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Xin Li, Hongjiao Li, Di Zhang, Guojin Xu, Jinglin Zhang and Sheng Cui

MicroRNA-7 (miR-7) is an important modulator of a plenty of gene expressions and the interrelated biological processes, highly expressed in porcine pituitary. Norepinephrine (NE), acting as an important neurotransmitter or/and a hormone secreted excessively under stress, affects the synthesis and secretion of various hormones, including pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which are the key hormones which regulate sexual maturation and reproductive functions. However, the relationship among NE, miR-7 and gonadotropin needs to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to identify whether miR-7 involved in the NE-adrenoceptor signaling pathway affects the synthesis and secretion of FSH and LH in porcine pituitary. Our results showed that the NE intracerebroventricular injection increased pituitary miR-7 level and the synthesis and secretion of FSH and LH in porcine, whereas the inhibition of either endogenous miR-7 or β-adrenergic receptors hindered the rise of FSH and LH synthesis induced by NE in cultured primary porcine anterior pituitary cells. Further, we identified the molecular type of β-adrenergic receptors and the signaling pathway in porcine pituitary, and we found that NE played its roles relying on adrenoceptor beta 2 (β2AR) and the RAF/MEK/ERK1/2 signaling pathway. The phosphorylation of ERK1/2 upregulated miR-7 level which subsequently enhanced FSH and LH synthesis by targeting to Golgi glycoprotein 1 (GLG1). These suggest that miR-7 mediates NE’s effect on promoting FSH and LH synthesis in porcine pituitary.

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H Y Li, Y X Liu, L Harvey, S Shafaeizadeh, E M van der Beek and W Han

The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is estimated at 14% globally, and in some countries, such as Singapore, exceeds 20%. Both women and children exposed to GDM have an increased risk of later metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Beyond lifestyle changes and pharmaceutical intervention using existing type 2 diabetes medications for expecting women, there are limited treatment options for women with GDM; targeting better outcomes of potentially affected infants is unexplored. Numerous animal models have been generated for understanding of pathological processes of GDM development and for development of treatment strategies. These models, however, suffer from limited windows of opportunity to examine risk factors and potential intervention options. By combining short-term high-fat diet (HFD) feeding and low-dose streptozotocin (STZ) treatments before pregnancy, we have established a mouse model with marked transient gestation-specific hyperglycemia, which allows testing of nutritional and pharmacological interventions before, during and beyond pregnancy.

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Harleen Kaur, Beverly S Muhlhausler, Pamela S-l Sim, Amanda Page, Hui Li, Maria Nunez-Salces, Georgia S Clarke, Lili Huang, Rebecca L Wilson, Johannes D Veldhuis, Chen Chen, Claire Trelford Roberts and Kathryn L Gatford

Circulating growth hormone (GH) concentrations increase during pregnancy in mice and remain pituitary-derived. Whether abundance or activation of the GH secretagogue, ghrelin increase during pregnancy or in response to dietary octanoic acid supplementation are unclear. We therefore measured circulating GH profiles in late pregnant C57BL/6J mice and in aged-matched non-pregnant females, fed standard laboratory chow supplemented with 5% octanoic or palmitic (control) acid (n=4-13/group). Serum total and acyl-ghrelin concentrations, stomach and placenta ghrelin mRNA and protein expression, Pcsk1 (encoding prohormone convertase 1/3) and Mboat4 (membrane bound O-acyl transferase 4) mRNA were determined at zeitgeber (ZT) 13 and ZT23. Total and basal GH secretion were higher in late pregnant than non-pregnant mice (P<0.001), regardless of diet. At ZT13, serum concentrations of total (P=0.004), but not acyl-ghrelin, and the density of ghrelin-positive cells in the gastric antrum (P=0.019) were higher, and gastric Mboat4 and Pcsk1 mRNA expression were lower in pregnant than non-pregnant mice at ZT23. In the placenta, ghrelin protein was localised mostly to labyrinthine trophoblast cells. Serum acyl-, but not total, ghrelin was lower at mid-pregnancy than in non-pregnant mice, but not different at early or late pregnancy. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with 5% octanoic acid did not increase activation of ghrelin in female mice. Our results further suggest that increases in maternal GH secretion throughout murine pregnancy are not due to circulating acyl-ghrelin acting at the pituitary. Nevertheless, time-dependent increased circulating total ghrelin could potentially increase ghrelin action in tissues that express the acylating enzyme and receptor.

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Lili Men, Junjie Yao, Shanshan Yu, Yu Li, Siyuan Cui, Shi Jin, Guixin Zhang, Decheng Ren and Jianling Du

The induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is associated with adipogenesis, during which the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 alpha (IRE1α)-X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) pathway is involved. Selenoprotein S (SelS), which is an ER resident selenoprotein, is involved in ER homeostasis regulation; however, little is known about the role of SelS in regulating adipogenesis. In vivo studies showed that SelS protein levels in white adipose tissue were increased in obese subjects and high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. Moreover, we identified that SelS protein levels increased in the early phase of adipogenesis and then decreased in the late phase during adipogenesis. Overexpression of SelS promoted adipogenesis. Conversely, knockdown (KD) of SelS resulted in the inhibition of adipogenesis, which was related to increasing cell death, decreased mitotic clonal expansion, and cell cycle G1 arrest. In vivo studies also showed that ER stress markers (p-IRE1α/IRE1α, XBP1s, and Grp78) were significantly increased with upregulating of SelS expression in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues in the obese subjects and HFD-fed mice. Furthermore, in SelS KD cells, the levels of Grp78 were increased and the levels of p-IRE1α/IRE1α were unchanged , but mRNA levels of spliced XBP1 (XBP1s) produced by IRE1α-mediated splicing were decreased, suggesting a role of SelS in the modulation of IRE1α-XBP1 pathway. Moreover, inhibition of adipogenesis by SelS suppression can be rescued by overexpression of XBP1s. Thus, SelS appears to function as a novel regulator of adipogenesis through the IRE1α-XBP1 signaling pathway.

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Maria Konstandi, Christina E Andriopoulou, Jie Cheng and Frank J Gonzalez

The CYP2D subfamily catalyses the metabolism of about 25% of prescribed drugs, including the majority of antidepressants and antipsychotics. At present, the mechanism of hepatic CYP2D regulation remains largely unknown. This study investigated the role of sex steroid hormones in CYP2D regulation. For this purpose, Cyp2d22 expression was assessed in the distinct phases of the estrous cycle of normocyclic C57BL/6J (WT) female mice. Cyp2d22 was also evaluated in ovariectomised WT and CYP2D6-humanized (hCYP2D6) mice that received hormonal supplementation with either 17β-estradiol (E2) and/or progesterone. Comparisons were also made to male mice. The data revealed that hepatic Cyp2d22 mRNA, protein and activity levels were higher at estrous compared to the other phases of the estrous cycle, and ovariectomy repressed Cyp2d22 expression in WT mice. Tamoxifen, an antiestrogenic compound, also repressed hepatic Cyp2d22 via activation of GH/STAT5b and PI3k/AKT signalling pathways. Both hormones prevented the ovariectomy-mediated Cyp2d22 repression. In case of progesterone, this may be mediated by inhibition of the PI3k/AKT/FOX01 pathway. Notably, Cyp2d22 mRNA levels in WT males were similar to those in ovariectomised mice, and were markedly lower compared to females at estrous, a differentiation potentially regulated by the GH/STAT5b pathway. Sex steroid hormone-related alterations in Cyp2d22 mRNA expression were highly correlated with Hnf1a mRNA. Interestingly, fluctuations in Cyp2d22 in hippocampus and cerebellum followed those in liver. In contrast to WT mice, ovariectomy induced hepatic CYP2D6 expression in hCYP2D6 mice, whereas E2 and/or P prevented this induction. Apparently, sex steroid hormones display a significant gender- and species-specific role in the regulation of CYP2D.

Open access

Amanda E Garza, Elijah Trefts, Isis A Katayama Rangel, Danielle Brooks, Rene Baudrand, Burhanuddin Moize, Jose R Romero, Sanjay Ranjit, Thitinan Treesaranuwattana, Tham M. Yao, Gail K Adler, Luminita H. Pojoga and Gordon H Williams

Aldosterone modulates the activity of both epithelial (specifically renal) and non-epithelial cells. Binding to the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), activates two pathways: the classical genomic and the rapidly activated non-genomic that is substantially modulated by the level of striatin. We hypothesized that disruption of MR’s non-genomic pathway would alter aldosterone-induced cardiovascular/renal damage. To test this hypothesis, wild type (WT) and striatin heterozygous knockout (Strn+/-) littermate male mice were fed a liberal sodium (1.6% Na+) diet and randomized to either Protocol One: three weeks of treatment with either vehicle and aldosterone plus/minus MR antagonists, eplerenone or esaxerenone or Protocol Two: two weeks of treatment with either vehicle or L-NAME/AngII plus/minus MR antagonists, spironolactone or esaxerenone. Compared to the WT mice, basally, the Strn+/- mice had greater (~26%) estimated renal glomeruli volume and reduced non-genomic second messenger signaling (pAkt/Akt ratio) in kidney tissue. In response to active treatment, the striatin-associated-cardiovascular/renal damage was limited to volume effects induced by aldosterone infusion: significantly increased blood pressure (BP) and albuminuria. In contrast, with aldosterone or L-NAME/AngII treatment, striatin deficiency did not modify aldosterone- mediated damage: in the heart and kidney, macrophage infiltration, and increases in aldosterone-induced biomarkers of injury. All changes were near-normalized following MR blockade with spironolactone or esaxerenone, except increased BP in the L-NAME/AngII model. In conclusion, the loss of striatin amplified aldosterone-induced damage suggesting that aldosterone’s non-genomic pathway is protective but only related to effects likely mediated via epithelial, but not non-epithelial cells.

Free access

Arturo Hernandez and M Elena Martinez

Male fertility involves the successful transmission of the genetic code to the next generation. It requires appropriately timed cellular processes during testis development, adequate support of spermatogenesis by hormonal cues from the reproductive axis and cellular cross-talk between germ and somatic cells. In addition to being the vessel of the father’s genome, increasing evidence shows that the mature sperm carries valuable epigenetic information – the epigenome – that, after fecundation, influences the development of the next generation, affecting biological traits and disease susceptibility. The epigenome of the germ line is susceptible to environmental factors, including exogenous chemicals and diet, but it is also affected by endogenous molecules and pathophysiological conditions. Factors affecting testis development and the epigenetic information of the germ line are critical for fertility and of relevance to the non-genetic but heritable component in the etiology of complex conditions. Thyroid hormones are one of those factors and their action, when untimely, produces profound effects on the developing testis, affecting spermatogenesis, steroidogenesis, testis size, reproductive hormones and fertility. Altered thyroid hormone states can also change the epigenetic information of the male germ line, with phenotypic consequences for future generations. In the context of past literature concerning the consequences of altered thyroid hormone action for testis development, here we review recent findings about the pathophysiological roles of the principal determinants of testicular thyroid hormone action. We also discuss limited work on the effects of thyroid hormone on the male germ line epigenome and the implications for the intergenerational transmission of phenotypes via epigenetic mechanisms.

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E Y Faraoni, A I Abeledo Machado, P A Pérez, C A Marcial López, M A Camilletti, M Peña-Zanoni, S B Rulli, S Gutiérrez and G Díaz-Torga

Among all the hormone-secreting pituitary tumours, prolactinomas are the most frequently found in the clinic. Since dopamine is the primary inhibitor of lactotroph function, dopamine agonists represent the first-line therapy. However, a subset of patients exhibits resistance to these drugs, and therefore, alternative treatments are desired. As activins inhibit prolactin gene expression through the inhibition of Pit-1 involving the p38MAPK pathway, in the present work, we studied the local activin system as an alternative inhibitory system for lactotroph hyperplasia treatment. We used two different mouse models of prolactinoma: transgenic mice with overexpression of the human chorionic gonadotropin β-subunit (hCGβ) and mice lacking dopamine receptor type 2. In both models, females, but not males, develop lactotroph hyperplasia from the fourth month of life. We found reduced expression of pituitary activin subunits and activin receptors in hyperplastic pituitaries from both models compared with wild-type counterparts. Consequently, hyperplastic pituitaries presented a reduced activin-inhibitory action on prolactin secretion. Additionally, while female wild-type lactotrophs presented high levels of phospho-p38MAPK, it was lost in prolactinomas, concomitant with decreased activin expression, increased Pit-1 expression and tumour development. In contrast, male pituitaries express higher mRNA levels of activin subunits βA and βB, which would suggest a stronger activin inhibitory function on lactotrophs, protecting this sex from tumour development, despite genotype. The present results highlight the importance of the activin inhibitory action on lactotroph function and place the local activin system as a new target for the treatment of dopamine agonist-resistant prolactinomas.

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Zahida Yesmin Roly, Andrew T Major, Alex Fulcher, Martin A Estermann, Claire E Hirst and Craig A Smith

The embryonic Müllerian ducts give rise to the female reproductive tract (fallopian tubes, uterus and upper vagina in humans, the oviducts in birds). Embryonic Müllerian ducts initially develop in both sexes, but later regress in males under the influence of anti-Müllerian hormone. While the molecular and endocrine control of duct regression in males have been well studied, early development of the ducts in both sexes is less well understood. Here, we describe a novel role for the adhesion G protein-coupled receptor, GPR56, in development of the Müllerian ducts in the chicken embryo. GPR56 is expressed in the ducts of both sexes from early stages. The mRNA is present during the elongation phase of duct formation, and it is restricted to the inner Müllerian duct epithelium. The putative ligand, Collagen III, is abundantly expressed in the Müllerian duct at the same developmental stages. Knockdown of GPR56 expression using in ovo electroporation results in variably truncated ducts, with a loss of expression of both epithelial and mesenchymal markers of duct development. Over-expression of GPR56 in vitro results in enhanced cell proliferation and cell migration. These results show that GPR56 plays an essential role in avian Müllerian duct development through the regulation of duct elongation.

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Baiyang You, Yaoshan Dun, Wenliang Zhang, Lingjun Jiang, Hui Li, Murong Xie, Yuan Liu and Suixin Liu

Mitochondrial quality control (MQC) and function are determinants for cellular energy metabolism, and their disorders are reported to play an important role in the development of insulin resistance (IR). Salidroside was reported to have beneficial effects on MQC through AMPK pathway; however, it is unknown whether salidroside exerts anti-IR effect with this action. This study sought to investigate the effects of salidroside on IR with an exploration of the mechanisms of its action. Experimental IR models were adopted in high-fat-diet (HFD)-fed mice and palmitate-treated C2C12 myotubes, respectively. Blood levels of glucose and insulin as well as cellular glucose uptake were determined, and mitochondrial function and MQC-associated parameters and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were analyzed based on treatments with the activator (AICAR), inhibitors (compound C and EX-527) or specific siRNA of Ampk/Sirt1 and mitochondrial ROS scavenger (mito-TEMPO). Protein expression level was determined by Western blot, cellular observation by transmission electron microscope and ROS production by functional analysis kits. Salidroside reduced IR and activated insulin signaling along with the stimulation of AMPK/SIRT1 signaling and downstream regulation of MQC and ROS production. These salidroside effects were comparable to those of AICAR and could be prevented by AMPK/SIRT1 inhibitors or siRNAs, respectively. Salidroside reduces IR and regulates MQC and ROS production by activating AMPK/SIRT1 signaling pathway. Since IR is a critical issue for public health, to explore a potent agent against IR is of high interest. The anti-IR effects of salidroside warrant further experimental and clinical studies.