M Alemany

University of Barcelona, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (317)687.61 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: High-energy (hyperlipidic) cafeteria diets induce insulin resistance limiting glucose oxidation, and lower amino acid catabolism. Despite high amino-N intake, amino acids are preserved, lowering urea excretion. We analysed how energy partition induced by cafeteria diet affects liver ammonium handling and urea cycle. Female and male rats were fed control or cafeteria diets for 30 days. There was a remarkable constancy on enzyme activities and expressions of urea cycle and ammonium metabolism. The key enzymes controlling urea cycle: carbamoyl-P synthase 1, arginino-succinate synthase and arginase expressions were decreased by diet (albeit more markedly in males), and their activities were correlated with the gene expressions. The effects observed, in ammonium handling enzyme activities and expressions behaved in a way similar to that of the urea cycle, showing a generalized downregulation of liver amino acid catabolism. This process was affected by sex. The different strategies of amino-N handling by females and males further modulated the preservation of 2-amino N under sufficient available energy. The effects of sex were more marked than those of diet were, since different metabolism survival strategies changed substrate partition and fate. The data presented suggest a lower than expected N flow to the liver, which overall importance for amino acid metabolism tends to decrease with both cafeteria diet and female sex. Under standard conditions, liver availability of ammonium was low and controlled. The situation was unchanged (or even lowered) in cafeteria-fed rats, ultimately depending on intestinal amino acid catabolism
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · RSC Advances
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    ABSTRACT: En: Hormone Metabology Reseach. 1978. n. 10 0018-5043
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: and Objectives. White adipose tissue (WAT) shows marked sex- and diet-dependent differences. However, our metabolic knowledge of WAT, especially on amino acid metabolism, is considerably limited. In the present study, we compared the influence of sex on the amino acid metabolism profile of the four main WAT sites, focused on the paths related to ammonium handling and the urea cycle, as a way to estimate the extent of WAT implication on body amino-nitrogen metabolism. Experimental Design. Adult female and male rats were maintained, undisturbed, under standard conditions for one month. After killing them under isoflurane anesthesia. WAT sites were dissected and weighed. Subcutaneous, perigonadal, retroperitoneal and mesenteric WAT were analyzed for amino acid metabolism gene expression and enzyme activities. Results. There was a considerable stability of the urea cycle activities and expressions, irrespective of sex, and with only limited influence of site. Urea cycle was more resilient to change than other site-specialized metabolic pathways. The control of WAT urea cycle was probably related to the provision of arginine/citrulline, as deduced from the enzyme activity profiles. These data support a generalized role of WAT in overall amino-N handling. In contrast, sex markedly affected WAT ammonium-centered amino acid metabolism in a site-related way, with relatively higher emphasis in males’ subcutaneous WAT. Conclusions. We found that WAT has an active amino acid metabolism. Its gene expressions were lower than those of glucose-lipid interactions, but the differences were quantitatively less important than usually reported. The effects of sex on urea cycle enzymes expression and activity were limited, in contrast with the wider variations observed in other metabolic pathways. The results agree with a centralized control of urea cycle operation affecting the adipose organ as a whole.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · PeerJ
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    ABSTRACT: White adipose tissue (WAT) contains a powerful metabolic machinery related to energy metabolism and partition. The adaptive, regulatory, size and structural variety of WAT agrees with this control role. However, its nitrogen metabolism has been sparsely studied and we know close to nothing about its implication on N-related processes and homoeostasis. We have studied, and found a complete urea cycle (liver type) in four WAT sites (gene expressions and enzyme activities). We postulated a possible function of the cycle (under basal conditions) in the control of arginine handling through citrulline synthesis. In our opinion, the metabolic and control potential of WAT on energy metabolism may be second only to liver. This impression should be extended to amino acid metabolism too, WAT providing an extra-intestinal source of citrulline to maintain the body availability of arginine independently of the operation of intestine-liver urea cycle for N disposal.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · RSC Advances
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    ABSTRACT: Cultured adipocytes (3T3-L1) produce large amounts of 3C fragments; largely lactate, depending on medium glucose levels. Increased glycolysis has been observed also in vivo in different sites of rat white adipose tissue. We investigated whether fructose can substitute glucose as source of lactate, and, especially whether the glycerol released to the medium was of lipolytic or glycolytic origin. Fructose conversion to lactate and glycerol was lower than that of glucose. The fast exhaustion of medium glucose was unrelated to significant changes in lipid storage. Fructose inhibited to a higher degree than glucose the expression of lipogenic enzymes. When both hexoses were present, the effects of fructose on gene expression prevailed over those of glucose. Adipocytes expressed fructokinase, but not aldolase b. Substantive release of glycerol accompanied lactate when fructose was the substrate. The mass of cell triacylglycerol (and its lack of change) could not justify the comparatively higher amount of glycerol released. Consequently, most of this glycerol should be derived from the glycolytic pathway, since its lipolytic origin could not be (quantitatively) sustained. Proportionally (with respect to lactate plus glycerol), more glycerol was produced from fructose than from glucose, which suggests that part of fructose was catabolized by the alternate (hepatic) fructose pathway. Earlier described adipose glycerophophatase activity may help explain the glycolytic origin of most of the glycerol. However, no gene is known for this enzyme in mammals, which suggests that this function may be carried out by one of the known phosphatases in the tissue. Break up of glycerol-3P to yield glycerol, may be a limiting factor for the synthesis of triacylglycerols through control of glycerol-3P availability. A phosphatase pathway such as that described may have a potential regulatory function, and explain the production of glycerol by adipocytes in the absence of lipolytic stimulation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Objectives. Glucose, an aldose, spontaneously reacts with protein amino acids yielding glycosylated proteins. The compounds may reorganize to produce advanced glycosylation products, which regulatory importance is increasingly being recognized. Protein glycosylation is produced without the direct intervention of enzymes and results in the loss of function. Glycosylated plasma albumin, and glycosylated haemoglobin are currently used as index of mean plasma glucose levels, since higher glucose availability results in higher glycosylation rates. In this study we intended to detect the early changes in blood protein glycosylation elicited by an obesogenic diet. Experimental Design. Since albumin is in constant direct contact with plasma glucose, as are the red blood cell (RBC) membranes, we analyzed their degree or glycosylation in female and male rats, either fed a standard diet or subjected to a hyper-energetic self-selected cafeteria diet for 30 days. This model produces a small increase in basal glycaemia and a significant increase in body fat, leaving the animals in the initial stages of development of metabolic syndrome. We also measured the degree of glycosylation of hemoglobin, and the concentration of glucose in contact with this protein, that within the RBC. Glycosylation was measured by colorimetric estimation of the hydroxymethylfurfural liberated from glycosyl residues by incubation with oxalate. Results. Plasma glucose was higher in cafeteria diet and in male rats, both independent effects. However, there were no significant differences induced by sex or diet in either hemoglobin or plasma proteins. Purified RBC membranes showed a marked effect of diet: higher glycosylation in cafeteria rats, which was more marked in females (not in controls). In any case, the number of glycosyl residues per molecule were higher in hemoglobin than in plasma proteins (after correction for molecular weight). The detected levels of glucose in RBC were lower than those of plasma, even when expressed in molal units, and were practically nil in cafeteria-diet fed rats compared with controls; there was no effect of sex. Conclusions. RBC membrane glycosylation is a sensitive indicator of developing metabolic syndrome-related hyperglycemia, more sensitive than the general measurement of plasma or RBC protein glycosylation. The extensive glycosylation of blood proteins does not seem to be markedly affected by sex; and could be hardly justified from an assumedly sustained plasma hyperglycemia. The low levels of glucose found within RBC, especially in rats under the cafeteria diet, could hardly justify the extensive glycosylation of hemoglobin and the lack of differences with controls, which contained sizeable levels of intracellular glucose. Additional studies are needed to study the dynamics of glucose in vivo in the RBC to understand how such extensive protein glycosylation could take place.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · PeerJ
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    ABSTRACT: Female and male adult Wistar rats were fed standard chow or a simplified cafeteria diet for one month. Then, the rats were killed and the white adipose tissue (WAT) in four sites: perigonadal, retroperitoneal, mesenteric and subcutaneous (inguinal) were sampled and frozen. The complete WAT weight in each site was measured. Gene expression analysis of key lipid and glucose metabolism enzymes were analyzed, as well as tissue and plasma lactate and the activity of lactate dehydrogenase. Lactate gradients between WAT and plasma were estimated. The influence of sex and diet (and indirectly WAT mass) on lactate levels and their relationships with lactate dehydrogenase activity and gene expressions were also measured. A main conclusion is the high production of lactate by WAT, practically irrespective of site, diet or sex. Lactate production is a direct correlate of lactate dehydrogenase activity in the tissue. Furthermore, lactate dehydrogenase activity is again directly correlated with the expression of the genes Ldha and Ldhb for this enzyme. In sum, the ability to produce lactate by WAT is not directly dependent of WAT metabolic state. We postulate that, in WAT, a main function of the lactate dehydrogenase path may be that of converting excess available glucose to 3C fragments, as a way to limit tissue self-utilization as substrate, to help control glycaemia and/or providing short chain substrates for use as energy source elsewhere. More information must be gathered before a conclusive role of WAT in the control of glycaemia, and the full existence of a renewed glucose-lactate-fatty acid cycle is definitely established.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Adipose tissue (AT) is distributed as large differentiated masses, and smaller depots covering vessels, and organs, as well as interspersed within them. The differences between types and size of cells makes AT one of the most disperse and complex organs. Lipid storage is partly shared by other tissues such as muscle and liver. We intended to obtain an approximate estimation of the size of lipid reserves stored outside the main fat depots. Both male and female rats were made overweight by 4-weeks feeding of a cafeteria diet. Total lipid content was analyzed in brain, liver, gastrocnemius muscle, four white AT sites: subcutaneous, perigonadal, retroperitoneal and mesenteric, two brown AT sites (interscapular and perirenal) and in a pool of the rest of organs and tissues (after discarding gut contents). Organ lipid content was estimated and tabulated for each individual rat. Food intake was measured daily. There was a surprisingly high proportion of lipid not accounted for by the main macroscopic AT sites, even when brain, liver and BAT main sites were discounted. Muscle contained about 8% of body lipids, liver 1-1.4%, four white AT sites lipid 28-63% of body lipid, and the rest of the body (including muscle) 38-44%. There was a good correlation between AT lipid and body lipid, but lipid in "other organs" was highly correlated too with body lipid. Brain lipid was not. Irrespective of dietary intake, accumulation of body fat was uniform both for the main lipid storage and handling organs: large masses of AT (but also liver, muscle), as well as in the "rest" of tissues. These storage sites, in specialized (adipose) or not-specialized (liver, muscle) tissues reacted in parallel against a hyperlipidic diet challenge. We postulate that body lipid stores are handled and regulated coordinately, with a more centralized and overall mechanisms than usually assumed.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperlipidic diets limit glucose oxidation and favor amino acid preservation, hampering the elimination of excess dietary nitrogen and the catabolic utilization of amino acids. We analyzed whether reduced urea excretion was a consequence of higher NOx; (nitrite, nitrate, and other derivatives) availability caused by increased nitric oxide production in metabolic syndrome. Rats fed a cafeteria diet for 30 days had a higher intake and accumulation of amino acid nitrogen and lower urea excretion. There were no differences in plasma nitrate or nitrite. NOx and creatinine excretion accounted for only a small part of total nitrogen excretion. Rats fed a cafeteria diet had higher plasma levels of glutamine, serine, threonine, glycine, and ornithine when compared with controls, whereas arginine was lower. Liver carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase I activity was higher in cafeteria diet-fed rats, but arginase I was lower. The high carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase activity and ornithine levels suggest activation of the urea cycle in cafeteria diet-fed rats, but low arginine levels point to a block in the urea cycle between ornithine and arginine, thereby preventing the elimination of excess nitrogen as urea. The ultimate consequence of this paradoxical block in the urea cycle seems to be the limitation of arginine production and/or availability.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014
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    ABSTRACT: White adipose tissue (WAT) produces lactate in significant amount from circulating glucose, especially in obesity;Under normoxia, 3T3L1 cells secrete large quantities of lactate to the medium, again at the expense of glucose and proportionally to its levels. Most of the glucose was converted to lactate with only part of it being used to synthesize fat. Cultured adipocytes were largely anaerobic, but this was not a Warburg-like process. It is speculated that the massive production of lactate, is a process of defense of the adipocyte, used to dispose of excess glucose. This way, the adipocyte exports glucose carbon (and reduces the problem of excess substrate availability) to the liver, but the process may be also a mechanism of short-term control of hyperglycemia. The in vivo data obtained from adipose tissue of male rats agree with this interpretation.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Background/aims: There is ample consensus that there is a neurophysiological basis for eating disorders (ED). Traits of personality translate into behavioral traits, purging being a well-defined transversal example. The direct implication of steroid hormones on ED has seldom been studied, despite their effects on behavior. Methods: After psychological interview analysis, 57 ED female patients (31 purgative and 26 nonpurgative) and 17 female controls were studied. Metabolic parameters and analysis of androgen, estrogen and glucocorticoid hormones were determined in parallel to the psychopathological profile (EDI-2 and SCL-90-R) and anthropometric measurements. Results: Psychometric tests showed clear differences between ED and controls, but there were few hormonal-metabolic significant differences. In purgative ED there were repeated (significant) positive correlations with corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) and negative correlations with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) versus eating and general psychopathology. In nonpurging ED there were positive correlations for deoxycortisol, free fatty acids and albumin and negative for aspartate aminotransferase and psychopathological traits. Conclusion: The data suggest that CBG/corticosteroids and sexual hormones/SHBG are involved in purging behavior and its psychopathology and severity scores. Correlations of selected psychometric data and the CBG/SHBG levels in purging may eventually result in clinical markers. This approach may provide additional clues for understanding the pathogenesis of ED.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Neuropsychobiology
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    ABSTRACT: The use of Transwells™ for routine cultures of 3T3L1 cells results in a much improved rate of differentiation of fibroblasts to adipocytes (100 % in 9 of 10 tests) compared with bottom-well layer cultures. Mean size of cells was not different, but the cell number and overall cell mass was 3× larger in transwell in spite of a smaller surface area. The difference between both models was the accessibility in transwells of both sides of the cells to the medium (and oxygen). Cells were counted, and their size estimated using a handheld cell counter, Scepter™, designed for blood cells, but adjusted to the larger size of adipocytes. Finally, the effect of nitric oxide was tested using spermineNONOate, a nitric oxide (NO·) donor. The product was released to cultures at a constant 1 μl/h rate for up to 3 days using osmotic Alzet™ minipumps held in wells with water and discharging their contents to the cultured cell-laden wells through a short capillary tube. A rate of 0.3 pmol/min/ml of medium did not affect the cells’ size, but 0.4 pmol/min/ml significantly increased cell mass. The methodological improvements presented here allow for more uniform cultured cell yields and a more flexible environment for control of cell size and administration of signaling agents. Representative microphotographs of bottom and transwell 3T3L1 cultures just before harvesting.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: In the metabolic syndrome, glucocorticoid activity is increased, but circulating levels show little change. Most of blood glucocorticoids are bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), which liver expression and circulating levels are higher in females than in males. Since blood hormones are also bound to blood cells, and the size of this compartment is considerable for androgens and estrogens, we analyzed whether sex or eating a cafeteria diet altered the compartmentation of corticosterone in rat blood. The main corticosterone compartment in rat blood is that specifically bound to plasma proteins, with smaller compartments bound to blood cells or free. Cafeteria diet increased the expression of liver CBG gene, binding plasma capacity and the proportion of blood cell-bound corticosterone. There were marked sex differences in blood corticosterone compartmentation in rats, which were unrelated to testosterone. The use of a monoclonal antibody ELISA and a polyclonal Western blot for plasma CBG compared with both specific plasma binding of corticosterone and CBG gene expression suggested the existence of different forms of CBG, with varying affinities for corticosterone in males and females, since ELISA data showed higher plasma CBG for males, but binding and Western blot analyses (plus liver gene expression) and higher physiological effectiveness for females. Good cross- reactivity to the antigen for polyclonal CBG antibody suggests that in all cases we were measuring CBG.The different immunoreactivity and binding affinity may help explain the marked sex-related differences in plasma hormone binding as sex-linked different proportions of CBG forms.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • Marià Alemany
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a widespread pathologic state that manifests as multiple intertwined diseases affecting the entire body. This review analyzes the contribution of adipose tissue inflammation to its development. The main factor in the appearance of MS is an excess of dietary energy (largely fats), eliciting insulin resistance and creating the problem of excess energy disposal. Under these conditions, amino acid catabolism is diminished, which indirectly alters the production of nitric oxide and affects blood flow regulation. The oxidation of nitric oxide to nitrite and nitrate affects microbiota composition and functions. Adipose tissue cannot incorporate excessive nutrients after cell enlargement and loss of function. Tissue damage is a form of aggression, and the response is proinflammatory cytokine release. Cytokines favor the massive penetration of immune system cells, such as macrophages, which unsuccessfully try to fight an elusive danger for which they are not prepared. The consequence is low-level maintenance of the inflammatory state, which affects endoplasmic reticulum function and the endothelial response to excess regulatory mechanisms affecting blood flow and substrate/oxygen supply. When inflammation becomes chronic, the pathologic consequences are disseminated throughout the body because unused substrates and signals from adipose tissue affect energy partitioning and organ function. This maintenance of an unbalanced state ultimately results in the establishment of MS and associated pathologies. New research should focus on identifying ways to disarm the inflammatory response of adipose tissue when the dangers of dietary excess have already been controlled.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Nutrition research
  • Marià Alemany
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    ABSTRACT: Humans have evolved into efficient survivors, able to bridge periods of scarcity between times of food availability. Adaptation to these changes requires specific adaptations and the establishment of metabolic priorities. These include thermal homoeostasis, maintained tissue glucose availability and the selective utilization of energy substrates, depending on their availability. A consequence of these requirements is the necessary maintenance of body reserves of energy, largely triacylglycerols, controlled by an effective ponderostat system. Body triacylglycerol reserves are used to sustain most of the body’s energy needs in periods of scarcity. Protein, throughout evolution, has been difficult to obtain, and, as a consequence, it is not used as an energy substrate except under conditions of excess, but (also) as a source of glucose and energy. Under excess energy conditions (as found in many present-day diets), the finely tuned mechanisms to survive starvation are inadequate to eliminate this excess. Humans are essentially unprepared for sustained excess energy intake; thermogenesis, increased protein turnover, growth and lipid accretion help decrease the energy burden. However, in the long-term, excess lipid accumulation in adipose tissue elicits inflammation and immune system-derived responses that deeply affect the control of energy partition, including the ponderostat setting and the disposal of excess glucose and amino acids. These changes alter the function of white adipose tissue, muscle, liver and the intestine (including the microbiota), all subjected to a low-key inflammation condition that alters their function and elicits a number of associated diseases constituting metabolic syndrome. In summary, it is hypothesized that dietary plentifulness and the pre-established mechanisms to fight scarcity are both responsible for the development of metabolic syndrome, which can be thus defined as a disease of affluence.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · RSC Advances
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    ABSTRACT: Oleoyl-estrone (OE) is a powerful slimming agent that is also present in plasma and adipose tissue, where it is synthesized. It acts through the formation of a derivative W. OE effects (and W levels) are proportional to the dose. OE reduces food intake but maintains energy expenditure (thermogenesis). The energy gap is fulfilled with adipose tissue fat, sparing body protein and maintaining glycemia (and glycogen) with lower insulin and leptin levels. OE (in fact W) acts through specific receptors, different from those of estrogen. OE increases cholesterol catabolism, reducing hypercholesterolemia in obese rats. The main metabolic effect on adipose tissue is lowering of lipid synthesis, maintaining unchanged the intracellular lipolytic processes; the imbalance favors the progressive loss of fat, which is largely used by the muscle. OE administration induces additive effects with other antiobesity agents, such as β(3) -adrenergic agonists, forcing a massive loss of lipid. Corticosteroids markedly limit OE action by altering the liver control of lipogenesis. OE also inhibits the action of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, decreasing the synthesis of β-estradiol and testosterone. Discontinuous treatment allows for maximal efficacy both in rats and humans. OE has the advantage that the loss of fat is maintained and does not require additional dietary limitations.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Medicinal Research Reviews
  • Marià Alemany

    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Hormones (Athens, Greece)
  • Marià Alemany
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    ABSTRACT: Maintenance of blood flow rate is a critical factor for tissue oxygen and substrate supply. The potentially large mass of adipose tissue deeply influences the body distribution of blood flow. This is due to increased peripheral resistance in obesity and the role of this tissue as the ultimate destination of unused excess of dietary energy. However, adipose tissue cannot grow indefinitely, and the tissue must defend itself against the avalanche of nutrients provoking inordinate growth and inflammation. In the obese, large adipose tissue masses show lower blood flow, limiting the access of excess circulating substrates. Blood flow restriction is achieved by vasoconstriction, despite increased production of nitric oxide, the vasodilatation effects of which are overridden by catecholamines (and probably also by angiotensin II and endothelin). Decreased blood flow reduces the availability of oxygen, provoking massive glycolysis (hyperglycemic conditions), which results in the production of lactate, exported to the liver for processing. However, this produces local acidosis, which elicits the rapid dissociation of oxyhemoglobin, freeing bursts of oxygen in localized zones of the tissue. The excess of oxygen (and of nitric oxide) induces the production of reactive oxygen species, which deeply affect the endothelial, blood, and adipose cells, inducing oxidative and nitrosative damage and eliciting an increased immune response, which translates into inflammation. The result of the defense mechanism for adipose tissue, localized vasoconstriction, may thus help develop a more generalized pathologic response within the metabolic syndrome parameters, extending its effects to the whole body.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Free Radical Biology and Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: It is generally assumed that steroid hormones are carried in the blood free and/or bound to plasma proteins. We investigated whether blood cells were also able to bind/carry sex-related hormones: estrone, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone. Wistar male and female rats were fed a cafeteria diet for 30 days, which induced overweight. The rats were fed the standard rat diet for 15 additional days to minimize the immediate effects of excess ingested energy. Controls were always kept on standard diet. After the rats were killed, their blood was used for 1) measuring plasma hormone levels, 2) determining the binding of labeled hormones to washed red blood cells (RBC), 3) incubating whole blood with labeled hormones and determining the distribution of label between plasma and packed cells, discounting the trapped plasma volume, 4) determining free plasma hormone using labeled hormones, both through membrane ultrafiltration and dextran-charcoal removal. The results were computed individually for each rat. Cells retained up to 32% estrone, and down to 10% of testosterone, with marked differences due to sex and diet (the latter only for estrogens, not for DHEA and testosterone). Sex and diet also affected the concentrations of all hormones, with no significant diet effects for estradiol and DHEA, but with considerable interaction between both factors. Binding to RBC was non-specific for all hormones. Estrogen distribution in plasma compartments was affected by sex and diet. In conclusion: a) there is a large non-specific RBC-carried compartment for estrone, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone deeply affected by sex; b) Prior exposure to a cafeteria (hyperlipidic) diet induced hormone distribution changes, affected by sex, which hint at sex-related structural differences in RBC membranes; c) We postulate that the RBC compartment may contribute to maintain free (i.e., fully active) sex hormone levels in a way similar to plasma proteins non-specific binding.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    Marià Alemany
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    ABSTRACT: The metabolic syndrome is basically a maturity-onset disease. Typically, its manifestations begin to flourish years after the initial dietary or environmental aggression began. Since most hormonal, metabolic, or defense responses are practically immediate, the procrastinated response do not seem justified. Only in childhood, the damages of the metabolic syndrome appear with minimal delay. Sex affects the incidence of the metabolic syndrome, but this is more an effect of timing than absolute gender differences, females holding better than males up to menopause, when the differences between sexes tend to disappear. The metabolic syndrome is related to an immune response, countered by a permanent increase in glucocorticoids, which keep the immune system at bay but also induce insulin resistance, alter the lipid metabolism, favor fat deposition, mobilize protein, and decrease androgen synthesis. Androgens limit the operation of glucocorticoids, which is also partly blocked by estrogens, since they decrease inflammation (which enhances glucocorticoid release). These facts suggest that the appearance of the metabolic syndrome symptoms depends on the strength (i.e., levels) of androgens and estrogens. The predominance of glucocorticoids and the full manifestation of the syndrome in men are favored by decreased androgen activity. Low androgens can be found in infancy, maturity, advanced age, or because of their inhibition by glucocorticoids (inflammation, stress, medical treatment). Estrogens decrease inflammation and reduce the glucocorticoid response. Low estrogen (infancy, menopause) again allow the predominance of glucocorticoids and the manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. It is postulated that the equilibrium between sex hormones and glucocorticoids may be a critical element in the timing of the manifestation of metabolic syndrome-related pathologies.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Frontiers in Endocrinology

Publication Stats

3k Citations
687.61 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1975-2015
    • University of Barcelona
      • • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Facultad de Biología)
      • • Facultad de Biología
      • • Department of Geochemistry, Petrology and Geological Prospecting
      • • Department of Physiology and Immunology
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2007-2014
    • Instituto de Salud Carlos III
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2001
    • Universitat Rovira i Virgili
      Tarraco, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1987-1999
    • Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1986
    • University of the Balearic Islands
      • Departamento de Química
      Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain