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SW Lockley, DJ Skene, K James, K Thapan, J Wright, and J Arendt

Although melatonin treatment has been shown to phase shift human circadian rhythms, it still remains ambiguous as to whether exogenous melatonin can entrain a free-running circadian system. We have studied seven blind male subjects with no light perception who exhibited free-running urinary 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) and cortisol rhythms. In a single-blind design, five subjects received placebo or 5 mg melatonin p.o. daily at 2100 h for a full circadian cycle (35-71 days). The remaining two subjects also received melatonin (35-62 days) but not placebo. Urinary aMT6s and cortisol (n=7) and core body temperature (n=1) were used as phase markers to assess the effects of melatonin on the During melatonin treatment, four of the seven free-running subjects exhibited a shortening of their cortisol circadian period (tau). Three of these had taus which were statistically indistinguishable from entrainment. In contrast, the remaining three subjects continued to free-run during the melatonin treatment at a similar tau as prior to and following treatment. The efficacy of melatonin to entrain the free-running cortisol rhythms appeared to be dependent on the circadian phase at which the melatonin treatment commenced. These results show for the first time that daily melatonin administration can entrain free-running circadian rhythms in some blind subjects assessed using reliable physiological markers of the circadian system.

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Casey D Wright, Ryan J Orbus, Timothy R H Regnault, and Russell V Anthony

Ovine GH (oGH) is synthesized in placental tissue during maximal placental growth and development. Our objectives were to localize oGH mRNA in the placenta, and study the impact of exogenous GH on twin pregnancies during the normal window (35–55 days of gestational age; dGA) of placental expression. In situ hybridization localized oGH mRNA in uterine luminal epithelium but not in tissues of fetal origin. While maternal GH and IGF-I concentrations were increased (P<0.001) approximately tenfold, uterine, uterine fluid, placental, and fetal weights were unaffected by treatment at either 55 or 135 dGA. Fetal length, liver weight, and liver weight per kg of body weight were unaffected by maternal GH treatment. However, in the cotyledon, IGF-binding protein (BP)-1 and IGFBP-4 mRNA concentrations were increased (P<0.05), while IGFBP-2 mRNA was decreased (P<0.05). The concentration of mRNA for IGFBP-3 was unaffected by treatment. Within the caruncle, IGFBP-1 mRNA was decreased (P<0.05), while IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4 mRNA were increased (P<0.05), and IGFBP-2 mRNA was unchanged due to GH treatment. While our data indicate that elevated maternal GH and IGF-I concentrations during early and mid-gestation do not enhance placental and fetal growth in twin pregnancies, localization of GH mRNA in uterine luminal epithelium could explain GHs transitory expression from 35 to 55 dGA, since by the end of this period the majority of the uterine luminal epithelium has fused with chorionic binucleate cells forming the placental syncytium.

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L Lundholm, G Bryzgalova, H Gao, N Portwood, S Fält, K D Berndt, A Dicker, D Galuska, J R Zierath, J-Å Gustafsson, S Efendic, K Dahlman-Wright, and A Khan

The aim of this study was to validate the role of estrogen receptor α (ERα) signaling in the regulation of glucose metabolism, and to compare the molecular events upon treatment with the ERα-selective agonist propyl pyrazole triol (PPT) or 17β-estradiol (E2) in ob/ob mice. Female ob/ob mice were treated with PPT, E2 or vehicle for 7 or 30 days. Intraperitoneal glucose and insulin tolerance tests were performed, and insulin secretion was determined from isolated islets. Glucose uptake was assayed in isolated skeletal muscle and adipocytes. Gene expression profiling in the liver was performed using Affymetrix microarrays, and the expression of selected genes was studied by real-time PCR analysis. PPT and E2 treatment improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Fasting blood glucose levels decreased after 30 days of PPT and E2 treatment. However, PPT and E2 had no effect on insulin secretion from isolated islets. Basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were similar in PPT and vehicle-treated ob/ob mice. Hepatic lipid content was decreased after E2 treatment. In the liver, treatment with E2 and PPT increased and decreased the respective expression levels of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, and of glucose-6-phosphatase. In summary, our data demonstrate that PPT exerts anti-diabetic effects, and these effects are mediated via ERα.

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L Lundholm, G Bryzgalova, H Gao, N Portwood, S Fält, K D Berndt, A Dicker, D Galuska, J R Zierath, J-Å Gustafsson, S Efendic, K Dahlman-Wright, and A Khan