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Open access

Tingting Yang, Min He, Hailiang Zhang, Paula Q Barrett and Changlong Hu

Aldosterone, which plays a key role in the regulation of blood pressure, is produced by zona glomerulosa (ZG) cells of the adrenal cortex. Exaggerated overproduction of aldosterone from ZG cells causes primary hyperaldosteronism. In ZG cells, calcium entry through voltage-gated calcium channels plays a central role in the regulation of aldosterone secretion. Previous studies in animal adrenals and human adrenal adrenocortical cell lines suggest that the T-type but not the L-type calcium channel activity drives aldosterone production. However, recent clinical studies show that somatic mutations in L-type calcium channels are the second most prevalent cause of aldosterone-producing adenoma. Our objective was to define the roles of T and L-type calcium channels in regulating aldosterone secretion from human adrenals. We find that human adrenal ZG cells mainly express T-type CaV3.2/3.3 and L-type CaV1.2/1.3 calcium channels. TTA-P2, a specific inhibitor of T-type calcium channel subtypes, reduced basal aldosterone secretion from acutely prepared slices of human adrenals. Surprisingly, nifedipine, the prototypic inhibitor of L-type calcium channels, also decreased basal aldosterone secretion, suggesting that L-type calcium channels are active under basal conditions. In addition, TTA-P2 or nifedipine also inhibited aldosterone secretion stimulated by angiotensin II- or elevations in extracellular K+. Remarkably, blockade of either L- or T-type calcium channels inhibits basal and stimulated aldosterone production to a similar extent. Low concentrations of TTA-P2 and nifedipine showed additive inhibitory effect on aldosterone secretion. We conclude that T- and L-type calcium channels play equally important roles in controlling aldosterone production from human adrenals.

Open access

K E Lines, P J Newey, C J Yates, M Stevenson, R Dyar, G V Walls, M R Bowl and R V Thakker

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined occurrence of parathyroid, pituitary and pancreatic islet tumours, and is due to mutations of the MEN1 gene, which encodes the tumour suppressor protein menin. Menin has multiple roles in genome stability, transcription, cell division and proliferation, but its mechanistic roles in tumourigenesis remain to be fully elucidated. miRNAs are non-coding single-stranded RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and have been associated with tumour development, although the contribution of miRNAs to MEN1-associated tumourigenesis and their relationship with menin expression are not fully understood. Alterations in miRNA expression, including downregulation of three putative ‘tumour suppressor’ miRNAs, miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a, have been reported in several tumour types including non-MEN1 pituitary adenomas. We have therefore investigated the expression of miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a in pituitary tumours that developed after 12 months of age in female mice with heterozygous knockout of the Men1 gene (Men1 +/ mice). The miRNAs miR-15a, miR-16-1 and let-7a were significantly downregulated in pituitary tumours (by 2.3-fold, P < 0.05; 2.1-fold P < 0.01 and 1.6-fold P < 0.05, respectively) of Men1 +/ mice, compared to normal WT pituitaries. miR-15a and miR-16-1 expression inversely correlated with expression of cyclin D1, a known pro-tumourigenic target of these miRNAs, and knockdown of menin in a human cancer cell line (HeLa), and AtT20 mouse pituitary cell line resulted in significantly decreased expression of miR-15a (P < 0.05), indicating that the decrease in miR-15a may be a direct result of lost menin expression.

Open access

Michael Rouse, Antoine Younès and Josephine M Egan

Resveratrol (RES) and curcumin (CUR) are polyphenols that are found in fruits and turmeric, and possess medicinal properties that are beneficial in various diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Results from recent studies have indicated that their therapeutic properties can be attributed to their anti-inflammatory effects. Owing to reports stating that they protect against β-cell dysfunction, we studied their mechanism(s) of action in β-cells. In T2DM, cAMP plays a critical role in glucose- and incretin-stimulated insulin secretion as well as overall pancreatic β-cell health. A potential therapeutic target in the management of T2DM lies in regulating the activity of phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which degrade cAMP. Both RES and CUR have been reported to act as PDE inhibitors in various cell types, but it remains unknown if they do so in pancreatic β-cells. In our current study, we found that both RES (0.1–10 μmol/l) and CUR (1–100 pmol/l)-regulated insulin secretion under glucose-stimulated conditions. Additionally, treating β-cell lines and human islets with these polyphenols led to increased intracellular cAMP levels in a manner similar to 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine, a classic PDE inhibitor. When we investigated the effects of RES and CUR on PDEs, we found that treatment significantly downregulated the mRNA expression of most of the 11 PDE isozymes, including PDE3B, PDE8A, and PDE10A, which have been linked previously to regulation of insulin secretion in islets. Furthermore, RES and CUR inhibited PDE activity in a dose-dependent manner in β-cell lines and human islets. Collectively, we demonstrate a novel role for natural-occurring polyphenols as PDE inhibitors that enhance pancreatic β-cell function.

Open access

Dawn E W Livingstone, Emma M Di Rollo, Chenjing Yang, Lucy E Codrington, John A Mathews, Madina Kara, Katherine A Hughes, Christopher J Kenyon, Brian R Walker and Ruth Andrew

Patients with critical illness or hepatic failure exhibit impaired cortisol responses to ACTH, a phenomenon known as ‘relative adrenal insufficiency’. A putative mechanism is that elevated bile acids inhibit inactivation of cortisol in liver by 5α-reductases type 1 and type 2 and 5β-reductase, resulting in compensatory downregulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and adrenocortical atrophy. To test the hypothesis that impaired glucocorticoid clearance can cause relative adrenal insufficiency, we investigated the consequences of 5α-reductase type 1 deficiency in mice. In adrenalectomised male mice with targeted disruption of 5α-reductase type 1, clearance of corticosterone was lower after acute or chronic (eightfold, P<0.05) administration, compared with WT control mice. In intact 5α-reductase-deficient male mice, although resting plasma corticosterone levels were maintained, corticosterone responses were impaired after ACTH administration (26% lower, P<0.05), handling stress (2.5-fold lower, P<0.05) and restraint stress (43% lower, P<0.05) compared with WT mice. mRNA levels of Nr3c1 (glucocorticoid receptor), Crh and Avp in pituitary or hypothalamus were altered, consistent with enhanced negative feedback. These findings confirm that impaired peripheral clearance of glucocorticoids can cause ‘relative adrenal insufficiency’ in mice, an observation with important implications for patients with critical illness or hepatic failure, and for patients receiving 5α-reductase inhibitors for prostatic disease.

Open access

A Edlund, M Barghouth, M Hühn, M Abels, J S E Esguerra, I G Mollet, E Svedin, A Wendt, E Renström, E Zhang, N Wierup, B J Scholte, M Flodström-Tullberg and L Eliasson

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is a common complication for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The cause of CFRD is unclear, but a commonly observed reduction in first-phase insulin secretion suggests defects at the beta cell level. Here we aimed to examine alpha and beta cell function in the Cftr tm1 EUR/F508del mouse model (C57BL/6J), which carries the most common human mutation in CFTR, the F508del mutation. CFTR expression, beta cell mass, insulin granule distribution, hormone secretion and single cell capacitance changes were evaluated using islets (or beta cells) from F508del mice and age-matched wild type (WT) mice aged 7–10 weeks. Granular pH was measured with DND-189 fluorescence. Serum glucose, insulin and glucagon levels were measured in vivo, and glucose tolerance was assessed using IPGTT. We show increased secretion of proinsulin and concomitant reduced secretion of C-peptide in islets from F508del mice compared to WT mice. Exocytosis and number of docked granules was reduced. We confirmed reduced granular pH by CFTR stimulation. We detected decreased pancreatic beta cell area, but unchanged beta cell number. Moreover, the F508del mutation caused failure to suppress glucagon secretion leading to hyperglucagonemia. In conclusion, F508del mice have beta cell defects resulting in (1) reduced number of docked insulin granules and reduced exocytosis and (2) potential defective proinsulin cleavage and secretion of immature insulin. These observations provide insight into the functional role of CFTR in pancreatic islets and contribute to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of CFRD.

Open access

Alvaro Souto Padron, Ruy Andrade Louzada Neto, Thiago Urgal Pantaleão, Maria Carolina de Souza dos Santos, Renata Lopes Araujo, Bruno Moulin de Andrade, Monique da Silva Leandro, João Pedro Saar Werneck de Castro, Andrea Claudia Freitas Ferreira and Denise Pires de Carvalho

In general, 3,5-diiodothyronine (3,5-T2) increases the resting metabolic rate and oxygen consumption, exerting short-term beneficial metabolic effects on rats subjected to a high-fat diet. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of chronic 3,5-T2 administration on the hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis, body mass gain, adipose tissue mass, and body oxygen consumption in Wistar rats from 3 to 6 months of age. The rats were treated daily with 3,5-T2 (25, 50, or 75 μg/100 g body weight, s.c.) for 90 days between the ages of 3 and 6 months. The administration of 3,5-T2 suppressed thyroid function, reducing not only thyroid iodide uptake but also thyroperoxidase, NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4), and thyroid type 1 iodothyronine deiodinase (D1 (DIO1)) activities and expression levels, whereas the expression of the TSH receptor and dual oxidase (DUOX) were increased. Serum TSH, 3,3′,5-triiodothyronine, and thyroxine were reduced in a 3,5-T2 dose-dependent manner, whereas oxygen consumption increased in these animals, indicating the direct action of 3,5-T2 on this physiological variable. Type 2 deiodinase activity increased in both the hypothalamus and the pituitary, and D1 activities in the liver and kidney were also increased in groups treated with 3,5-T2. Moreover, after 3 months of 3,5-T2 administration, body mass and retroperitoneal fat pad mass were significantly reduced, whereas the heart rate and mass were unchanged. Thus, 3,5-T2 acts as a direct stimulator of energy expenditure and reduces body mass gain; however, TSH suppression may develop secondary to 3,5-T2 administration.

Open access

Manon M Roustit, Joan M Vaughan, Pauline M Jamieson and Mark E Cleasby

Insulin resistance (IR) in skeletal muscle is an important component of both type 2 diabetes and the syndrome of sarcopaenic obesity, for which there are no effective therapies. Urocortins (UCNs) are not only well established as neuropeptides but also have their roles in metabolism in peripheral tissues. We have shown recently that global overexpression of UCN3 resulted in muscular hypertrophy and resistance to the adverse metabolic effects of a high-fat diet. Herein, we aimed to establish whether short-term local UCN3 expression could enhance glucose disposal and insulin signalling in skeletal muscle. UCN3 was found to be expressed in right tibialis cranialis and extensor digitorum longus muscles of rats by in vivo electrotransfer and the effects studied vs the contralateral muscles after 1 week. No increase in muscle mass was detected, but test muscles showed 19% larger muscle fibre diameter (P=0.030), associated with increased IGF1 and IGF1 receptor mRNA and increased SER256 phosphorylation of forkhead transcription factor. Glucose clearance into the test muscles after an intraperitoneal glucose load was increased by 23% (P=0.018) per unit mass, associated with increased GLUT1 (34% increase; P=0.026) and GLUT4 (48% increase; P=0.0009) proteins, and significantly increased phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1, AKT, AKT substrate of 160 kDa, glycogen synthase kinase-3β, AMP-activated protein kinase and its substrate acetyl coA carboxylase. Thus, UCN3 expression enhances glucose disposal and signalling in muscle by an autocrine/paracrine mechanism that is separate from its pro-hypertrophic effects, implying that such a manipulation may have promised for the treatment of IR syndromes including sarcopaenic obesity.

Open access

Katie J Mylonas, Neil A Turner, Sumia A Bageghni, Christopher J Kenyon, Christopher I White, Kieran McGregor, Robert A Kimmitt, Richard Sulston, Valerie Kelly, Brian R Walker, Karen E Porter, Karen E Chapman and Gillian A Gray

We have previously demonstrated that neutrophil recruitment to the heart following myocardial infarction (MI) is enhanced in mice lacking 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) that regenerates active glucocorticoid within cells from intrinsically inert metabolites. The present study aimed to identify the mechanism of regulation. In a mouse model of MI, neutrophil mobilization to blood and recruitment to the heart were higher in 11β-HSD1-deficient (Hsd11b1 / ) relative to wild-type (WT) mice, despite similar initial injury and circulating glucocorticoid. In bone marrow chimeric mice, neutrophil mobilization was increased when 11β-HSD1 was absent from host cells, but not when absent from donor bone marrow-derived cells. Consistent with a role for 11β-HSD1 in ‘host’ myocardium, gene expression of a subset of neutrophil chemoattractants, including the chemokines Cxcl2 and Cxcl5, was selectively increased in the myocardium of Hsd11b1 / mice relative to WT. SM22α-Cre directed disruption of Hsd11b1 in smooth muscle and cardiomyocytes had no effect on neutrophil recruitment. Expression of Cxcl2 and Cxcl5 was elevated in fibroblast fractions isolated from hearts of Hsd11b1 / mice post MI and provision of either corticosterone or of the 11β-HSD1 substrate, 11-dehydrocorticosterone, to cultured murine cardiac fibroblasts suppressed IL-1α-induced expression of Cxcl2 and Cxcl5. These data identify suppression of CXCL2 and CXCL5 chemoattractant expression by 11β-HSD1 as a novel mechanism with potential for regulation of neutrophil recruitment to the injured myocardium, and cardiac fibroblasts as a key site for intracellular glucocorticoid regeneration during acute inflammation following myocardial injury.

Open access

Jin Yu, Yuhuan Liu, Danying Zhang, Dongxia Zhai, Linyi Song, Zailong Cai and Chaoqin Yu

High androgen levels in patients suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be effectively reversed if the herb Scutellaria baicalensis is included in traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions. To characterize the effects of baicalin, extracted from S. baicalensis, on androgen biosynthesis in NCI-H295R cells and on hyperandrogenism in PCOS model rats and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. The optimum concentration and intervention time for baicalin treatment of NCI-H295R cells were determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and ELISA. The functional genes affected by baicalin were studied by gene expression profiling (GEP), and the key genes were identified using a dual luciferase assay, RNA interference technique and genetic mutations. Besides, hyperandrogenic PCOS model rats were induced and confirmed before and after baicalin intervention. As a result, baicalin decreased the testosterone concentrations in a dose- and time-dependent manner in NCI-H295R cells. GEP revealed that 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (HSD3B2) was the key enzyme of androgen biosynthesis, and baicalin inhibited the expression of HSD3B2 by regulating the binding of transcription factor GATA-binding factor 1 (GATA1) to the HSD3B2 promoter. Hyperandrogenic PCOS model rats treated with baicalin significantly reversed the high androgen levels of serum and the abnormal ovarian status, restored the estrous cyclicity and decreased the expression of HSD3B2 in ovarian. In summary, our data revealed that GATA1 is an important transcription factor activating the HSD3B2 promoter in steroidogenesis, and baicalin will potentially be an effective therapeutic agent for hyperandrogenism in PCOS by inhibiting the recruitment of GATA1 to the HSD3B2 promoter in ovarian tissue.

Open access

Craig L Doig, Jamila Bashir, Agnieszka E Zielinska, Mark S Cooper, Paul M Stewart and Gareth G Lavery

The activity of the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), which converts inactive cortisone (11-dehydrocorticosterone (11-DHC)) (in mice) into the active glucocorticoid (GC) cortisol (corticosterone in mice), can amplify tissue GC exposure. Elevated TNFα is a common feature in a range of inflammatory disorders and is detrimental to muscle function in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We have previously demonstrated that 11β-HSD1 activity is increased in the mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) by TNFα treatment and suggested that this is an autoregulatory anti-inflammatory mechanism. This upregulation was mediated by the P2 promoter of the Hsd11b1 gene and was dependent on the NF-κB signalling pathway. In this study, we show that in contrast to MSCs, in differentiated C2C12 and primary murine myotubes, TNFα suppresses Hsd11b1 mRNA expression and activity through the utilization of the alternative P1 promoter. As with MSCs, in response to TNFα treatment, NF-κB p65 was translocated to the nucleus. However, ChIP analysis demonstrated that the direct binding was seen at position −218 to −245 bp of the Hsd11b1 gene's P1 promoter but not at the P2 promoter. These studies demonstrate the existence of differential regulation of 11β-HSD1 expression in muscle cells through TNFα/p65 signalling and the P1 promoter, further enhancing our understanding of the role of 11β-HSD1 in the context of inflammatory disease.