Publications by authors named "Johannes J Fels"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The counterregulatory response to hypoglycaemia in the pig.

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 2020 Oct 11;127(4):278-286. Epub 2020 May 11.

Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk A/S, Måløv, Denmark.

The domestic pig is commonly used as animal model in the pharmaceutical development of new therapeutics for treatment of diabetes. Since a formal definition of hypoglycaemia only exists in humans, the purpose of this study was to assess the counterregulatory response in the domestic pig at glucose levels known to induce symptoms of hypoglycaemia in humans. Six pigs were included in hyperinsulinaemic glucose clamps with plasma glucose targets of 2, 3 and 5 mmol/L in a cross-over design, and the associated glucose counterregulatory response was assessed by measuring glucose kinetics and levels of glucagon, c-peptide, catecholamines, cortisol and growth hormone. Results showed that the 2 and 3 vs 5 mmol/L clamps significantly decreased and increased the secretion of c-peptide and glucagon, respectively (P < .05). This finding was associated with increased rate of glucose appearance (R ) and decreased rate of glucose disappearance (R ) (P < .001). No marked differences in the catecholamine, growth hormone or cortisol response were observed. Consequently, like humans, pigs respond to hypoglycaemia by decreasing the pancreatic output of insulin while increasing that of glucagon, with increased glucose mobilization and decreased glucose disposal as a result. The hypoglycaemic clamps did not result in a marked secretion of the other counterregulatory hormones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcpt.13422DOI Listing
October 2020

Inner histopathologic changes and disproportionate zone volumes in foetal growth plates following gestational hypoglycaemia in rats.

Sci Rep 2020 03 27;10(1):5609. Epub 2020 Mar 27.

Lund University, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö and Skåne University Hospital, Department of Orthopedics, Malmö, Sweden.

Maternal hypoglycaemia throughout gestation until gestation day (GD)20 delays foetal growth and skeletal development. While partially prevented by return to normoglycaemia after completed organogenesis (GD17), underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the pathogenesis of these changes and significance of maternal hypoglycaemia extending beyond organogenesis in non-diabetic rats. Pregnant rats received insulin-infusion until GD20 or GD17, with sacrifice on GD20. Hypoglycaemia throughout gestation increased maternal corticosterone levels, which correlated with foetal levels. Growth plates displayed central histopathologic changes comprising disrupted cellular organisation, hypertrophic chondrocytes, and decreased cellular density; expression of pro-angiogenic factors, HIF-1α and VEGF-A increased in surrounding areas. Disproportionately decreased growth plate zone volumes and lower expression of the structural protein MATN-3 were seen, while bone ossification parameters were normal. Ending maternal/foetal hypoglycaemia on GD17 reduced incidence and severity of histopathologic changes and with normal growth plate volume. Compromised foetal skeletal development following maternal hypoglycaemia throughout gestation is hypothesised to result from corticosterone-induced hypoxia in growth plates, where hypoxia disrupts chondrocyte maturation and growth plate structure and volume, decreasing long bone growth. Maternal/foetal hypoglycaemia lasting only until GD17 attenuated these changes, suggesting a pivotal role of glucose in growth plate development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62554-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7101337PMC
March 2020

UCP1-independent glucose-lowering effect of leptin in type 1 diabetes: only in conditions of hypoleptinemia.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2020 01 19;318(1):E72-E86. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

The possibility to use leptin therapeutically for lowering glucose levels in patients with type 1 diabetes has attracted interest. However, earlier animal models of type 1 diabetes are severely catabolic with very low endogenous leptin levels, unlike most patients with diabetes. Here, we aim to test glucose-lowering effects of leptin in novel, more human-like murine models. We examined the glucose-lowering potential of leptin in diabetic models of two types: streptozotocin-treated mice and mice treated with the insulin receptor antagonist S961. To prevent hypoleptinemia, we used combinations of thermoneutral temperature and high-fat feeding. Leptin fully normalized hyperglycemia in standard chow-fed streptozotocin-treated diabetic mice. However, more humanized physiological conditions (high-fat diets or thermoneutral temperatures) that increased adiposity - and thus also leptin levels - in the diabetic mice abrogated the effects of leptin, i.e., the mice developed leptin resistance also in this respect. The glucose-lowering effect of leptin was not dependent on the presence of the uncoupling protein-1 and was not associated with alterations in plasma insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, food intake or corticosterone but fully correlated with decreased plasma glucagon levels and gluconeogenesis. An important implication of these observations is that the therapeutic potential of leptin as an additional treatment in patients with type 1 diabetes is probably limited. This is because such patients are treated with insulin and do not display low leptin levels. Thus, the potential for a glucose-lowering effect of leptin would already have been attained with standard insulin therapy, and further effects on blood glucose level through additional leptin cannot be anticipated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00253.2019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6985793PMC
January 2020

The Effect of Diet-induced Obesity on Toxicological Parameters in the Polygenic Sprague-Dawley Rat Model.

Toxicol Pathol 2018 10 22;46(7):777-798. Epub 2018 Oct 22.

1 Early Regulatory Toxicology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Måløv, Denmark.

The obese rodent serves as an indispensable tool for proof-of-concept efficacy and mode-of-action pharmacology studies. Yet the utility of this disease model as an adjunct to the conventional healthy animal in the nonclinical safety evaluation of anti-obesity pharmacotherapies has not been elucidated. Regulatory authorities have recommended employing disease models in toxicology studies when necessary. Our study investigated standard and exploratory toxicology parameters in the high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese, polygenic Sprague-Dawley rat model in comparison to chow diet (CD)-fed controls. We sought to establish feasibility of the model for safety testing and relevance to human obesity pathophysiology. We report that both sexes fed a 45% kcal HFD for 29 weeks developed obesity and metabolic derangements that mimics to a certain extent, common human obesity. Minor clinical pathologies were observed in both sexes and considered related to CD versus HFD differences. Histopathologically, both sexes exhibited mild obesity-associated findings in brown and subcutaneous white fat, bone, kidneys, liver, lung, pancreas, salivary parotid glands, and skeletal muscle. We conclude that chronic HFD feeding in both sexes led to the development of an obese but otherwise healthy rat. Therefore, the diet-induced obese Sprague-Dawley rat may serve as a suitable model for evaluating toxicity findings encountered with anti-obesity compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623318803557DOI Listing
October 2018

FGF21 decreases food intake and body weight in obese Göttingen minipigs.

Diabetes Obes Metab 2019 03 20;21(3):592-600. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Global Research, Måløv, Denmark.

Aims: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of FGF21 on food intake, body weight, body composition, glucose homeostasis, bone mineral density (BMD), cortisol and growth hormone (GH) in obese minipigs. The pig is a unique model for studying FGF21 pharmacology as it does not express UCP1, unlike mice and humans.

Methods: Twelve obese Göttingen minipigs with a mean body weight of 91.6 ± 6.7 kg (mean ± SD) received subcutaneously either vehicle (n = 6) or recombinant human FGF21 (n = 6) once daily for 14 weeks (0.1 mg/kg for 9.5 weeks and 0.3 mg/kg for 4.5 weeks).

Results: Treatment of obese minipigs with FGF21 led to a 50% reduction in food intake and a body weight loss of, on average, 18 kg compared to the vehicle group after 14 weeks of dosing. Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, evaluated by intravenous glucose tolerance test, were significantly improved in the FGF21 group compared to the vehicle group at the end of the study. The plasma cortisol profile was unaffected by FGF21, whereas a small decrease in peak GH values was observed in the FGF21-treated animals after 7 to 9.5 weeks of treatment compared to the vehicle group. Whole-body BMD was not affected by 13 weeks of FGF21 dosing.

Conclusion: Despite a lack of UCP-1 in obese minipigs, FGF21 treatment induced a significant weight loss, primarily a result of reduction in food intake, with no adverse effect on BMD or plasma cortisol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dom.13560DOI Listing
March 2019

Long-Acting Human Growth Hormone Analogue by Noncovalent Albumin Binding.

Bioconjug Chem 2018 09 31;29(9):3129-3143. Epub 2018 Aug 31.

Novo Nordisk A/S Global Research , DK-2760 Maaloev , Denmark.

The present work describes a series of human growth hormone (hGH) albumin binder conjugates with an extended in vivo half-life. A broad range of different conjugates were studied by varying the albumin binder structure and conjugation site. Conjugates were conveniently obtained by reductive alkylation or by alkylation to introduced cysteines using functionalized albumin-binding side chains. In vitro and in vivo profiling provided the basis for identification of position L101C in human growth hormone as the most optimal position for conjugation, where both a sufficient level of receptor binding and a suitably long half-life could yield a molecule with potential for a once-weekly dosing regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.8b00463DOI Listing
September 2018

NKX6.1 induced pluripotent stem cell reporter lines for isolation and analysis of functionally relevant neuronal and pancreas populations.

Stem Cell Res 2018 05 23;29:220-231. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

Department of Stem Cell Biology, Novo Nordisk A/S, DK-2760 Måløv, Denmark. Electronic address:

Recent studies have reported significant advances in the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to clinically relevant cell types such as the insulin producing beta-like cells and motor neurons. However, many of the current differentiation protocols lead to heterogeneous cell cultures containing cell types other than the targeted cell fate. Genetically modified human pluripotent stem cells reporting the expression of specific genes are of great value for differentiation protocol optimization and for the purification of relevant cell populations from heterogeneous cell cultures. Here we present the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines with a GFP reporter inserted in the endogenous NKX6.1 locus. Characterization of the reporter lines demonstrated faithful GFP labelling of NKX6.1 expression during pancreas and motor neuron differentiation. Cell sorting and gene expression profiling by RNA sequencing revealed that NKX6.1-positive cells from pancreatic differentiations closely resemble human beta cells. Furthermore, functional characterization of the isolated cells demonstrated that glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is mainly confined to the NKX6.1-positive cells. We expect that the NKX6.1-GFP iPSC lines and the results presented here will contribute to the further refinement of differentiation protocols and characterization of hPSC-derived beta cells and motor neurons for disease modelling and cell replacement therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2018.04.010DOI Listing
May 2018

In situ phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2 in rat mammary gland, colon, and liver following treatment with human insulin and IGF-1.

Toxicol Pathol 2011 Jun 10;39(4):623-40. Epub 2011 May 10.

Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

High doses of insulin and the insulin analog AspB10 have been reported to increase mammary tumor incidence in female rats likely via receptor-mediated mechanisms, possibly involving enhanced IGF-1 receptor activation. However, insulin and IGF-1 receptor functionality and intracellular signaling in the rat mammary gland in vivo is essentially unexplored. The authors investigated the effect of a single subcutaneous dose of 600 nmol/kg human insulin or IGF-1 on Akt and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in rat liver, colon, and mammary gland. Rat tissues were examined by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry by phosphorylation-specific antibodies. Insulin as well as IGF-1 caused Akt phosphorylation in mammary epithelial cells, with myoepithelial and basal epithelial cells being most sensitive. IGF-1 caused stronger Akt phosphorylation than insulin in mammary gland epithelial cells. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was not influenced by insulin or IGF-1. Rather, in liver and mammary gland P-ERK1/2 appeared to correlate with estrous cycling, supporting that ERK1/2 has important physiological roles in these two organs. In short, these findings supported that the rat mammary gland epithelium expresses functional insulin and IGF-1 receptors and that phosphorylation of Akt as well as ERK1/2 may be of value in understanding the effects of exogenous insulin in the rat mammary gland and colon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623311406936DOI Listing
June 2011