Publications by authors named "Yu Alice Chen"

7 Publications

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Systemic light-chain amyloidosis incidentally diagnosed after subtotal parathyroidectomy and thyroid lobectomy.

BMJ Case Rep 2021 Apr 19;14(4). Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA.

A 74-year-old woman with a history of primary hyperparathyroidism, thyroid nodules, atrial fibrillation and pacemaker placement for sick sinus syndrome presented with fatigue, constipation and persistent lower extremity oedema. She underwent subtotal parathyroidectomy and left thyroid lobectomy. Histopathology revealed amyloidosis affecting the thyroidand parathyroids confirmed by Congo Red Staining with Mayo Clinic subtyping of light chain kappa-type amyloidosis. She was found to have combined systolic and diastolic cardiac dysfunction, carpal tunnel neuropathy and pre-diabetes suggestive of systemic amyloidosis with involvement of the heart, nerves and pancreas. Congo red stain was positive for amyloidosis on bone marrow biopsy suggestive of a diagnosis of systemic amyloidosis. She was treated with daratumumab with good clinical response. This case illustrates the necessity of considering systemic amyloidosis in patients with incidentally discovered diffuse amyloid deposits on biopsy of an endocrine organ, as endocrine effects are a rare but likely underdiagnosed consequence of systemic amyloidosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2020-241282DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8057551PMC
April 2021

Non-homeostatic body weight regulation through a brainstem-restricted receptor for GDF15.

Nature 2017 10 27;550(7675):255-259. Epub 2017 Sep 27.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.

Under homeostatic conditions, animals use well-defined hypothalamic neural circuits to help maintain stable body weight, by integrating metabolic and hormonal signals from the periphery to balance food consumption and energy expenditure. In stressed or disease conditions, however, animals use alternative neuronal pathways to adapt to the metabolic challenges of altered energy demand. Recent studies have identified brain areas outside the hypothalamus that are activated under these 'non-homeostatic' conditions, but the molecular nature of the peripheral signals and brain-localized receptors that activate these circuits remains elusive. Here we identify glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor alpha-like (GFRAL) as a brainstem-restricted receptor for growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). GDF15 regulates food intake, energy expenditure and body weight in response to metabolic and toxin-induced stresses; we show that Gfral knockout mice are hyperphagic under stressed conditions and are resistant to chemotherapy-induced anorexia and body weight loss. GDF15 activates GFRAL-expressing neurons localized exclusively in the area postrema and nucleus tractus solitarius of the mouse brainstem. It then triggers the activation of neurons localized within the parabrachial nucleus and central amygdala, which constitute part of the 'emergency circuit' that shapes feeding responses to stressful conditions. GDF15 levels increase in response to tissue stress and injury, and elevated levels are associated with body weight loss in numerous chronic human diseases. By isolating GFRAL as the receptor for GDF15-induced anorexia and weight loss, we identify a mechanistic basis for the non-homeostatic regulation of neural circuitry by a peripheral signal associated with tissue damage and stress. These findings provide opportunities to develop therapeutic agents for the treatment of disorders with altered energy demand.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24042DOI Listing
October 2017

Characterization of a novel, brain-penetrating CB1 receptor inverse agonist: metabolic profile in diet-induced obese models and aspects of central activity.

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2011 Dec 25;384(6):565-81. Epub 2011 Sep 25.

Neuroscience Disease Area, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel, Switzerland.

Pharmacologic antagonism of cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1 receptors) in the central nervous system (CNS) suppresses food intake, promotes weight loss, and improves the metabolic profile. Since the CB1 receptor is expressed both in the CNS and in peripheral tissues, therapeutic value may be gained with CB1 receptor inverse agonists acting on receptors in both domains. The present report examines the metabolic and CNS actions of a novel CB1 receptor inverse agonist, compound 64, a 1,5,6-trisubstituted pyrazolopyrimidinone. Compound 64 showed similar or superior binding affinity, in vitro potency, and pharmacokinetic profile compared to rimonabant. Both compounds improved the metabolic profile in diet-induced obese (DIO) rats and obese cynomolgus monkeys. Weight loss tended to be greater in compound 64-treated DIO rats compared to pair-fed counterparts, suggesting that compound 64 may have metabolic effects beyond those elicited by weight loss alone. In the CNS, reversal of agonist-induced hypothermia and hypolocomotion indicated that compound 64 possessed an antagonist activity in vivo. Dosed alone, compound 64 suppressed extinction of conditioned freezing (10 mg/kg) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (30 mg/kg), consistent with previous reports for rimonabant, although for REM sleep, compound 64 was greater than threefold less potent than for metabolic effects. Together, these data suggested that (1) impairment of extinction learning and REM sleep suppression are classic, centrally mediated responses to CB1 receptor inverse agonists, and (2) some separation may be achievable between central and peripheral effects with brain-penetrating CB1 receptor inverse agonists while maintaining metabolic efficacy. Furthermore, chronic treatment with compound 64 contributes to evidence that peripheral CB1 receptor blockade may yield beneficial outcomes that exceed those elicited by weight loss alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00210-011-0686-yDOI Listing
December 2011

Oxysterols direct immune cell migration via EBI2.

Nature 2011 Jul 27;475(7357):524-7. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Euroscreen S.A., 6041 Gosselies, Belgium.

Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 2 (EBI2, also known as GPR183) is a G-protein-coupled receptor that is required for humoral immune responses; polymorphisms in the receptor have been associated with inflammatory autoimmune diseases. The natural ligand for EBI2 has been unknown. Here we describe the identification of 7α,25-dihydroxycholesterol (also called 7α,25-OHC or 5-cholesten-3β,7α,25-triol) as a potent and selective agonist of EBI2. Functional activation of human EBI2 by 7α,25-OHC and closely related oxysterols was verified by monitoring second messenger readouts and saturable, high-affinity radioligand binding. Furthermore, we find that 7α,25-OHC and closely related oxysterols act as chemoattractants for immune cells expressing EBI2 by directing cell migration in vitro and in vivo. A critical enzyme required for the generation of 7α,25-OHC is cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H). Similar to EBI2 receptor knockout mice, mice deficient in CH25H fail to position activated B cells within the spleen to the outer follicle and mount a reduced plasma cell response after an immune challenge. This demonstrates that CH25H generates EBI2 biological activity in vivo and indicates that the EBI2-oxysterol signalling pathway has an important role in the adaptive immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4297623PMC
July 2011

Identification and characterization of a small molecule antagonist of human VPAC(2) receptor.

Mol Pharmacol 2010 Jan 23;77(1):95-101. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

GPCR Platform, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, California, USA.

The neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) and their class II G protein-coupled receptors VPAC(1), VPAC(2), and PAC(1) play important roles in human physiology. No small molecule modulator has ever been reported for the VIP/PACAP receptors, and there is a lack of specific VPAC(2) antagonists. Via high-throughput screening of 1.67 million compounds, we discovered a single small molecule antagonist of human VPAC(2), compound 1. Compound 1 inhibits VPAC(2)-mediated cAMP accumulation with an IC(50) of 3.8 microM and the ligand-activated beta-arrestin2 binding with an IC(50) of 2.3 microM. Compound 1 acts noncompetitively in Schild analysis. It is a specific VPAC(2) antagonist with no detectable agonist or antagonist activities on VPAC(1) or PAC(1). Compound 2, a close structural analog of compound 1, was also found to be weakly active. To our surprise, compound 1 is completely inactive on the closely related mouse VPAC(2). Chimera experiments indicate that compounds 1 and 2 bind to the seven transmembrane (7TM) region of the receptor as opposed to the N-terminal extracellular domain, where the natural ligand binds. Compound 1, being the first small molecular antagonist that is specific for VPAC(2), and the only VPAC(2) antagonist molecule known to date that allosterically interacts with the 7TM region, will be a valuable tool in further study of VPAC(2) and related receptors. This study also highlights the opportunities and challenges facing small molecule drug discovery for class II peptide G protein-coupled receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.109.060137DOI Listing
January 2010

Lipid G protein-coupled receptor ligand identification using beta-arrestin PathHunter assay.

J Biol Chem 2009 May 13;284(18):12328-38. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

GPCR Platform, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, California 92121, USA.

A growing number of orphan G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been reported to be activated by lipid ligands, such as lysophosphatidic acid, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), and cannabinoids, for which there are already well established receptors. These new ligand claims are controversial due to either lack of independent confirmations or conflicting reports. We used the beta-arrestin PathHunter assay system, a newly developed, generic GPCR assay format that measures beta-arrestin binding to GPCRs, to evaluate lipid receptor and ligand pairing. This assay eliminates interference from endogenous receptors on the parental cells because it measures a signal that is specifically generated by the tagged receptor and is immediately downstream of receptor activation. We screened a large number of newly "deorphaned" receptors (GPR23, GPR92, GPR55, G2A, GPR18, GPR3, GPR6, GPR12, and GPR63) and control receptors against a collection of approximately 400 lipid molecules to try to identify the receptor ligand in an unbiased fashion. GPR92 was confirmed to be a lysophosphatidic acid receptor with weaker responses to farnesyl pyrophosphate and geranylgeranyl diphosphate. The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 responded strongly to AM251, rimonabant, and lysophosphatidylinositol but only very weakly to endocannabinoids. G2A receptor was confirmed to be an oxidized free fatty acid receptor. In addition, we discovered that 3,3'-diindolylmethane, a dietary molecule from cruciferous vegetables, which has known anti-cancer properties, to be a CB(2) receptor partial agonist, with binding affinity around 1 microm. The anti-inflammatory effect of 3,3'-diindolylmethane in RAW264.7 cells was shown to be partially mediated by CB(2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M806516200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673301PMC
May 2009