Steroid hormones mediate critical lineage-specific developmental and physiologic responses. They function by binding their cognate receptors, which are transcription factors that drive specific gene expression programs. The requirement of most prostate cancers for androgen and most breast cancers for estrogen has led to the development of endocrine therapies that block the action of these hormones in these tumors. While initial endocrine interventions are successful, resistance to therapy often arises. We will review how steroid receptor–dependent genomic signaling is affected by genetic alterations in endocrine therapy resistance. The detailed understanding of these interactions will not only provide improved treatment options to overcome resistance, but, in the future, will also be the basis for implementing precision cancer medicine approaches.
Anna C. Groner, Myles Brown
Following the first isolation of nuclear receptor (NR) genes, genetic disorders caused by NR gene mutations were initially discovered by a candidate gene approach based on their known roles in endocrine pathways and physiologic processes. Subsequently, the identification of disorders has been informed by phenotypes associated with gene disruption in animal models or by genetic linkage studies. More recently, whole exome sequencing has associated pathogenic genetic variants with unexpected, often multisystem, human phenotypes. To date, defects in 20 of 48 human NR genes have been associated with human disorders, with different mutations mediating phenotypes of varying severity or several distinct conditions being associated with different changes in the same gene. Studies of individuals with deleterious genetic variants can elucidate novel roles of human NRs, validating them as targets for drug development or providing new insights into structure-function relationships. Importantly, human genetic discoveries enable definitive disease diagnosis and can provide opportunities to therapeutically manage affected individuals. Here we review germline changes in human NR genes associated with “monogenic” conditions, including a discussion of the structural basis of mutations that cause distinctive changes in NR function and the molecular mechanisms mediating pathogenesis.
John C. Achermann, John Schwabe, Louise Fairall, Krishna Chatterjee
Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptors (PPARs) regulate energy metabolism and hence are therapeutic targets in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While they share anti-inflammatory activities, the PPAR isotypes distinguish themselves by differential actions on lipid and glucose homeostasis. In this Review we discuss the complementary and distinct metabolic effects of the PPAR isotypes together with the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms, as well as the synthetic PPAR ligands that are used in the clinic or under development. We highlight the potential of new PPAR ligands with improved efficacy and safety profiles in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders.
Vanessa Dubois, Jérôme Eeckhoute, Philippe Lefebvre, Bart Staels
Members of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-regulated transcription factors play important roles in reproduction, development, and physiology. In humans, genetic mutations in NRs are causes of rare diseases, while hormones and drugs that target NRs are in widespread therapeutic use. The present issue of the
Mitchell A. Lazar
Glucocorticoids (GCs; referred to clinically as corticosteroids) are steroid hormones with potent anti-inflammatory and immune modulatory profiles. Depending on the context, these hormones can also mediate pro-inflammatory activities, thereby serving as primers of the immune system. Their target receptor, the GC receptor (GR), is a multi-tasking transcription factor, changing its role and function depending on cellular and organismal needs. To get a clearer idea of how to improve the safety profile of GCs, recent studies have investigated the complex mechanisms underlying GR functions. One of the key findings includes both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles of GR, and a future challenge will be to understand how such paradoxical findings can be reconciled and how GR ultimately shifts the balance to a net anti-inflammatory profile. As such, there is consensus that GR deserves a second life as a drug target, with either refined classic GCs or a novel generation of nonsteroidal GR-targeting molecules, to meet the increasing clinical needs of today to treat inflammation and cancer.
Sofie J. Desmet, Karolien De Bosscher
The nuclear receptors PPARα (encoded by
Geoffrey A. Preidis, Kang Ho Kim, David D. Moore
The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is the single known regulatory mediator of hormonal 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] in higher vertebrates. It acts in the nucleus of vitamin D target cells to regulate the expression of genes whose products control diverse, cell type–specific biological functions that include mineral homeostasis. In this Review we describe progress that has been made in defining new cellular sites of action of this receptor, the mechanisms through which this mediator controls the expression of genes, the biology that ensues, and the translational impact of this receptor on human health and disease. We conclude with a brief discussion of what comes next in understanding vitamin D biology and the mechanisms that underlie its actions.
J. Wesley Pike, Mark B. Meyer, Seong-Min Lee, Melda Onal, Nancy A. Benkusky
Neural pathways, especially those in the hypothalamus, integrate multiple nutritional, hormonal, and neural signals, resulting in the coordinated control of body weight balance and glucose homeostasis. Nuclear receptors (NRs) sense changing levels of nutrients and hormones, and therefore play essential roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Understanding the role and the underlying mechanisms of NRs in the context of energy balance control may facilitate the identification of novel targets to treat obesity. Notably, NRs are abundantly expressed in the brain, and emerging evidence indicates that a number of these brain NRs regulate multiple aspects of energy balance, including feeding, energy expenditure and physical activity. In this Review we summarize some of the recent literature regarding effects of brain NRs on body weight regulation and discuss mechanisms underlying these effects.
Yong Xu, Bert W. O’Malley, Joel K. Elmquist
The adult heart is uniquely designed and equipped to provide a continuous supply of energy in the form of ATP to support persistent contractile function. This high-capacity energy transduction system is the result of a remarkable surge in mitochondrial biogenesis and maturation during the fetal-to-adult transition in cardiac development. Substantial evidence indicates that nuclear receptor signaling is integral to dynamic changes in the cardiac mitochondrial phenotype in response to developmental cues, in response to diverse postnatal physiologic conditions, and in disease states such as heart failure. A subset of cardiac-enriched nuclear receptors serve to match mitochondrial fuel preferences and capacity for ATP production with changing energy demands of the heart. In this Review, we describe the role of specific nuclear receptors and their coregulators in the dynamic control of mitochondrial biogenesis and energy metabolism in the normal and diseased heart.
Rick B. Vega, Daniel P. Kelly
Parasitic worms infect billions of people worldwide. Current treatments rely on a small group of drugs that have been used for decades. A shortcoming of these drugs is their inability to target the intractable infectious stage of the parasite. As well-known therapeutic targets in mammals, nuclear receptors have begun to be studied in parasitic worms, where they are widely distributed and play key roles in governing metabolic and developmental transcriptional networks. One such nuclear receptor is DAF-12, which is required for normal nematode development, including the all-important infectious stage. Here we review the emerging literature that implicates DAF-12 and potentially other nuclear receptors as novel anthelmintic targets.
Zhu Wang, Nathaniel E. Schaffer, Steven A. Kliewer, David J. Mangelsdorf
Chronic inflammation in adipose tissue, possibly related to adipose cell hypertrophy, hypoxia, and/or intestinal leakage of bacteria and their metabolic products, likely plays a critical role in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance (IR). Cells of both the innate and adaptive immune system residing in adipose tissues, as well as in the intestine, participate in this process. Thus, M1 macrophages, IFN-γ–secreting Th1 cells, CD8+ T cells, and B cells promote IR, in part through secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Conversely, eosinophils, Th2 T cells, type 2 innate lymphoid cells, and possibly Foxp3+ Tregs protect against IR through local control of inflammation.
Tracey McLaughlin, Shelley E. Ackerman, Lei Shen, Edgar Engleman
The finding of islet inflammation in type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its involvement in β cell dysfunction has further highlighted the significance of inflammation in metabolic diseases. The number of intra-islet macrophages is increased in T2D, and these cells are the main source of proinflammatory cytokines within islets. Multiple human studies of T2D have shown that targeting islet inflammation has the potential to be an effective therapeutic strategy. In this Review we provide an overview of the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which islet inflammation develops and causes β cell dysfunction. We also emphasize the regulation and roles of macrophage polarity shift within islets in the context of T2D pathology and β cell health, which may have broad translational implications for therapeutics aimed at improving islet function.
Kosei Eguchi, Ryozo Nagai
Over the last years, hypothalamic inflammation has been linked to the development and progression of obesity and its sequelae. There is accumulating evidence that this inflammation not only impairs energy balance but also contributes to obesity-associated insulin resistance. Elevated activation of key inflammatory mediators such as JNK and IκB kinase (IKK) occurs rapidly upon consumption of a high-fat diet, even prior to significant weight gain. This activation of hypothalamic inflammatory pathways results in the uncoupling of caloric intake and energy expenditure, fostering overeating and further weight gain. In addition, these inflammatory processes contribute to obesity-associated insulin resistance and deterioration of glucose metabolism via altered neurocircuit functions. An understanding of the contributions of different neuronal and non-neuronal cell types to hypothalamic inflammatory processes, and delineation of the differences and similarities between acute and chronic activation of these inflammatory pathways, will be critical for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Alexander Jais, Jens C. Brüning
Obesity and diabetes are associated with increased chronic low-grade inflammation and elevated plasma glucose levels. Although inflammation in the fat and liver are established features of obesity-associated insulin resistance, the intestine is emerging as a new site for immunologic changes that affect whole-body metabolism. Specifically, microbial and dietary factors incurred by diet-induced obesity influence underlying innate and adaptive responses of the intestinal immune system. These responses affect the maintenance of the intestinal barrier, systemic inflammation, and glucose metabolism. In this Review we propose that an understanding of the changes to the intestinal immune system, and how these changes influence systemic immunity and glucose metabolism in a whole-body integrative and a neuronal-dependent network, will unveil novel intestinal pathologic and therapeutic targets for diabetes and obesity.
Daniel A. Winer, Shawn Winer, Helen J. Dranse, Tony K.T. Lam
Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Under normal conditions, skeletal muscle is responsible for the majority of insulin-stimulated whole-body glucose disposal; thus, dysregulation of skeletal muscle metabolism can strongly influence whole-body glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Increasing evidence suggests that inflammation occurs in skeletal muscle in obesity and is mainly manifested by increased immune cell infiltration and proinflammatory activation in intermyocellular and perimuscular adipose tissue. By secreting proinflammatory molecules, immune cells may induce myocyte inflammation, adversely regulate myocyte metabolism, and contribute to insulin resistance via paracrine effects. Increased influx of fatty acids and inflammatory molecules from other tissues, particularly visceral adipose tissue, can also induce muscle inflammation and negatively regulate myocyte metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.
Huaizhu Wu, Christie M. Ballantyne
Chronic liver inflammation leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis, which is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. Hepatocyte steatosis is a component of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Hepatic steatosis may be benign or progress to hepatocyte injury and the initiation of inflammation, which activates immune cells. While Kupffer cells are the resident macrophage in the liver, inflammatory cells such as infiltrating macrophages, T lymphocytes, neutrophils, and DCs all contribute to liver inflammation. The inflammatory cells activate hepatic stellate cells, which are the major source of myofibroblasts in the liver. Here we review the initiation of inflammation in the liver, the liver inflammatory cells, and their crosstalk with myofibroblasts.
Yukinori Koyama, David A. Brenner
An understanding of the events that initiate metabolic inflammation (metainflammation) can support the identification of targets for preventing metabolic disease and its negative effects on health. There is ample evidence demonstrating that the initiating events in obesity-induced inflammation start early in childhood. This has significant implications on our understanding of how early life events in childhood influence adult disease. In this Review we frame the initiating events of metainflammation in the context of child development and discuss what this reveals about the mechanisms by which this unique form of chronic inflammation is initiated and sustained into adulthood.
Kanakadurga Singer, Carey N. Lumeng
There are three dominant contributors to the pathogenesis of dysfunctional adipose tissue (AT) in obesity: unresolved inflammation, inappropriate extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and insufficient angiogenic potential. The interactions of these processes during AT expansion reflect both a linear progression as well as feed-forward mechanisms. For example, both inflammation and inadequate angiogenic remodeling can drive fibrosis, which can in turn promote migration of immune cells into adipose depots and impede further angiogenesis. Therefore, the relationship between the members of this triad is complex but important for our understanding of the pathogenesis of obesity. Here we untangle some of these intricacies to highlight the contributions of inflammation, angiogenesis, and the ECM to both “healthy” and “unhealthy” AT expansion.
Clair Crewe, Yu Aaron An, Philipp E. Scherer
Obesity-related sub-acute chronic inflammation has been associated with incident type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is increasingly considered to be a pathologic mediator of these commonly co-occurring diseases. A growing number of preclinical and clinical studies support the inflammatory hypothesis, but clinical trials to confirm the therapeutic potential to target inflammation to treat or prevent cardiometabolic conditions are still ongoing. There are multiple inflammatory signaling pathways. Regulation is complex, with substantial crosstalk across these multiple pathways. The activity of select pathways may be differentially regulated in different tissues. Pharmacologic approaches to diabetes management may have direct or indirect antiinflammatory effects, the latter potentially attributable to an improved metabolic state. Conversely, some antiinflammatory approaches may affect glucose metabolism and cardiovascular health. To date, clinical trials suggest that targeting one portion of the inflammatory cascade may differentially affect dysglycemia and atherothrombosis. Understanding the underlying biological processes may contribute to the development of safe and effective therapies, although a single approach may not be sufficient for optimal management of both metabolic and athrothrombotic disease states.
Allison B. Goldfine, Steven E. Shoelson
There are currently over 1.9 billion people who are obese or overweight, leading to a rise in related health complications, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, and neurodegeneration. The finding that obesity and metabolic disorder are accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation has fundamentally changed our view of the underlying causes and progression of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that an inflammatory program is activated early in adipose expansion and during chronic obesity, permanently skewing the immune system to a proinflammatory phenotype, and we are beginning to delineate the reciprocal influence of obesity and inflammation. Reviews in this series examine the activation of the innate and adaptive immune system in obesity; inflammation within diabetic islets, brain, liver, gut, and muscle; the role of inflammation in fibrosis and angiogenesis; the factors that contribute to the initiation of inflammation; and therapeutic approaches to modulate inflammation in the context of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Alan R. Saltiel, Jerrold M. Olefsky
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