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Publications (61)

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    Yu Wang · Jiantao Ye · Jie Li · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Abnormalities in lipid and glucose metabolism are constantly observed in type 2 diabetes. However, these abnormalities can be ameliorated by polydatin. Considering the important role of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in metabolic diseases, we explore the possible mechanism of polydatin on lipid and glucose metabolism through its effects on PCSK9. Methods An insulin-resistant HepG2 cell model induced by palmitic acid (PA) and a db/db mice model were used to clarify the role of polydatin on lipid and glucose metabolism. Results In insulin-resistant HepG2 cells, polydatin upregulated the protein levels of LDLR and GCK but repressed PCSK9 protein expression, besides, polydatin also inhibited the combination between PCSK9 and LDLR. Knockdown and overexpression experiments indicated that polydatin regulated LDLR and GCK expressions through PCSK9. In the db/db mice model, we found that polydatin markedly enhanced GCK and LDLR protein levels, and inhibited PCSK9 expression in the liver. Molecular docking assay was further performed to analyze the possible binding mode between polydatin and the PCSK9 crystal structure (PDB code: 2p4e), which indicated that steady hydrogen bonds formed between polydatin and PCSK9. Conclusions Our study indicates that polydatin ameliorates lipid and glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes mellitus by downregulating PCSK9.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2016 · Cardiovascular Diabetology
  • Fengxiao Xiong · Xuejuan Li · Zhiying Yang · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RhoA/ROCK can cause renal inflammation and fibrosis in the context of diabetes by activating nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). TGR5 is known for its role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis and anti-inflammation, which is closely related to NF-κB inhibition. Given that TGR5 is highly enriched in kidney, we aim to investigate the regulatory role of TGR5 on fibronectin (FN) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) in high glucose (HG)-treated rat glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs). Both the factors are closely related to renal inflammations and mediated by NF-κB. Moreover, our study determines whether such regulation is achieved by the inhibition of RhoA/ROCK and the subsequent NF-κB suppression. Polymerase chain reaction was taken to test the mRNA level of TGR5. Western blot was used to measure the protein expressions of TGR5, FN, TGF-β1, p65, IκBα, phospho-MYPT1 (Thr853), and MYPT1. Glutathione S-transferase-pull down and immunofluorescence were conducted to test the activation of RhoA, the distribution of TGR5, and p65, respectively. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay was adopted to measure the DNA binding activity of NF-κB. In GMCs, TGR5 activation or overexpression significantly suppressed FN and TGF-β1 protein expressions, NF-κB, and RhoA/ROCK activation induced by HG or transfection of constitutively active RhoA. By contrast, TGR5 RNA interference caused enhancement of FN, TGF-β1 protein expressions, increase of RhoA/ROCK activation. However, TGR5 cannot suppress RhoA/ROCK activation when a selective Protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor was used. This study suggests that in HG-treated GMCs, TGR5 significantly suppresses the NF-κB-mediated upregulation of FN and TGF-β1, which are hallmarks of diabetic nephropathy. These functions are closely related to the suppression of RhoA/ROCK via PKA.
    Article · Jul 2016 · Endocrine
  • Wenyan Gong · Cheng Chen · Fengxiao Xiong · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose and lipid metabolism disorders as well as oxidative stress (OSS) play important roles in diabetic nephropathy (DN). Glucose and lipid metabolic dysfunction are the basic pathological changes of chronic microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus, such as DN. OSS can lead to the accumulation of extracellular matrix and inflammatory factors which will accelerate the progress of DN. Casein kinase 2 interacting protein-1 (CKIP-1) mediates adipogenesis, cell proliferation and inflammation under many circumstances. However, whether CKIP-1 is involved in the development of DN remains unknown. Here, we show that CKIP-1 is a novel regulator of resisting the development of DN and the underlying molecular mechanism is related to activating the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant response element (ARE) antioxidative stress pathway. The following findings were obtained: (1) The treatment of glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) with high glucose (HG) decreased CKIP-1 levels in a time-dependent manner; (2) CKIP-1 overexpression dramatically reduced fibronectin (FN) and intercellular adhesionmolecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression. Depletion of CKIP-1 further induced the production of FN and ICAM-1; (3) CKIP-1 promoted the nuclear accumulation, DNA binding, and transcriptional activity of Nrf2. Moreover, CKIP-1 upregulated the expression of Nrf2 downstream genes, heme oxygenase (HO-1) and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1); and ultimately decreased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The molecular mechanisms clarify that the advantageous effect of CKIP-1 on DN are well connected with the activation of the Nrf2/ARE antioxidative stress pathway.
    Article · Jul 2016 · Biochemical pharmacology
  • Zhiying Yang · Fengxiao Xiong · Yu Wang · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose and lipid metabolism disorders and chronic inflammation in the kidney tissues are largely responsible for causative pathological mechanism of renal fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy (DN). As our previous findings confirmed that, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P)/sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1P2) signaling activation promoted renal fibrosis in diabetes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the G protein-coupled bile acid receptor TGR5 exhibits effective regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and anti-inflammatory effects. TGR5 is highly expressed in kidney tissues, whether it attenuates the inflammation and renal fibrosis by inhibiting the S1P/S1P2 signaling pathway would be a new insight into the molecular mechanism of DN. Here we investigated the effects of TGR5 on diabetic renal fibrosis, and the underlying mechanism would be also discussed. We found that TGR5 activation significantly decreased the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1), as well as fibronectin (FN) induced by high glucose in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs), which were pathological features of DN. S1P2 overexpression induced by high glucose was diminished after activation of TGR5, and AP-1 activity, including the phosphorylation of c-Jun/c-Fos and AP-1 transcription activity, was attenuated. As a G protein-coupled receptor, S1P2 interacted with TGR5 in GMCs. Furthermore, INT-777 lowered S1P2 expression and promoted S1P2 internalization. Taken together, TGR5 activation reduced ICAM-1, TGF-β1 and FN expressions induced by high glucose in GMCs, the mechanism might be through suppressing S1P/S1P2 signaling, thus ameliorating diabetic nephropathy.
    Article · Jun 2016 · Pharmacological Research
  • Zhiying Yang · Jie Li · Fengxiao Xiong · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Berberine (BBR) exerts powerful renoprotective effects on diabetic nephropathy (DN), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We previously demonstrated that activation of the G protein-coupled bile acid receptor TGR5 ameliorates diabetic nephropathy by inhibiting the activation of the sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) / sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1P2) signaling pathway. In this study, we explored the role of TGR5 in the BBR-induced downregulation of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1P2) / mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) -mediated fibrosis in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs). Results showed that, BBR suppressed the expression of FN, ICAM-1, and TGF-β1 in high-glucose cultures of GMCs, and the phosphorylation level of c-Jun/c-Fos was downregulated. The high glucose lowered TGR5 expression in a time-dependent manner; this effect was reversed by BBR in a dose-dependent manner. The TGR5 agonist INT-777 decreased the high glucose-induced FN, ICAM-1, and TGF-β1 protein contents. In addition, TGR5 siRNA blocked S1P2 degradation by BBR. And MAPK signaling, which plays important regulatory roles in the pathological progression of DN, was activated by TGR5 siRNA. Apart from this, MAPK signaling as well as FN, ICAM-1, and TGF-β1 suppressed by BBR under high glucose conditions were limited by TGR5 depletion. Thus, BBR decreases FN, ICAM-1, and TGF-β1 levels under high glucose conditions in GMCs possibly by activating TGR5 and inhibiting S1P2/MAPK signaling.
    Article · Jun 2016 · Experimental Cell Research
  • Shaogui Wang · Zhiying Yang · Fengxiao Xiong · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure and is characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins such as fibronectin (FN), in the glomerular mesangium and tubulointerstitium. Betulinic acid (BA), a pentacyclic triterpene derived from the bark of the white birch tree, has been demonstrated to have many pharmacological activities. However, the effect of BA on DN has not been fully elucidated. To explore the possible anti-inflammatory effects of BA and their underlying mechanisms, we used streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat kidneys and high glucose-treated glomerular mesangial cells. Our study showed BA could inhibit the degradation of IκBα and the activity of NF-κB in diabetic rat kidneys and high glucose-induced mesangial cells, resulting in reduction of FN expression. In addition, BA suppressed the DNA binding activity and transcriptional activity of NF-κB in high glucose-induced glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs). Furthermore, BA enhanced the interaction between IκBα and β-arrestin2 in mesangial cells. Taken together, our data suggest BA inhibits NF-κB activation through stabilizing NF-κB inhibitory protein IκBα, thereby preventing diabetic renal fibrosis.
    Article · Jun 2016 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a major health problem in the United States and worldwide without successful treatments. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to ALD, which is characterized by steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. Recent studies suggest that alcohol induces both cell death and adaptive cell survival pathways in the liver, and the balance of cell death and cell survival ultimately decides the pathogenesis of ALD. This review summarizes the recent progress on the role and mechanisms of apoptosis, necroptosis, and autophagy in the pathogenesis of ALD. Understanding the complex regulation of apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy may help to develop novel therapeutic strategies by targeting all 3 pathways simultaneously.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
  • Cheng Chen · Kaipeng Huang · Jie Hao · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated that activation of sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1)- sphingosine 1- phosphate (S1P) signaling pathway by high glucose (HG) plays a pivotal role in increasing the expression of fibronectin (FN), an important fibrotic component, by promoting the DNA-binding activity of transcription factor activator protein 1 (AP-1) in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) under diabetic conditions. As a multi-target anti-oxidative drug, polydatin (PD) has been shown to have renoprotective effects on experimental diabetes. However, whether PD could resist diabetic nephropathy (DN) by regulating SphK1-S1P signaling pathway needs further investigation. Here, we found that PD significantly reversed the upregulated FN and ICAM-1 expression in GMCs exposed to AGEs. Simultaneously, PD dose- dependently inhibited SphK1 levels at the protein expression and kinase activity and attenuated S1P production under AGEs treatment conditions. In addition, PD reduced SphK1 activity in GMCs transfected with wild-type SphK(WT) plasmid and significantly suppressed SphK1-mediated increase of FN and ICAM-1 levels under normal conditions. Furthermore, we found that the AGEs-induced upregulation of phosphorylation of c-Jun at Ser63 and Ser73 and c-Fos at Ser32, DNA-binding activity and transcriptional activity of AP-1 were blocked by PD. In comparison with db/db model group, PD treatment suppressed SphK1 levels (mRNA, protein expression, and activity) and S1P production, reversed the upregulation of FN, ICAM-1, c-Jun, and c-Fos in the kidney tissues of diabetic mice, and finally ameliorated renal injury in db/db mice. These findings suggested that the downregulation of SphK1-S1P signaling pathway is probably a novel mechanism by which PD suppressed AGEs-induced FN and ICAM-1 expression and improved renal dysfunction of diabetic models.
    Article · Mar 2016 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol exposure increased hepatic receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIP) 3 expression and necroptosis in the liver but its mechanisms are unclear. In the present study, we demonstrated that chronic alcohol feeding plus binge (Gao-binge) increased RIP3 but not RIP1 protein levels in mouse livers. RIP3 knockout mice had decreased serum alanine amino transferase activity and hepatic steatosis but had no effect on hepatic neutrophil infiltration compared with wild type mice after Gao-binge alcohol treatment. The hepatic mRNA levels of RIP3 did not change between Gao-binge and control mice, suggesting that alcohol-induced hepatic RIP3 proteins are regulated at the posttranslational level. We found that Gao-binge treatment decreased the levels of proteasome subunit alpha type-2 (PSMA2) and proteasome 26S subunit, ATPase 1 (PSMC1) and impaired hepatic proteasome function. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of proteasome resulted in the accumulation of RIP3 in mouse livers. More importantly, human alcoholics had decreased expression of PSMA2 and PSMC1 but increased protein levels of RIP3 compared with healthy human livers. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of RIP1 decreased Gao-binge-induced hepatic inflammation, neutrophil infiltration and NF-κB subunit (p65) nuclear translocation but failed to protect against steatosis and liver injury induced by Gao-binge alcohol. In conclusion, results from this study suggest that impaired hepatic proteasome function by alcohol exposure may contribute to hepatic accumulation of RIP3 resulting in necroptosis and steatosis while RIP1 kinase activity is important for alcohol-induced inflammation.
    Full-text Article · Jan 2016 · Oncotarget
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is commonly believed that diabetes is an important contributor to heart failure (HF) development. However, the detail effect of diabetogenesis on HF is controversy: both beneficial and harmful roles were reported. In the present study, we aim to explore the unambiguous action of diabetes on chronic HF progression and the underlying mechanism. Diabetes and myocardial infarction (MI) were induced by streptozotocin (STZ) injection and left-sided thoracotomy and left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) ligation, respectively. Pyridoxamine was used as the antagonist of advancedglycation endproducts (AGEs). Adult male SD rats were assigned to 5 groups: Sham; MI; Diabetes (D); Diabetes + MI (DMI) and DMI + pyridoxamine (DMI + P). Animals were sacrificed at the end of 12 weeks. The comparison of LV myocardium was made between border zone from MI or DMI animals and control LV tissues from sham-operated animals. Cardiomyocytes and dendritic cells were prepared from the Sprague-Dawley rats and coculturedin the presence or absence of AGEs. DMI group showed highest level of AGEs and inflammatory markers, which were significantly reduced in the presence of pyridoxamine. In vitro experiment disclosed AGEs could stimulate DCs differentiation and promote cytokines production, finally upregulated hypertrophy-related genes expression in cardiocytes. Intervention DCs differentiation was sufficient to improve cardiocytes morphology. Our results clearly demonstrate that diabetes would promote chronic HF progression at least in part through stimulating DCs differentiation and series downstream inflammatory responses induced by AGEs. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Article · Jul 2015 · Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol causes liver hypoxia and steatosis, which eventually develops into alcoholic liver disease (ALD). While it has been known that alcohol consumption activates hepatic hypoxia inducing factor-1α (HIF-1α), conflicting results regarding the role of HIF-1α in alcohol-induced liver injury and steatosis in mice have been reported. In the present study, we aimed to use hepatocyte-specific HIF-1β knockout mice to eliminate the possible compensatory effects of the single knockout of the 1α subunit of HIF to study the role of HIFs in ALD. C57BL/6 wild type mice were treated with acute ethanol to mimic human binge drinking. Matched wild-type and hepatocyte specific HIF-1β knockout mice were also subjected to a recently established Gao-binge alcohol model to mimic chronic plus binge conditions, which is quite common in human alcoholics. We found that acute alcohol treatment increased BNIP3 and BNIP3L/NIX expression in primary cultured hepatocytes and in mouse livers, suggesting that HIF may be activated in these models. We further found that hepatocyte-specific HIF-1β knockout mice developed less steatosis and liver injury following the Gao-binge model or acute ethanol treatment compared with their matched wild type mice. Mechanistically, protection against Gao-binge treatment-induced steatosis and liver injury was likely associated with increased FoxO3a activation and subsequent induction of autophagy in hepatocyte-specific HIF-1β knockout mice.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2014 · PLoS ONE
  • Kaipeng Huang · Cheng Chen · Jie Hao · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sirt1 and nuclear factor-E2 related factor 2 (Nrf2)-anti-oxidant response element (ARE) anti-oxidative pathway play important regulatory roles in the pathological progression of diabetic nephropathy (DN) induced by advanced glycation-end products (AGEs). Polydatin (PD), a glucoside of resveratrol, has been shown to possess strong anti-oxidative bioactivity. Our previous study demonstrated that PD markedly resists the progression of diabetic renal fibrosis and thus, inhibits the development of DN. Whereas, whether the resistant effects of PD on DN is correlated with regulating Sirt1 and consequently promoting Nrf2-ARE pathway needs further investigation. Here, we found that concomitant with decreasing RAGE (the specific receptor for AGEs) expression, PD significantly reversed the downregulation of Sirt1 in terms of protein expression and deacetylase activity and attenuated FN and TGF-β1 expression in GMCs exposed to AGEs. Under AGEs-treatment condition, PD could decrease Keap1 expression and promote the nuclear content, ARE-binding ability, and transcriptional activity of Nrf2. In addition, PD increased the protein levels of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and superoxide dismutase (SOD1), two target genes of Nrf2. The activation of Nrf2-ARE pathway by PD eventually led to the quenching of ROS overproduction sharply boosted by AGEs. Depletion of Sirt1 blocked Nrf2-ARE pathway activation and reversed FN and TGF-β1 downregulation induced by PD in GMCs challenged with AGEs. Along with reducing HO-1 and SOD1 expression, silencing of Nrf2 increased FN and TGF-β1 levels. PD treatment elevated Sirt1 and Nrf2 levels in the kidney tissues of diabetic rats, then improved the anti-oxidative capacity and renal dysfunction of diabetic models, and finally reversed the upregulation of FN and TGF-β1. Taken together, the resistance of PD on upregulated FN and TGF-β1 induced by AGEs via oxidative stress in GMCs is closely associated with its activation of Sirt1-Nrf2-ARE pathway.
    Article · Dec 2014 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
  • Jie Hao · Cheng Chen · Kaipeng Huang · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, the effect of polydatin on lipid regulation has gained considerable attention. And previous study has demonstrated that polydatin has hypoglycemic effect on experimental diabetic rats. Repressed Akt pathway contributes to glucose and lipid disorders in diabetes. Thus, whether polydatin regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in experimental diabetic models through the Akt pathway arouses interest. The purpose was to explore the regulatory mechanism of polydain on glucose and lipid through Akt pathway. We used a diabetic rat model induced by high-fat and -sugar diet with low-dose of streptozocin and an insulin resistant HepG2 cell model induced by palmitic acid to clarify the role of polydatin on glucose and lipid metabolism. Here, we found that polydatin significantly attenuated fasting blood-glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, glycosylated serum protein, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in diabetic rats. Furthermore, polydatin significantly increased glucose uptake and consumption and decreased lipid accumulation in insulin resistant HepG2 cells. Polydatin markedly increased serum insulin levels in diabetic rats, and obviously activated the Akt signaling pathway in diabetic rat livers and insulin resistant HepG2 cells. Polydatin markedly increased phosphorylated GSK-3β, decreased the protein levels of G6Pase and SREBP-1c, and increased protein levels of GCK, LDLR, and phosphorylated IRS in livers and HepG2 cells. Overall, the results indicate that polydatin regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in experimental diabetic models, the underlying mechanism is probably associated with regulating the Akt pathway. The effect of polydatin on increased Akt phosphorylation is independent of prompting insulin secretion, but dependent of increasing IRS phosphorylation.
    Article · Oct 2014 · European Journal of Pharmacology
  • Yanhui Deng · Tian Lan · Juan Huang · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the major cause of end-stage renal disease worldwide and its prevalence continues to increase. Currently, therapies for DN provide only partial renoprotection; hence new targets for therapeutic intervention need to be identified. In this review, we summarized the new target, sphingosine kinase-1/sphingosine 1-phosphate (SphK1/S1P) pathway, explored its potential therapeutic role in the prevention and treatment of DN. Data sources Most relevant articles were mainly identified by searching PubMed in English. Study selection Mainly original articles and critical review articles by major pioneer investigators in this field were selected to be reviewed. Results SphK1/S1P pathway can be activated by hyperglycemia, advanced glycation end products, and many proinflammatory cytokines, which leads to fibronectin, transforming growth factor-β1 up-regulation and AP-1 activation. And then it could promote glomerular mesangial cells proliferation and extracellular matrix accumulation, mediating the initiation and progression of diabetic renal fibrosis. Conclusions SphK1/S1P pathway is closely correlated with the pathogenesis of DN. The results suggest that SphK1/ S1P pathway as a new target for clinically improving DN in future is of great prospect.
    Article · Aug 2014 · Chinese medical journal
  • Xi Xie · Cheng Chen · Kaipeng Huang · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RhoA/Rho kinase (ROCK) signaling has been suggested to be involved in diabetic nephropathy (DN) pathogenesis. Altered expression of connexin43 (Cx43) has been found in kidneys of diabetic animals. Both of them have been found to regulate nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) activation in high glucose-treated glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between RhoA/ROCK signaling and Cx43 in the DN pathogenesis. We found that upregulation of Cx43 expression inhibited NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation induced by RhoA/ROCK signaling in GMCs. Inhibition of RhoA/ROCK signaling attenuated the high glucose-induced decrease in Cx43. F-actin accumulation and an enhanced interaction between zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and Cx43 were observed in high glucose-treated GMCs. ZO-1 depletion or disruption of F-actin formation also inhibited the reduction in Cx43 protein levels induced by high glucose. In conclusion, activated RhoA/ROCK signaling induces Cx43 degradation in GMCs cultured in high glucose, depending on F-actin regulation. Increased F-actin induced by RhoA/ROCK signaling promotes the association between ZO-1 and Cx43, which possibly triggered Cx43 endocytosis, a mechanism of NF-κB activation in high glucose-treated GMCs.
    Article · Jul 2014 · Experimental Cell Research
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a genetically programmed, evolutionarily conserved intracellular degradation pathway involved in the trafficking of long-lived proteins and cellular organelles to the lysosome for degradation to maintain cellular homeostasis. Alcohol consumption leads to injury in various tissues and organs including liver, pancreas, heart, brain, and muscle. Emerging evidence suggests that autophagy is involved in alcohol-induced tissue injury. Autophagy serves as a cellular protective mechanism against alcohol-induced tissue injury in most tissues but could be detrimental in heart and muscle. This review summarizes current knowledge about the role of autophagy in alcohol-induced injury in different tissues/organs and its potential molecular mechanisms as well as possible therapeutic targets based on modulation of autophagy.
    Full-text Article · Jul 2014 · BioMed Research International
  • Article · Apr 2014 · International journal of cardiology
  • Tian Lan · Teng Wu · Cheng Chen · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Berberine has been shown to have renoprotective effects on diabetes through attenuating TGF-β1 and fibronectin (FN) expression. However, how berberine regulates TGF- β1 and FN is not fully clear. Here we investigated whether berberine inhibited TGF- β1 and FN expression in high glucose-cultured mesangial cells. Berberine significantly inhibited mesangial cell proliferation and hypertrophy by increasing the cell population in G1-phase and reducing that in S-phase. In addition, berberine reversed high glucose-induced down-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(Waf1)/(Cip1) and p27(Kip1). Berberine inhibited p65 translocation to the nucleus and c-jun phosphorylation induced by high glucose. Furthermore, berberine attenuated high glucose-induced expression of TGF- β1 and FN. Using a luciferase reporter assay, we found that high glucose-induced transcription activity of NF-κB and AP-1 was blocked by berberine. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that high glucose increased that NF-κB and AP-1 DNA binding activity. These data indicate that berberine inhibited mesangial cell proliferation and hypertrophy by modulating cell cycle progress. In addition, berberine suppressed high glucose-induced TGF- β1 and FN expression by blocking NF-κB/AP-1 pathways. Abbreviations: TGF-β1, transforming growth factor-β; ECM, extracellular matrix; FN, fibronectin; HG, high glucose.
    Article · Feb 2014 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
  • Kaipeng Huang · Juan Huang · Cheng Chen · [...] · Heqing Huang
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have confirmed that the sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1)- sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) signaling pathway in the kidney under diabetic conditions is closely correlated with the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). The activation of SphK1-S1P pathway by high glucose (HG) can increase the expression of fibronectin (FN), an important fibrotic component, in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) by promoting the DNA-binding activity of the transcription factor AP-1. However, the mechanism responsible for the sustained activation of SphK1-S1P pathway remains unclear. Given the binding motifs for AP-1 within the first intron of the SphK1 gene, we speculated that the activated AP-1 in the kidney under HG condition possibly regulates SphK1 expression in a positive feedback manner, thereby promoting the sustained activation of SphK1-S1P pathway and mediating the pathological progression of DN. Here, we observed the effect of AP-1 on SphK1 expression in GMCs and explored the molecular mechanism involved in the sustained activation of SphK1-S1P pathway. We found two consensus binding motifs for AP-1 in the promoter sequences and non-coding region downstream of the transcriptional initiation of the rat SphK1 gene by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. The treatment of GMCs with both HG and S1P significantly increased the protein expression of c-Jun and c-Fos, and obviously enhanced the phosphorylation of c-Jun at Ser63 and Ser73, and c-Fos at Ser32. Knowdown of c-Jun and c-Fos with siRNAs substantially inhibited the expression of SphK1 and FN, whereas overexpression of c-Jun and c-Fos significantly increased the expression of SphK1 and FN. Curcumin treatment greatly decreased the levels of c-Jun, c-Fos, SphK1, and FN in the kidney tissues of diabetic rats. SiRNAs targeting SphK1 and S1P2 receptor respectively inhibited the phosphorylation of c-Jun (ser63 and ser73) and c-Fos (ser32), as well as FN expression under both normal and HG conditions. Our data demonstrate that the activated SphK1-S1P signaling pathway in GMCs under diabetic conditions is closely associated with AP-1 to form a positive feedback loop. This positive feedback loop functions as an important molecular basis for the sustained activation of the SphK1-S1P pathway and increased FN expression that lead to the initiation and progression of DN.
    Article · Dec 2013 · Cellular Signalling
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GABAA receptors (GABAARs) mediate the majority of fast synaptic inhibition. Trafficking regulation and protein-protein interactions that maintain the appropriate number of GABAARs at the cell surface are considered to be important mechanisms for controlling the strength of synaptic inhibition. Here, we report that BIG1, a brefeldin A (BFA)-inhibited guanine nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) which has a known role in vesicle trafficking, is a new binding partner of GABAARs. Treatment of neurons with BFA, an uncompetitive inhibitor of BIG1 GEF activity, or depletion of BIG1 by small RNA interference (siRNA) significantly decreased GABAARs at the neuronal surface and suppressed GABA-gated influx of chloride ions. Over-expression of HA-tagged BIG1-E793K, a dominant-negative mutant, also significantly decreased GABAARs at the neuronal surface, but had no effect on the total amount of GABAARs. Inhibition of GABAAR endocytosis by muscimol increased both GABAARs and BIG1 at the neuronal surface in a time-dependent fashion, and this increase could be abolished by bicuculline. Finally, depletion of BIG1 by siRNA inhibited the muscimol-stimulated increase of GABAARs. Those data suggest an important function of BIG1 in trafficking of GABAARs to the cell surface through its GEF activity. Thus, we identify an important role of BIG1 in modulating GABA-gated Cl(-) influx through the regulation of cell surface expression of GABAARs.
    Article · Oct 2013 · Molecular Neurobiology