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Special Issue "Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance at the Crossroad of Obesity with Associated Metabolic Abnormalities and Cognitive Dysfunction"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Worldwide, the obesity epidemic has resulted in a surge of metabolic abnormalities and diseases stemming from the condition of insulin resistance that accompanies the obesity status. Insulin resistance represents an impaired biological response to insulin stimulation of target tissues, primarily liver, muscle, and adipose tissue. It is recognized as the root for hypertension, dyslipidemia, non alcholic fatty liver disease, policistic ovary syndome, atherosclerosis, and adverse cardiac remodeling/heart failure.

Insulin resistance affects also the brain where altered glucose metabolism represents  a risk factor for impaired cognitive function and overt dementia.

We invite investigators to contribute either original research articles or review articles focusing on the variety of molecular mechanisms that either contribute to the worsening of insulin resistance in obese patients, or that, triggered by insulin resistance, cause the onset and progression of comorbidities associated with obesity.

We welcome also original research articles on features and mechanisms of brain insulin resistance.

Prof. Dr. Melania Manco
Prof. Dr. Amalia Gastaldelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • dysregulated fatty acid and/or branched chain amino acids
  • metabolism
  • metabolic inflexibility
  • tissue lipid accumulation, lipotoxicity and lipid mediated cell signaling
  • insulin resistance reversal
  • cancer development
  • low-grade inflammation and/or altered expression, synthesis and degradation and bioavailability of IGF binding proteins
  • environmental chemicals
  • mechanisms of T3D
  • microbiota and antimicrobials modulation
  • endocrine disruptors
  • altered immune system homeostasis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Angiopoietin-Like Protein 4 Overexpression in Visceral Adipose Tissue from Obese Subjects with Impaired Glucose Metabolism and Relationship with Lipoprotein Lipase
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197197 - 29 Sep 2020
Abstract
Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4) regulates lipid partitioning by inhibiting circulating and tissue lipoprotein lipase (LPL); ANGPTL4 loss-of-function variants improve insulin sensitivity and reduce type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk with mechanisms partially unknown. This study was designed to explore metabolic implications of differential ANGPTL4 [...] Read more.
Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4) regulates lipid partitioning by inhibiting circulating and tissue lipoprotein lipase (LPL); ANGPTL4 loss-of-function variants improve insulin sensitivity and reduce type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk with mechanisms partially unknown. This study was designed to explore metabolic implications of differential ANGPTL4 and LPL expression in human adipose tissue (AT). We recruited eighty-eight obese individuals, with and without abnormal glucose metabolism (AGM), undergoing bariatric surgery; visceral AT (VAT) fragments were obtained intra-operatively and analyzed by immunohistochemistry and mRNA by rt-PCR. Data on hepatic ANGPTL4 mRNA were available for 40 participants. VAT ANGPTL4 expression was higher in AGM individuals than in those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and associated with VAT inflammation, insulin resistance, and presence of adipocyte size heterogeneity. Increased ANGPTL4 was associated with AGM with OR = 5.1 (95% C.I.: 1.2–23; p = 0.02) and AUROC = 0.76 (95% C.I.: 1.2–23; p < 0.001). High LPL was associated with the detection of homogeneous adipocyte size, reduced microvessel density, and higher HIF-1α levels and inversely correlated to blood transaminases. In conclusion, in obese individuals, VAT ANGPTL4 levels are increased in the presence of local inflammation and AGM. Conversely, higher LPL expression describes a condition of increased lipid storage in adipocytes, which may serve as a protective mechanism against ectopic fat accumulation and related metabolic disease in obesity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collagen 24 α1 Is Increased in Insulin-Resistant Skeletal Muscle and Adipose Tissue
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5738; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165738 - 10 Aug 2020
Abstract
Aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling in muscle, liver and adipose tissue is a key characteristic of obesity and insulin resistance. Despite its emerging importance, the effective ECM targets remain largely undefined due to limitations of current approaches. Here, we developed a novel ECM-specific [...] Read more.
Aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling in muscle, liver and adipose tissue is a key characteristic of obesity and insulin resistance. Despite its emerging importance, the effective ECM targets remain largely undefined due to limitations of current approaches. Here, we developed a novel ECM-specific mass spectrometry-based proteomics technique to characterise the global view of the ECM changes in the skeletal muscle and liver of mice after high fat (HF) diet feeding. We identified distinct signatures of HF-induced protein changes between skeletal muscle and liver where the ECM remodelling was more prominent in the muscle than liver. In particular, most muscle collagen isoforms were increased by HF diet feeding whereas the liver collagens were differentially but moderately affected highlighting a different role of the ECM remodelling in different tissues of obesity. Moreover, we identified a novel association between collagen 24α1 and insulin resistance in the skeletal muscle. Using quantitative gene expression analysis, we extended this association to the white adipose tissue. Importantly, collagen 24α1 mRNA was increased in the visceral adipose tissue, but not the subcutaneous adipose tissue of obese diabetic subjects compared to lean controls, implying a potential pathogenic role of collagen 24α1 in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Physiological Disturbance in Fatty Liver Energy Metabolism Converges on IGFBP2 Abundance and Regulation in Mice and Men
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 4144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21114144 - 10 Jun 2020
Abstract
Fatty liver occurs from simple steatosis with accumulated hepatic lipids and hepatic insulin resistance to severe steatohepatitis, with aggravated lipid accumulation and systemic insulin resistance, but this progression is still poorly understood. Analyses of hepatic gene expression patterns from alb-SREBP-1c mice with moderate, [...] Read more.
Fatty liver occurs from simple steatosis with accumulated hepatic lipids and hepatic insulin resistance to severe steatohepatitis, with aggravated lipid accumulation and systemic insulin resistance, but this progression is still poorly understood. Analyses of hepatic gene expression patterns from alb-SREBP-1c mice with moderate, or aP2-SREBP-1c mice with aggravated, hepatic lipid accumulation revealed IGFBP2 as key nodal molecule differing between moderate and aggravated fatty liver. Reduced IGFBP2 expression in aggravated fatty liver was paralleled with promoter hypermethylation, reduced hepatic IGFBP2 secretion and IGFBP2 circulating in plasma. Physiologically, the decrease of IGFBP2 was accompanied with reduced fatty acid oxidation and increased de novo lipogenesis potentially mediated by IGF1 in primary hepatocytes. Furthermore, methyltransferase and sirtuin activities were enhanced. In humans, IGFBP2 serum concentration was lower in obese men with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis (NASH) compared to non-obese controls, and liver fat reduction by weight-loss intervention correlated with an increase of IGFBP2 serum levels. In conclusion, hepatic IGFBP2 abundance correlates to its circulating level and is related to hepatic energy metabolism and de novo lipogenesis. This designates IGFBP2 as non-invasive biomarker for fatty liver disease progression and might further provide an additional variable for risk prediction for pathogenesis of fatty liver in diabetes subtype clusters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Altered Metabolic Profile and Adipocyte Insulin Resistance Mark Severe Liver Fibrosis in Patients with Chronic Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246333 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Metabolomics/lipidomics are important tools to identify novel biomarkers associated with liver damage. Patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection often have alterations in glucose, lipid and protein metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate if dysfunctional [...] Read more.
Metabolomics/lipidomics are important tools to identify novel biomarkers associated with liver damage. Patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection often have alterations in glucose, lipid and protein metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate if dysfunctional lipid and amino acid metabolism was associated with fibrosis severity and insulin resistance in CLD/HCV patients. We analyzed the baseline sera of 75 subjects with CLD/HCV infection HCV genotype-1, with proven liver biopsy prior to antiviral treatment. We measured amino acid (AA) and lipid concentration by gas and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry respectively. Alterations in peripheral glucose metabolism due to insulin resistance (IR) were assesed by HOMA-IR (Glucose x Insulin/22.5), while adipose tissue IR was estimated as (Adipo-IR = Free Fatty Acids x Insulin). Baseline HOMA-IR and Adipo-IR were related to the degree of liver fibrosis. Reduction in ceramides 18:1/22:0, 18:1/24:0, diacylglycerol 42:6 and increased phosphocholine 40:6 were associated with higher fibrosis. Adipo-IR was related to lower levels of lysophosphatidylcholine 14:0 and 18:2 and with higher levels of sphingomyelin 18:2/24:0 and 18:2/24:1. Almost all AA were positively associated with Adipo-IR but not with HOMA-IR. We further confirmed the potential use of metabolomics and lipidomics in CLD/HCV subjects finding novel biomarkers of hepatic fibrosis and show that the adipose tissue IR is associated with more severe liver disease and is an important marker not only of altered lipid but also AA metabolism. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Molecular Mechanisms by Which Vitamin D Prevents Insulin Resistance and Associated Disorders
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186644 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is very common in modern societies and is perceived as an important risk factor in the development of insulin resistance and related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). While it is generally [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is very common in modern societies and is perceived as an important risk factor in the development of insulin resistance and related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). While it is generally accepted that vitamin D is a regulator of bone homeostasis, its ability to counteract insulin resistance is subject to debate. The goal of this communication is to review the molecular mechanism by which vitamin D reduces insulin resistance and related complications. The university library, PUBMED, and Google Scholar were searched to find relevant studies to be summarized in this review article. Insulin resistance is accompanied by chronic hyperglycaemia and inflammation. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D exhibits indirect antioxidative properties and participates in the maintenance of normal resting ROS level. Appealingly, vitamin D reduces inflammation and regulates Ca2+ level in many cell types. Therefore, the beneficial actions of vitamin D include diminished insulin resistance which is observed as an improvement of glucose and lipid metabolism in insulin-sensitive tissues. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Gut-Pancreas-Liver Axis as a Target for Treatment of NAFLD/NASH
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165820 - 13 Aug 2020
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the most common form of chronic liver disease worldwide. Due to its association with obesity and diabetes and the fall in hepatitis C virus morbidity, cirrhosis in NAFLD is becoming the most frequent indication to liver transplantation, [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the most common form of chronic liver disease worldwide. Due to its association with obesity and diabetes and the fall in hepatitis C virus morbidity, cirrhosis in NAFLD is becoming the most frequent indication to liver transplantation, but the pathogenetic mechanisms are still not completely understood. The so-called gut-liver axis has gained enormous interest when data showed that its alteration can lead to NAFLD development and might favor the occurrence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Moreover, several therapeutic approaches targeting the gut-pancreas-liver axis, e.g., incretins, showed promising results in NASH treatment. In this review, we describe the role of incretin hormones in NAFLD/NASH pathogenesis and treatment and how metagenomic/metabolomic alterations in the gut microbiota can lead to NASH in the presence of gut barrier modifications favoring the passage of bacteria or bacterial products in the portal circulation, i.e., bacterial translocation. Full article
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