Dequan Zhou

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States

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Publications (7)53.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Brown fat activates uncoupled respiration in response to cold temperature and contributes to systemic metabolic homeostasis. To date, the metabolic action of brown fat has been primarily attributed to its role in fuel oxidation and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-mediated thermogenesis. Whether brown fat engages other tissues through secreted factors remains largely unexplored. Here we show that neuregulin 4 (Nrg4), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of extracellular ligands, is highly expressed in adipose tissues, enriched in brown fat and markedly increased during brown adipocyte differentiation. Adipose tissue Nrg4 expression was reduced in rodent and human obesity. Gain- and loss-of-function studies in mice demonstrated that Nrg4 protects against diet-induced insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis through attenuating hepatic lipogenic signaling. Mechanistically, Nrg4 activates ErbB3 and ErbB4 signaling in hepatocytes and negatively regulates de novo lipogenesis mediated by LXR and SREBP1c in a cell-autonomous manner. These results establish Nrg4 as a brown fat-enriched endocrine factor with therapeutic potential for the treatment of obesity-associated disorders, including type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
    Nature Medicine 11/2014; 20(12). DOI:10.1038/nm.3713 · 27.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives An increase in circulating branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) is associated with insulin resistance. Adipose tissue is a potentially important site for BCAA metabolism. It was evaluated whether monomethyl branched-chain fatty acids (mmBCFA) in adipose tissue, which are likely derived from BCAA catabolism, are associated with insulin sensitivity.Methods Insulin-stimulated glucose disposal was determined by using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure with stable isotope glucose tracer infusion in nine lean and nine obese subjects, and in a separate group of nine obese subjects before and 1 year after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery (38% weight loss). Adipose tissue mmBCFA content was measured in tissue biopsies taken in the basal state.ResultsTotal adipose tissue mmBCFA content was ∼30% lower in obese than lean subjects (P = 0.02) and increased by ∼65% after weight loss in the RYGB group (P = 0.01). Adipose tissue mmBCFA content correlated positively with skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity (R2 = 35%, P = 0.01, n = 18).Conclusions These results demonstrate a novel association between adipose tissue mmBCFA content and obesity-related insulin resistance. Additional studies are needed to determine whether the association between adipose tissue mmBCFA and muscle insulin sensitivity is causal or a simple association.
    Obesity 10/2014; 23(2). DOI:10.1002/oby.20923 · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sarcolemmal CD36 facilitates myocardial fatty acid (FA) uptake, which is markedly reduced in CD36-deficient rodents and humans. CD36 also mediates signal transduction events involving a number of cellular pathways. In taste cells and macrophages, CD36 signaling was recently shown to regulate store-responsive Ca2+ flux and activation of Ca2+-dependent phospholipases A2 that cycle polyunsaturated FA into phospholipids. It is unknown whether CD36 deficiency influences myocardial Ca2+ handling and phospholipid metabolism, which could compromise the heart, typically during stresses. Myocardial function was examined in fed or fasted (18–22 h) CD36−/− and WT mice. Echocardiography and telemetry identified conduction anomalies that were associated with the incidence of sudden death in fasted CD36−/− mice. No anomalies or death occurred in WT mice during fasting. Optical imaging of perfused hearts from fasted CD36−/− mice documented prolongation of Ca2+ transients. Consistent with this, knockdown of CD36 in cardiomyocytes delayed clearance of cytosolic Ca2+. Hearts of CD36−/− mice (fed or fasted) had 3-fold higher SERCA2a and 40% lower phospholamban levels. Phospholamban phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA) was enhanced after fasting reflecting increased PKA activity and cAMP levels in CD36−/− hearts. Abnormal Ca2+ homeostasis in the CD36−/− myocardium associated with increased lysophospholipid content and a higher proportion of 22:6 FA in phospholipids suggests altered phospholipase A2 activity and changes in membrane dynamics. The data support the role of CD36 in coordinating Ca2+ homeostasis and lipid metabolism and the importance of this role during myocardial adaptation to fasting. Potential relevance of the findings to CD36-deficient humans would need to be determined.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2012; 287(46). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.413609 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CD36 has been linked to the etiology of insulin resistance and inflammation. We explored its function in regulating adipose tissue lipolysis, which influences fat accumulation by liver and muscle and overall metabolism. Knockdown of CD36 in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes decreased lipolysis in response to 10 μM of the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (by 42%), 10 μM of the adenyl cyclase activator forskolin (by 32%), and 500 μM of the phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor isobutylmethylxanthine (by 33%). All three treatments in the knockdown adipocytes were associated with significant decreases of cAMP levels and of the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and perilipin phosphorylation. An important role for PDE was supported by the lack of inhibition of the lipolysis induced by the poorly hydrolyzable dibutyryl cAMP analog. An additional contributory mechanism was diminished activation of the Src-ERK1/2 pathway. Regulation of lipolysis and lipolytic signaling by CD36 was reproduced with adipose tissue from CD36(-/-) mice. The importance of surface CD36 in this regulation was suggested by the finding that the plasma membrane-impermeable CD36 inhibitor sulfo-N-succinimidyl oleate (20 μM) decreased lipolysis. Interestingly, isoproterenol induced CD36 internalization, and this process was blocked by HSL inhibition, suggesting feedback regulation of adipocyte lipolysis via CD36 trafficking.-Zhou, D., Samovski, D., Okunade, A. L., Stahl, P. D., Abumrad, N. A., Su, X.. CD36 level and trafficking are determinants of lipolysis in adipocytes.
    The FASEB Journal 07/2012; 26(11). DOI:10.1096/fj.12-206862 · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • Lin Guo · Xu Zhang · Dequan Zhou · Adewole L Okunade · Xiong Su
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    ABSTRACT: FA 2-hydroxylase (FA2H) is an NAD(P)H-dependent enzyme that initiates FA α oxidation and is also responsible for the biosynthesis of 2-hydroxy FA (2-OH FA)-containing sphingolipids in mammalian cells. The 2-OH FA is chiral due to the asymmetric carbon bearing the hydroxyl group. Our current study performed stereochemistry investigation and showed that FA2H is stereospecific for the production of (R)-enantiomers. FA2H knockdown in adipocytes increases diffusional mobility of raft-associated lipids, leading to reduced GLUT4 protein level, glucose uptake, and lipogenesis. The effects caused by FA2H knockdown were reversed by treatment with exogenous (R)-2-hydroxy palmitic acid, but not with the (S)-enantiomer. Further analysis of sphingolipids demonstrated that the (R)-enantiomer is enriched in hexosylceramide whereas the (S)-enantiomer is preferentially incorporated into ceramide, suggesting that the observed differential effects are in part due to synthesis of sphingolipids containing different 2-OH FA enantiomers. These results may help clarify the mechanisms underlying the recently identified diseases associated with FA2H mutations in humans and may lead to potential pharmaceutical and dietary treatments. This study also provides critical information to help study functions of 2-OH FA enantiomers in FA α oxidation and possibly other sphingolipid-independent pathways.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 04/2012; 53(7):1327-35. DOI:10.1194/jlr.M025742 · 4.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Straight chain fatty acid alpha-oxidation increases during differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes, leading to a marked accumulation of odd chain length fatty acyl moieties. Potential roles of this pathway in adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis are unknown. Mammalian fatty acid 2-hydroxylase (FA2H) was recently identified and suggested to catalyze the initial step of straight chain fatty acid alpha-oxidation. Accordingly, we examined whether FA2H modulates adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis in mature adipocytes. FA2H level markedly increases during differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and small interfering RNAs against FA2H inhibit the differentiation process. In mature adipocytes, depletion of FA2H inhibits basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and lipogenesis, which are partially rescued by the enzymatic product of FA2H, 2-hydroxy palmitic acid. Expression of fatty-acid synthase and SCD1 was decreased in FA2H-depleted cells, and levels of GLUT4 and insulin receptor proteins were reduced. 2-Hydroxy fatty acids are enriched in cellular sphingolipids, which are components of membrane rafts. Accelerated diffusional mobility of raft-associated lipids was shown to enhance degradation of GLUT4 and insulin receptor in adipocytes. Consistent with this, depletion of FA2H appeared to increase raft lipid mobility as it significantly accelerated the rates of fluorescence recovery after photobleaching measurements of lipid rafts labeled with Alexa 488-conjugated cholera toxin subunit B. Moreover, the enhanced recovery rates were partially reversed by treatment with 2-hydroxy palmitic acid. In conclusion, our findings document the novel role of FA2H in adipocyte lipogenesis possibly by modulation of raft fluidity and level of GLUT4.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2010; 285(33):25438-47. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M110.119933 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Yingqiu Liu · Dequan Zhou · Nada A Abumrad · Xiong Su
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    ABSTRACT: ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (Arf6) is a small GTPase that influences membrane receptor trafficking and the actin cytoskeleton. In adipocytes, Arf6 regulates the trafficking of the glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) and consequently insulin-stimulated glucose transport. Previous studies also indicated a role of Arf6 in adrenergic receptor trafficking, but whether this contributes to the control of lipolysis in adipocytes remains unknown. This was examined in the present study by using RNA interference (RNAi) and pharmaceutical inhibition in murine cultured 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Downregulation of Arf6 by RNAi impairs isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis specifically but does not alter triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis or the insulin signaling pathway. Neither total TAG amounts nor TAG fatty acid compositions are altered. The inhibitory effect on lipolysis is mimicked by dynasore, a specific inhibitor for dynamin, which is required for endocytosis. In contrast, lipolysis triggered by reagents that bypass events at the plasma membrane (e.g., forskolin, isobutylmethylxanthine or 8-bromo-cAMP) is not affected. Moreover, Arf6 protein levels in white adipose tissues are markedly increased in ob/ob mice, whereas they are decreased in obesity-resistant CD36 null mice. These changes reflect at least in part alterations in Arf6 mRNA levels. Collectively, these results suggest a role of the endocytic pathway and its regulation by Arf6 in adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis in adipocytes and potentially in the development of obesity.
    AJP Cell Physiology 04/2010; 298(4):C921-8. DOI:10.1152/ajpcell.00541.2009 · 3.78 Impact Factor