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ES Vizi, J Szelenyi, ZS Selmeczy, Z Papp, ZH Nemeth, and G Hasko

It is increasingly apparent that there is a bidirectional interaction between the maternal immune system and the reproductive system during pregnancy. Pregnancy is associated with a suppression of maternal specific immune responses, which process underlies the protection of fetal tissues expressing paternally inherited alloantigens. However, recent evidence indicates that the suppression of specific, lymphocyte-mediated immune responses during pregnancy is accompanied by activation of the non-specific arm of the maternal immune response. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of pregnancy on the non-specific immune response induced by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin) in mice. Pregnancy enhanced the LPS-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, and interferon-gamma. On the other hand, LPS-induced levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 were suppressed in pregnant mice. These alterations in cytokine production correlated with an increased susceptibility for endotoxemic mortality in the pregnant mice. Although adrenergic receptors are important regulators of cytokine production in non-pregnant mice, the alpha(2)- and the beta-adrenoceptor-mediated modulation of cytokine production ceases to operate during pregnancy associated with severe endotoxemia. These data may explain how excessive activation of the non-specific immune responses during pregnancy can contribute to the increased severity of some maternal diseases, including septic shock, and can be an important pathophysiological factor in disseminated intravascular coagulation or preeclampsia.

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JA Sterle, C Boyd, JT Peacock, AT Koenigsfeld, WR Lamberson, DE Gerrard, and MC Lucy

Fetal growth is increased when pregnant gilts are treated with recombinant porcine somatotropin. The mechanism for increased fetal growth was examined by measuring the expression of IGF-I and -II and IGF-binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2) mRNA in liver and reproductive tissues of somatotropin- and saline-treated pregnant gilts. Twenty-four pregnant gilts received daily injections of either saline (control; n=12) or 5 mg recombinant porcine somatotropin (n=12) from day 30 to day 43 of gestation. Gilts were slaughtered on day 44 of gestation and liver, ovary, placenta, placental uterus (uterus with adjacent placental tissue) and non-placental uterus (region of the necrotic tip) were collected. The mRNAs for somatotropin receptor, IGFs -I and -II, IGFBP-2 and pregnancy-associated glycoprotein (a marker of trophoblast tissue) were analyzed by Northern blotting or ribonuclease protection assay. Gilts treated with somatotropin had heavier fetuses and placentas. The concentration of mRNA for the components of the IGF system was tissue-dependent. The uterine IGF-I mRNA concentration was greater in non-placental than in placental uterus. The greatest IGF-II mRNA concentration was observed in placenta, and adjacent uterine tissue expressed IGFBP-2 mRNA intensely. In non-placental uterus, IGFBP-2 mRNA was nearly undetectable. Somatotropin-dependent regulation of IGF-I was only observed in liver, where the greatest somatotropin receptor mRNA concentration was found. In the pregnant uterus, somatotropin failed to change the concentration of IGF or IGFBP-2 mRNA. Pregnancy-associated glycoprotein mRNA concentration was decreased by somatotropin. In summary, increased fetal growth in somatotropin-treated pregnant pigs was not associated with changes in IGF or IGFBP-2 mRNA concentration in reproductive tissues. Other mechanisms, therefore, lead to enhanced fetal growth in somatotropin-treated pregnant pigs.

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J Trojan, M Theodoropoulou, KH Usadel, GK Stalla, and L Schaaf

Enhanced sialylation of thyrotropin (TSH) prolongs its metabolic clearance rate and thus increases the hormone's in vivo bioactivity. This has been shown for hypothyroid rats and for recombinant human TSH, but there are few data on the sialylation of human serum TSH. The aim of this work was to further study sialylated human serum TSH, its precursors bearing terminal galactose residues, and the role of pharmacological doses of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) on their secretion under different degrees of primary hypothyroidism. We analyzed serum TSH in patients with subclinical (n = 9) and overt primary hypothyroidism (n = 13) compared with euthyroid individuals (n = 12) and human standard pituitary TSH (IRP 80/558). Blood was drawn before and 30 min after intravenous administration of 200 micrograms TRH, and TSH was purified by immunoaffinity concentration. The content of sialylated (sialo-) TSH and isoforms bearing terminal galactose (Gal-TSH, asialo-Gal-TSH) was measured by Ricinus communis (RCA 120) affinity chromatography in combination with enzymatic cleavage of sialic acid residues. TSH immunoreactivity was measured by an automated second generation TSH immunoassay. Pituitary TSH contained 16.5 +/- 0.8% Gal-TSH. In euthyroid individuals the proportion of Gal-TSH was 14.6 +/- 1.9%, whereas TSH in patients with subclinical and overt primary hypothyroidism contained 23.9 +/- 3.5% (P < 0.05 vs euthyroid individuals) and 21.1 +/- 1.7% Gal-TSH respectively. The mean ratio of asialo-Gal TSH was 23.8 +/- 0.6% for pituitary TSH, 35.7 +/- 4.2% in euthyroid individuals, 48.0 +/- 3.3% in patients with subclinical, and 61.5 +/- 3.8% (P < 0.001 vs euthyroid individuals) in patients with overt primary hypothyroidism. For pituitary TSH the calculated proportion of sialo-TSH was 6.5 +/- 0.2%, for euthyroid individuals 20.3 +/- 2.8%, for patients with subclinical hypothyroidism 24.1 +/- 3.0%, and for patients with overt primary hypothyroidism 40.7 +/- 3.0% (P < 0.001 vs euthyroid individuals). The proportions of Gal-TSH, asialo-Gal-TSH, and sialo-TSH did not differ significantly before and after TRH administration in the individuals studied. Our data show that patients with subclinical and overt primary hypothyroidism have a markedly increased proportion of serum TSH isoforms bearing terminal galactose and sialic acid residues, which may represent a mechanism for the further stimulation of thyroid function. Pharmacological doses of TRH cause an increased quantity of TSH to be released, but do not significantly alter the proportion of sialylated or terminally galactosylated TSH isoforms.

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Sarah Teillon, German A Calderon, and Maribel Rios

-Suarez et al . 2006 ). As liver and portal vein afferents serve as sensors for amino acids, glucose, insulin, and glucagon, their expression of TRKB could facilitate the transmission of metabolic signals to the brain. BDNF was previously reported to enhance

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Shannon M Gifford, Fu-Xian Yi, and Ian M Bird

Introduction We have previously established that enhanced vasodilator production by uterine artery endothelial cells (UAEC) involves remapping of cell signaling in a manner that is programmed ( Bird et al. 2000 , 2003 , Di et al

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Saeed Alshahrani and Mauricio Di Fulvio

glucose, enhanced glucose tolerance and β-cell secretory capacity. Further, we discover the presence of a BTD-sensitive mechanism involved in insulin secretion in β-cells lacking NKCC1, thus unmasking a potential new role for NKCC2 in β-cell physiology

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C Fottner, D Engelhardt, and MM Weber

Although the effect of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) in fetal adrenocortical cells has been investigated extensively, the role of the IGF system in the adult human adrenal gland remains unclear. In the present study we investigated the effect of recombinant human IGF-I and IGF-II on cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and cAMP synthesis in adult human adrenocortical cells in primary culture. Both IGFs stimulate basal as well as adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)-induced steroid secretion in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. While both IGFs (6.5 nM) induced only a moderate 2-fold increase in basal cortisol output after 48 h, the effect on basal DHEA-S secretion was significantly stronger, with a 2.7- and 3.7-fold stimulation by IGF-I and IGF-II respectively. Similarly, IGF-II enhanced ACTH-induced cortisol and DHEA-S secretion more potently than IGF-I. In dose-response experiments, the maximum stimulation of ACTH-induced DHEA-S secretion was induced by 1.6 nM IGF-I (2-fold increase) or IGF-II (2.9-fold increase), while the maximum response of cortisol secretion was elicited only at 13 nM IGF-I (2-fold increase) or IGF-II (2.5-fold increase). This resulted in a significant shift of the DHEA-S dose-response curves to the left, indicating a relative selective stimulation of androgen biosynthesis by physiologically low concentrations (0.4-3.2 nM) of IGF-II, and less potently by IGF-I. At all doses tested, the steroidogenic effect of IGF-II was significantly stronger than the effect of IGF-I. Although both IGF receptors are present in adult human adrenocortical cells, the steroidogenic effect of IGF-II is mediated through the IGF-I receptor, since [Arg54,55]IGF-II, which only binds to the IGF-I receptor, was equipotent with native IGF-II, whereas [Leu27]IGF-II, which preferentially binds to the type II IGF receptor, did not show any effect. In addition, [des1-3]IGF-I, which exhibits only minimal binding to IGFBPs, was significantly more potent than native IGF-I in stimulating adrenal steroid biosynthesis, and elicited almost the same maximum stimulatory effect as IGF-II and [des1-6]IGF-II. By Western ligand blotting of conditioned medium it was shown that adult human adrenocortical cells secrete various IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), which are induced differentially by treatment with ACTH. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that: (1)IGF-II stimulates basal as well as ACTH-induced DHEA-S and cortisol secretion from adult human adrenocortical cells more potently than IGF-I; (2) both IGFs predominantly stimulate androgen biosynthesis; (3) the steroidogenic effect of IGF-I and IGF-II is mediated through interaction with the IGF-I receptor; (4) the different steroidogenic potency of IGF-I and IGF-II might be explained by interaction of these ligands with locally produced IGFBPs. These data indicate that the IGF system plays an important role in the regulation of the differentiated function of adult human adrenocortical cells.

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Julia M Young, Jennifer L Juengel, Kenneth G Dodds, Mhairi Laird, Peter K Dearden, Alan S McNeilly, Kenneth P McNatty, and Theresa Wilson

the mutant Booroola ALK6 receptor in the cells synthesising FSH, but that the sensitivity of BB cells to BMPs appears enhanced when compared with WT cells. BMPs may potentially act through the type IA BMP receptor (ALK3), which has been shown to be

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S M J Scullion, E Gurgul-Convey, M Elsner, S Lenzen, P R Flatt, and N H McClenaghan

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Manjunath Ramanjaneya, Bee K Tan, Marcin Rucinski, Mohamed Kawan, Jiamiao Hu, Jaspreet Kaur, Vanlata H Patel, Ludwik K Malendowicz, Hanna Komarowska, Hendrik Lehnert, and Harpal S Randeva

NUCB2/nesfatin and its proteolytically cleaved product nesfatin-1 are recently discovered anorexigenic hypothalamic neuroproteins involved in energy homeostasis. It is expressed both centrally and in peripheral tissues, and appears to have potent metabolic actions. NUCB2/nesfatin neurons are activated in response to stress. Central nesfatin-1 administration elevates circulating ACTH and corticosterone levels. Bilateral adrenalectomy increased NUCB2/nesfatin mRNA levels in rat paraventricular nuclei. To date, studies have not assessed the effects of nesfatin-1 stimulation on human adrenocortical cells. Therefore, we investigated the expression and effects of nesfatin-1 in a human adrenocortical cell model (H295R). Our findings demonstrate that NUCB2 and nesfatin-1 are expressed in human adrenal gland and human adrenocortical cells (H295R). Stimulation with nesfatin-1 inhibits the growth of H295R cells and promotes apoptosis, potentially via the involvement of Bax, BCL-XL and BCL-2 genes as well as ERK1/2, p38 and JNK1/2 signalling cascades. This has implications for understanding the role of NUCB2/nesfatin in adrenal zonal development. NUCB2/nesfatin may also be a therapeutic target for adrenal cancer. However, further studies using in vivo models are needed to clarify these concepts.