Inter-individual variation in mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cancer and several age-associated diseases. Here, in a genome-wide meta-analysis of 37,684 individuals with replication of selected variants in a further 10,739 individuals, we identified seven loci, including five novel loci, associated with mean LTL (P<5x10−8). Five of the loci contain genes (TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1, RTEL1) that are known to be involved in telomere biology. Lead SNPs at two loci (TERC and TERT) associate with several cancers and other diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, a genetic risk score analysis combining lead variants at all seven loci in 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls showed an association of the alleles associated with shorter LTL with increased risk of CAD (21% (95% CI: 5–35%) per standard deviation in LTL, p=0.014). Our findings support a causal role of telomere length variation in some age-related diseases.
Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) contributes to the atherosclerotic plaque formation and progression by several mechanisms, including the induction of endothelial cell activation and dysfunction, macrophage foam cell formation, and smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation. Vascular wall cells express on their surface several scavenger receptors that mediate the cellular effects of OxLDL. The lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) is the main OxLDL receptor of endothelial cells, and it is expressed also in macrophages and smooth muscle cells. LOX-1 is almost undetectable under physiological conditions, but it is upregulated following the exposure to several proinflammatory and proatherogenic stimuli and can be detected in animal and human atherosclerotic lesions. The key contribution of LOX-1 to the atherogenic process has been confirmed in animal models; LOX-1 knockout mice exhibit reduced intima thickness and inflammation and increased expression of protective factors; on the contrary, LOX-1 overexpressing mice present an accelerated atherosclerotic lesion formation which is associated with increased inflammation. In humans, LOX-1 gene polymorphisms were associated with increased susceptibility to myocardial infarction. Inhibition of the LOX-1 receptor with chemicals or antisense nucleotides is currently being investigated and represents an emerging approach for controlling OxLDL-LOX-1 mediated proatherogenic effects.
Background-Immune responses participate in several phases of atherosclerosis; there is, in fact, increasing evidence that both adaptive immunity and innate immunity tightly regulate atherogenesis. Pentraxins are a superfamily of acute-phase proteins that includes short pentraxins such as C-reactive protein or long pentraxins such as PTX3, a molecule acting as the humoral arm of innate immunity. To address the potential role of PTX3 in atherogenesis, we first investigated the expression of PTX3 during atherogenesis, generated double-knockout mice lacking PTX3 and apolipoprotein E, and then studied the effect of murine PTX3 deficiency on plasma lipids, atherosclerosis development, and gene expression pattern in the vascular wall. Methods and Results-PTX3 expression increases in the vascular wall of apolipoprotein E-knockout mice from 3 up to 18 months of age. Double-knockout mice lacking PTX3 and apolipoprotein E were fed an atherogenic diet for 16 weeks. Aortic lesions were significantly increased in double-knockout mice and mice heterozygous for PTX3 compared with apolipoprotein E-knockout mice. Mice lacking PTX3 showed a more pronounced inflammatory profile in the vascular wall as detected by cDNA microarray and quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis and an increased macrophage accumulation within the plaque. Finally, lesion size correlated with the number of bone marrow monocytes. Conclusion-PTX3 has atheroprotective effects in mice, which, in light of the cardioprotective effects recently reported, suggests a cardiovascular protective function of the long pentraxin 3 through the modulation of the immunoinflammatory balance in the cardiovascular system. (Circulation. 2009;120:699-708.)
In the liver, insulin-mediated activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is at the core of metabolic control. Multiple PI3K and Akt isoenzymes are found in hepatocytes and whether isoform-selective interplays exist is currently unclear. Here we report that insulin signaling triggers the association of the liver specific class II PI3K isoform γ (PI3K-C2γ) with Rab5-GTP, and its recruitment to Rab5-positive early endosomes. In these vesicles, PI3K-C2γ produces a phosphatidylinositol-3,4-bisphosphate pool specifically required for delayed and sustained endosomal Akt2 stimulation. Accordingly, loss of PI3K-C2γ does not affect insulin-dependent Akt1 activation as well as S6K and FoxO1-3 phosphorylation, but selectively reduces Akt2 activation, which specifically inhibits glycogen synthase activity. As a consequence, PI3K-C2γ-deficient mice display severely reduced liver accumulation of glycogen and develop hyperlipidemia, adiposity as well as insulin resistance with age or after consumption of a high-fat diet. Our data indicate PI3K-C2γ supports an isoenzyme-specific forking of insulin-mediated signal transduction to an endosomal pool of Akt2, required for glucose homeostasis.
During infections or acute conditions high-density lipoproteins cholesterol (HDL-C) levels decrease very rapidly and HDL particles undergo profound changes in their composition and function. These changes are associated with poor prognosis following endotoxemia or sepsis and data from genetically modified animal models support a protective role for HDL. The same is true for some parasitic infections, where the key player appears to be a specific and minor component of HDL, namely apoL-1. The ability of HDL to influence cholesterol availability in lipid rafts in immune cells results in the modulation of toll-like receptors, MHC-II complex, as well as B- and T-cell receptors, while specific molecules shuttled by HDL such as sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) contribute to immune cells trafficking. Animal models with defects associated with HDL metabolism and/or influencing cell cholesterol efflux present features related to immune disorders. All these functions point to HDL as a platform integrating innate and adaptive immunity. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the connection between HDL and immunity in atherosclerosis and beyond.
The immune response requires major changes to metabolic processes, and indeed, energy metabolism and functional activation are fully integrated in immune cells to determine their ability to divide, differentiate, and carry out effector functions. Immune cell metabolism has therefore become an attractive target area for therapeutic purposes. A neglected aspect in the translation of immunometabolism is the critical connection between systemic and cellular metabolism. Here, we discuss the importance of understanding and manipulating the integration of systemic and immune cell metabolism through in-depth analysis of immune cell phenotype and function in human metabolic diseases and, in parallel, of the effects of conventional metabolic drugs on immune cell differentiation and function. We examine how the recent identification of selective metabolic programs operating in distinct immune cell subsets and functions has the potential to deliver tools for cell- and function-specific immunometabolic targeting.
Objective: The role of resistin in insulin sensitivity and obesity is controversial. Some authors suggest that increased serum resistin levels are associated with obesity, visceral fat, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and inflammation, while others failed to observe such correlations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship of plasma resistin levels with markers of the metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis in a large population-based study. Design and patients: Plasma resistin levels were determined in 1090 subjects free of any medication selected from the PLIC study (designed to verify the presence of atherosclerotic lesions and progression intimamedia thickness (IMT) in the common carotid artery in the general population) and related to the presence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular risk, and progression of IMT. Results: Plasma resistin levels were highly positively correlated with triglycerides, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, and ApoAI/ApoB ratio, while they were inversely correlated with high density lipoprotein and ApoAI levels. This finding was gender specific (mainly in women). Plasma resistin levels were significantly higher in women with the metabolic syndrome compared with controls (4.90 (0.24) ng/ml vs 3.90 (0.11) ng/ml; P!0.01), while no difference was observed in obese subjects. Finally, plasma resistin levels were significantly correlated with cardiovascular risk calculated according to the Framingham algorithm (P!0.01). Conclusion: Plasma resistin levels are increased in presence of the metabolic syndrome and are associated with increased cardiovascular risk.European Journal of Endocrinology 156 279-284
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