Recent Submissions

  • Regulation of beta-cell viability and gene expression by distinct agonist fragments of adiponectin

    Brown, James E. P.; Conner, Alex C..; Digby, Janet E.; Ward, Kenya L.; Ramanjaneya, Manjunath; Randeva, Harpal S.; Dunmore, Simon J. (2010)
    Obesity is an established risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Activation of the adiponectin receptors has a clear role in improving insulin resistance although conflicting evidence exists for its effects on pancreatic beta-cells. Previous reports have identified both adiponectin receptors (ADR-1 and ADR-2) in the betacell. Recent evidence has suggested that two distinct regions of the adiponectin molecule, the globular domain and a small N-terminal region, have agonist properties. This study investigates the effects of two agonist regions of adiponectin on insulin secretion, gene expression, cell viability and cell signalling in the rat beta-cell line BRIN-BD11, as well as investigating the expression levels of adiponectin receptors (ADRs) in these cells. Cells were treated with globular adiponectin and adiponectin (15-36)±leptin to investigate cell viability, expression of key beta-cell genes and ERK1/2 activation. Both globular adiponectin and adiponectin (15-36) caused significant ERK1/2 dependent increases in cell viability. Leptin co-incubation attenuated adiponectin (15-36) but not globular adiponectin induced cell viability. Globular adiponectin, but not adiponectin (15-36), caused a significant 450% increase in PDX-1 expression and a 45% decrease in LPL expression. ADR-1 was expressed at a higher level than ADR-2, and ADR mRNA levels were differentially regulated by non-esterified fatty acids and peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor agonists. These data provide evidence of roles for two distinct adiponectin agonist domains in the beta-cell and confirm the potentially important role of adiponectin receptor agonism in maintaining beta-cell mass.
  • Individualised assessment of response to clopidogrel in patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes: a role for short thrombelastography?

    Cotton, James M.; Worrall, A. M.; Hobson, A. R.; Smallwood, A.; Amoah, V.; Dunmore, Simon J.; Nevill, Alan M.; Raghuraman, R. P.; Vickers, J.; Curzen, N. (2010)
    INTRODUCTION: There is considerable interindividual variation in response to the antiplatelet agent clopidogrel. Hyporesponse predicts negative outcomes in patients presenting with a variety of ischemic cardiac conditions and following intracoronary stent placement. Many tests of clopidogrel activity are time consuming and complex. Short thromboelastography (s-TEG) allows rapid measurement of platelet clopidogrel response. AIMS: We initiated this study to investigate the utility of s-TEG in assessing the response to clopidogrel in patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and to compare these results with established clopidogrel monitoring techniques. METHODS: Patients admitted with unstable angina (UA) or Non ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) undergoing coronary angiography were recruited. After routine loading with clopidogrel, all patients were tested with s-TEG and Accumetrics Verify-Now rapid platelet function analyzer (VN-RPFA). We used the modified TEG technique of measuring area under the curve at 15 min (AUC15), which allows a rapid estimation of antiplatelet response. Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein phosphorylation (VASP) was also tested in a subgroup of patients. Clinical follow-up was obtained at 1 year. s-TEG results were correlated with VN-RPFA and VASP findings. RESULTS: A total of 49 patients (33 male, mean age 63) were recruited and tested with s-TEG and VN-RPFA and a total of 39 patients were also assessed with VASP. s-TEG readings correlated well with VN-RPFA (r(2)= 0.54, P < 0.0001) and VASP (r(2)= 0.26, P= 0.001). CONCLUSION: s-TEG provides timely results which compare to current tests of clopidogrel activity. This technique can also be used to measure a variety of other clotting parameters and as such could develop into a valuable near patient test for the interventional cardiologist.
  • Visfatin regulates insulin secretion, insulin receptor signalling and mRNA expression of diabetes-related genes in mouse pancreatic beta-cells.

    Brown, James E. P.; Onyango, David J.; Ramanjaneya, Manjunath; Conner, Alex C.; Patel, Snehal T.; Dunmore, Simon J.; Randeva, Harpal S. (Society for Endocinology, 2010)
    The role of the adipocyte-derived factor visfatin in metabolism remains controversial, although some pancreatic beta-cell-specific effects have been reported. This study investigated the effects of visfatin upon insulin secretion, insulin receptor activation and mRNA expression of key diabetes-related genes in clonal mouse pancreatic beta-cells. beta-TC6 cells were cultured in RPMI 1640 and were subsequently treated with recombinant visfatin. One-hour static insulin secretion was measured by ELISA. Phospho-specific ELISA and western blotting were used to detect insulin receptor activation. Real-time SYBR Green PCR array technology was used to measure the expression of 84 diabetes-related genes in both treatment and control cells. Incubation with visfatin caused significant changes in the mRNA expression of several key diabetes-related genes, including marked up-regulation of insulin (9-fold increase), hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)1beta (32-fold increase), HNF4alpha (16-fold increase) and nuclear factor kappaB (40-fold increase). Significant down-regulation was seen in angiotensin-converting enzyme (-3.73-fold) and UCP2 (-1.3-fold). Visfatin also caused a significant 46% increase in insulin secretion compared to control (P<0.003) at low glucose, and this increase was blocked by co-incubation with the specific nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase inhibitor FK866. Both visfatin and nicotinamide mononucleotide induced activation of both insulin receptor and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, with visfatin-induced insulin receptor/ERK1/2 activation being inhibited by FK866. We conclude that visfatin can significantly regulate insulin secretion, insulin receptor phosphorylation and intracellular signalling and the expression of a number of beta-cell function-associated genes in mouse beta-cells.
  • Pseudoislets as primary islet replacements for research: Report on a symposium at King's College London, London UK

    Persaud, Shanta; Arden, Catherine; Bergsten, P.; Bone, Adrian J.; Brown, James; Dunmore, Simon J; Harrison, Moira; Hauge-Evans, Astrid; Kelly, Catriona; King, Aileen; Maffucci, Tania; Marriott, Claire E.; McClenaghan, Neville; Morgan, Noel G.; Reers, Christina; Russell, Mark A.; Turner, Mark D.; Willoughby, Emma; Younis, MustafaY.G.; Zhi, Z.L.; Jones, P.M. (Landes Bioscience, 2010)
    Laboratory-based research aimed at understanding processes regulating insulin secretion and mechanisms underlying β-cell dysfunction and loss in diabetes often makes use of rodents, as these processes are in many respects similar between rats/mice and humans. Indeed, a rough calculation suggests that islets have been isolated from as many as 150,000 rodents to generate the data contained within papers published in 2009 and the first four months of 2010. Rodent use for islet isolation has been mitigated, to a certain extent, by the availability of a variety of insulin-secreting cell lines that are used by researchers world-wide. However, when maintained as monolayers the cell lines do not replicate the robust, sustained secretory responses of primary islets which limits their usefulness as islet surrogates. On the other hand, there have been several reports that configuration of MIN6 β-cells, derived from a mouse insulinoma, as three-dimensional cell clusters termed ‘pseudoislets’ largely recapitulates the function of primary islet β-cells. The Diabetes Research Group at King’s College London has been using the MIN6 pseudoislet model for over a decade and they hosted a symposium on “Pseudoislets as primary islet replacements for research”, which was funded by the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), in London on 15th and 16th April 2010. This small, focused meeting was conceived as an opportunity to consolidate information on experiences of working with pseudoislets between different UK labs, and to introduce the theory and practice of pseudoislet culture to laboratories working with islets and/or β-cell lines but who do not currently use pseudoislets. This short review summarizes the background to the development of the cell line-derived pseudoislet model, the key messages arising from the symposium and emerging themes for future pseudoislet research
  • Vitamin E correlates inversely with non-transferrin-bound iron in sickle cell disease.

    Marwah, S.S.; Wheelwright, D.; Blann, A.D.; Rea, C.; Beresford, R.; Phillips, Jonathan D.; Wright, J.; Bareford, D. (Wiley InterScience, 2001)
    Decreased serum vitamin E levels are found in homozygous sickle cell disease (SCD). Excessive transfusions may lead high non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI). Hypothesizing a relationship between the two, vitamin E (measured using high performance liquid chromatography) was significantly lower in 30 SCD patients than in 30 age-/sex-matched controls (P < 0.001), but NTBI (bleomycin assay) was higher (P < 0.001). Vitamin E was lower in 10 transfused patients than in 20 non-transfused patients (P < 0.001) with a significant inverse correlation between the NTBI and vitamin E (r = -0.58, P < 0.001). NTBI associated with iron overload in SCD may increase the potential for oxidative damage and low vitamin E activity may compound this effect.
  • Increased non-transferrin bound iron in plasma-depleted SAG-M red blood cell units.

    Marwah, S.S.; Blann, A.D.; Harrison, P.; Lumley, M.A.; Wright, J.; McDowell, J.; Phillips, Jonathan D.; Rea, C.; Bareford, D. (Wiley InterScience, 2002)
    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Non-transferrin bound iron (NTBI) is associated with increased morbidity in a number of transfusion-dependent disease states such as the severe haemoglobinopathies. We hypothesized that this may be related to excess NTBI present in plasma-depleted red blood cell units that are free of clear haemolysis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The level of NTBI was determined using the bleomycin assay in samples from 20 stored plasma-depleted red cell units, at approximate 5-day intervals up to day 33 after donation. Forty units of fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) and 40 units of platelet concentrates were used as negative controls, and samples from 12 units of FFP were also serially assessed. RESULTS: Median [interquartile range (IQR)] NTBI was 0 microm (0-0.35) in samples taken from units 3-10 days after donation. Thereafter, the levels of NTBI increased, becoming significant (median 3.05; IQR: 0.05-6.7 microm) 17-22 days after donation. After 30 days, NTBI was detectable in all red cell units. NTBI was undetectable in platelet concentrates and FFP. CONCLUSIONS: Increased levels of NTBI become detectable 17-22 days after donation and increase further with storage time. This excess NTBI may promote bacterial infection in iron-loaded individuals.
  • Suppression of retrovirus-induced immunodeficiency disease (murine AIDS) by trimidox and didox: novel ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors with less bone marrow toxicity than hydroxyurea.

    Mayhew, Christopher N.; Mampuru, Leseilane J.; Chendil, Damodoran; Ahmed, Mansoor M.; Phillips, Jonathan D.; Greenberg, Richard N.; Elford, Howard L.; Gallicchio, Vincent S. (Elsevier Science Direct, 2002)
    Recently, the use of the ribonucleotide reductase (RR) inhibitor hydroxyurea (HU) in combination with nucleoside analogs has gained attention as a potential strategy for anti-HIV-1 therapy. However, appeal for the long-term use of HU in HIV-1 infection may be limited by its propensity to induce hematopoietic toxicity. We report a comparison of the efficacy and bone marrow toxicity of HU (400 and 200 mg/kg/day) with the novel RR inhibitors and free radical-scavenging compounds didox (DX; 3,4-dihydroxybenzohydroxamic acid; 350 mg/kg/day) and trimidox (TX; 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzamidoxime; 175 mg/kg/day) in the murine AIDS (LPBM5 MuLV) model of retrovirus infection. Infected mice received daily drug treatment for 8 weeks. Efficacy was determined by measuring drug effects on retroviral-induced disease progression (i.e. development of splenomegaly and hypergammaglobulinemia) and by evaluating splenic levels of proviral DNA. Bone marrow toxicity was evaluated by measuring peripheral blood indices (WBC, hematocrit and reticulocyte counts), femoral cellularity and by determining the numbers of hematopoietic progenitor cells (CFU-GM, BFU-E) per femur and spleen. Compared to infected controls receiving no drug treatment, disease progression was significantly suppressed by TX, DX and HU. However, HU was associated with mortality and induced significant hematopoietic toxicity in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Conversely, TX and DX effectively inhibited retrovirus-induced disease but did not induce hematopoietic toxicity. These results suggest that due to their reduced hematopoietic toxicity and ability to inhibit disease progression in murine AIDS, TX and DX may offer effective alternatives to HU therapy in HIV-1 infection.
  • Combination of inhibitors of lymphocyte activation (hydroxyurea, trimidox, and didox) and reverse transcriptase (didanosine) suppresses development of murine retrovirus-induced lymphoproliferative disease.

    Mayhew, Christopher N.; Sumpter, Ryan; Inayat, Mohammed; Cibull, Michael; Phillips, Jonathan D.; Elford, Howard L.; Gallicchio, Vincent S. (Elsevier Science Direct, 2005)
    The ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor hydroxyurea (HU) has demonstrated some benefit as a component of drug cocktails for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. However, HU is notoriously myelosuppressive and often administered only as salvage therapy to patients with late-stage disease, potentially exacerbating the bone marrow toxicity of HU. In this report we have compared the antiviral effects of HU and two novel RR inhibitors trimidox (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzamidoxime) and didox (3,4-dihydroxybenzohydroxamic acid) in combination with didanosine (2,3-didoxyinosine; ddI) in the LPBM5 MuLV retrovirus model (murine AIDS). We also evaluated the effects of these drug combinations on the hematopoietic tissues of LPBM5 MuLV-infected animals. The combination of RR inhibitors and ddI was extremely effective (DX>TX>HU) in inhibiting development of retrovirus-induced disease (splenomegaly, hypergammaglobulinemia, activated B-splenocytes and loss of splenic architecture). In addition, relative levels of proviral DNA were significantly lower in combination drug-treated animals compared to infected controls. Evaluation of femur cellularity, numbers of marrow-derived myeloid progenitor cells (CFU-GM and BFU-E) and peripheral blood indices revealed that TX and DX in combination with ddI were well-tolerated. However, treatment with HU and ddI induced moderate myelosuppression. These data demonstrate that RR inhibitors in combination with ddI provide significant protection against retroviral disease in murine AIDS. Moreover, the novel RR inhibitors TX and DX appear to be more effective and less myelosuppressive than HU when administered with ddI in this model.
  • Linked regulation of motility and integrin function in activated migrating neutrophils revealed by interference in remodelling of the cytoskeleton.

    Anderson, Stephen I.; Behrendt, Barbara; Machesky, Laura M.; Insall, Robert H.; Nash, Gerard B. (Wiley Interscience, 2003)
    Neutrophils migrate rapidly by co-ordinating regulation of their beta2-integrin adhesion with turnover of filamentous F-actin. The seven-protein Arp2/3 complex regulates actin polymerisation upon activation by proteins of the WASP-family. To investigate links between actin polymerisation, adhesion, and migration, we used a novel osmotic-shock method to load neutrophils with peptides: (1). WASP-WA and Scar-WA (which incorporate the actin- and Arp2/3-binding regions of WASP and Scar1), to compete with endogenous WASP-family members; (2). proline rich motifs (PRM) from the ActA protein of L. monocytogenes or from vinculin, which bind vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a regulator of cytoskeleton assembly. In a flow system, rolling-adherent neutrophils were stimulated with formyl tri-peptide. This caused rapid immobilisation, followed by migration with increasing velocity, supported by activated beta2-integrin CD11b/CD18. Loading ActA PRM (but not vinculin PRM) caused concentration-dependent reduction in migration velocity. At the highest concentration, unstimulated neutrophils had elevated F-actin and were rigid, but could not change their F-actin content or shape upon stimulation. Scar-WA also caused marked reduction in migration rate, but WASP-WA had a lesser effect. Scar-WA did not modify activation-dependent formation of F-actin or change in shape. However, a reduction in rate of downregulation of integrin adhesion appeared to contribute to impaired migration. These studies show that interference in cytoskeletal reorganisation that follows activation in neutrophils, can impair regulation of integrin function as well as motility. They also suggest a role of the Arp2/3 complex and WASP-family in co-ordinating actin polymerisation and integrin function in migrating neutrophils.
  • A new model of peripheral arterial disease: sustained impairment of nutritive microcirculation and its recovery by chronic electrical stimulation.

    Brown, Margaret D.; Kelsall, C.J.; Milkiewicz, M.; Anderson, Stephen I.; Hudlicka, Olga (Taylor & Francis (Informa Healthcare), 2005)
    OBJECTIVES: To develop a model of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in rat skeletal muscle with sustained impairment of microcirculatory perfusion, and to ascertain whether increased muscle activity can reverse the impairment. METHODS: Three weeks after iliac ligation in rats, the ipsilateral femoral artery was ligated (double ligation, DL), and in some animals, muscle activity was increased by electrical stimulation for 2 weeks (10 Hz, 15 min on, 85 mins off, 7 times per day). Diameter changes of precapillary arterioles to vasoactive agonists and capillary perfusion (flow intermittency, capillary red cell velocity [V(rbc)], and diameters) were measured in extensor digitorum longus muscle and compared with 5 weeks iliac only ligation (single ligation, SL) and controls. Total muscle endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) was estimated by Western blotting. RESULTS: Whereas single ligation increased intermittency of capillary flow with little effect on V(rbc) and shear stress, DL completely eliminated increases in V(rbc) and shear stress after muscle contractions. Arterial dilation to sodium nitroprusside was attenuated similarly in SL and DL; in SL, acetylcholine induced constriction and bradykinin an attenuated dilation, but in DL vessels were unresponsive to either. Chronic stimulation returned all microcirculatory parameters in DL to normal and increased levels of eNOS protein by 75%. CONCLUSIONS: Femoral artery ligation following iliac ligation impairs arteriolar vasodilator capacity, capillary perfusion, and shear-dependent function of microcirculatory endothelium more than iliac ligation alone and is more representative of long-standing ischemia in PAD. Chronic intermittent electrical stimulation can normalize these derangements.
  • Cellular pathology of atherosclerosis: smooth muscle cells promote adhesion of platelets to cocultured endothelial cells.

    Tull, Samantha P.; Anderson, Stephen I.; Hughan, Sascha C.; Watson, Steve P.; Nash, Gerard B.; Rainger, G.E. (American Heart Association, Inc., 2006)
    Although platelets do not ordinarily bind to endothelial cells (EC), pathological interactions between platelets and arterial EC may contribute to the propagation of atheroma. Previously, in an in vitro model of atherogenesis, where leukocyte adhesion to EC cocultured with smooth muscle cells was greatly enhanced, we also observed attachment of platelets to the EC layer. Developing this system to specifically model platelet adhesion, we show that EC cocultured with smooth muscle cells can bind platelets in a process that is dependent on EC activation by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1. Recapitulating the model using EC alone, we found that a combination of TGF-beta1 and TNF-alpha promoted high levels of platelet adhesion compared with either agent used in isolation. Platelet adhesion was inhibited by antibodies against GPIb-IX-V or alpha(IIb)beta3 integrin, indicating that both receptors are required for stable adhesion. Platelet activation during interaction with the EC was also essential, as treatment with prostacyclin or theophylline abolished stable adhesion. Confocal microscopy of the surface of EC activated with TNF-alpha and TGF-beta1 revealed an extensive matrix of von Willebrand factor that was able to support the adhesion of flowing platelets at wall shear rates below 400 s(-1). Thus, we have demonstrated a novel route of EC activation which is relevant to the atherosclerotic microenvironment. EC activated in this manner would therefore be capable of recruiting platelets in the low-shear environments that commonly exist at points of atheroma formation.
  • ICAM-1 expression and leukocyte behavior in the microcirculation of chronically ischemic rat skeletal muscles.

    Anderson, Stephen I.; Shiner, Ruth; Brown, Margaret D.; Hudlicka, Olga (Elsevier, 2006)
    In muscle microcirculation, short periods of ischemia followed by reperfusion are known to upregulate leukocyte and endothelial adhesion molecules, but little is known about leukocyte adherence and ICAM-1 expression during chronic ischemia or any likely effect of muscle activity which is recommended in chronic ischemia due to peripheral arterial disease. Leukocyte rolling and stationary adhesion were observed in post-capillary venules in ischemic and contralateral rat extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles 3 and 7 days after unilateral ligation of the common iliac artery and in 3-day ischemic EDLs that were electrically stimulated on days 1 and 2 post-ligation (7 x 15 min per day). ICAM-1 was localized immunohistochemically to venular vessels in all muscles. Following ligation, use of the ischemic leg was observed to be restricted for the first 3 days, returning to normal by 7 days. After 3 days, leukocyte rolling/adherence and ICAM-1 expression were no different in ischemic than control muscles, but all were increased in contralateral muscles. In ischemic muscles, electrical stimulation doubled the numbers of rolling leukocytes and upregulated ICAM-1 expression. After 7 days, increased muscle activity as a result of natural movement also resulted in greater ICAM-1 expression, a 4- to 5-fold increase in rolling leukocyte numbers and a 3-fold increase in stationary adherent leukocytes. Chronic ischemia thus increases ICAM-1 and leukocyte adherence in muscle microcirculation only when combined with contractile activity. Post-capillary venular endothelium may be modified by muscle acidosis when contractions are performed under low flow conditions or by changes in rheological (shear force) factors.
  • B-type natriuretic peptide in reversible myocardial ischaemia.

    Chatha, K.; Alsoud, M.; Griffiths, M.J.; Elfatih, A.; Abozguia, K.; Horton, R.C.; Dunmore, Simon J.; Gama, R. (BMJ Publishing, 2006)
    BACKGROUND: Coronary heart disease is associated with increased B-type natriuretic peptides (BNPs), and, although controversial, may cause exaggerated exercise-induced BNP secretion. We investigated BNP in relation to reversible myocardial ischaemia. Materials and methods: Serum N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) was measured before and after an exercise electrocardiogram test (ETT) in 14 patients with and 45 patients without exercise-induced myocardial ischaemia. Statistical analysis was carried out on logarithmically transformed data. Results, however, are pre-transformed data. RESULTS: NT-proBNP increased with exercise both in ETT-positive patients (mean (SD) 71.4 (41.2) v 76.8 (44.0) ng/l; p<0.001) and ETT-negative patients (54.0 (61.2) v 60.1 (69.0) ng/l; p<0.001). Pre-exercise and post-exercise NT-proBNP were higher (p<0.05) in ETT-positive than in ETT-negative patients. Incremental NT-proBNP was similar in ETT-positive (4.7 (4.2) ng/l) and ETT-negative (6.2 (8.6) ng/l) patients. CONCLUSION: Serum NT-proBNP concentrations are higher in patients with exercise-induced myocardial ischaemia than in those without. Exercise-induced electrocardiographic myocardial ischaemia, however, is not associated with exaggerated BNP secretion.
  • Resistin down-regulates insulin receptor expression, and modulates cell viability in rodent pancreatic beta-cells.

    Brown, James E. P.; Onyango, David J.; Dunmore, Simon J. (Elsevier, 2007)
    The adipokine resistin is known to induce insulin resistance in rodent tissues. Increases in adipose tissue mass are known to have a negative effect on pancreatic beta-cell function, although the mechanisms are poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of resistin on insulin secretion, insulin receptor expression and cell viability in pancreatic beta-cells. BTC-6 or BRIN-BD11 cells were treated for 24h with resistin, and insulin receptor expression, insulin secretion and cell viability were measured. Incubation with 40ng/ml resistin caused significant decreases in insulin receptor mRNA and protein expression, but did not affect insulin secretion. At low concentrations, resistin caused significant increases in cell viability. These data implicate resistin as a factor that may regulate beta-cell function/viability, and suggests a potential mechanism by which increased adiposity causes beta-cell dysfunction.
  • Leptin decreases apoptosis and alters BCL-2 : Bax ratio in clonal rodent pancreatic beta-cells.

    Brown, James E. P.; Dunmore, Simon J. (Wiley Interscience, 2007)
    AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The adipocyte derived peptide hormone leptin is known to regulate apoptosis and cell viability in several cells and tissues, as well as having several pancreatic islet beta-cell specific effects such as inhibition of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. This study investigated the effects of leptin upon apoptosis induced by serum depletion and on expression of the apoptotic regulators B-cell leukaemia 2 gene product (BCL-2) and BCL2-associated X protein (Bax) in the glucose-responsive BRIN-BD11 beta-cell line. METHODS: BRIN-BD11 cells were cultured in RPMI 1640 and subsequently serum depleted +/- leptin (10 and 50 ng/mL) for 24 h. Cell viability and apoptosis were measured using a modified MTS assay and TUNEL/YO-PRO-1 assays, respectively. BCL-2 and Bax expression were measured by real-time PCR and Western blotting. RESULTS: Leptin caused a reduction in serum-depleted apoptosis, although it failed to have any effect on the overall cell viability, causing a 68% shift from apoptosis to necrosis. Leptin significantly increased the level of BCL-2 mRNA expression (150% compared to serum depletion alone), without altering Bax mRNA expression. At the protein level, leptin increased BCL-2 and decreased Bax, altering the BCL-2 : Bax ratio. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that leptin reduces apoptosis in beta-cells at physiological concentrations, possibly via its ability to up-regulate BCL-2 and Bax expression.
  • Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis does not alter the decrease in pre-capillary resistance in the human calf in response to small cumulative increases in venous congestion

    Anderson, Stephen I.; Brown, Margaret D. (Portland Press, 2005)
    The decrease in pre-capillary resistance in the human calf during gradual cumulative increases in venous congestion pressure has been proposed to represent vasodilator signalling between the venous and arterial microcirculations. The present study investigated whether prostaglandins are involved in this local flow regulation by measuring calf blood flow and microvascular filtration capacity using strain gauge plethysmography in young male subjects before (baseline) and after taking either ibuprofen, an inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis (1600 mg over 2 days), or placebo. At baseline, inflation of a thigh cuff to 50 mmHg in steps of 10 mmHg, each held for 5 min, did not decrease arterial inflow, confirming a reduction of pre-capillary resistance. Ibuprofen reduced resting calf blood flow by 35% (P<0.001), but flow at a Pcuff (cuff pressure) of 50 mmHg was 97% of this value, i.e. pre-capillary resistance had decreased to the same extent as before inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. Ibuprofen also reduced microvascular filtration capacity (2.98±1.20 compared with 3.71±0.89 ml·min-1·100 ml-1·mmHg-1×10-3; P<0.05), probably due to a combination of reduced arterial inflow and lower venous pressure (8.5±5.2 compared with 12.6±2.8 mmHg; P<0.05) that moderated capillary hydrostatic pressure to override direct effects of inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis on permeability. Placebo was without effect on any measurement. It is unlikely therefore that prostaglandin-mediated vasodilator signals, which have been demonstrated between paired veins and arteries, are important in local vasodilation in response to venous congestion.
  • Glucose induces and leptin decreases expression of uncoupling protein-2 mRNA in human islets.

    Brown, James E. P.; Thomas, Steven; Digby, Janet E.; Dunmore, Simon J. (Elsevier BV, 2002)
    Elevated islet uncoupling protein-2 (UCP-2) impairs beta-cell function and UCP-2 may be increased in clinical obesity and diabetes. We investigated the effects of glucose and leptin on UCP-2 expression in isolated human islets. Human islets were incubated for 24 h with glucose (5.5-22 mmol/l)+/-leptin (0-10 nmol/l). Some islet batches were incubated at high (22 mmol/l), and subsequently lower (5.5 mmol/l), glucose to assess reversibility of effects. Leptin effects on insulin release were also measured. Glucose dose-dependently increased UCP-2 expression in all islet batches, maximally by three-fold. This was not fully reversed by subsequently reduced glucose levels. Leptin decreased UCP-2 expression by up to 75%, and maximally inhibited insulin release by 47%, at 22 mmol/l glucose. This is the first report of UCP-2 expression in human islets and provides novel evidence of its role in the loss of beta-cell function in diabetes.
  • Lipopolysaccharide induces nitric oxide synthase expression and platelet-activating factor increases nitric oxide production in human fetal membranes in culture

    Seyffarth, Gunther; Nelson, Paul N.; Dunmore, Simon J.; Rodrigo, Nalinda; Murphy, Damian J.; Carson, Ray J. (BioMed Central, 2004)
    Platelet-activating factor and nitric oxide may be involved in the initiation of human labour as inflammatory mediators. The aim of this study was to test whether platelet-activating factor and lipopolysaccharide were able to induce nitric oxide synthase expression and stimulate the production of nitric oxide in human fetal membrane explants in culture. Fetal membranes were collected from Caesarean sections at term. RNA was extracted from membranes and subjected to a qualitative RT-PCR to assess the baseline expression of iNOS. Discs of fetal membranes were cultured for 24 hours in the presence of platelet-activating factor at a dose range of 0.1 nanomolar – 1 micomolar or 1 microgram/ml lipopolysaccharide. Nitric oxide production was measured via nitrite ions in the culture medium and mRNA for iNOS was detected by RT-PCR. Culturing the membrane discs in medium containing serum induced nitric oxide synthase expression and platelet-activating factor significantly stimulated the production of nitric oxide under these conditions. When cultured without serum inducible nitric oxide synthase expression was induced by lipopolysaccharide, but not by platelet-activating factor. Platelet-activating factor may have a role in the initiation of labour, at term or preterm, via the increased local production of nitric oxide as an inflammatory mediator. In this model of intrauterine infection, lipopolysaccharide was found to induce iNOS expression by fetal membranes, and this mechanism could be involved in preterm labour.