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Special Issue "Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Manfredi Rizzo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dr. Anca Pantea Stoian
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases Department, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 8 Eroii Sanitari Str., 050474 Bucharest, Romania
Interests: diabetes; nutrition; metabolic diseases; chronic kidney disease
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ali Abbas Rizvi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Lipids, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
Interests: metabolic syndrome; diabetes; cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The metabolic syndrome (MetS) consists of a cluster of metabolic abnormalities including central obesity, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, hypertension, and atherogenic dyslipidemia. It is rapidly emerging as a global health problem that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Early recognition using clinical parameters and inflammatory markers is imperative in order to reduce morbidity and possibly mortality attributable to the syndrome. A number of susceptibility genes have been identified that are thought to play a role in the genetic etiology of MetS, thus paving the way to new molecular insights. Knowledge of the etiopathogenic pathways could facilitate novel therapeutic approaches to treating MetS. The link between MetS and diabetes and its complications, cardiovascular disease, and nephropathy is a newly developing paradigm with the central point being early atherosclerosis and endovascular inflammation. This Special Issue aims to provide an update on the latest research in MetS, shedding light on emerging markers unravelling molecular mechanisms and innovative remedies to be utilized in concert with lifestyle  modifications.

Prof. Dr. Manfredi Rizzo
Prof. Dr. Anca Pantea Stoian
Prof. Dr. Ali Abbas Rizvi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • metabolic syndrome
  • risk factors
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • dyslipidemia
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • insulin resistance
  • renal kidney disease
  • inflammation markers
  • molecular mechanism
  • oxidative stress
  • therapy
  • lifestyle

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Male and Female Animals Respond Differently to High-Fat Diet and Regular Exercise Training in a Mouse Model of Hyperlipidemia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 4198; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22084198 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Inappropriate nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, one of the most common risk factors for several chronic diseases. Although regular physical exercise is an efficient approach to improve cardiometabolic health, the exact cellular processes are still not fully understood. We [...] Read more.
Inappropriate nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, one of the most common risk factors for several chronic diseases. Although regular physical exercise is an efficient approach to improve cardiometabolic health, the exact cellular processes are still not fully understood. We aimed to analyze the morphological, gene expression, and lipidomic patterns in the liver and adipose tissues in response to regular exercise. Healthy (wild type on a normal diet) and hyperlipidemic, high-fat diet-fed (HFD-fed) apolipoprotein B-100 (APOB-100)-overexpressing mice were trained by treadmill running for 7 months. The serum concentrations of triglyceride and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), as well as the level of lipid accumulation in the liver, were significantly higher in HFD-fed APOB-100 males compared to females. However, regular exercise almost completely abolished lipid accumulation in the liver of hyperlipidemic animals. The expression level of the thermogenesis marker, uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1), was significantly higher in the subcutaneous white adipose tissue of healthy females, as well as in the brown adipose tissue of HFD-fed APOB-100 females, compared to males. Lipidomic analyses revealed that hyperlipidemia essentially remodeled the lipidome of brown adipose tissue, affecting both the membrane and storage lipid fractions, which was partially restored by exercise in both sexes. Our results revealed more severe metabolic disturbances in HFD-fed APOB-100 males compared to females. However, exercise efficiently reduced the body weight, serum triglyceride levels, expression of pro-inflammatory factors, and hepatic lipid accumulation in our model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Article
Postnatal Catch-Up Growth Programs Telomere Dynamics and Glucose Intolerance in Low Birth Weight Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3657; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22073657 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Low birth weight and rapid postnatal weight gain are independent predictors of obesity and diabetes in adult life, yet the molecular events involved in this process remain unknown. In inbred and outbred mice, this study examines natural intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) in relation [...] Read more.
Low birth weight and rapid postnatal weight gain are independent predictors of obesity and diabetes in adult life, yet the molecular events involved in this process remain unknown. In inbred and outbred mice, this study examines natural intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) in relation to body weight, telomere length (TL), glucose tolerance, and growth factor gene (Igf1, Igf2, Insr, Igf1r, and Igf2r) mRNA expression levels in the brain, liver, and muscle at 2- and 10 days of age and then at 3- and 9 months of age. At birth, ~15% of the animals showed IUGR, but by 3 and 9 months, half of these animals had regained the same weight as controls without IUGR (recuperated group). At 10 days, there was no difference in TL between animals undergoing IUGR and controls. However, by 3 and 9 months of age, the recuperated animals had shorter TL than the control and IUGR-non recuperated animals and also showed glucose intolerance. Further, compared to controls, Igf1 and Igf2 growth factor mRNA expression was lower in Day 2-IUGR mice, while Igf2r and Insr mRNA expression was higher in D10-IUGR animals. Moreover, at 3 months of age, only in the recuperated group were brain and liver Igf1, Igf2, Insr, and Igf2r expression levels higher than in the control and IUGR-non-recuperated groups. These data indicate that catch-up growth but not IUGR per se affects TL and glucose tolerance, and suggest a role in this latter process of insulin/insulin-like growth signaling pathway gene expression during early development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Article
Chronic Effects of a High Sucrose Diet on Murine Gastrointestinal Nutrient Sensor Gene and Protein Expression Levels and Lipid Metabolism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010137 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1239
Abstract
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) plays a key role in regulating nutrient metabolism and appetite responses. This study aimed to identify changes in the GIT that are important in the development of diet related obesity and diabetes. GIT samples were obtained from C57BL/6J male [...] Read more.
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) plays a key role in regulating nutrient metabolism and appetite responses. This study aimed to identify changes in the GIT that are important in the development of diet related obesity and diabetes. GIT samples were obtained from C57BL/6J male mice chronically fed a control diet or a high sucrose diet (HSD) and analysed for changes in gene, protein and metabolite levels. In HSD mice, GIT expression levels of fat oxidation genes were reduced, and increased de novo lipogenesis was evident in ileum. Gene expression levels of the putative sugar sensor, slc5a4a and slc5a4b, and fat sensor, cd36, were downregulated in the small intestines of HSD mice. In HSD mice, there was also evidence of bacterial overgrowth and a lipopolysaccharide activated inflammatory pathway involving inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In Caco-2 cells, sucrose significantly increased the expression levels of the nos2, iNOS and nitric oxide (NO) gas levels. In conclusion, sucrose fed induced obesity/diabetes is associated with changes in GI macronutrient sensing, appetite regulation and nutrient metabolism and intestinal microflora. These may be important drivers, and thus therapeutic targets, of diet-related metabolic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review

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Review
Reconnoitering the Role of Long-Noncoding RNAs in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Descriptive Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9378; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22179378 - 29 Aug 2021
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of hereditary cardiomyopathy. It is characterized by an unexplained non-dilated hypertrophy of the left ventricle with a conserved or elevated ejection fraction. It is a genetically heterogeneous disease largely caused by variants of genes encoding [...] Read more.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of hereditary cardiomyopathy. It is characterized by an unexplained non-dilated hypertrophy of the left ventricle with a conserved or elevated ejection fraction. It is a genetically heterogeneous disease largely caused by variants of genes encoding for cardiac sarcomere proteins, including MYH7, MYBPC3, ACTC1, TPM1, MYL2, MYL3, TNNI3, and TNNT23. Preclinical evidence indicates that the enhanced calcium sensitivity of the myofilaments plays a key role in the pathophysiology of HCM. Notably, this is not always a direct consequence of sarcomeric variations but may also result from secondary mutation-driven alterations. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a large class of transcripts ≥200 nucleotides in length that do not encode proteins. Compared to coding mRNAs, most lncRNAs are not as well-annotated and their functions are greatly unexplored. Nevertheless, increasing evidence shows that lncRNAs are involved in a variety of biological processes and diseases including HCM. Accumulating evidence has indicated that lncRNAs are dysregulated in HCM, and closely related to sarcomere construction, calcium channeling and homeostasis of mitochondria. In this review, we have summarized the known regulatory and functional roles of lncRNAs in HCM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review
Exploring the Role of Skeletal Muscle in Insulin Resistance: Lessons from Cultured Cells to Animal Models
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9327; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22179327 - 28 Aug 2021
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Skeletal muscle is essential to maintain vital functions such as movement, breathing, and thermogenesis, and it is now recognized as an endocrine organ. Muscles release factors named myokines, which can regulate several physiological processes. Moreover, skeletal muscle is particularly important in maintaining body [...] Read more.
Skeletal muscle is essential to maintain vital functions such as movement, breathing, and thermogenesis, and it is now recognized as an endocrine organ. Muscles release factors named myokines, which can regulate several physiological processes. Moreover, skeletal muscle is particularly important in maintaining body homeostasis, since it is responsible for more than 75% of all insulin-mediated glucose disposal. Alterations of skeletal muscle differentiation and function, with subsequent dysfunctional expression and secretion of myokines, play a key role in the pathogenesis of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases, finally leading to cardiometabolic complications. Hence, a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle function related to energy metabolism is critical for novel strategies to treat and prevent insulin resistance and its cardiometabolic complications. This review will be focused on both cellular and animal models currently available for exploring skeletal muscle metabolism and endocrine function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review
The Role of Glycemic Variability in Cardiovascular Disorders
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 8393; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22168393 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common and costly disorders that affect humans around the world. Recently, clinicians and scientists have focused their studies on the effects of glycemic variability (GV), which is especially associated with cardiovascular diseases. In healthy subjects, [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common and costly disorders that affect humans around the world. Recently, clinicians and scientists have focused their studies on the effects of glycemic variability (GV), which is especially associated with cardiovascular diseases. In healthy subjects, glycemia is a very stable parameter, while in poorly controlled DM patients, it oscillates greatly throughout the day and between days. Clinically, GV could be measured by different parameters, but there are no guidelines on standardized assessment. Nonetheless, DM patients with high GV experience worse cardiovascular disease outcomes. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that high GV causes several detrimental effects, such as increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis linked to endothelial dysfunction. However, the evidence that treating GV is beneficial is still scanty. Clinical trials aiming to improve the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of GV measurements correlated with cardiovascular outcomes are needed. The present review aims to evaluate the clinical link between high GV and cardiovascular diseases, taking into account the underlined biological mechanisms. A clear view of this challenge may be useful to standardize the clinical evaluation and to better identify treatments and strategies to counteract this DM aspect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review
The Evolving Role of Fetuin-A in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: An Overview from Liver to the Heart
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6627; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22126627 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is strongly associated to the features of metabolic syndrome which can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the most common cause of mortality in people with NAFLD is not liver-related but stems from atherosclerotic cardiovascular [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is strongly associated to the features of metabolic syndrome which can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the most common cause of mortality in people with NAFLD is not liver-related but stems from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). The prevalence of NAFLD is on the rise, mainly as a consequence of its close association with two major worldwide epidemics, obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The exact pathogenesis of NAFLD and especially the mechanisms leading to disease progression and CVD have not been completely elucidated. Human fetuin-A (alpha-2-Heremans Schmid glycoprotein), a glycoprotein produced by the liver and abundantly secreted into the circulation appears to play a role in insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and inflammation. This review discusses the links between NAFLD and CVD by specifically focusing on fetuin-A’s function in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and atherosclerotic CVD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review
Epigenetics, microRNA and Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 5047; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22095047 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Epigenetics refers to the DNA chemistry changes that result in the modification of gene transcription and translation independently of the underlying DNA coding sequence. Epigenetic modifications are reported to involve various molecular mechanisms, including classical epigenetic changes affecting DNA methylation and histone modifications [...] Read more.
Epigenetics refers to the DNA chemistry changes that result in the modification of gene transcription and translation independently of the underlying DNA coding sequence. Epigenetic modifications are reported to involve various molecular mechanisms, including classical epigenetic changes affecting DNA methylation and histone modifications and small RNA-mediated processes, particularly that of microRNAs. Epigenetic changes are reversible and are closely interconnected. They are recognised to play a critical role as mediators of gene regulation, and any alteration in these mechanisms has been identified to mediate various pathophysiological conditions. Moreover, genetic predisposition and environmental factors, including dietary alterations, lifestyle or metabolic status, are identified to interact with the human epigenome, highlighting the importance of epigenetic factors as underlying processes in the aetiology of various diseases such as MetS. This review will reflect on how both the classical and microRNA-regulated epigenetic changes are associated with the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome. We will then focus on the various aspects of epigenetic-based strategies used to modify MetS outcomes, including epigenetic diet, epigenetic drugs, epigenome editing tools and miRNA-based therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
Review
Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease: How Far Are We from Personalized CVD Risk Prediction and Management?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 4182; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22084182 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 798
Abstract
Despite the rapid progress in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this disease remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity. Recent progress over the last two decades in the field of molecular genetics, especially with new tools such as genome-wide association [...] Read more.
Despite the rapid progress in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this disease remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity. Recent progress over the last two decades in the field of molecular genetics, especially with new tools such as genome-wide association studies, has helped to identify new genes and their variants, which can be used for calculations of risk, prediction of treatment efficacy, or detection of subjects prone to drug side effects. Although the use of genetic risk scores further improves CVD prediction, the significance is not unambiguous, and some subjects at risk remain undetected. Further research directions should focus on the “second level” of genetic information, namely, regulatory molecules (miRNAs) and epigenetic changes, predominantly DNA methylation and gene-environment interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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Review
Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 and Taste Perception: From Molecular Mechanisms to Potential Clinical Implications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020902 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 730
Abstract
Preclinical studies provided some important insights into the action of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in taste perception. This review examines the literature to uncover some molecular mechanisms and connections between GLP-1 and the gustatory coding. Local GLP-1 production in the taste bud cells, [...] Read more.
Preclinical studies provided some important insights into the action of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in taste perception. This review examines the literature to uncover some molecular mechanisms and connections between GLP-1 and the gustatory coding. Local GLP-1 production in the taste bud cells, the expression of GLP-1 receptor on the adjacent nerves, a functional continuum in the perception of sweet chemicals from the gut to the tongue and an identification of GLP-1 induced signaling pathways in peripheral and central gustatory coding all strongly suggest that GLP-1 is involved in the taste perception, especially sweet. However, the impact of GLP-1 based therapies on gustatory coding in humans remains largely unaddressed. Based on the molecular background we encourage further exploration of the tongue as a new treatment target for GLP-1 receptor agonists in clinical studies. Given that pharmacological manipulation of gustatory coding may represent a new potential strategy against obesity and diabetes, the topic is of utmost clinical relevance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Novel Therapies)
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