ALK7 gene polymorphism is associated with metabolic syndrome risk and cardiovascular remodeling.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Activin receptor-like kinase 7 (ALK7) is a type I receptor for the TGF-? superfamily and has recently been demonstrated to play an important role in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association of the ALK7 gene polymorphism with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and cardiovascular remodeling in MetS patients. METHODS: The single nucleotide polymorphism rs13010956 in the ALK7 gene was genotyped in 351 Chinese subjects undergoing carotid and cardiac ultrasonography. The associations of the ALK7 gene polymorphism with the MetS phenotype, MetS parameters, and cardiovascular ultrasonic features were analyzed. RESULTS: The rs13010956 polymorphism in the ALK7 gene was found to be significantly associated with the MetS phenotype in females (p < 0.05) and was also significantly associated with blood pressure in the total (p < 0.05) and female populations (p < 0.01). Further analysis revealed that rs13010956 was associated with mean intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries in females (p < 0.05). After control for body mass index, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and triglycerides, rs13010956 was also found to be significantly associated with left ventricular mass index in the total (p < 0.05) and female populations (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggested that the ALK7 gene polymorphism rs13010956 was significantly associated with MetS risk in females and may be involved in cardiovascular remodeling in MetS patients.
Project description:Obesity is associated with blunted ?-adrenoreceptor (?-AR)-mediated lipolysis and lipid oxidation in adipose tissue, but the mechanisms linking nutrient overload to catecholamine resistance are poorly understood. We report that targeted disruption of TGF-? superfamily receptor ALK7 alleviates diet-induced catecholamine resistance in adipose tissue, thereby reducing obesity in mice. Global and fat-specific Alk7 knock-out enhanced adipose ?-AR expression, ?-adrenergic signaling, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipid oxidation, and lipolysis under a high fat diet, leading to elevated energy expenditure, decreased fat mass, and resistance to diet-induced obesity. Conversely, activation of ALK7 reduced ?-AR-mediated signaling and lipolysis cell-autonomously in both mouse and human adipocytes. Acute inhibition of ALK7 in adult mice by a chemical-genetic approach reduced diet-induced weight gain, fat accumulation, and adipocyte size, and enhanced adipocyte lipolysis and ?-adrenergic signaling. We propose that ALK7 signaling contributes to diet-induced catecholamine resistance in adipose tissue, and suggest that ALK7 inhibitors may have therapeutic value in human obesity.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: Obesity is an enormous burden for patients and health systems world-wide. Brown adipose tissue dissipates energy in response to cold and has been shown to be metabolically active in human adults. The type I transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) receptor Activin receptor-like kinase 7 (Alk7) is highly expressed in adipose tissues and is down-regulated in obese patients. Here, we studied the function of Alk7 in brown adipocytes. METHODS: Using pharmacological and genetic tools, Alk7 signaling pathway and its effects were studied in murine brown adipocytes. Brown adipocyte differentiation and activation was analyzed. RESULTS: Alk7 is highly upregulated during differentiation of brown adipocytes. Interestingly, Alk7 expression is increased by cGMP/protein kinase G (PKG) signaling, which enhances brown adipocyte differentiation. Activin AB effectively activates Alk7 and SMAD3 signaling. Activation of Alk7 in brown preadipocytes suppresses the master adipogenic transcription factor PPAR? and differentiation. Stimulation of Alk7 during late differentiation of brown adipocytes reduces lipid content and adipogenic marker expression but enhances UCP1 expression. CONCLUSIONS: We found a so far unknown crosstalk between cGMP and Alk7 signaling pathways. Tight regulation of Alk7 is required for efficient differentiation of brown adipocytes. Alk7 has differential effects on adipogenic differentiation and the development of the thermogenic program in brown adipocytes.
Project description:We aimed to investigate the role of activin receptor-like kinase (ALK7) in regulating cardiac electrophysiology. Here, we showed that Alk7-/- mice exhibited prolonged QT intervals in telemetry ECG recordings. Furthermore, Langendorff-perfused Alk7-/- hearts had significantly longer action potential duration (APD) and greater incidence of ventricular arrhythmia (AV) induced by burst pacing. Using whole-cell patch clamp, we found that the densities of repolarizing K+ currents Ito and IK1 were profoundly reduced in Alk7-/- ventricular cardiomyocytes. Mechanistically, the expression of Kv4.2 (a major subunit of Ito carrying channel) and KCHIP2 (a key accessory subunit of Ito carrying channel), was markedly decreased in Alk7-/- hearts. These findings suggest that endogenous expression of ALK7 is necessary to maintain repolarizing K+ currents in ventricular cardiomyocytes, and finally prevent action potential prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia.
Project description:All major cell types in pancreatic islets express the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily receptor ALK7, but the physiological function of this receptor has been unknown. Mutant mice lacking ALK7 showed normal pancreas organogenesis but developed an age-dependent syndrome involving progressive hyperinsulinemia, reduced insulin sensitivity, liver steatosis, impaired glucose tolerance, and islet enlargement. Hyperinsulinemia preceded the development of any other defect, indicating that this may be one primary consequence of the lack of ALK7. In agreement with this, mutant islets showed enhanced insulin secretion under sustained glucose stimulation, indicating that ALK7 negatively regulates glucose-stimulated insulin release in beta-cells. Glucose increased expression of ALK7 and its ligand activin B in islets, but decreased that of activin A, which does not signal through ALK7. The two activins had opposite effects on Ca(2+) signaling in islet cells, with activin A increasing, but activin B decreasing, glucose-stimulated Ca(2+) influx. On its own, activin B had no effect on WT cells, but stimulated Ca(2+) influx in cells lacking ALK7. In accordance with this, mutant mice lacking activin B showed hyperinsulinemia comparable with that of Alk7(-/-) mice, but double mutants showed no additive effects, suggesting that ALK7 and activin B function in a common pathway to regulate insulin secretion. These findings uncover an unexpected antagonism between activins A and B in the control of Ca(2+) signaling in beta-cells. We propose that ALK7 plays an important role in regulating the functional plasticity of pancreatic islets, negatively affecting beta-cell function by mediating the effects of activin B on Ca(2+) signaling.
Project description:Nodal proteins have crucial roles in mesendoderm formation and left-right patterning during vertebrate development. The molecular mechanisms of signal transduction by Nodal and related ligands, however, are not fully understood. In this paper, we present biochemical and functional evidence that the orphan type I serine/threonine kinase receptor ALK7 acts as a receptor for mouse Nodal and Xenopus Nodal-related 1 (Xnr1). Receptor reconstitution experiments indicate that ALK7 collaborates with ActRIIB to confer responsiveness to Xnr1 and Nodal. Both receptors can independently bind Xnr1. In addition, Cripto, an extracellular protein genetically implicated in Nodal signaling, can independently interact with both Xnr1 and ALK7, and its expression greatly enhances the ability of ALK7 and ActRIIB to respond to Nodal ligands. The Activin receptor ALK4 is also able to mediate Nodal signaling but only in the presence of Cripto, with which it can also interact directly. A constitutively activated form of ALK7 mimics the mesendoderm-inducing activity of Xnr1 in Xenopus embryos, whereas a dominant-negative ALK7 specifically blocks the activities of Nodal and Xnr1 but has little effect on other related ligands. In contrast, a dominant-negative ALK4 blocks all mesoderm-inducing ligands tested, including Nodal, Xnr1, Xnr2, Xnr4, and Activin. In agreement with a role in Nodal signaling, ALK7 mRNA is localized to the ectodermal and organizer regions of Xenopus gastrula embryos and is expressed during early stages of mouse embryonic development. Therefore, our results indicate that both ALK4 and ALK7 can mediate signal transduction by Nodal proteins, although ALK7 appears to be a receptor more specifically dedicated to Nodal signaling.
Project description:Adaptation to nutrient availability is crucial for survival. Upon nutritional stress, such as during prolonged fasting or cold exposure, organisms need to balance the feeding of tissues and the maintenance of body temperature. The mechanisms that regulate the adaptation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), a key organ for non-shivering thermogenesis, to variations in nutritional state are not known. Here we report that specific deletion of the activin receptor ALK7 in BAT resulted in fasting-induced hypothermia due to exaggerated catabolic activity in brown adipocytes. After overnight fasting, BAT lacking ALK7 showed increased expression of genes responsive to nutrient stress, including the upstream regulator KLF15, aminoacid catabolizing enzymes, notably proline dehydrogenase (POX), and adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), as well as markedly reduced lipid droplet size. In agreement with this, ligand stimulation of ALK7 suppressed POX and KLF15 expression in both mouse and human brown adipocytes. Treatment of mutant mice with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486 restored KLF15 and POX expression levels in mutant BAT, suggesting that loss of BAT ALK7 results in excessive activation of glucocorticoid signaling upon fasting. These results reveal a novel signaling pathway downstream of ALK7 which regulates the adaptation of BAT to nutrient availability by limiting nutrient stress-induced overactivation of catabolic responses in brown adipocytes.
Project description:Human adipose tissue is a major site of expression of inhibin beta B (INHBB) which homodimerizes to form the novel adipokine activin B. Our aim was to determine if molecules needed for a local action of activin B are expressed in adipose tissue. Microarray analysis showed that adipose tissue expressed activin type I and II receptors and that the expression of activin receptor-like kinase 7 (ALK7) was adipose tissue specific. In obesity discordant siblings from the SOS Sib Pair study, adipose tissue ALK7 expression was higher in lean (n=90) compared to obese (n=90) subjects (p=4 x 10(-31)). Adipose tissue ALK7 expression correlated with several measures of body fat, carbohydrate metabolism and lipids. In addition, ALK7 and INHBB expression correlated but only in lean subjects and in subjects with normal glucose tolerance. We conclude that activin B may have local effects in adipose tissue and thereby influence obesity and its comorbidities.
Project description:Functional TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism has been associated with insulin resistance. Obestatin, improving insulin resistance, exerts obscure effects on metabolic syndrome (MetS) and carotid atherosclerosis. Aims to investigate whether the prevalent TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism has profound implications for alterations of serum obestatin and what effect obestatin exerts on carotid atherosclerosis.A total of 518 unrelated Chinese subjects consisted of control (n?=?258) and MetS (n?=?260) groups. Clinical and biochemical characteristics were collected. The level of serum obestatin was measured. Genotype the functional TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism. All subjects underwent ultrasonography to determine carotid intima-media thickness (IMT).Serum obestatin was significantly decreased in MetS as compared with the control group (P?=?0.042). Among the MetS group participants possessing RR84 genotype had significantly lower levels of serum obestatin than those with QQ84 or QR84 genotypes (P?=?0.008, P?=?0.043) with similar significant difference among the control group. Factorial analyses showed statistically significant interactions between MetS and RR84 genotype (P?=?0.009 for interaction for obestatin). On correlation analysis, obestatin correlated negatively with homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance (r?=?-0.163, P?=?0.010) and IMT (r?=?-0.256, P?=?0.011). On partial analyses, obestatin negatively correlated with IMT(r?=?-0.259, P?=?0.024) after controlling for the confounding factors.MetS individuals with TRIB3 RR84 genotype demonstrated further decreased serum obestatin. Decreased serum obestatin might in part exacerbate insulin resistance and carotid atherosclerosis.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To determine the association of TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and carotid atherosclerosis. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A case-control study enrolled 513 Chinese subjects in three groups: control, MetS, and obese. The functional TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism was genotyped among subjects undergoing carotid ultrasonography. The clinical and biochemical characteristics were determined. RESULTS: For individuals with the TRIB3 R84 allele, the odds ratio for developing MetS was 2.349 (P = 0.018), abdominal obesity 2.351 (P = 0.012), hypertriglyceridemia 2.314 (P = 0.00003), and insulin resistance 1.697 (P = 0.023). Likewise, the odds ratio for individuals with the TRIB3 R84 allele to develop thickened intima-media thickness was 2.208 (P = 0.040). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with the functional TRIB3 Q84R polymorphism are at risk for MetS. The TRIB3 R84 allele especially predisposes to carotid atherosclerosis in part through the effects of abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, and insulin resistance.
Project description:The mechanisms that link metabolic syndrome (MetS) to increased cardiovascular risk are incompletely understood. We examined whether MetS is associated with the neural baroreflex pathway (NBP) and whether any such associations are independent of blood pressure values.This study involved the cross-sectional analysis of data on 2835 subjects aged 50 to 75 years from the Paris Prospective Study 3. The prevalence of MetS was defined according to the American Heart Association/National Heart Blood and Lung Institute definition. NBP values were calculated from the fluctuation of the common carotid distension rate and heart rate using fast Fourier transformation and cross-spectral analysis.The prevalence of MetS was 20.1% in men and 10.4% in women. Compared with controls, subjects with MetS (?3 components), and those at risk for MetS (1-2 components) had lower NBP (-5.3% and -2.3%, respectively) and higher carotid stiffness (+13.5% and +6.8%, respectively). The negative association between MetS components and NBP was confirmed, even after adjustment for age, sex, and carotid stiffness. After stratification for blood pressure (BP) levels, NBP was reduced only in MetS subjects and those at risk with high BP. The NBP was positively associated with carotid stiffness in controls and subjects at risk for MetS. This association was lost in subjects with MetS, regardless of BP levels.Subjects with MetS had reduced NBP values. The role of BP is fundamental in the reduction of NBP. The mechanisms that link carotid stiffness and NBP are inactive in subjects with MetS, independent of BP levels.