Chun-Zhao Kou

Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Sheng, China

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Publications (11)24.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the Homo sapiens LYR motif containing 1 (LYRM1) causes mitochondrial dysfunction and induces insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. α-Lipoic acid (α-LA), a dithiol compound with antioxidant properties, improves glucose transport and utilization in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The aim of this study was to investigate the direct effects of α-LA on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and insulin sensitivity in LYRM1 overexpressing 3T3-L1 adipocytes and to explore the underlying mechanism. Pretreatment with α-LA significantly increased both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation, while intracellular ROS levels in LYRM1 overexpressing 3T3-L1 adipocytes were decreased. These changes were accompanied by a marked upregulation in expression of insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and serine phosphorylation of Akt following treatment with α-LA. These results indicated that α-LA protects 3T3-L1 adipocytes from LYRM1-induced insulin resistance partially via its capacity to restore mitochondrial function and/or increase phosphorylation of IRS-1 and Akt.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 07/2012; 44(5):579-86. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To explore the effects of Lyrm1 knockdown on the mitochondrial function of 3 T3-L1 adipocytes using small interfering RNA (siRNA). 3 T3-L1 preadipocytes were infected with either a negative control (NC) expression lentivirus or a Lyrm1-shRNA expression lentivirus and induced to differentiate. The knockdown efficiency of Lrym1-specific shRNA in 3 T3-L1 cells was evaluated by real-time PCR. The ultrastructure of the mitochondria in adipocytes was visualized using transmission electron microscopy after differentiation. The levels of mitochondrial DNA copy numbers and Ucp2 mRNA were detected by real-time quantitative PCR. The levels of ATP production was detected using a photon-counting luminometer. The mitochondrial membrane potential and ROS levels of cells were analyzed with a FACScan flow cytometer using Cell Quest software. Cells transfected with lentiviral-Lyrm1-shRNA showed a significantly reduced transcription of Lyrm1 mRNA compared with NC cells. The size and ultrastructure of mitochondria in Lyrm1 knockdown adipocytes was similar to those of the NC cells. There was no significant difference in mtDNA copy number between the two groups. The total level of ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potential and Ucp2 mRNA expression levels were dramatically increased in adipocytes transfected with Lyrm1 RNAi. Furthermore, the level of ROS was dramatically decreased in Lyrm1 knockdown adipocytes. Knockdown of the Lyrm1 gene in adipocytes resulted in dramatically increased cellular ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potentials and levels Ucp2 mRNA, while ROS levels were significantly decreased. These results imply that mitochondrial function is improved in adipocytes after the knockdown of Lyrm1.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 01/2012; 44(1):225-32. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the effects of anti-six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate-4 (STEAP4) antibodies on glucose transport in mature adipocytes and determined the mechanism of insulin resistance in obesity. Western blotting was performed to determine STEAP4 expression, to assess translocation of insulin-sensitive glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), and to measure phosphorylation and total protein content of insulin-signaling proteins. Confocal laser microscopy and flow cytometry were used to detect intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and fluctuations in mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ). ATP production was measured by using a luciferase-based luminescence assay kit. After the application of anti-STEAP4 antibodies at 0.002 mg/mL, adipocytes exhibited reduced insulin-stimulated glucose transport by attenuating the phosphorylation of IRS-1, PI3K (p85), and Akt. The antibodies also potentially increase the level of ROS and decrease cellular ATP production and ΔΨ. In conclusion, (i) STEAP4 regulates the function of IRS-1, PI3K, and Akt and decreases insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation and glucose uptake; (ii) ROS-related mitochondrial dysfunction may be related to a reduced IRS-1 correlation with the PI3K signaling pathway, leading to insulin resistance. These observations highlight the potential role of STEAP4 in glucose homeostasis and possibly in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes related to obesity and may provide new insights into the mechanisms of insulin resistance in obesity.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 06/2011; 43(3):247-55. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity, which is caused by energy uptake being greater than energy expenditure, is widely prevalent today. Currently, only a limited number of efficient interventional strategies are available for the prevention of obesity. Previous studies have shown that UCP4 transcription occurs at a considerable level in mouse skeletal muscle; however, the exact functions of UCP4 remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of UCP4 on mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity in mature L6 myocytes. UCP4 overexpression in L6 myocytes induced increased mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A) and decreased citrate synthase (CS) mRNA in the basal condition (i.e., in the absence of insulin). UCP4 overexpression significantly improved insulin sensitivity, increased tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 in the presence of insulin, and significantly reduced intracellular triglyceride (TG). Additionally, intracellular ATP content and mitochondrial membrane potential were downregulated. We also observed that intracellular ROS, mitochondrial morphology, and mitochondrial mtDNA copy number were maintained upon UCP4 expression, with no change in mitochondrial fusion and fission. In summary, our findings provide evidence to show that UCP4 overexpression reduced the insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation of L6 myocytes. These findings support the notion that UCPs are ideal targets for treatment of insulin resistance.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 04/2011; 43(2):109-18. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent environmental pollutants that affect embryonic development. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of embryonic exposure to PCBs on early retinal development in zebrafish, Danio rerio. Zebrafish embryos were immediately exposed to different concentrations (0, 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 mg) of PCBs per liter of medium at 28.5 °C. Embryos were assessed at 30, 48, 72 and 96  h post-fertilization (hpf) for changes in embryonic survival rate, development, larval retinal morphology and ultrastructure of the retina. The results show that PCB exposure decreased the survival rate of embryos in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Embryos exposed to the higher concentrations of PCBs (0.5, 1.0 and 2.0  mg l(-1) ) displayed obvious gross morphological deformities. At 72  hpf, the retinal layer development of zebrafish was delayed at higher PCB concentrations (1.0  mg  l(-1) ). At 96  hpf, irregularity of photoreceptor cells arrangement and thickening of photoreceptor and ganglionic layers were observed in PCB-treated larvae at concentrations of 0.25-1 mg  l(-1) . Ultrastructural examination showed signs of growth inhibition of the photoreceptor outer segment at 0.25-1 mg  l(-1) PCB exposure at 72  hpf, as well as the appearance of massive vacuoles and holes inside the outer segments in the PCB exposure group at 96  hpf. These results suggest that embryonic exposure to moderate and high levels of PCBs induced developmental deficits in zebrafish retinas, particularly in photoreceptor cells.
    Journal of Applied Toxicology 03/2011; 32(3):186-93. · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously identified the six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of prostate (STEAP) 4 as a novel plasma membrane protein that is up-regulated in obese patients and may play a significant role in the development of human obesity. In this study, a STEAP4-specific antibody was used to characterize the biological functions of the STEAP4 protein in human adipocytes. Cell viability assays (Trypan Blue exclusion), CCK-8 assays and cell cycle analysis showed that the STEAP4 antibody inhibited pre-adipocyte proliferation. Morphological observations by electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy, annexin V-FITC labeling, caspase-3 and caspase-8 activity assays as well as data from quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) further determined that the STEAP4 antibody could promote apoptosis in pre-adipocytes. Based on quantitative Oil Red O staining and the expression profiles of specific markers, we demonstrated that the STEAP4 antibody did not affect adipogenesis, but the 2-deoxy-d-[3H]-glucose uptake tests showed that it induced the insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in mature human adipocytes. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that the STEAP4 antibody does not influence human adipocyte differentiation, but it is likely that the STEAP4 protein regulates proliferation and apoptosis and plays an important role in modulating the insulin sensitivity of human adipocytes.
    International Journal of Molecular Medicine 12/2010; 26(6):803-11. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Homo sapiens LYR motif containing 1 (LYRM1) is a recently discovered gene involved in adipose tissue homeostasis and obesity-associated insulin resistance. The exact mechanism by which LYRM1 induces insulin resistance has not yet been fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrated that the overexpression of LYRM1 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes resulted in reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, an abnormal mitochondrial morphology, and a decrease in intracellular ATP synthesis and mitochondrial membrane potential. In addition, LYRM1 overexpression led to excessive production of intracellular of reactive oxygen species. Collectively, our results indicated that the overexpression of LYRM1 caused mitochondrial dysfunction in adipocytes, which might be responsible for the development of LYRM1-induced insulin resistance.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 12/2010; 101(4):395-9. · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TNF-alpha was the first proinflammatory cytokine identified linking obesity, insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. However, the mechanism of TNF-alpha in the etiology of insulin resistance is still far from clear. Because the mitochondria play an important role in energy metabolism, we investigated whether mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in pathogenesis of TNF-alpha-mediated insulin resistance. First, a fully differentiated insulin-resistant 3T3-L1 adipocyte model was established by incubating with 4 ng/ml TNF-alpha for 4 d, and then the mitochondrial morphology and functions were observed. TNF-alpha treatment induced pronounced morphological changes in the mitochondria, which became smaller and condensed, and some appeared hollow and absent of cristae. Mitochondrial dynamics changes were observed as increased mitofusion protein mfn1 and mitofission protein Drp1 levels compared with controls. No obvious effects on mitochondrial biogenesis were found. PGC-1alpha levels decreased, but no significant changes were found in mtTFA mRNA expression, NRF1mRNA expression and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). TNFalpha treatment also led to decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and reduced production of intracellular ATP, as well as accumulation of significant amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Further research is required to determine if mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the inflammatory mechanism of insulin resistance and may be a potential target for the treatment of insulin resistance.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 10/2010; 328(1-2):63-9. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) located in the inner mitochondrial membrane are involved in the regulation of energy balance. Thus far, 5 UCP isoforms have been identified, but controversies exist in the research focused on the function of the UCPs (except UCP1) in the pathogenesis of obesity. Because of the known cross-reactivity of the antibodies presently available for the detection of UCP proteins, this study systematically analyzed the differential tissue expression profiles of the 5 UCP isoforms in lean control mice and ob/ob mice by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The results show that the tissue-specific expression patterns of individual isoforms in normal and ob/ob mice are considerably different; this will provide new insights into the functions of UCPs in the pathogenesis of genetic obesity.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 06/2010; 42(3):255-9. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To better understand the molecular basis of dietary obesity, we examined adipose tissue genes differentially expressed in a well-characterized rat model of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity using cDNA microarrays. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either the HFD or the normal diet. Seven weeks later, the weights of obese models (362.92 ± 39.65 g) were significantly higher than those of normal control rats (315.22 ± 42.30 g, P < 0.01) and the wet weights of adipose tissue of rats fed with HFD (9.29 ± 5.14 g) were significantly higher than those of normal control rats (4.09 ± 2.69 g, P < 0.01), which confirmed the successful preparation of obese models. cDNA microarrays containing 9 216 genes/Ests were used to investigate gene expression of adipose tissue. Autoradiographic analysis showed that 532, 154, and 22 genes were differently expressed over 2-, 3-, and 5-fold, respectively. The analysis of gene expression profiles indicated that 276 genes were up-regulated and 432 genes were down-regulated in response to HFD-induced obesity. Different clusters of genes associated with lipid metabolism, extracellular matrix, signal transduction, cytoskeleton, cell apoptosis, etc., such as VLCS-H2, DGAT, ACADVL, PHYH, SCD, ACACA, ACS, MMP-2, MMP-15, CD38, CAMK2D, CACNA1F, CAPZA2, TMOD3, ARPC2, KNS2, TPM1, MAPK8, GADD45B, DAXX, TOK-1, PRKACA, STAT6, were concerned.
    Molecular Biology Reports 02/2010; 37(8):3691-5. · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have determined that lin-4, which was the first miRNA to be discovered, controls the timing of cell fate determination and life span in Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the mechanism of lin-4 involvement in these processes remains poorly understood. Fat storage is an essential aspect of the life cycle of organisms, and the function of lin-4 in fat accumulation is not clear. In this study, we showed that the fat content is reduced remarkably in C. elegans lin-4 mutants. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed a considerable decrease in the levels of SBP-1 and OGA-1 mRNA in lin-4 mutants. We also showed that lin-4 mutants have a significantly shorter life span than wild-type worms. DCF assay experiments showed that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels increased and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number decreased in loss-of-function lin-4 mutants. These mutants also showed attenuation of locomotion. Taken together, our findings suggest that lin-4 may play an important role in regulating fat accumulation and locomotion and that lin-4 may control the life span of C. elegans by mediating ROS production.
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2010; 11(12):4814-25. · 2.46 Impact Factor