The leptin sensitizer celastrol reduces age-associated obesity and modulates behavioral rhythms.
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of obesity increases with age in humans and in rodents. Age-related obesity is characterized by leptin resistance and associated with heightened risk of metabolic disorders. However, the effect of leptin resistance per se has been difficult to disentangle from other effects of aging. Here we demonstrate that celastrol, a natural phytochemical that was previously shown to act as a leptin sensitizer, induces weight loss in aged animals, but not in young controls. Celastrol reduces food intake and lowers fasting glucose without affecting energy expenditure. Unexpectedly, administration of celastrol just before the dark period disrupted circadian rhythms of sleep and activity. This regimen was also associated with loss of lean mass an outcome that would not be desirable in elderly patients. Adjusting the timing of celastrol administration by 12 hr, to the beginning of the light period, avoided interference with circadian rhythms while retaining the reductions in body weight and adiposity. Thus, targeting leptin signaling is an effective strategy to ameliorate age-associated weight gain, and can profoundly impact circadian rhythms.
Project description:Leptin resistance is a hallmark of obesity with unclear etiology. Celastrol, a compound found in the roots of the Tripterygium wilfordii and known to reduce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, has recently emerged as a promising candidate to treat obesity by improving leptin sensitivity. However, the underlying neural mechanisms by which celastrol reduces obesity remain unclear. Using three different mouse models of obesity-diet-induced obesity (DIO), leptin receptor (LepR)-null, and melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R)-null mice-in this study, we show that systemic celastrol administration substantially reduces food intake and body weight in MC4R-null comparable to DIO, proving the MC4R-independent antiobesity effect of celastrol. Body weight reduction was due to decreases in both fat and lean mass, and modest but significant body weight reduction was also observed in nonobese wild-type and LepR-null mice. Unexpectedly, celastrol upregulated proinflammatory cytokines without affecting genes involved in ER stress. Importantly, celastrol steadily increased sympathetic nerve activity to the brown fat and kidney with concordant increases of resting metabolic rate and arterial pressure. Our results suggest a previously unappreciated mechanism of action of celastrol in the regulation of energy homeostasis and highlight the need for careful consideration of its development as a safe antiobesity medication.
Project description:Despite all modern advances in medicine, an effective drug treatment of obesity has not been found yet. Discovery of leptin two decades ago created hopes for treatment of obesity. However, development of leptin resistance has been a big obstacle, mitigating a leptin-centric treatment of obesity. Here, by using in silico drug-screening methods, we discovered that Celastrol, a pentacyclic triterpene extracted from the roots of Tripterygium Wilfordi (thunder god vine) plant, is a powerful anti-obesity agent. Celastrol suppresses food intake, blocks reduction of energy expenditure, and leads to up to 45% weight loss in hyperleptinemic diet-induced obese (DIO) mice by increasing leptin sensitivity, but it is ineffective in leptin-deficient (ob/ob) and leptin receptor-deficient (db/db) mouse models. These results indicate that Celastrol is a leptin sensitizer and a promising agent for the pharmacological treatment of obesity.
Project description:Background:Obesity has become one of the most serious issues threatening the health of humankind, and we conducted this study to examine whether and how celastrol protects against obesity. Methods:We fed male Sprague-Dawley rats a high-fat diet and administered celastrol to obese rats for 3 weeks. By recording body weight (BW) and other measures, we identified the effective dose of celastrol for obesity treatment. Feces were collected to perform 16S rRNA sequencing, and hypothalami were extracted for transcriptome sequencing. We then treated leptin knockout rats with celastrol and explored the changes in energy metabolism. Male Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice were used to test the acute toxicity of celastrol. Results:We observed that celastrol reduced BW and promoted energy expenditure at a dose of 500 µg/kg BW but that food intake was not changed after administration. The diversity of the gut microbiota was improved, with an increased ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes, and the gut microbiota played an important role in the anti-obesity effects of celastrol. Hypothalamic transcriptome analysis showed a significant enrichment of the leptin signaling pathway, and we found that celastrol significantly enhanced energy expenditure, which was mediated by the leptin signaling pathway. Acute lethal toxicity of celastrol was not observed at doses ranging from 0 to 62.5 mg/kg BW. Conclusion:Our study revealed that celastrol decreased the BW of obese rats by enhancing energy expenditure but not by suppressing food intake and that this effect was mediated by the improvement of the gut microbiota and the activation of the hypothalamic leptin signaling pathway.
Project description:Celastrol is a leptin-sensitizing agent with profound anti-obesity effects in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. However, the genes and pathways that mediate celastrol-induced leptin sensitization have not been fully understood. By comparing the hypothalamic transcriptomes of celastrol and vehicle-treated DIO mice, we identified lipocalin-2 (Lcn2) as the gene most strongly upregulated by celastrol. LCN2 was previously suggested as an anorexigenic and anti-obesity agent. Celastrol increased LCN2 protein levels in hypothalamus, liver, fat, muscle, and bone marrow, as well as in the plasma. However, genetic deficiency of LCN2 altered neither the development of diet-induced obesity, nor the ability of celastrol to promote weight loss and improve obesity-associated dyshomeostasis. We conclude that LCN2 is dispensable for both high fat diet-induced obesity and its therapeutic reduction by celastrol.
Project description:The increasing global prevalence of obesity and its associated disorders points to an urgent need for the development of novel and effective therapeutic strategies that induce healthy weight loss. Obesity is characterized by hyperleptinemia and central leptin resistance. In an attempt to identify compounds that could reverse leptin resistance and thus promote weight loss, we analyzed a library of small molecules that have mRNA expression profiles similar to that of celastrol, a naturally occurring compound that we previously identified as a leptin sensitizer. Through this process, we identified another naturally occurring compound, withaferin A, that also acts as a leptin sensitizer. We found that withaferin-A treatment of mice with diet-induced obesity (DIO) resulted in a 20-25% reduction of body weight, while also decreasing obesity-associated abnormalities, including hepatic steatosis. Withaferin-A treatment marginally affected the body weight of ob/ob and db/db mice, both of which are deficient in leptin signaling. In addition, withaferin A, unlike celastrol, has beneficial effects on glucose metabolism that occur independently of its leptin-sensitizing effect. Our results show that the metabolic abnormalities of DIO can be mitigated by sensitizing animals to endogenous leptin, and they indicate that withaferin A is a potential leptin sensitizer with additional antidiabetic actions.
Project description:Obesity is characterized by central leptin resistance. Celastrol has been identified to reduce leptin resistance in diet-induced obese and leptin resistant mice. Current microarray data provide the hypothalamic gene expression profiles from mice treated with Celastrol or Withaferin A. Overall design: Expression profiles from mice treated with Celastrol or Withaferin A
Project description:Since leptin signaling in the hypothalamus is critical to regulate food intake and body weight, we investigated how celastrol alters the hypothalamic transcriptome of DIO mice. By doing this analysis, genes with potential relevance for celastrol-mediated leptin sensitization could be identified. Overall design: DIO mice were injected with celastrol or DMSO as vehicle control for 6h, 1day or 4 days and then the RNA was extracted from hypothalamus for microarray
Project description:Neural sites that interact with the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) to generate rhythms of unrestricted feeding remain unknown. We used the targeted toxin, leptin conjugated to saporin (Lep-SAP), to examine the importance of leptin receptor-B (LepR-B)-expressing neurons in the arcuate nucleus (Arc) for generation of circadian feeding rhythms. Rats given Arc Lep-SAP injections were initially hyperphagic and rapidly became obese (the "dynamic phase" of weight gain). During this phase, Lep-SAP rats were arrhythmic under 12:12-h light-dark (LD) conditions, consuming 59% of their total daily intake during the daytime, compared with 36% in blank-SAP (B-SAP) controls. Lep-SAP rats were also arrhythmic in continuous dark (DD), while significant circadian feeding rhythms were detected in all B-SAP controls. Approximately 8 wk after injection, Lep-SAP rats remained obese but transitioned into a "static phase" of weight gain marked by attenuation of their hyperphagia and rate of weight gain. In this phase, Arc Lep-SAP rats exhibited circadian feeding rhythms under LD conditions, but were arrhythmic in continuous light (LL) and DD. Lep-SAP injections into the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus did not cause hyperphagia, obesity, or arrhythmic feeding in either LD or DD. Electrolytic lesion of the SCN produced feeding arrhythmia in DD but not hyperphagia or obesity. Results suggest that both Arc Lep-SAP neurons and SCN are required for generation of feeding rhythms entrained to photic cues, while also revealing an essential role for the Arc in maintaining circadian rhythms of ad libitum feeding independent of light entrainment.
Project description:Background: We previously demonstrated that celastrol has significant anti-inflammatory and bone protective effects when administered via the intraperitoneal route. For further preclinical evaluation, an effective oral administration of celastrol is crucial. Here we aimed to study the therapeutic dose range for its oral administration. Methods: Celastrol (1-25 ?g/g/day, N = 5/group) was administrated orally to female adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) rats after 8 days of disease induction for a period of 14 days. A group of healthy (N = 8) and arthritic (N = 15) gender- and age-matched Wistar rats was used as controls. During the treatment period, the inflammatory score, ankle perimeter, and body weight were measured. At the end of the treatment, the animals were sacrificed, blood was collected for clinical pathology, necropsy was performed with collection of internal organs for histopathological analysis, and paw samples were used for disease scoring. Results: Doses higher than 2.5 ?g/g/day of celastrol reduced the inflammatory score and ankle swelling, preserved joint structure, halted bone destruction, and diminished the number of synovial CD68+ macrophages. Bone resorption and turnover were also reduced at 5 and 7.5 ?g/g/day doses. However, the dose of 7.5 ?g/g/day was associated with thymic and liver lesions, and higher doses showed severe toxicity. Conclusion: Oral administration of celastrol above 2.5 ?g/g/day ameliorates arthritis. This data supports and gives relevant information for the development of a preclinical test of celastrol in the setting of a chronic model of arthritis since rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease.
Project description:Celastrol, derived from the roots of the Tripterygium Wilfordi, shows a striking effect on obesity. In the present study, the role of celastrol in cholestasis was investigated using metabolomics and transcriptomics. Celastrol treatment significantly alleviated cholestatic liver injury in mice induced by ?-naphthyl isothiocyanate (ANIT) and thioacetamide (TAA). Celastrol was found to activate sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), increase farnesoid X receptor (FXR) signaling and inhibit nuclear factor-kappa B and P53 signaling. The protective role of celastrol in cholestatic liver injury was diminished in mice on co-administration of SIRT1 inhibitors. Further, the effects of celastrol on cholestatic liver injury were dramatically decreased in Fxr-null mice, suggesting that the SIRT1-FXR signaling pathway mediates the protective effects of celastrol. These observations demonstrated a novel role for celastrol in protecting against cholestatic liver injury through modulation of the SIRT1 and FXR.