• Cronjé, Héléne T, Michael Y Mi, Thomas R Austin, Mary L Biggs, David S Siscovick, Rozenn N Lemaitre, Bruce M Psaty, et al. (2023) 2023. “Plasma Proteomic Risk Markers of Incident Type 2 Diabetes Reflect Physiologically Distinct Components of Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis”. Diabetes 72 (5): 666-73.

    UNLABELLED: High-throughput proteomics allows researchers to simultaneously explore the roles of thousands of biomarkers in the pathophysiology of diabetes. We conducted proteomic association studies of incident type 2 diabetes and physiologic responses to an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) to identify novel protein contributors to glucose homeostasis and diabetes risk. We tested 4,776 SomaScan proteins measured in relation to 18-year incident diabetes risk in participants from the Cardiovascular Health Study (N = 2,631) and IVGTT-derived measures in participants from the HERITAGE Family Study (N = 752). We characterize 51 proteins that were associated with longitudinal diabetes risk, using their respective 39, 9, and 8 concurrent associations with insulin sensitivity index (SI), acute insulin response to glucose (AIRG), and glucose effectiveness (SG). Twelve of the 51 diabetes associations appear to be novel, including β-glucuronidase, which was associated with increased diabetes risk and lower SG, suggesting an alternative pathway to insulin for glucose disposal; and plexin-B2, which also was associated with increased diabetes risk, but with lower AIRG, and not with SI, indicating a mechanism related instead to pancreatic dysfunction. Other novel protein associations included alcohol dehydrogenase-1C, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase-B, sorbitol dehydrogenase with elevated type 2 diabetes risk, and a leucine-rich repeat containing protein-15 and myocilin with decreased risk.

    ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS: Plasma proteins are associated with the risk of incident diabetes in older adults independent of various demographic, lifestyle, and biochemical risk factors. These same proteins are associated with subtle differences in measures of glucose homeostasis earlier in life. Proteins that are associated with lower insulin sensitivity in individuals without diabetes tend to be associated with appropriate compensatory mechanisms, such as a stronger acute insulin response or higher glucose effectiveness. Proteins that are associated with future diabetes risk, but not with insulin insensitivity, tend to be associated with lower glucose effectiveness and/or impaired acute insulin response.

  • Wieder, Nicolas, Juliana Coraor Fried, Choah Kim, Eriene-Heidi Sidhom, Matthew R Brown, Jamie L Marshall, Carlos Arevalo, et al. (2023) 2023. “FALCON Systematically Interrogates Free Fatty Acid Biology and Identifies a Novel Mediator of Lipotoxicity”. Cell Metabolism 35 (5): 887-905.e11.

    Cellular exposure to free fatty acids (FFAs) is implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated diseases. However, there are no scalable approaches to comprehensively assess the diverse FFAs circulating in human plasma. Furthermore, assessing how FFA-mediated processes interact with genetic risk for disease remains elusive. Here, we report the design and implementation of fatty acid library for comprehensive ontologies (FALCON), an unbiased, scalable, and multimodal interrogation of 61 structurally diverse FFAs. We identified a subset of lipotoxic monounsaturated fatty acids associated with decreased membrane fluidity. Furthermore, we prioritized genes that reflect the combined effects of harmful FFA exposure and genetic risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). We found that c-MAF-inducing protein (CMIP) protects cells from FFA exposure by modulating Akt signaling. In sum, FALCON empowers the study of fundamental FFA biology and offers an integrative approach to identify much needed targets for diverse diseases associated with disordered FFA metabolism.

  • Poganik, Jesse R, Bohan Zhang, Gurpreet S Baht, Alexander Tyshkovskiy, Amy Deik, Csaba Kerepesi, Sun Hee Yim, et al. (2023) 2023. “Biological Age Is Increased by Stress and Restored Upon Recovery”. Cell Metabolism 35 (5): 807-820.e5.

    Aging is classically conceptualized as an ever-increasing trajectory of damage accumulation and loss of function, leading to increases in morbidity and mortality. However, recent in vitro studies have raised the possibility of age reversal. Here, we report that biological age is fluid and exhibits rapid changes in both directions. At epigenetic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic levels, we find that the biological age of young mice is increased by heterochronic parabiosis and restored following surgical detachment. We also identify transient changes in biological age during major surgery, pregnancy, and severe COVID-19 in humans and/or mice. Together, these data show that biological age undergoes a rapid increase in response to diverse forms of stress, which is reversed following recovery from stress. Our study uncovers a new layer of aging dynamics that should be considered in future studies. The elevation of biological age by stress may be a quantifiable and actionable target for future interventions.

  • Ardiansyah, Edwin, Julian Avila-Pacheco, Le Thanh Hoang Nhat, Sofiati Dian, Dao Nguyen Vinh, Hoang Thanh Hai, Kevin Bullock, et al. (2023) 2023. “Tryptophan Metabolism Determines Outcome in Tuberculous Meningitis: A Targeted Metabolomic Analysis”. ELife 12.

    BACKGROUND: Cellular metabolism is critical for the host immune function against pathogens, and metabolomic analysis may help understand the characteristic immunopathology of tuberculosis. We performed targeted metabolomic analyses in a large cohort of patients with tuberculous meningitis (TBM), the most severe manifestation of tuberculosis, focusing on tryptophan metabolism.

    METHODS: We studied 1069 Indonesian and Vietnamese adults with TBM (26.6% HIV-positive), 54 non-infectious controls, 50 with bacterial meningitis, and 60 with cryptococcal meningitis. Tryptophan and downstream metabolites were measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma using targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Individual metabolite levels were associated with survival, clinical parameters, CSF bacterial load and 92 CSF inflammatory proteins.

    RESULTS: CSF tryptophan was associated with 60-day mortality from TBM (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10-1.24, for each doubling in CSF tryptophan) both in HIV-negative and -positive patients. CSF tryptophan concentrations did not correlate with CSF bacterial load nor CSF inflammation but were negatively correlated with CSF interferon-gamma concentrations. Unlike tryptophan, CSF concentrations of an intercorrelating cluster of downstream kynurenine metabolites did not predict mortality. These CSF kynurenine metabolites did however correlate with CSF inflammation and markers of blood-CSF leakage, and plasma kynurenine predicted death (HR 1.54, 95% CI = 1.22-1.93). These findings were mostly specific for TBM, although high CSF tryptophan was also associated with mortality from cryptococcal meningitis.

    CONCLUSIONS: TBM patients with a high baseline CSF tryptophan or high systemic (plasma) kynurenine are at increased risk of death. These findings may reveal new targets for host-directed therapy.

    FUNDING: This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (R01AI145781) and the Wellcome Trust (110179/Z/15/Z and 206724/Z/17/Z).