/RXR activation pathways are mainly involved in the pathways above. In addition, the genes modulated reciprocally by E2 and/or HFD were also analyzed, and their crosstalk mainly focuses on enhancing one another’s activity. The combination analysis of microarray data and TCGA database provided potential diagnostic or therapeutic targets for EC. Further validation was performed in mice endometrium and human EC cell lines. In conclusion, this study unraveled the endometrial transcriptome profile alterations affected by E2 and/or HFD that may disturb endometrial homeostasis and contribute to the development of endometrial hyperplasia.

Open access

Min Li, Ying Chen, Jingjing Jiang, Yan Lu, Zhiyi Song, Shengjie Zhang, Chao Sun, Hao Ying, Xiaofang Fan, Yuping Song, Jialin Yang, and Lin Zhao

Objective

Recent studies have shown that neuregulin 4 (Nrg4), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of extracellular ligands, plays an important role in the prevention of obesity, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Considering that thyroid hormone (TH) has profound effects on whole-body energy metabolism, we speculate that circulating Nrg4 levels might be altered in patients with hyperthyroidism.

Design and methods

A total of 129 hyperthyroid patients and 100 healthy subjects were recruited. Of them, 39 hyperthyroid patients received thionamide treatment for 3 months until euthyroidism. Serum Nrg4 levels were determined using the ELISA method. To further confirm the relationship between TH and Nrg4, C57BL/6 mice were treated with T3 and quantitative real-time PCR was performed to detect Nrg4 gene expression.

Results

Serum Nrg4 levels were significantly elevated in hyperthyroid patients as compared with normal controls (3.84 ± 1.63 vs 2.21 ± 1.04 ng/mL, P < 0.001). After achieving euthyroidism by thionamide treatment, serum Nrg4 levels dropped markedly from 3.57 ± 1.26 to 1.94 ± 0.72 ng/ml (P < 0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, serum Nrg4 levels were independently associated with hyperthyroidism. The upregulation of Nrg4 expression in the livers and white adipose tissues by T3 was further confirmed by animal and cell culture experiments.

Conclusions

Serum Nrg4 levels were increased in patients with hyperthyroidism. The liver and white adipose tissue might be primary sources contributing to elevated serum Nrg4 concentrations.

Open access

Peng Fan, Chao-Xia Lu, Di Zhang, Kun-Qi Yang, Pei-Pei Lu, Ying Zhang, Xu Meng, Su-Fang Hao, Fang Luo, Ya-Xin Liu, Hui-Min Zhang, Lei Song, Jun Cai, Xue Zhang, and Xian-Liang Zhou

Liddle syndrome (LS), a monogenetic autosomal dominant disorder, is mainly characterized by early-onset hypertension and hypokalemia. Clinically, misdiagnosis or missing diagnosis is common, since clinical phenotypes of LS are variable and nonspecific. We report a family with misdiagnosis of primary aldosteronism (PA), but identify as LS with a pathogenic frameshift mutation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) β subunit. DNA samples were collected from a 32-year-old proband and 31 other relatives in the same family. A designed panel including 41 genes associated with monogenic hypertension was screened using next-generation sequencing. The best candidate disease-causing variants were verified by Sanger sequencing. Genetic analysis of the proband revealed a novel frameshift mutation c.1838delC (p.Pro613Glnfs*675) in exon 13 of SCNN1B. This heterozygous mutation involved the deletion of a cytosine from a string of three consecutive cytosines located at codons 612 to 613 and resulted in deletion of the crucial PY motif and elongation of the β-ENaC protein. The identical mutation was also found in 12 affected family members. Amiloride was effective in alleviating LS for patients. There were no SCNN1A or SCNN1G mutations in this family. Our study emphasizes the importance of considering LS in the differential diagnosis of early-onset hypertension. The identification of a novel frameshift mutation of SCNN1B enriches the genetic spectrum of LS and has allowed treatment of this affected family to prevent severe complications.