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      Dysregulation of glucocorticoid metabolism in murine obesity: comparable effects of leptin resistance and deficiency


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          In obese humans, metabolism of glucocorticoids by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) and A-ring reduction (by 5α- and 5β-reductases) is dysregulated in a tissue specific manner. These changes have been recapitulated in leptin resistant obese Zucker rats but were not observed in high-fat fed Wistar rats. Recent data from mouse models suggest that such discrepancies may reflect differences in leptin signalling. We therefore compared glucocorticoid metabolism in murine models of leptin deficiency and resistance. Male ob/ob and db/db mice and their respective littermate controls ( n=10–12/group) were studied at the age of 12 weeks. Enzyme activities and mRNA expression were quantified in snap-frozen tissues. The patterns of altered pathways of steroid metabolism in obesity were similar in ob/ob and db/db mice. In liver, 5β-reductase activity and mRNA were increased and 11β-HSD1 decreased in obese mice, whereas 5α-reductase 1 (5αR1) mRNA was not altered. In visceral adipose depots, 5β-reductase was not expressed, 11β-HSD1 activity was increased and 5αR1 mRNA was not altered in obesity. By contrast, in subcutaneous adipose tissue 11β-HSD1 and 5αR1 mRNA were decreased. Systematic differences were not found between ob/ob and db/db murine models of obesity, suggesting that variations in leptin signalling through the short splice variant of the Ob receptor do not contribute to dysregulation of glucocorticoid metabolism.

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          Most cited references46

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          Abnormal splicing of the leptin receptor in diabetic mice.

          Mutations in the mouse diabetes (db) gene result in obesity and diabetes in a syndrome resembling morbid human obesity. Previous data suggest that the db gene encodes the receptor for the obese (ob) gene product, leptin. A leptin receptor was recently cloned from choroid plexus and shown to map to the same 6-cM interval on mouse chromosome 4 as db. This receptor maps to the same 300-kilobase interval as db, and has at least six alternatively spliced forms. One of these splice variants is expressed at a high level in the hypothalamus, and is abnormally spliced in C57BL/Ks db/db mice. The mutant protein is missing the cytoplasmic region, and is likely to be defective in signal transduction. This suggests that the weight-reducing effects of leptin may be mediated by signal transduction through a leptin receptor in the hypothalamus.
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            Novel adipose tissue-mediated resistance to diet-induced visceral obesity in 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1-deficient mice.

            The metabolic syndrome (visceral obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia) resembles Cushing's Syndrome, but without elevated circulating glucocorticoid levels. An emerging concept suggests that the aberrantly elevated levels of the intracellular glucocorticoid reamplifying enzyme 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11 beta-HSD-1) found in adipose tissue of obese humans and rodents underlies the phenotypic similarities between idiopathic and "Cushingoid" obesity. Transgenic overexpression of 11 beta-HSD-1 in adipose tissue reproduces a metabolic syndrome in mice, whereas 11 beta-HSD-1 deficiency or inhibition has beneficial metabolic effects, at least on liver metabolism. Here we report novel protective effects of 11 beta-HSD-1 deficiency on adipose function, distribution, and gene expression in vivo in 11 beta-HSD-1 nullizygous (11 beta-HSD-1(-/-)) mice. 11 beta-HSD-1(-/-) mice expressed lower resistin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, but higher peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma, adiponectin, and uncoupling protein-2 mRNA levels in adipose, indicating insulin sensitization. Isolated 11 beta-HSD-1(-/-) adipocytes exhibited higher basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. 11 beta-HSD-1(-/-) mice also exhibited reduced visceral fat accumulation upon high-fat feeding. High-fat-fed 11 beta-HSD-1(-/-) mice rederived onto the C57BL/6J strain resisted diabetes and weight gain despite consuming more calories. These data provide the first in vivo evidence that adipose 11 beta-HSD-1 deficiency beneficially alters adipose tissue distribution and function, complementing the reported effects of hepatic 11 beta-HSD-1 deficiency or inhibition.
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              Does central obesity reflect "Cushing's disease of the omentum"?

              Central obesity results in a cluster of metabolic abnormalities contributing to premature death. Glucocorticoids regulate adipose-tissue differentiation, function, and distribution, and in excess, cause central obesity. Glucocorticoid hormone action is, in part, controlled by two isoforms of the enzyme 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11 beta-HSD) which interconverts hormonally active cortisol to inactive cortisone. We studied cortisol metabolism within different adipose tissue depots. We analysed expression and activity of the two isoforms (1 and 2) of 11 beta-HSD in cultured omental and subcutaneous adipose stromal cells from 16 patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery. Only the type 1 isoform (11 beta-HSD1) was expressed in adipose stromal cells. The predominant activity was oxo-reductase (conversion of cortisone to cortisol greater than cortisol to cortisone) and was higher in omental than subcutaneous fat (cortisone to cortisol, median 57.6 pmol mg-1 h-1 [95% CI 25.8-112.9] vs 0 pmol mg-1 h-1 [0-0.6], p < 0.001). 11 beta-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity was further increased (127.5 pmol mg-1 h-1 [82.1-209], p < 0.05) when omental adipose stromal cells were treated with cortisol and insulin. Adipose stromal cells from omental fat, but not subcutaneous fat, can generate active cortisol from inactive cortisone through the expression of 11 beta-HSD1. The expression of this enzyme is increased further after exposure to cortisol and insulin. In vivo, such a mechanism would ensure a constant exposure of glucocorticoid specifically to omental adipose tissue, suggesting that central obesity may reflect "Cushing's disease of the omentum".

                Author and article information

                J Endocrinol
                The Journal of Endocrinology
                BioScientifica (Bristol )
                May 2009
                16 February 2009
                : 201
                : 2
                : 211-218
                [1 ]simpleEndocrinology Unit simpleQueen's Medical Research Institute, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh 47, Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJUK
                Author notes
                (Correspondence should be addressed to R Andrew; Email: ruth.andrew@ 123456ed.ac.uk )
                © 2009 Society for Endocrinology

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Society for Endocrinology's Re-use Licence which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 9 February 2009
                : 13 February 2009
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust
                Award ID: 060707 and VS/06/UED/A8
                Regular papers

                Endocrinology & Diabetes
                Endocrinology & Diabetes


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