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H J Armbrecht, M L Chen, T L Hodam, and M A Boltz


The biologically active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), acts on intestinal, renal, and bone cells to regulate skeletal and mineral metabolism. 1,25(OH)2D also induces 24-hydroxylase activity in these target cells. The 24-hydroxylase hydroxylates 1,25(OH)2D to 1,24,25-trihydroxyvitamin D and 25(OH)D to 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The production of 1,24,25-trihydroxyvitamin D is thought to be the first step in the inactivation of 1,25(OH)2D by its target tissues. Previous studies have characterized the induction of the 24-hydroxylase by 1,25(OH)2D in clonal cell lines from intestine and bone. The purpose of these studies was to characterize the induction of the 24-hydroxylase by 1,25(OH)2D in the kidney, using the clonal rat renal cell line NRK-52E. 1,25(OH)2D (10−7 m) increased the mRNA levels for the cytochrome P450 component of the 24-hydroxylase (P450cc24) by sevenfold after 36 h in NRK-52E cells. 1,25(OH)2D increased P450cc24 mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner with an EC50 of 10−8 m. In parallel experiments, 1,25(OH)2D significantly increased 24-hydroxylase enzyme activity after 48–72 h. The increase in P450cc24 mRNA induced by 1,25(OH)2D required on-going transcription and translation and was inhibited by H-7, a protein kinase C inhibitor. Tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate markedly increased the magnitude of the tissue responsiveness to 1,25(OH)2D by a protein kinase C-dependent pathway. These studies demonstrate that 1,25(OH)2D increases P450cc24 mRNA levels in NRK-52E cells by a mechanism requiring new protein synthesis and involving protein kinase C. This is in contrast to the action of 1,25(OH)2D in intestinal cells, which does not require new protein synthesis, and in osteoblastic cells, which does not involve protein kinase C.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 153, 199–205

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The binding of 1,25-dihydroxy[3H]cholecalciferol (1,25(OH)2[3H]D3) and 25-hydroxy-[3H]cholecalciferol (25(OH)[3H]D3) in vitamin D target and non-target tissues from the fetal rat has been compared using two incubation conditions, each followed by charcoal adsorption and sucrose gradient centrifugation. In intact tissue incubations, equilibrium with the ligand was established overnight at 4 °C before cell disruption. In pre-prepared cytosol incubations, cytosol was prepared from the tissue before incubation with ligand. With both ligands, more sterol was bound during pre-prepared cytosol incubation despite the use of fourfold lower ligand concentrations. With 1,25(OH)2[3H]D3, intact tissue incubation led to most marked binding with calvaria, which was preferentially displaced by unlabelled 1,25(OH)2D3; radioactivity sedimented almost entirely as a 3·2–3·7S peak (peak I) which was completely displaced by 100-fold excess 1,25(OH)2D3 but only partially by 25(OH)D3. Fetal small intestine, another putative target tissue, also showed displaceable binding of 1,25(OH)2D3; however, this was much less marked, and was not accompanied by a significant peak on sucrose gradients. Other fetal tissues (large intestine, kidney, skin, brain and heart) did not show significant displaceable binding of 1,25(OH)2D3 in intact tissue. In contrast, when intact calvaria, kidney, brain and heart were incubated with 25(OH)D3 they all showed significant displaceable binding to a 5·0–5·7S peak (peak II).

Incubations with pre-prepared cytosol confirmed ubiquitous binding of both sterols to peak II with the notable exception of that from small intestine; this peak II binding was preferential for 25(OH)D3, and is believed to be to the plasma vitamin D-binding protein (DBP). Only calvaria showed an additional peak I under these conditions, and even here it was dwarfed by peak II. We conclude that, at least in fetal bone, intact tissue incubations selectively detect receptor (peak I) binding of 1,25(OH)2D3 in the presence of the DBP. The substantial increase in binding of both sterols to peak II in pre-prepared cytosol compared with that in the same fetal tissues incubated intact suggests that some DBP is intracellular and therefore relatively inaccessible to extracellular sterol. The apparent absence of both peak I and peak II binding of cytosol from fetal small intestine merits further investigation.

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K Hamilton, M Tein, J Glazier, EB Mawer, JL Berry, RJ Balment, RD Boyd, HO Garland, and CP Sibley

Offspring of rats with diabetes mellitus are at risk of reduced calcium and bone mineral content. Altered expression of the maternal calcium binding proteins, calbindin-D(9K) and calbindin-D(28K), which are involved in renal and placental calcium transport, may underlie these problems.We have investigated the effect of diabetes on circulating concentrations of regulatory hormones with respect to calbindin-D mRNA concentrations. Three rat groups were studied; control (CP), streptozotocin-induced diabetic (DP), and insulin-treated diabetic (DPI) pregnant rats. Calbindin-D(9K) and calbindin-D(28K) mRNA abundance in placenta and maternal kidney were measured at days 7, 15, 18 and 21 of gestation, together with serum or plasma concentrations of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1, 25(OH)(2)D(3)), parathyroid hormone (PTH), PTH-related protein (PTHrP), calcitonin, oestradiol and IGF-I. An increase in placental calbindin-D(9K) mRNA abundance between days 18 and 21 in CP and DPI rats was severely blunted in the DP rats. In contrast, renal calbindin-D(28K) mRNA abundance was greater at days 7, 15 and 18 in DP compared with CP rats, as was calbindin-D(9K) at day 18. Calcitonin concentrations showed no differences between the groups, and both PTH and IGF-I were reduced over the first half of gestation, unlike the calbindins. In contrast, the concentrations of PTHrP and 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) were reduced at term in the DP group compared with the other two groups. Plasma oestradiol concentrations were lower in DP than in CP rats at days 7, 15 and 18, and most striking was the absence in DP rats of the peak of oestradiol seen at day 18 in CP rats. Despite the similarity between changes in placental calbindin mRNA and 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), previous work has shown placental calbindin-D(9K) regulation to be vitamin-D-independent. These studies produce suggestive evidence, therefore, that PTHrP and oestradiol may be involved in the altered calbindin-D expression by kidney and placenta in rat diabetic pregnancy.

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Y Koshihara, K Hoshi, R Okawara, H Ishibashi, and S Yamamoto

Accumulating evidence indicates that menaquinone-4 (MK-4), a vitamin K(2) with four isoprene units, inhibits osteoclastogenesis in murine bone marrow culture, but the reason for this inhibition is not yet clear, especially in human bone marrow culture. To clarify the inhibitory mechanism, we investigated the differentiation of colony-forming-unit fibroblasts (CFU-Fs) and osteoclasts in human bone marrow culture, to learn whether the enhancement of the differentiation of CFU-Fs from progenitor cells might relate to inhibition of osteoclast formation. Human bone marrow cells were grown in alpha-minimal essential medium with horse serum in the presence of MK-4 until adherent cells formed colonies (CFU-Fs). Colonies that stained positive for alkaline phosphatase activity (CFU-F/ALP(+)) were considered to have osteogenic potential. MK-4 stimulated the number of CFU-F/ALP(+) colonies in the presence or absence of dexamethasone. The stimulation was also seen in vitamin K(1) treatment. These cells had the ability to mineralize in the presence of alpha-glycerophosphate. In contrast, both MK-4 and vitamin K(1) inhibited 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3)-induced osteoclast formation and increased stromal cell formation in human bone marrow culture. These stromal cells expressed ALP and Cbfa1. Moreover, both types of vitamin K treatment decreased the expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand/osteoclast differentiation factor (RANKL/ODF) and enhanced the expression of osteoprotegerin/osteoclast inhibitory factor (OPG/OCIF) in the stromal cells. The effective concentrations were 1.0 microM and 10 microM for the expression of RANKL/ODF and OPG/OCIF respectively. Vitamin K might stimulate osteoblastogenesis in bone marrow cells, regulating osteoclastogenesis through the expression of RANKL/ODF more than through that of OPG/OCIF.

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H Inoue, T Tsujisawa, T Fukuizumi, S Kawagishi, and C Uchiyama

1,25 Dihydroxy vitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), prostaglandin (PG) E2 and parathyroid hormone (PTH) induce osteoclast formation in cell cultures. Previously, we have shown that SC-19220, an antagonist of the EP1 subtype of PGE receptors, inhibited tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive cell formation by PGE2 and PTH in adherent cell cultures taken from neonatal rats. Since 1,25(OH)2D3 has been shown to induce osteoclast formation through PGE2 synthesis, in this study we have examined the effect of SC-19220 on osteoclast formation induced by 1,25(OH)2D3 in cell cultures by measuring bone resorption as well as TRAP-positive cell formation. SC-19220 inhibited osteoclast formation by 1,25(OH)2D3 as well as by PGE2 in cell cultures. The addition of SC-19220 to the later half but not to the earlier half of the culture inhibited 1,25(OH)2D3-induced formation. In the culture in which hydroxyurea was added in the later half period, SC-19220 inhibited osteoclast formation by 1, 25(OH)2D3. Under these conditions, 17-phenyl PGE1, an EP1 agonist, induced osteoclast formation. Thus, SC-19220 inhibits certain reactions in the later processes of osteoclast formation induced by 1,25(OH)2D3. In addition, SC-19220 also inhibited osteoclast formation induced by interleukin (IL)-11 and IL-6 as well as by PTH. It is suggested that the SC-19220 inhibiting reactions are shared by all the inducers including 1,25(OH)2D3 and are essential for osteoclast formation.

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R Riachy, B Vandewalle, S Belaich, J Kerr-Conte, V Gmyr, F Zerimech, M d'Herbomez, J Lefebvre, and F Pattou

We examined whether 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25 D(3)), the active form of vitamin D involved in the regulation of the immune system, may also protect human pancreatic islet cells from destruction induced by cytokines. In this study, we specifically investigated the effect of 1,25 D(3) on oxidative stress and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) induction, both implicated in cytokine-induced islet cell dysfunction and destruction. We also investigated the effects of 1,25 D(3) on interleukin (IL)-6, a pleiotropic cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of immunoinflammatory disorders. Human pancreatic islets, isolated from heart-beating donors, were treated with a combination of three cytokines, IL-1beta+tumor necrosis factor alpha+interferon gamma, in the presence or absence of vitamin D, and compared with with untreated control cells. Metabolic activity was assessed by cell viability and insulin content. Oxidative stress was estimated by heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) expression, cell manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity and nitrite release, a reflexion of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. Variation of immunogenicity of islet preparations was determined by analysis of the MHC class I and class II transcripts. Inflammatory status was evaluated by IL-6 production. After 48 h of contact with cytokines, insulin content was significantly decreased by 40% but cell viability was not altered. MHC expression significantly increased six- to sevenfold as well as NO and IL-6 release (two- to threefold enhancement). MnSOD activity was not significantly induced and hsp70 expression was not affected by the combination of cytokines. The addition of 1,25 D(3) significantly reduced nitrite release, IL-6 production and MHC class I expression which then became not significantly different from controls. These results suggest that the effect of 1,25 D(3) in human pancreatic islets cells may be a reduction of the vulnerability of cells to cytotoxic T lymphocytes and a reduction of cytotoxic challenge. Hence, 1,25 D(3) might play a role in the prevention of type 1 diabetes and islet allograft rejection.

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Fetal bone resorption was measured by an organ culture technique using fetuses from thyroparathyroidectomized (TPTX) pregnant rats to investigate the roles of fetal and maternal hormones in the regulation of basal bone resorption in utero. Thyroparathyroidectomized female rats were treated with thyroxine and/or metabolites of vitamin D3. Basal bone resorption was greatly increased in fetuses from TPTX mothers. Administration of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or 1,24,25-trihydroxycholecalciferol to TPTX female rats normalized the basal bone resorption of the fetus whereas injection of 24,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol was without effect. Treatment of the TPTX mothers with thyroxine was also shown to normalize basal bone resorption in the fetus.

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O. Handt, A. Reis, and J. Schmidtke


Using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, steady-state levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) mRNA were investigated in a number of human, bovine and rat tissues. Transcripts were consistently detected in parathyroid glands as well as in lymphocytes, lymphoblastoid cells and several tumours. Levels of transcription were not measurably increased in lymphoblastoid cells and tumour tissues compared with unstimulated peripheral lymphocytes. The level of 'ectopic' transcription of the PTH gene in lymphoblastoid cells appeared to be resistant to the administration of both vitamin D and phorbol esters.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 135, 249–256

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CC Sprenger, A Peterson, R Lance, JL Ware, RH Drivdahl, and SR Plymate

The biologically active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2D3) has been shown to regulate the proliferation of human prostate epithelial cell lines. Since the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system is involved in the transformation process of epithelial cells, the following study was undertaken to determine if the IGF system, in particular IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), is altered by 1,25-(OH)2D3 in normal prostate epithelial cells as part of a mechanism for inhibition of transformation. Two cell systems were used in this study: (1) primary cultures of benign human prostate epithelial cells (PECs) and (2) an SV40-T immortalized prostate epithelial cell line (P153) that is non-tumorigenic. 1,25-(OH)2D3 was added to parallel sets of PECs and P153 cells in addition to the presence or absence of IGF-I or des(1-3)IGF-I. Treatment with 1,25-(OH)2D3 resulted in significant growth inhibition of both PECs and P153 cells. Furthermore, 1,25-(OH)2D3 inhibited IGF-induced proliferation, but this was partially reversed by high concentrations of IGF-I. Western ligand blots of condition media demonstrated a significant increase in IGFBP-3; likewise Northern blots demonstrated an increase in mRNA for IGFBP-3. Proliferation assays using an antibody designed to block the IGF-independent effects of IGFBP-3 failed to reverse the inhibitory effect of 1,25-(OH)2D3. Thus, IGFBP-3 acts in an IGF-dependent manner to inhibit cell growth of benign prostate epithelial cells.

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PG McTernan, MC Sheppard, and GR Williams

HL60 cells differentiate to monocytes or neutrophils in response to 1 alpha,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 (D3) and retinoids respectively. D3 and retinoid actions converge since their receptors (VDR, RAR) heterodimerise with a common partner, RXR, which also interacts with thyroid hormone (T3) receptors (T3R). HL60 cells were treated with combinations of D3 and retinoids to induce differentiation and to investigate whether increased VDR or RAR expression correlated with monocyte or neutrophil differentiation and whether altered receptor concentrations affected DNA-binding specificity. As assessed by Western blotting, VDR and RXR expression was unchanged in monocytes relative to controls but levels of RAR and T3R were reduced. In contrast, only VDR expression was reduced in neutrophils. T3 did not promote differentiation or influence its induction by D3 or retinoids and did not affect expression of any receptor. Gel mobility-shift analysis revealed that nuclear extracts from undifferentiated cells, monocytes and neutrophils interacted differently with VDRE-, RARE- and RXRE-binding sites. Monocyte nuclear protein/DNA complexes contain readily detectable VDR and RXR whereas neutrophil complexes contain RAR and RXR. Thus hormone-induced changes in receptor stoichiometry favour either VDR/RXR or RAR/RXR heterodimerisation and correlate with hormone-induced differentiation of HL60 cells to monocytes or neutrophils respectively.