Rexford S Ahima

William Penn University, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (181)1607.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: ACAT-related enzyme 2 required for viability 1 (ARV1) is a putative lipid transporter of the endoplasmic reticulum that is conserved across eukaryotic species. The ARV1 protein contains a conserved N-terminal cytosolic zinc ribbon motif known as the ARV1 homology domain, followed by multiple transmembrane regions anchoring it in the ER. Deletion of ARV1 in yeast results in defective sterol trafficking, aberrant lipid synthesis, ER stress, membrane disorganization and hypersensitivity to fatty acids (FAs). We sought to investigate the role of Arv1 in mammalian lipid metabolism. Methods: Homologous recombination was used to disrupt the Arv1 gene in mice. Animals were examined for alterations in lipid and lipoprotein levels, body weight, body composition, glucose tolerance and energy expenditure. Results: Global loss of Arv1 significantly decreased total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the plasma. Arv1 knockout mice exhibited a dramatic lean phenotype, with major reductions in white adipose tissue (WAT) mass and body weight on a chow diet. This loss of WAT is accompanied by improved glucose tolerance, higher adiponectin levels, increased energy expenditure and greater rates of whole-body FA oxidation. Conclusions: This work identifies Arv1 as an important player in mammalian lipid metabolism and whole-body energy homeostasis.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Nutrition & Diabetes
  • Rotonya M. Carr · Rexford S. Ahima
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    ABSTRACT: Cytosolic lipid droplets (LDs) are present in most cell types, and consist of a core comprising neutral lipids, mainly triglycerides and sterol esters, surrounded by a monolayer of phospholipids. LDs are heterogeneous in their structure, chemical composition, and tissue distribution. LDs are coated by several proteins, including perilipins and other structural proteins, lipogenic enzymes, lipases and membrane-trafficking proteins. Five proteins of the perilipin (PLIN) family (PLIN1 (perilipin), PLIN2 (adipose differentiation-related protein), PLIN3 (tail-interacting protein of 47kDa), PLIN4 (S3-12), and PLIN5 (myocardial lipid droplet protein)), are associated with LD formation. More recently, the CIDE family of proteins, hypoxia-inducible protein 2 (HIG2), and patanin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) have also gained attention in hepatic LD biology. Evidence suggests that LD proteins are involved in the pathophysiology of fatty liver diseases characterized by excessive lipid accumulation in hepatocytes. This review article will focus on how hepatic LDs and their associated proteins are involved in the pathogenesis of three chronic liver conditions: hepatitis C virus infection, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and alcoholic liver disease.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Experimental Cell Research
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    ABSTRACT: The fractalkine (CX3CL1-CX3CR1) chemokine system is associated with obesity-related inflammation and type 2 diabetes, but data on effects of Cx3cr1 deficiency on metabolic pathways is contradictory. We examined male C57BL/6 Cx3cr1-/- mice on chow and high-fat diet to determine the metabolic effects of Cx3cr1 deficiency. We found no difference in body weight and fat content or feeding and energy expenditure between Cx3cr1-/- and WT mice. Cx3cr1-/- mice had reduced glucose intolerance assessed by intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests at chow and high-fat fed states, though there was no difference in glucose-stimulated insulin values. Cx3cr1-/- mice also had improved insulin sensitivity at hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, with higher glucose infusion rate, rate of disposal, and hepatic glucose production suppression compared to WT mice. Enhanced insulin signaling in response to acute intravenous insulin injection was demonstrated in Cx3cr1-/- by increased liver protein levels of phosphorylated AKT and GSK3β proteins. There were no differences in adipose tissue macrophage populations, circulating inflammatory monocytes, adipokines, lipids, or inflammatory markers. In conclusion, we demonstrate a moderate and reproducible protective effect of Cx3cr1 deficiency on glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Pathway-based analysis as an alternative and effective approach to identify disease-related genes or loci has been verified. To decipher the genetic background of plasma adiponectin levels, we performed genome wide pathway-based association studies in extremely obese individuals and normal-weight controls. The modified Gene Set Enrichment Algorithm (GSEA) was used to perform the pathway-based analyses (the GenGen Program) in 746 European American females, which were collected from our previous GWAS in extremely obese (BMI > 35 kg/m(2)) and never-overweight (BMI<25 kg/m(2)) controls. Rac1 cell motility signaling pathway was associated with plasma adiponectin after false-discovery rate (FDR) correction (empirical P < 0.001, FDR = 0.008, family-wise error rate = 0.008). Other several Rac1-centered pathways, such as cdc42racPathway (empirical P < 0.001), hsa00603 (empirical P = 0.003) were among the top associations. The RAC1 pathway association was replicated by the ICSNPathway method, yielded a FDR = 0.002. Quantitative pathway analyses yielded similar results (empirical P = 0.001) for the Rac1 pathway, although it failed to pass the multiple test correction (FDR = 0.11). We further replicated our pathway associations in the ADIPOGen Consortium data by the GSA-SNP method. Our results suggest that Rac1 and related cell motility pathways might be associated with plasma adiponectin levels and biological functions of adiponectin.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: IL15Ra is the widely expressed primary binding partner for IL15. Because of the wide distribution in non-lymphoid tissues like skeletal muscle, adipose or liver, IL15/IL15Ra take part in physiological and metabolic processes not directly related to immunity. In fast muscle, lack of IL15Ra promotes an oxidative switch, with increased mitochondrial biogenesis and fatigue resistance. These effects are predicted to reproduce some of the benefits of exercise and therefore improve energy homeostasis. However, the direct effects of IL15Ra on metabolism and obesity are currently unknown. We report that mice lacking IL15Ra (IL15Ra(-/-)) are resistant to diet induced obesity (DIO). High fat (HFD) fed IL15Ra(-/-) mice have less body and liver fat accumulation than controls. The leaner phenotype is associated with increased energy expenditure and enhanced fatty acid oxidation by muscle mitochondria. Despite being protected against DIO, IL15Ra(-/-) are hyperglycemic and insulin resistant. These findings identify novel roles for IL15Ra in metabolism and obesity. Copyright © 2014, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
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    Rexford S Ahima · Hyeong Kyu Park
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle is the largest organ of the body in non-obese individuals and is now considered to be an endocrine organ. Hormones (myokines) secreted by skeletal muscle mediate communications between muscle and liver, adipose tissue, brain, and other organs. Myokines affect muscle mass and myofiber switching, and have profound effects on glucose and lipid metabolism and inflammation, thus contributing to energy homeostasis and the pathogenesis of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the biology of myokines and provide an assessment of their potential as therapeutic targets.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015
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    Rexford S Ahima

    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, diabetes has been linked to rotator cuff disease and adhesive capsulitis, conditions with increased stiffness and inflammation. Unfortunately, limited research exists examining how hyperglycemia affects the native shoulder (tendon and capsule) properties. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to compare shoulder joint mechanics, tendon properties (mechanics and immunohistochemistry), and capsule of healthy control and hyperglycemic rats 8 weeks following induction of hyperglycemia with a submaximal dose of streptozotocin (STZ). Eighteen rats were injected with STZ to induce hyperglycemia or citrate buffer (control) and underwent normal cage activity for 8 weeks. Passive joint mechanics demonstrated significantly less external rotation in the hyperglycemic group compared to controls, with no other group differences. Tendon mechanical properties (stiffness and modulus) were not significantly different between groups at both the insertion site and mid-substance. Immunohistochemistry staining of the tendon and capsule demonstrated significantly increased interleukin 1-beta (IL1-β) and advanced glycated end-products (AGE) staining localized to the insertion and mid-substance of the tendon but not the capsule. In addition, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) staining was significantly increased in the superior capsule but not the supraspinatus tendon. This study demonstrates that isolated hypergylcemia does not diminish shoulder mechanical properties but does induce a chronic inflammatory response. © 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Orthopaedic Research
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is highly expressed in the hypothalamus where it regulates feeding and energy homeostasis. Interestingly, NPY and its receptors are also expressed in peripheral tissues with roles in metabolism including pancreatic islets. In islets, NPY is known to suppress insulin secretion acutely. In addition, the role of NPY in beta cell de-differentiation has been postulated recently. Therefore, we studied transgenic mice expressing NPY under rat insulin promoter (TG) to determine the effects of chronic up-regulation of NPY on islet morphology and function. NPY levels were 25 times higher in islets of TG mice compared with wild type littermates (WT), while no differences in NPY expression were noted in the brains of TG and WT mice. Islet NPY secretion was 2.3 fold higher in TG compared with WT mice. There were no significant changes in body weight, glucose tolerance, or insulin sensitivity in TG mice fed regular rodent diet (NC) or high fat diet (HF). Islet beta cell area was comparable between TG and WT mice both on NC and HF diets indicating that NPY overexpression is insufficient to alter beta cell maturation or the compensatory increase of beta cell area on HF. One abnormality noted was that the glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in islets isolated from TG was reduced compared with those from WT mice on HF diet. Overall, an increase in islet NPY level has little impact on islet function and is insufficient to affect glucose homeostasis in mice.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Endocrinology
  • Hyeong-Kyu Park · Rexford S. Ahima
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    ABSTRACT: Leptin is secreted by adipose tissue and regulates energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine function, metabolism, immune function and other systems through its effects on the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. Leptin administration has been shown to restore metabolic and neuroendocrine abnormalities in individuals with leptin-deficient states, including hypothalamic amenorrhea and lipoatrophy. In contrast, obese individuals are resistant to leptin. Recombinant leptin is beneficial in patients with congenital leptin deficiency or generalized lipodystrophy. However, further research on molecular mediators of leptin resistance is needed for the development of targeted leptin sensitizing therapies for obesity and related metabolic diseases.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Metabolism
  • Rexford S Ahima

    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Molecular Endocrinology
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    Sookhee Bang · Yong Chen · Rexford S Ahima · Sangwon F Kim
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    ABSTRACT: Metformin is a biguanide drug that is widely prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Metformin suppresses hepatic gluconeogenesis and increases fatty acid oxidation. Although studies have suggested that metformin acts, at least in part, via activation of LKB1/AMPK pathway, the specific molecular mechanisms underlying metformin's regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism have not been well delineated. Recently, we have shown that inositol polyphosphate multikinase (IPMK) plays an important role in cellular energy metabolism and glucose-mediated AMPK regulation. Here we investigated the role of IPMK in metformin-induced AMPK activation. We observed that metformin-mediated activation of AMPK was impaired in the absence of IPMK. Overexpression of wild type IPMK was sufficient to restore LKB1-AMPK activation by either metformin or AICAR in IPMK-/- murine embryonic fibroblast cells, suggesting that IPMK may act as an upstream regulator of LKB1-AMPK signaling in response to metformin. Moreover, this regulation was mediated by protein-protein interaction between IPMK and LKB1 as a dominant negative peptide, which abrogates this interaction, attenuated metformin's ability to activate AMPK. Our data demonstrate that IPMK plays an important role in LKB1/AMPK signaling, and may be targeted for treatment of metabolic diseases.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Molecular Endocrinology
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    Rotonya M Carr · Giselle Peralta · Xiaoyan Yin · Rexford S Ahima
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    ABSTRACT: Perilipin 2 (Plin2) is a lipid droplet protein that has roles in both lipid and glucose homeostasis. An increase in Plin2 in liver is associated with the development of steatosis, glucose intolerance, and ceramide accumulation in alcoholic liver disease. We investigated the role of Plin2 on energy balance and glucose and lipid homeostasis in wildtype and Plin2 knockout (Plin2KO) mice chronically fed a Lieber-DeCarli liquid ethanol or control diet for six weeks. We performed in vivo measurements of energy intake and expenditure; body composition; and glucose tolerance. After sacrifice, liver was dissected for histology and lipid analysis. We found that neither genotype nor diet had a significant effect on final weight, body composition, or energy intake between WT and Plin2KO mice fed alcohol or control diets. Additionally, alcohol feeding did not affect oxygen consumption or carbon dioxide production in Plin2KO mice. We performed glucose tolerance testing and observed that alcohol feeding failed to impair glucose tolerance in Plin2KO mice. Most notably, absence of Plin2 prevented hepatic steatosis and ceramide accumulation in alcohol-fed mice. These changes were related to downregulation of genes involved in lipogenesis and triglyceride synthesis. Plin2KO mice chronically fed alcohol are protected from hepatic steatosis, glucose intolerance, and hepatic ceramide accumulation, suggesting a critical pathogenic role of Plin2 in experimental alcoholic liver disease.
    Preview · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Adipose tissue has a critical role in energy and metabolic homeostasis, but it is challenging to adapt techniques to modulate adipose function in vivo. Here we develop an in vivo, systemic method of gene transfer specifically targeting adipose tissue using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors. We constructed AAV vectors containing cytomegalovirus promoter-regulated reporter genes, intravenously injected adult mice with vectors using multiple AAV serotypes, and determined that AAV2/8 best targeted adipose tissue. Altering vectors to contain adiponectin promoter/enhancer elements and liver-specific microRNA-122 target sites restricted reporter gene expression to adipose tissue. As proof of efficacy, the leptin gene was incorporated into the adipose-targeted expression vector, package into AAV2/8 and administered intravenously to 9- to 10-week-old ob/ob mice. Phenotypic changes were measured over an 8-week period. Leptin mRNA and protein were expressed in adipose and leptin protein was secreted into plasma. Mice responded with reversal of weight gain, decreased hyperinsulinemia and improved glucose tolerance. AAV2/8-mediated systemic delivery of an adipose-targeted expression vector can replace a gene lacking in adipose tissue and correct a mouse model of human disease, demonstrating experimental application and therapeutic potential in disorders of adipose.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 15 May 2014; doi:10.1038/gt.2014.38.
    Preview · Article · May 2014 · Gene therapy
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    Kelly C. Allison · Namni Goel · Rexford S. Ahima
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    ABSTRACT: Animal studies of delayed eating have provided useful information regarding the potential relationship between nighttime eating and increased weight and metabolic dysregulation, which occur in the absence of increased locomotion or increased caloric intake. We first review recent studies detailing these relationships and possible mechanisms in rodents. We then examine human data showing that sleep restriction leads to increased energy intake and weight gain, followed by a review of the human phenotype of delayed eating, night eating syndrome, and its relation to weight and metabolism. Finally, we examine human experimental studies of delayed eating and discuss preliminary data that show slight weight gain, dysfunction in energy expenditure, and abnormalities in the circadian rhythms of appetitive, stress, and sleep hormones. Well-controlled, longer-term experimental studies in humans are warranted to test the effect of delayed eating without sleep restriction to clarify whether limiting or eliminating nighttime eating could lead to weight loss and significantly improve related disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, over time.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The reduction of functional β cell mass is a key feature of type 2 diabetes. Here, we studied metabolic functions and islet gene expression profiles of C57BL/6J mice with naturally occurring nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT) deletion mutation, a widely used model of diet-induced obesity and diabetes. On high fat diet (HF), the mice developed obesity and hyperinsulinemia, while blood glucose levels were only mildly elevated indicating a substantial capacity to compensate for insulin resistance. The basal serum insulin levels were elevated in HF mice, but insulin secretion in response to glucose load was significantly blunted. Hyperinsulinemia in HF fed mice was associated with an increase in islet mass and size along with higher BrdU incorporation to β cells. The temporal profiles of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) of isolated islets were comparable in HF and normal chow fed mice. Islets isolated from HF fed mice had elevated basal oxygen consumption per islet but failed to increase oxygen consumption further in response to glucose or carbonyl cyanide-4-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone (FCCP). To obtain an unbiased assessment of metabolic pathways in islets, we performed microarray analysis comparing gene expression in islets from HF to normal chow-fed mice. A few genes, for example, those genes involved in the protection against oxidative stress (hypoxia upregulated protein 1) and Pgc1α were up-regulated in HF islets. In contrast, several genes in extracellular matrix and other pathways were suppressed in HF islets. These results indicate that islets from C57BL/6J mice with NNT deletion mutation develop structural, metabolic and gene expression features consistent with compensation and decompensation in response to HF diet.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
  • Rexford S. Ahima

    No preview · Article · Dec 2013
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    Hyeong Kyu Park · Rexford S Ahima
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is characterized by excess accumulation of lipids in adipose tissue and other organs, and chronic inflammation associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are major health concerns. Resistin was first discovered as an adipose-secreted hormone (adipokine) linked to obesity and insulin resistance in rodents. Adipocyte-derived resistin is increased in obese rodents and strongly related to insulin resistance. However, in contrast to rodents, resistin is expressed and secreted from macrophages in humans and is increased in inflammatory conditions. Some studies have also suggested an association between increased resistin levels and insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Genetic studies have provided additional evidence for a role of resistin in insulin resistance and inflammation. Resistin appears to mediate the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis by promoting endothelial dysfunction, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, arterial inflammation, and formation of foam cells. Indeed, resistin is predictive of atherosclerosis and poor clinical outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke. There is also growing evidence that elevated resistin is associated with the development of heart failure. This review will focus on the biology of resistin in rodents and humans, and evidence linking resistin with type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Diabetes & metabolism journal
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    ABSTRACT: Globally, both the incidence of type 2 diabetes and the consumption of meat, in particular pork meat, have increased, concurrently. Processed meats have been associated with an increased risk for diabetes in observational studies. Therefore, it is important to understand the possible mechanisms of this association and the impact of meats from different species. The goal of this systematic review was to assess experimental human studies of the impact of pork intake compared with other protein sources on early markers for the development of diabetes, ie, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and the components of the metabolic syndrome. A systematic review was conducted searching PubMed and EMBASE and using the Cochrane and PRISMA guidelines. Eight studies were eligible and critically reviewed. Five studies were based on a single meal or single day exposure to pork, as compared with other sources of protein. The glucose-insulin response following the pork meals did not differ compared with beef, shrimp, or mixed sources of proteins. However, compared with eggs, ham (processed meat) led to a larger insulin response in nonobese subjects. Compared with whey, ham led to a smaller insulin response and a larger glucose response. These findings suggest possible mechanisms for the association between processed meat and the development of diabetes. Nonprocessed pork meats were not compared with eggs or whey. The three longer interventions (11 days to 6 months) did not show a significant impact of pork on the components of the metabolic syndrome, with the exception of a possible benefit on waist circumference and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (one study each with significant limitations). Most of the findings are weak and there is a lack of solid evidence. The literature on the topic is limited and important research gaps are identified. Considering recent trends and projections for diabetes and pork intake, this is an important global public health question that requires more attention in order to provide improved evidence-based dietary recommendations.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
  • Rexford S Ahima · Mitchell A Lazar
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of a high BMI on mortality is in question, calling for a rethinking of how metabolic health is assessed.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Science

Publication Stats

22k Citations
1,607.78 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006-2015
    • William Penn University
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • University of Texas at Dallas
      Richardson, Texas, United States
  • 2001-2015
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
      • • Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
      • • Department of Medicine
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2004-2008
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      • Division of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Washington Seattle
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2004-2006
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • Department of Cell Biology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2002
    • Umeå University
      Umeå, Västerbotten, Sweden
  • 1997-2000
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1996-1999
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Montefiore Medical Center
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1991-1993
    • Tulane University
      • Department of Pharmacology
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States