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      AMPK activation: a therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes?

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          Abstract

          Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance, β-cell dysfunction, and elevated hepatic glucose output. Over 350 million people worldwide have T2D, and the International Diabetes Federation projects that this number will increase to nearly 600 million by 2035. There is a great need for more effective treatments for maintaining glucose homeostasis and improving insulin sensitivity. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase whose activation elicits insulin-sensitizing effects, making it an ideal therapeutic target for T2D. AMPK is an energy-sensing enzyme that is activated when cellular energy levels are low, and it signals to stimulate glucose uptake in skeletal muscles, fatty acid oxidation in adipose (and other) tissues, and reduces hepatic glucose production. There is substantial evidence suggesting that AMPK is dysregulated in animals and humans with metabolic syndrome or T2D, and that AMPK activation (physiological or pharmacological) can improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health. Numerous pharmacological agents, natural compounds, and hormones are known to activate AMPK, either directly or indirectly – some of which (for example, metformin and thiazolidinediones) are currently used to treat T2D. This paper will review the regulation of the AMPK pathway and its role in T2D, some of the known AMPK activators and their mechanisms of action, and the potential for future improvements in targeting AMPK for the treatment of T2D.

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          Most cited references121

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          AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) action in skeletal muscle via direct phosphorylation of PGC-1alpha.

          Activation of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) in skeletal muscle increases glucose uptake, fatty acid oxidation, and mitochondrial biogenesis by increasing gene expression in these pathways. However, the transcriptional components that are directly targeted by AMPK are still elusive. The peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1alpha (PGC-1alpha) has emerged as a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis; furthermore, it has been shown that PGC-1alpha gene expression is induced by exercise and by chemical activation of AMPK in skeletal muscle. Using primary muscle cells and mice deficient in PGC-1alpha, we found that the effects of AMPK on gene expression of glucose transporter 4, mitochondrial genes, and PGC-1alpha itself are almost entirely dependent on the function of PGC-1alpha protein. Furthermore, AMPK phosphorylates PGC-1alpha directly both in vitro and in cells. These direct phosphorylations of the PGC-1alpha protein at threonine-177 and serine-538 are required for the PGC-1alpha-dependent induction of the PGC-1alpha promoter. These data indicate that AMPK phosphorylation of PGC-1alpha initiates many of the important gene regulatory functions of AMPK in skeletal muscle.
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            Identification and expression cloning of a leptin receptor, OB-R.

            The ob gene product, leptin, is an important circulating signal for the regulation of body weight. To identify high affinity leptin-binding sites, we generated a series of leptin-alkaline phosphatase (AP) fusion proteins as well as [125I]leptin. After a binding survey of cell lines and tissues, we identified leptin-binding sites in the mouse choroid plexus. A cDNA expression library was prepared from mouse choroid plexus and screened with a leptin-AP fusion protein to identify a leptin receptor (OB-R). OB-R is a single membrane-spanning receptor most related to the gp130 signal-transducing component of the IL-6 receptor, the G-CSF receptor, and the LIF receptor. OB-R mRNA is expressed not only in choroid plexus, but also in several other tissues, including hypothalamus. Genetic mapping of the gene encoding OB-R shows that it is within the 5.1 cM interval of mouse chromosome 4 that contains the db locus.
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              Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-beta is an alternative upstream kinase for AMP-activated protein kinase.

              The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a critical regulator of energy balance at both the cellular and whole-body levels. Two upstream kinases have been reported to activate AMPK in cell-free assays, i.e., the tumor suppressor LKB1 and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase. However, evidence that this is physiologically relevant currently only exists for LKB1. We now report that there is a significant basal activity and phosphorylation of AMPK in LKB1-deficient cells that can be stimulated by Ca2+ ionophores, and studies using the CaMKK inhibitor STO-609 and isoform-specific siRNAs show that CaMKKbeta is required for this effect. CaMKKbeta also activates AMPK much more rapidly than CaMKKalpha in cell-free assays. K(+)-induced depolarization in rat cerebrocortical slices, which increases intracellular Ca2+ without disturbing cellular adenine nucleotide levels, activates AMPK, and this is blocked by STO-609. Our results suggest a potential Ca(2+)-dependent neuroprotective pathway involving phosphorylation and activation of AMPK by CaMKKbeta.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes
                Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes
                Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
                Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7007
                2014
                24 June 2014
                : 7
                : 241-253
                Affiliations
                Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Asish K Saha, Diabetes and Metabolism Unit, Boston University Medical Center, 650 Albany Street, EBRC-827, Boston, MA 02118, USA, Tel +1 617 638 7169, Fax +1 617 638 7094, Email aksaha@ 123456bu.edu
                Article
                dmso-7-241
                10.2147/DMSO.S43731
                4075959
                25018645
                39559f4d-212d-4cae-bc8b-b6f517322d1a
                © 2014 Coughlan et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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                Categories
                Review

                Endocrinology & Diabetes
                adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase,type 2 diabetes,insulin resistance,drug therapy

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