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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: closed (31 January 2021) | Viewed by 23693

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

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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 (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effects of Whole-Body Adenylyl Cyclase 5 (Adcy5) Deficiency on Systemic Insulin Sensitivity and Adipose Tissue
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094353 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 938
Abstract
Genome-wide association studies have identified adenylyl cyclase type 5 (ADCY5) as candidate gene for diabetes-related quantitative traits and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Mice with a whole-body deletion of Adcy5 (Adcy5–/) do not develop obesity, glucose [...] Read more.
Genome-wide association studies have identified adenylyl cyclase type 5 (ADCY5) as candidate gene for diabetes-related quantitative traits and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Mice with a whole-body deletion of Adcy5 (Adcy5–/) do not develop obesity, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, have improved cardiac function and increased longevity. Here, we investigated Adcy5 knockout mice (Adcy5–/) to test the hypothesis that changes in adipose tissue (AT) may contribute to the reported healthier phenotype. In contrast to previous reports, we found that deletion of Adcy5 did not confer any physiological or biochemical benefits. However, this unexpected finding allowed us to investigate the effects of Adcy5 depletion on AT independently of lower body weight and a metabolically healthier phenotype. Adcy5–/ mice exhibited an increased number of smaller adipocytes, lower mean adipocyte size and a distinct AT gene expression pattern with midline 1 (Mid1) as the most significantly downregulated gene compared to control mice. Our Adcy5–/ model challenges previously described beneficial effects of Adcy5 deficiency and suggests that targeting Adcy5 does not improve insulin sensitivity and may therefore limit the relevance of ADCY5 as potential drug target. Full article
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Article
Endothelial Nox5 Expression Modulates Glucose Uptake and Lipid Accumulation in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet and 3T3-L1 Adipocytes Treated with Glucose and Palmitic Acid
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052729 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Obesity is a global health issue associated with insulin resistance and altered lipid homeostasis. It has been described that reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (NOX) activity are involved in the development of these pathologies. The present [...] Read more.
Obesity is a global health issue associated with insulin resistance and altered lipid homeostasis. It has been described that reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (NOX) activity are involved in the development of these pathologies. The present study describes the role of endothelial NOX5 expression over adipose tissue by using two experimental systems: NOX5 conditional knock-in mice fed with a high-fat diet and 3T3-L1 adipocytes cultured with conditioned media of NOX5-expressing endothelial cells previously treated with glucose and palmitic acid. Animals expressing NOX5 presented lower body weight gain and less mesenteric and epididymal adipose mass compared to control mice fed with the same diet. NOX5-expressing mice also showed significantly lower glycaemia and improved insulin-induced glucose uptake. In addition, Glut4 and Caveolin 1 (Cav1) expression were significantly increased in the adipose tissue of these animals. Likewise, 3T3-L1 adipocytes treated with conditioned media from NOX5-expressing endothelial cells, incubated with high glucose and palmitic acid, presented a reduction in lipid accumulation and an increase in glucose uptake. Moreover, a significant increase in the expression of Glut4 and Cav1 was also detected in these cells. Taken together, all these data support that, in response to a highly caloric diet, NOX5 endothelial activity may regulate glucose sensitivity and lipid homeostasis in the adipose tissue. Full article
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Article
Reduced Biliverdin Reductase-A Expression in Visceral Adipose Tissue is Associated with Adipocyte Dysfunction and NAFLD in Human Obesity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239091 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 951
Abstract
Biliverdin reductase A (BVR-A) is an enzyme involved in the regulation of insulin signalling. Knockout (KO) mice for hepatic BVR-A, on a high-fat diet, develop more severe glucose impairment and hepato-steatosis than the wild type, whereas loss of adipocyte BVR-A is associated with [...] Read more.
Biliverdin reductase A (BVR-A) is an enzyme involved in the regulation of insulin signalling. Knockout (KO) mice for hepatic BVR-A, on a high-fat diet, develop more severe glucose impairment and hepato-steatosis than the wild type, whereas loss of adipocyte BVR-A is associated with increased visceral adipose tissue (VAT) inflammation and adipocyte size. However, BVR-A expression in human VAT has not been investigated. We evaluated BVR-A mRNA expression levels by real-time PCR in the intra-operative omental biopsy of 38 obese subjects and investigated the association with metabolic impairment, VAT dysfunction, and biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Individuals with lower VAT BVR-A mRNA levels had significantly greater VAT IL-8 and Caspase 3 expression than those with higher BVR-A. Lower VAT BVR-A mRNA levels were associated with an increased adipocytes’ size. An association between lower VAT BVR-A expression and higher plasma gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase was also observed. Reduced VAT BVR-A was associated with NAFLD with an odds ratio of 1.38 (95% confidence interval: 1.02–1.9; χ2 test) and with AUROC = 0.89 (p = 0.002, 95% CI = 0.76–1.0). In conclusion, reduced BVR-A expression in omental adipose tissue is associated with VAT dysfunction and NAFLD, suggesting a possible involvement of BVR-A in the regulation of VAT homeostasis in presence of obesity. Full article
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Article
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
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1063
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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Article
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
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1518
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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Article
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
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1274
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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Article
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 10 | Viewed by 1587
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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Review
Adipose Tissue Dendritic Cells: Critical Regulators of Obesity-Induced Inflammation and Insulin Resistance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 8666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168666 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
Chronic inflammation of the adipose tissue (AT) is a critical component of obesity-induced insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Adipose tissue immune cells, including AT macrophages (ATMs), AT dendritic cells (ATDCs), and T cells, are dynamically regulated by obesity and participate in obesity-induced [...] Read more.
Chronic inflammation of the adipose tissue (AT) is a critical component of obesity-induced insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Adipose tissue immune cells, including AT macrophages (ATMs), AT dendritic cells (ATDCs), and T cells, are dynamically regulated by obesity and participate in obesity-induced inflammation. Among AT resident immune cells, ATDCs are master immune regulators and engage in crosstalk with various immune cells to initiate and regulate immune responses. However, due to confounding markers and lack of animal models, their exact role and contribution to the initiation and maintenance of AT inflammation and insulin resistance have not been clearly elucidated. This paper reviews the current understanding of ATDCs and their role in obesity-induced AT inflammation. We also provide the potential mechanisms by which ATDCs regulate AT inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity. Finally, this review offers perspectives on ways to better dissect the distinct functions and contributions of ATDCs to obesity. Full article
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Review
Non-Coding RNAs: Novel Players in Insulin Resistance and Related Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(14), 7716; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147716 - 19 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 919
Abstract
The rising prevalence of metabolic diseases related to insulin resistance (IR) have stressed the urgent need of accurate and applicable tools for early diagnosis and treatment. In the last decade, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have gained growing interest because of their potential role in [...] Read more.
The rising prevalence of metabolic diseases related to insulin resistance (IR) have stressed the urgent need of accurate and applicable tools for early diagnosis and treatment. In the last decade, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have gained growing interest because of their potential role in IR modulation. NcRNAs are variable-length transcripts which are not translated into proteins but are involved in gene expression regulation. Thanks to their stability and easy detection in biological fluids, ncRNAs have been investigated as promising diagnostic and therapeutic markers in metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here we review the emerging role of ncRNAs in the development of IR and related diseases such as obesity, T2D and NAFLD, and summarize current evidence concerning their potential clinical application. Full article
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Review
Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD)—A Condition Associated with Heightened Sympathetic Activation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 4241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22084241 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1484
Abstract
Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is the most common liver disease affecting a quarter of the global population and is often associated with adverse health outcomes. The increasing prevalence of MAFLD occurs in parallel to that of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which in [...] Read more.
Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is the most common liver disease affecting a quarter of the global population and is often associated with adverse health outcomes. The increasing prevalence of MAFLD occurs in parallel to that of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which in fact plays a major role in driving the perturbations of cardiometabolic homeostasis. However, the mechanisms underpinning the pathogenesis of MAFLD are incompletely understood. Compelling evidence from animal and human studies suggest that heightened activation of the sympathetic nervous system is a key contributor to the development of MAFLD. Indeed, common treatment strategies for metabolic diseases such as diet and exercise to induce weight loss have been shown to exert their beneficial effects at least in part through the associated sympathetic inhibition. Furthermore, pharmacological and device-based approaches to reduce sympathetic activation have been demonstrated to improve the metabolic alterations frequently present in patients with obesity, MetSand diabetes. Currently available evidence, while still limited, suggests that sympathetic activation is of specific relevance in the pathogenesis of MAFLD and consequentially may offer an attractive therapeutic target to attenuate the adverse outcomes associated with MAFLD. Full article
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Review
Brown Adipose Tissue and Its Role in Insulin and Glucose Homeostasis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041530 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
The increased worldwide prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and their related metabolic complications have prompted the scientific world to search for new possibilities to combat obesity. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), due to its unique protein uncoupling protein 1 (UPC1) in the inner membrane [...] Read more.
The increased worldwide prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and their related metabolic complications have prompted the scientific world to search for new possibilities to combat obesity. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), due to its unique protein uncoupling protein 1 (UPC1) in the inner membrane of the mitochondria, has been acknowledged as a promising approach to increase energy expenditure. Activated brown adipocytes dissipate energy, resulting in heat production. In other words, BAT burns fat and increases the metabolic rate, promoting a negative energy balance. Moreover, BAT alleviates metabolic complications like dyslipidemia, impaired insulin secretion, and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. The aim of this review is to explore the role of BAT in total energy expenditure, as well as lipid and glucose homeostasis, and to discuss new possible activators of brown adipose tissue in humans to treat obesity and metabolic disorders. Full article
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Review
Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance at the Crossroad of Obesity with Associated Metabolic Abnormalities and Cognitive Dysfunction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22020546 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2857
Abstract
Obesity mediates most of its direct medical sequelae through the development of insulin resistance (IR). The cellular effects of insulin occur through two main postreceptor pathways that are the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP-K) pathways. Obesity-related IR implicates the [...] Read more.
Obesity mediates most of its direct medical sequelae through the development of insulin resistance (IR). The cellular effects of insulin occur through two main postreceptor pathways that are the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP-K) pathways. Obesity-related IR implicates the PI3-K pathway that confers the metabolic effects of insulin. Numerous and complex pathogenic pathways link obesity with the development of IR, including chronic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction (with the associated production of reactive oxygen species and endoplasmic reticulum stress), gut microbiota dysbiosis and adipose extracellular matrix remodelling. IR itself plays a key role in the development of metabolic dysfunction, including hypertension, dyslipidaemia and dysglycaemia. Furthermore, IR promotes weight gain related to secondary hyperinsulinaemia, with a resulting vicious cycle of worsening IR and its metabolic sequelae. Ultimately, IR underlies obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). IR also underlies many obesity-related malignancies, through the effects of compensatory hyperinsulinaemia on the relatively intact MAP-K insulin pathway, which controls cellular growth processes and mitoses. Furthermore, the emergent data over recent decades support an important role of obesity- and T2D-related central IR in the development of cognitive dysfunction, including effects on hippocampal synaptic plasticity. Importantly, IR is largely reversible through the optimisation of lifestyle factors that include regular engagement in physical activity with the avoidance of sedentariness, improved diet including increased fibre intake and sleep sufficiency. IR lies at the key crossroad between obesity and both metabolic and cognitive dysfunction. Given the importance of IR in the pathogenesis of many 21st century chronic diseases and its eminent reversibility, it is important that we all embrace and facilitate optimised lifestyles to improve the future health and wellbeing of the populace. Full article
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Review
Notable Underlying Mechanism for Pancreatic β-Cell Dysfunction and Atherosclerosis: Pleiotropic Roles of Incretin and Insulin Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9444; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249444 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Under healthy conditions, pancreatic β-cells produce and secrete the insulin hormone in response to blood glucose levels. Under diabetic conditions, however, β-cells are compelled to continuously secrete larger amounts of insulin to reduce blood glucose levels, and thereby, the β-cell function is debilitated [...] Read more.
Under healthy conditions, pancreatic β-cells produce and secrete the insulin hormone in response to blood glucose levels. Under diabetic conditions, however, β-cells are compelled to continuously secrete larger amounts of insulin to reduce blood glucose levels, and thereby, the β-cell function is debilitated in the long run. In the diabetic state, expression levels of insulin gene transcription factors and incretin receptors are downregulated, which we think is closely associated with β-cell failure. These data also suggest that it would be better to use incretin-based drugs at an early stage of diabetes when incretin receptor expression is preserved. Indeed, it was shown that incretin-based drugs exerted more protective effects on β-cells at an early stage. Furthermore, it was shown recently that endothelial cell dysfunction was also associated with pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. After ablation of insulin signaling in endothelial cells, the β-cell function and mass were substantially reduced, which was also accompanied by reduced expression of insulin gene transcription factors and incretin receptors in β-cells. On the other hand, it has been drawing much attention that incretin plays a protective role against the development of atherosclerosis. Many basic and clinical data have underscored the importance of incretin in arteries. Furthermore, it was shown recently that incretin receptor expression was downregulated in arteries under diabetic conditions, which likely diminishes the protective effects of incretin against atherosclerosis. Furthermore, a series of large-scale clinical trials (SPAED-A, SPIKE, LEADER, SUSTAIN-6, REWIND, PIONEER trials) have shown that various incretin-related drugs have beneficial effects against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular events. These data strengthen the hypothesis that incretin plays an important role in the arteries of humans, as well as rodents. Full article
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Review
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
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2469
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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Review
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
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3250
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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