Cristina Procopio

Universita' degli Studi "Magna Græcia" di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy

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Publications (5)30.81 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and is associated with insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Among the potential factors that may account for the increased cardiometabolic risk, IGF-I is a plausible candidate because the liver is the main site of its production. Our objective was to examine the relationship between NAFLD and IGF-I levels and to test the hypothesis that free fatty acids-induced insulin resistance might impair insulin-induced increase of GH receptor (GHR) expression in human hepatoma cells. SUBJECTS, DESIGN, AND SETTING: Five hundred three nondiabetic Caucasians participated in this ambulatory-care cross-sectional study. Cardiometabolic risk factors and liver ultrasound scanning were assessed. Insulin-induced expression of GHR in HuH7 human hepatoma cells exposed for 24 h to palmitate was determined by Western blotting and real-time PCR. After adjustment for age and gender, individuals with NAFLD had significantly higher body mass index, waist circumference, fasting insulin, triglycerides, homeostasis model assessment index, liver enzymes, and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with control subjects. IGF-I levels were significantly lower in individuals with NAFLD (P = 0.001). Exposure of HuH7 hepatoma cells to palmitate caused a dose-dependent reduction in the insulin-induced increase of GHR expression. These data show that IGF-I levels are reduced in subjects with NAFLD and suggest that hepatic insulin resistance may affect IGF-I levels by modulating GH-stimulated synthesis of hepatic IGF-I.
    The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 08/2011; 96(10):E1640-4. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We determined the contribution to insulin resistance of the PH domain leucine-rich repeat protein phosphatase (PHLPP), which dephosphorylates Akt at Ser473, inhibiting its activity. We measured the abundance of PHLPP in fat and skeletal muscle from obese participants. To study the effect of PHLPP on insulin signalling, PHLPP (also known as PHLPP1) was overexpressed in HepG2 and L6 cells. Subcutaneous fat samples were obtained from 82 morbidly obese and ten non-obese participants. Skeletal muscle samples were obtained from 12 obese and eight non-obese participants. Quantification of PHLPP-1 in human tissues was performed by immunoblotting. The functional consequences of recombinant PHLPP1 overexpression in hepatoma HepG2 cells and L6 myoblasts were investigated. Of the 82 obese participants, 31 had normal fasting glucose, 33 impaired fasting glucose and 18 type 2 diabetes. PHLPP-1 abundance was twofold higher in the three obese groups than in non-obese participants (p = 0.004). No differences were observed between obese participants with normal fasting glucose, impaired fasting glucose or type 2 diabetes. PHLPP-1 abundance was correlated with basal Akt Ser473 phosphorylation (r = -0.48; p = 0.001), BMI (r = 0.44; p < 0.0001), insulin (r = 0.35; p < 0.0001) and HOMA (r = 0.38; p < 0.0001). PHLPP-1 abundance was twofold higher in the skeletal muscle of 12 obese participants than in that of eight non-obese participants (p < 0.0001). Insulin treatment of HepG2 cells resulted in a dose- and time-dependent upregulation of PHLPP-1. Overexpression of PHLPP1 in HepG2 cells and L6 myoblasts resulted in impaired insulin signalling involving Akt/glycogen synthase kinase 3, glycogen synthesis and glucose transport. Increased abundance of PHLPP-1, production of which is regulated by insulin, may represent a new molecular defect in insulin-resistant states such as obesity.
    Diabetologia 04/2011; 54(7):1879-87. · 6.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) lies upstream of Akt in the pathway leading to endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activation. Whether leptin promotes eNOS activation via AMPK-dependent activation of Akt, and which of the two AMPKalpha catalytic subunits is involved, remains unknown. Leptin resistance may be partly attributed to interaction between leptin and C-reactive protein (CRP). We hypothesized that leptin effect on eNOS activation in human aortic endothelial cells might be blunted by direct interaction with human recombinant CRP. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to knock down expression of alpha1- or alpha2-AMPK in transient transfection assay to evaluate which is involved in this pathway and whether leptin effect on eNOS activation in human aortic endothelial cells might be blunted by direct interaction with human CRP. siRNA-mediated down-regulation of AMPKalpha1, but not AMPKalpha2, abolished leptin-induced Akt-Ser(473) phosphorylation, eNOS-Ser(1177) phosphorylation, eNOS activation, and cGMP accumulation. By contrast, siRNA-mediated knockdown of Akt1 did not affect AMPKalpha1 phosphorylation, but it abolished leptin-induced phosphorylation of Akt-Ser(473) and eNOS-Ser(1177), suggesting that Akt functions downstream of AMPKalpha1. Preincubation of leptin with human recombinant CRP impaired leptin-induced AMPK activation, eNOS-Ser(1177) phosphorylation, eNOS activity, and intracellular cGMP accumulation. The data are consistent with a model implicating an AMPKalpha1-->Akt-->eNOS pathway leading to NO production in response to leptin supporting the idea that interaction between leptin and CRP may have a role in impairing leptin effect on eNOS activation, suggesting a link between leptin resistance, low-grade inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction.
    Endocrinology 05/2009; 150(8):3584-93. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is an independent predictor of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and is correlated with insulin resistance. Insulin stimulates nitric oxide (NO) production through the IRS-1/PI3-kinase/Akt/eNOS pathway (where IRS-1 is insulin receptor substrate 1, PI3-kinase is phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and eNOS is endothelial NO synthase). We asked if IL-6 affects insulin vasodilator action both in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and in the aortas of C57BL/6J mice and whether this inhibitory effect was caused by increased Ser phosphorylation of IRS-1. We observed that IL-6 increased IRS-1 phosphorylation at Ser(312) and Ser(616); these effects were paralleled by increased Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and reversed by JNK and ERK1/2 inhibition. In addition, IL-6 treatment resulted in impaired IRS-1 phosphorylation at Tyr(612), a site essential for engaging PI3-kinase. Furthermore, IL-6 treatment reduced insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of eNOS at the stimulatory Ser(1177) site and impaired insulin-stimulated eNOS dephosphorylation at the inhibitory Thr(495) site. Insulin-stimulated eNOS activation and NO production were also inhibited by IL-6; these effects were reversed by inhibition of JNK and ERK1/2. Treatment of C57BL/6J mice with IL-6 resulted in impaired insulin-dependent activation of the Akt/eNOS pathway in the aorta as a result of JNK and ERK1/2 activation. Our data suggest that IL-6 impairs the vasodilator effects of insulin that are mediated by the IRS-1/PI3-kinase/Akt/eNOS pathway through activation of JNK and ERK1/2.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 04/2007; 27(6):2372-83. · 5.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The C-174G promoter polymorphism of the interleukin (IL)-6 gene was found to influence transcriptional activity and plasma IL-6 levels in humans. We addressed the question of whether the C-174G IL-6 polymorphism contributes to variation of insulin sensitivity. Two cohorts of subjects were genotyped. Cohort 1 includes 275 nondiabetic subjects who underwent a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Cohort 2 includes 77 patients with morbid obesity who underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). The genotypes were consistent with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium proportions. In cohort 1, insulin sensitivity was reduced in carriers of the -174G/G genotype as compared with subjects carrying the C allele (P = 0.004). Carriers of -174G/G displayed significantly higher plasma IL-6 levels in comparison with carriers of the C allele. In a stepwise linear regression analysis, the C-174G polymorphism was independently associated with insulin sensitivity; however, after inclusion of plasma IL-6 concentrations, the polymorphism was excluded from the model explaining insulin sensitivity variability, thus suggesting that the polymorphism was affecting insulin sensitivity by regulating IL-6 plasma levels. IL-6 mRNA levels were measured by real-time RT-PCR in subcutaneous fat obtained from obese patients of cohort 2 during LAGB. Carriers of -174G/G showed increased IL-6 expression compared with subjects carrying the C allele (P = 0.04). There was a significant correlation between adipose IL-6 mRNA expression and insulin resistance assessed by homeostasis model assessment (rho = 0.28, P = 0.014). These results indicate that the -174G/G genotype of the IL-6 gene may contribute to variations in insulin sensitivity.
    Diabetes Care 09/2005; 28(8):2007-12. · 7.74 Impact Factor