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Open access

Ryun S Ahn, Jee H Choi, Bum C Choi, Jung H Kim, Sung H Lee, and Simon S Sung

Cortisol concentration in both serum and saliva sharply increases and reaches a peak within the first hour after waking in the morning. This phenomenon is known as the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and is used as an index of hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function. We examined whether ovarian steroid concentrations increased after awakening as with the CAR in the HPA axis. To do this, cortisol, estradiol-17β (E2), and progesterone (P4) concentrations were determined in saliva samples collected immediately upon awakening and 30 and 60 min after awakening in women with regular menstrual cycles and postmenopausal women. We found that both E2 and P4 concentrations increased during the post-awakening period in women with regular menstrual cycles, but these phenomena were not seen in any postmenopausal women. The area under the E2 and P4 curve from the time interval immediately after awakening to 60 min after awakening (i.e. E2auc and P4auc) in women with regular menstrual cycles were greater than those in the postmenopausal women. E2 and P4 secretory activity during the post-awakening period was influenced by the phase of the menstrual cycle. E2auc in the peri-ovulatory phase and P4auc in the early to mid-luteal phase were greater than in the menstrual phase. Meanwhile, cortisol secretory activity during the post-awakening period was not influenced by menstrual status or the phase of menstrual cycle. These findings indicate that, as with the CAR in the HPA axis function, ovarian steroidogenic activity increased after awakening and is closely associated with menstrual status and phase of menstrual cycle.

Open access

Shuang-Xia Zhao, Shanli Tsui, Anthony Cheung, Raymond S Douglas, Terry J Smith, and J Paul Banga

The TSH receptor (TSHR) is the critical target for antibody production in Graves' disease (GD). Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) has been proposed as a second autoantigen in complications of GD such as orbitopathy. We attempted to induce orbital tissue remodeling in mice undergoing immunizations with plasmids encoding TSHR and IGF1R delivered by in vivo skeletal muscle electroporation, a procedure known to give a sustained, long-term antibody response. Female BALB/c mice were challenged with TSHR A-subunit or IGF1Rα subunit plasmid by injection and electroporation. Mice challenged with TSHR A-subunit plasmid resulted in high frequency (75%) of hyperthyroidism and thyroid-stimulating antibodies. But strikingly, immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid also elicited antibody to IGF1Rα subunit. Mice challenged in the same manner with IGF1Rα subunit plasmid produced strong antibody responses to IGF1R, but did not undergo any changes in phenotype. Simultaneous challenge by double antigen immunization with the two plasmids in distant anatomical sites reduced the incidence of hyperthyroidism, potentially as a consequence of antigenic competition. Thyroid glands from the TSHR A-subunit plasmid-challenged group were enlarged with patchy microscopic infiltrates. Histological analysis of the orbital tissues demonstrated moderate connective tissue fibrosis and deposition of Masson's trichrome staining material. Our findings imply that immunization with TSHR A-subunit plasmid leads to generation of IGF1R antibodies, which together with thyroid-stimulating antibodies may precipitate remodeling of orbital tissue, raising our understanding of its close association with GD.

Open access

M E Cleasby, Q Lau, E Polkinghorne, S A Patel, S J Leslie, N Turner, G J Cooney, A Xu, and E W Kraegen

APPL1 is an adaptor protein that binds to both AKT and adiponectin receptors and is hypothesised to mediate the effects of adiponectin in activating downstream effectors such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We aimed to establish whether APPL1 plays a physiological role in mediating glycogen accumulation and insulin sensitivity in muscle and the signalling pathways involved. In vivo electrotransfer of cDNA- and shRNA-expressing constructs was used to over-express or silence APPL1 for 1 week in single tibialis cranialis muscles of rats. Resulting changes in glucose and lipid metabolism and signalling pathway activation were investigated under basal conditions and in high-fat diet (HFD)- or chow-fed rats under hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp conditions. APPL1 over-expression (OE) caused an increase in glycogen storage and insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis in muscle, accompanied by a modest increase in glucose uptake. Glycogen synthesis during the clamp was reduced by HFD but normalised by APPL1 OE. These effects are likely explained by APPL1 OE-induced increase in basal and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS1, AKT, GSK3β and TBC1D4. On the contrary, APPL1 OE, such as HFD, reduced AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation and PPARγ coactivator-1α and uncoupling protein 3 expression. Furthermore, APPL1 silencing caused complementary changes in glycogen storage and phosphorylation of AMPK and PI3-kinase pathway intermediates. Thus, APPL1 may provide a means for crosstalk between adiponectin and insulin signalling pathways, mediating the insulin-sensitising effects of adiponectin on muscle glucose disposal. These effects do not appear to require AMPK. Activation of signalling mediated via APPL1 may be beneficial in overcoming muscle insulin resistance.

Open access

Karen Piper Hanley, Tom Hearn, Andrew Berry, Melanie J Carvell, Ann-Marie Patch, Louise J Williams, Sarah A Sugden, David I Wilson, Sian Ellard, and Neil A Hanley

Neurogenin 3 (NGN3) commits pancreatic progenitors to an islet cell fate. We have induced NGN3 expression and identified upregulation of the gene encoding the Ras-associated small molecular mass GTP-binding protein, RAB3B. RAB3B localised to the cytoplasm of human β-cells, both during the foetal period and post natally. Genes encoding alternative RAB3 proteins and RAB27A were unaltered by NGN3 expression and in human adult islets their transcripts were many fold less prevalent than those of RAB3B. The regulation of insulin exocytosis in rodent β-cells and responsiveness to incretins are reliant on Rab family members, notably Rab3a and Rab27a, but not Rab3b. Our results support an important inter-species difference in regulating insulin exocytosis where RAB3B is the most expressed isoform in human islets.

Open access

Ryoko Yamamoto, Tomoko Minamizaki, Yuji Yoshiko, Hirotaka Yoshioka, Kazuo Tanne, Jane E Aubin, and Norihiko Maeda

Osteoblasts/osteocytes are the principle sources of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a phosphaturic hormone, but the regulation of FGF23 expression during osteoblast development remains uncertain. Because 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) may act as potent activators of FGF23 expression, we estimated how these molecules regulate FGF23 expression during rat osteoblast development in vitro. 1,25(OH)2D3-dependent FGF23 production was restricted largely to mature cells in correlation with increased vitamin D receptor (VDR) mRNA levels, in particular, when Pi was present. Pi alone and more so in combination with 1,25(OH)2D3 increased FGF23 production and VDR mRNA expression. Parathyroid hormone, stanniocalcin 1, prostaglandin E2, FGF2, and foscarnet did not increase FGF23 mRNA expression. Thus, these results suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 may exert its largest effect on FGF23 expression/production when exposed to high levels of extracellular Pi in osteoblasts/osteocytes.

Open access

Jarrad M Scarlett, Darren D Bowe, Xinxia Zhu, Ayesha K Batra, Wilmon F Grant, and Daniel L Marks

The central melanocortin system plays a key role in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis. We investigated whether genetic or pharmacologic blockade of central melanocortin signaling attenuates cardiac cachexia in mice and rats with heart failure. Permanent ligation of the left coronary artery (myocardial infarction (MI)) or sham operation was performed in wild-type (WT) or melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) knockout mice. Eight weeks after surgery, WT-Sham mice had significant increases in lean body mass (LBM; P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05), whereas WT-MI did not gain significant amounts of LBM or fat mass. Resting basal metabolic rate (BMR) was significantly lower in WT-Sham mice compared to WT-MI mice (P<0.001). In contrast, both MC4-Sham and MC4-MI mice gained significant amounts of LBM (P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05) over the study period. There was no significant difference in the BMR between MC4-Sham and MC4-MI mice. In the second experiment, rats received aortic bands or sham operations, and after recovery received i.c.v. injections of either artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) or the melanocortin antagonist agouti-related protein (AGRP) for 2 weeks. Banded rats receiving AGRP gained significant amount of LBM (P<0.05) and fat mass (P<0.05) over the treatment period, whereas banded rats receiving aCSF did not gain significant amounts of LBM or fat mass. These results demonstrated that genetic and pharmacologic blockade of melanocortin signaling attenuated the metabolic manifestations of cardiac cachexia in murine and rat models of heart failure.

Open access

Emma Castrique, Marta Fernandez-Fuente, Paul Le Tissier, Andy Herman, and Andy Levy

In rats, a shift from somatotroph dominance to lactotroph dominance during pregnancy and lactation is well reported. Somatotroph to lactotroph transdifferentiation and increased lactotroph mitotic activity are believed to account for this and associated pituitary hypertrophy. A combination of cell death and transdifferentiation away from the lactotroph phenotype has been reported to restore non-pregnant pituitary proportions after weaning. To attempt to confirm that a similar process occurs in mice, we generated and used a transgenic reporter mouse model (prolactin (PRL)-Cre/ROSA26-expression of yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP)) in which PRL promoter activity at any time resulted in permanent, stable, and highly specific EYFP. Triple immunochemistry for GH, PRL, and EYFP was used to quantify EYFP+ve, PRL−ve, and GH+ve cell populations during pregnancy and lactation, and for up to 3 weeks after weaning, and concurrent changes in cell size were estimated. At all stages, the EYFP reporter was expressed in 80% of the lactotrophs, but in fewer than 1% of other pituitary cell types, indicating that transdifferentiation from those lactotrophs where reporter expression was activated is extremely rare. Contrary to expectations, no increase in the lactotroph/somatotroph ratio was seen during pregnancy and lactation, whether assessed by immunochemistry for the reporter or PRL: findings confirmed by PRL immunochemistry in non-transgenic mice. Mammosomatotrophs were rarely encountered at the age group studied. Individual EYFP+ve cell volumes increased significantly by mid-lactation compared with virgin animals. This, in combination with a modest and non-cell type-specific estrogen-induced increase in mitotic activity, could account for pregnancy-induced changes in overall pituitary size.

Open access

T Mracek, D Gao, T Tzanavari, Y Bao, X Xiao, C Stocker, P Trayhurn, and C Bing

Zinc-α2-glycoprotein (ZAG, also listed as AZGP1 in the MGI Database), a lipid-mobilising factor, has recently been suggested as a potential candidate in the modulation of body weight. We investigated the effect of increased adiposity on ZAG expression in adipose tissue and the liver and on plasma levels in obese (ob/ob) mice compared with lean siblings. The study also examined the effect of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFα) on ZAG expression in adipocytes. Zag mRNA levels were significantly reduced in subcutaneous (fourfold) and epididymal (eightfold) fat of ob/ob mice. Consistently, ZAG protein content was decreased in both fat depots of ob/ob mice. In the liver of obese animals, steatosis was accompanied by the fall of both Zag mRNA (twofold) and ZAG protein content (2.5-fold). Plasma ZAG levels were also decreased in obese mice. In addition, Zag mRNA was reduced in epididymal (fivefold) and retroperitoneal (fivefold) adipose tissue of obese (fa/fa) Zucker rats. In contrast to Zag expression, Tnfα mRNA levels were elevated in adipose tissue (twofold) and the liver (2.5-fold) of ob/ob mice. Treatment with TNFα reduced Zag gene expression in differentiated adipocytes, and this inhibition was chronic, occurring at 24 and 48 h following TNFα treatment. It is concluded that ZAG synthesis in adipose tissue and the liver is downregulated, as are its circulating levels, in ob/ob mice. The reduced ZAG production may advance the susceptibility to lipid accumulation in these tissues in obesity, and this could be at least in part attributable to the inhibitory effect of TNFα.

Open access

M A Hyatt, D H Keisler, H Budge, and M E Symonds

Maternal parity influences size at birth, postnatal growth and body composition with firstborn infants being more likely to be smaller with increased fat mass, suggesting that adiposity is set in early life. The precise effect of parity on fat mass and its endocrine sensitivity remains unclear and was, therefore, investigated in the present study. We utilised an established sheep model in which perirenal–abdominal fat mass (the major fat depot in the neonatal sheep) increases ∼10-fold over the first month of life and focussed on the impact of parity on glucocorticoid sensitivity and adipokine expression in the adipocyte. Twin-bearing sheep of similar body weight and adiposity that consumed identical diets were utilised, and maternal blood samples were taken at 130 days of gestation. One offspring from each twin pair was sampled at 1 day of age, coincident with the time of maximal recruitment of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), whilst its sibling was sampled at 1 month, when UCP1 had disappeared. Plasma leptin was lower in nulliparous mothers than in multiparous mothers, and offspring of nulliparous mothers possessed more adipose tissue with increased mRNA abundance of leptin, glucocorticoid receptor and UCP2, adaptations that persisted up to 1 month of age when gene expression for interleukin-6 and adiponectin was also raised. The increase in fat mass associated with firstborn status is therefore accompanied by a resetting of the leptin and glucocorticoid axis within the adipocyte. Our findings emphasise the importance of parity in determining adipose tissue development and that firstborn offspring have an increased capacity for adipogenesis which may be critical in determining later adiposity.

Open access

Laura L Hernandez, Sean W Limesand, Jayne L Collier, Nelson D Horseman, and Robert J Collier

Recent studies in dairy cows have demonstrated that serotonergic ligands affect milk yield and composition. Correspondingly, serotonin (5-HT) has been demonstrated to be an important local regulator of lactational homeostasis and involution in mouse and human mammary cells. We determined the mRNA expression of bovine 5-HT receptor (HTR) subtypes in bovine mammary tissue (BMT) and used pharmacological agents to evaluate functional activities of 5-HT receptors. The mRNAs for five receptor isoforms (HTR1B, 2A, 2B, 4, and 7) were identified by conventional real-time (RT)-PCR, RT quantitative PCR, and in situ hybridization in BMT. In addition to luminal mammary epithelial cell expression, HTR4 was expressed in myoepithelium, and HTR1B, 2A, and 2B were expressed in small mammary blood vessels. Serotonin suppressed milk protein mRNA expression (α-lactalbumin and β-casein mRNA) in lactogen-treated primary bovine mammary epithelial cell (BMEC) cultures. To probe the functional activities of individual receptors, caspase-3 activity and expression of α-lactalbumin and β-casein were measured. Both SB22489 (1B antagonist) and ritanserin (2A antagonist) increased caspase-3 activity. Expression of α-lactalbumin and β-casein mRNA levels in BMEC were stimulated by low concentrations of SB224289, ritanserin, or pimozide. These results demonstrate that there are multiple 5-HT receptor isoforms in the bovine mammary gland, and point to profound differences between serotonergic systems of the bovine mammary gland and the human and mouse mammary glands. Whereas human and mouse mammary epithelial cells express predominately the protein for the 5-HT7 receptor, cow mammary epithelium expresses multiple receptors that have overlapping, but not identical, functional activities.