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Joshua Columbus, YuTing Chiang, Weijuan Shao, Nina Zhang, Dingyan Wang, Herbert Y Gaisano, Qinghua Wang, David M Irwin and Tianru Jin

Specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms in intronic regions of human TCF7L2 are associated with an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Whether Tcf7l2 is expressed in pancreatic islets of rodent species at a considerable level, however, remains controversial. We used RT-PCR and quantitative RT-PCR to examine Tcf7l2 expression in rodent gut, pancreas, isolated pancreatic islets, and cultured cell lines. The expression level of Tcf7l2 was relatively lower in the pancreas compared to the gut or the pancreatic β-cell line Ins-1. Immunostaining did not detect a Tcf7l2 signal in mouse pancreatic islets. Endogenous canonical Wnt activity was not appreciable in the pancreas of TOPGAL transgenic mice. Both Tcf7 and Tcf7l1, but not Lef1, were expressed in the pancreas. The expression of the three Tcf genes (Tcf7, Tcf7l1, and Tcf7l2) in the pancreas was reduced by treatment with insulin or high-fat diet feeding, in contrast to the stimulation of Tcf7l2 expression by insulin in the gut. We suggest that hyperinsulinemia represses Tcf gene expression in the pancreas. Whether and how this reduction alters the function of pancreatic β cells during hyperinsulinemia deserves further investigation.

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Pieces of human foetal pancreas were incubated under control conditions and in media containing different stimuli of insulin release. Insulin secretion was stimulated from the pancreases of foetuses (83–625 g body weight) which were of 16–24 weeks gestational age. Potassium (60 mmol/l), barium (2·54 mmol/l) and ouabain (10−5 mol/l) were effective stimuli in all experiments. Glucagon (5 μg/ml), theophylline (1 mmol/l) and dibutyryl 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (1 mmol/l) stimulated insulin secretion in media containing 0, 0·6 or 3·0 mg glucose/ml. Theophylline and dibutyryl 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate were effective in all experients and glucagon stimulated insulin release in four out of six experiments. At all ages studied, histological examination of the pancreas after each experiment revealed islets of Langerhans containing β cells. In most cases the islets were of the mantle type but occasionally bipolar islets were seen. Cellular normality, as judged by light microscopy, was preserved after periods of incubation for up to 5½ h. Glycogen was demonstrable in the pancreatic acinar tissue but not in the islets.

The results of these experiments indicate that, between the 16th and 24th week of foetal life, the human β cell is capable of releasing insulin in vitro when stimulated appropriately.

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The changes in the content of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and histology of the neuro-intermediate (n.i.) lobe were followed in rats which drank 2% sodium chloride for periods from 1–15 days.

The pars intermedia showed a biphasic response. During the initial phase of 1–4 days there was a rapid rise in the MSH content, by 153% in the first day, falling back to control level by 4 days. These fluctuations were paralleled by an increase in the normally small numbers of Type 2 cells and at the same time numerous Type I cells showed hypertrophy and degranulation.

After 4 days on saline there was a second rise in the MSH content, which was still evident at 15 days; during this second period the number of Type 2 cells declined to normal levels. The degranulated Type 1 cells also disappeared, most of Type 1 being smaller in size and intensely PAS-positive.

After the ingestion of saline it apparently takes several days before the pars intermedia adapts to a new level of activity.

The likely significance of these changes and the possibility of a relationship between the pars intermedia and the neurohypophysis are discussed.

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P. F. Terranova, J. Th. J. Uilenbroek, L. Saville, D. Horst and Y. Nakamura


Preovulatory follicles from adult hamsters on the morning of pro-oestrus were used in this study. Serotonin stimulated oestradiol production by preovulatory follicles during a 5-h incubation in 1 ml Krebs–Ringer bicarbonate glucose medium containing isobutylmethylxanthine (0.1 mmol/l; IBMX) and androstenedione (1 μmol/l). The enhanced oestradiol production by serotonin was dependent on the dose of IBMX and androstenedione. Mianserin, a serotonin type-1 and serotonin type-2 receptor antagonists, prevented the serotonin-enhanced oestradiol production in a dose-dependent manner. Ketanserin, a specific serotonin type-2 receptor antagonist, was ineffective in blocking the action of serotonin, indicating that the effect of serotonin was mediated by the serotonin type-1 receptor. In the presence of androstenedione (1 μmol/l), serotonin was unable to enhance oestradiol production in isolated granulosa cells. It was also unable to enhance oestradiol production in early atretic follicles; atresia was induced experimentally by an injection of phenobarbital in order to prevent ovulation.

The data indicate that serotonin stimulates oestradiol production by hamster preovulatory follicles in vitro. The mechanism of action of serotonin involves an intact healthy follicle, a serotonin type-1 receptor and possibly cyclic AMP. The increased oestradiol secretion might be related to increased androgen production by the follicle and increased permeability (leakiness) of the follicle to androstenedione which serves as substrate for aromatization to oestradiol by the granulosa cell.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 125, 433–438

Free access

Yan Ding and Mary E Choi

Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the most common cause of end-stage kidney disease worldwide, and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Increasing prevalence of diabetes has made the need for effective treatment of DN critical and thereby identifying new therapeutic targets to improve clinical management. Autophagy is a highly conserved ‘self-eating’ pathway by which cells degrade and recycle macromolecules and organelles. Autophagy serves as an essential mechanism to maintain homeostasis of glomeruli and tubules, and plays important roles in human health and diseases. Impairment of autophagy is implicated in the pathogenesis of DN. Emerging body of evidence suggests that targeting the autophagic pathway to activate and restore autophagy activity may be renoprotective. In this review, we examine current advances in our understanding of the roles of autophagy in diabetic kidney injury, focusing on studies in renal cells in culture, human kidney tissues, and experimental animal models of diabetes. We discuss the major nutrient-sensing signal pathways and diabetes-induced altered intracellular metabolism and cellular events, including accumulation of advanced glycation end-products, increased oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, hypoxia, and activation of the renin–angiotensin system, which modulate autophagic activity and contribute to the development of DN. We also highlight recent studies of autophagy and transforming growth factor-β in renal fibrosis, the final common response to injury that ultimately leads to end-stage kidney failure in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These findings suggest the possibility that autophagy can be a therapeutic target against DN.

Free access

Brenda Anguiano, Alejandra López, Guadalupe Delgado, Carlos Romero and Carmen Aceves

The aim of this study was to characterize the type of 5′-deiodinase activity in the prostate of pubescent rats (7–8 weeks), to establish its distribution in the lobes (ventral, dorsolateral, and anterior), and to analyze its modulation by prolactin (PRL), testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and 17β-estradiol (E2). Our results showed that the enzymatic activity was highly susceptible to inhibition by 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil and gold thioglucose, its preferential substrate was reverse tri-iodothyronine (rT3), it exhibited a low dithiothreitol requirement (5 mM), and the apparent K m and V max values for substrate (rT3) were approximately 0.25 μM and 9.0 pmol liberated/mg protein per hour, respectively. All these characteristics indicate the preferential expression of type 1 deiodinase (D1), which was corroborated by demonstrating the presence of D1 mRNA in prostate. D1 activity was detected in all lobes and was most abundant in the dorsolateral. Although we detected type 2 deiodinase (D2) mRNA expression, the D2 activity was almost undetectable. D1 activity was enhanced in animals with hyperthyroidism and hyperprolactinemia, in intact animals treated with finasteride (inhibitor of local DHT production), and in castrated animals with E2 replacement. In contrast, activity diminished in castrated animals with testosterone replacement. Our results suggest that thyroid hormones, PRL, and E2 exert a positive modulation on D1 activity, while testosterone and DHT exhibit an inhibitory effect. D1 activity may be associated with prostate maturation and/or function.

Free access

Berit Svendsen, Ramona Pais, Maja S Engelstoft, Nikolay B Milev, Paul Richards, Charlotte B Christiansen, Kristoffer L Egerod, Signe M Jensen, Abdella M Habib, Fiona M Gribble, Thue W Schwartz, Frank Reimann and Jens J Holst

The incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are secreted from intestinal endocrine cells, the so-called L- and K-cells. The cells are derived from a common precursor and are highly related, and co-expression of the two hormones in so-called L/K-cells has been reported. To investigate the relationship between the GLP1- and GIP-producing cells more closely, we generated a transgenic mouse model expressing a fluorescent marker in GIP-positive cells. In combination with a mouse strain with fluorescent GLP1 cells, we were able to estimate the overlap between the two cell types. Furthermore, we used primary cultured intestinal cells and isolated perfused mouse intestine to measure the secretion of GIP and GLP1 in response to different stimuli. Overlapping GLP1 and GIP cells were rare (∼5%). KCl, glucose and forskolin+IBMX increased the secretion of both GLP1 and GIP, whereas bombesin/neuromedin C only stimulated GLP1 secretion. Expression analysis showed high expression of the bombesin 2 receptor in GLP1 positive cells, but no expression in GIP-positive cells. These data indicate both expressional and functional differences between the GLP1-producing ‘L-cell’ and the GIP-producing ‘K-cell’.

Free access

SH Torres, JB De Sanctis, L M de Briceno, N Hernandez and HJ Finol

An inflammatory process may be involved in nitric oxide production in skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetic patients. Nitric oxide generation in skeletal muscle was assessed in 14 non-complicated type 2 diabetic patients and in 12 healthy subjects. In samples of quadriceps femoris muscle, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), nitrite, nitrate and nitrotyrosine were determined. The macrophage-specific antigen CD163, the T-cell membrane factor CD154 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were also assayed. In six patients, ultrastructural analysis of muscle was performed. Nitrites and nitrates were increased in patients as compared to controls (22.7+/-4.5 and 32.7+/-7.0 vs 16.0+/-2.9 and 22.8+/-4.0 micromol/mg protein; P<0.001, Mann-Whitney U test). Endothelial NOS was similar in diabetic and control subjects (36.4+/-13.8 vs 36.3+/-6.8 ng/mg protein), contrasting with the significant increase of iNOS recorded in patients (34.3+/-13.0 vs 8.5+/-2.8 ng/mg protein, P<0.00002). Nitrotyrosine levels were higher in the patient than in the control group (42.1+/-24.4 vs 10.3+/-2.5 ng/mg protein, P<0.00002), as were CD163 (10-fold) and TNF-alpha (fourfold) levels. Furthermore, CD154 levels were detectable only in the patient samples (10.2+/-5.3 ng/mg protein). By multiple-regression analysis, changes in glycated haemoglobin values could predict 96% variation in nitrotyrosine. Macrophages were present in all muscle samples analysed by electromicroscopy. The increased levels of CD163, CD154 and TNF-alpha indicate that an inflammatory process occurs in skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetic patients. This may contribute to iNOS induction, muscle damage and insulin resistance.

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T Tsushima, M Arai, O Isozaki, Y Nozoe, K Shizume, H Murakami, N Emoto, M Miyakawa and H Demura


Although endothelins were originally discovered as peptides with vasoconstrictor activity, recent studies have indicated a number of endothelin (ET)-induced hormonal functions in various tissues. We have studied the interaction of endothelins with porcine thyroid cells in culture. Specific binding of 125I-labelled ET-1 was demonstrated in porcine thyroid cells. The binding was displaced equally by unlabelled ET-1 and ET-2, but receptor affinity for ET-3 was lower than that for ET-1 and -2. Scatchard analysis of the data revealed a single class of high-affinity ET-1 receptors with a K d of 0·45 nmol/l and a binding capacity of 2100 sites/cell. SDS-PAGE and autoradiography of 125I-labelled ET-1 cross-linked with thyroid cell membranes demonstrated ET-1 binding sites with an apparent molecular weight of 50 kDa. These results indicated that ET-1 receptors in thyroid cells are type A ET receptors. In association with the presence of ET-1 receptors, porcine thyroid cells responded to ET-1 and ET-2 with an increase in c-fos mRNA expression. Although ET-1 did not affect DNA synthesis stimulated by either EGF or IGF-I, it dose-dependently inhibited TSH-induced iodide uptake and also inhibited iodide uptake stimulated by forskolin and 8-bromo-cAMP. ET-1 had no effect on TSH-stimulated cAMP production. Thus, ET-1 inhibited TSH-induced iodine metabolism by acting at the steps distal to cAMP production. In agreement with a recent report, immunoreactive ET-1 was detected in medium conditioned by porcine thyroid cells. Antibody to ET-1 was found to increase TSH-induced iodide uptake. These results are compatible with the notion that ET-1 negatively regulates TSH-induced iodide uptake in an autocrine manner.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 142, 463–470

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S. R. Crosby, C. D. Anderton, M. Westwood, J. M. P. Holly, S. C. Cwyfan Hughes, M. Gibson, C. A. Morrison, R. J. Young and A. White


An immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) for the measurement of insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) in human plasma has been developed, optimized and evaluated clinically in normal subjects and patients with disorders of the GH/IGF-I axis. Six monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to recombinant human IGF-II (rhIGF-II) were produced, all of which had low cross-reactivity with rhIGF-I (< 0·01%) and insulin (< 0·01%). Compatibility of pairs of MAbs was tested in two-site IRMAs using three radioiodinated MAbs and three MAbs linked to Sephacryl S-300 (with separation of bound and free radiolabelled MAb by sucrose layering). Seven pairs of MAbs bound rhIGF-II and the combination of 125I-labelled W3D9 and W2H1 linked to solid phase was selected. The optimized assay had a completion time of 4 h, a minimum detection limit of 30 ng/ml (2·5 standard deviations from the zero standard) and detected a single peak of endogenous IGF-II in normal plasma which co-eluted with rhIGF-II after acid gel chromatography.

IGF-II was measured in formic acid/acetone extracts of plasma from 16 normal subjects (mean 685, range 516–1008 μg/l), four acromegalic patients (mean 637, range 553–700 μg/l), fourteen patients with type-1 diabetes (mean 635, range 247–753 μg/l), nine patients with uraemia (mean 423, range 78–850 μg/l), and three patients with Laron-type GH insensitivity (75, 35 and 36 μg/l). No significant fluctuations were detected between samples obtained hourly from 08.00 to 19.00 h in normal subjects.

Low levels of IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) remaining in plasma extracts may interfere with the measurement of IGF-II and give rise to falsely elevated IGF-II levels in radioimmunoassays or falsely suppressed levels in IRMAs. Such interference did not occur with the IRMA when used to measure IGF-II in extracts from normal subjects, acromegalic patients and patients with type-1 diabetes, and the addition of excess rhIGF-I in order to displace IGF-II from residual IGFBPs had no effect on IGF-II measurements in these samples. However, levels of IGF-II measured in extracts from patients with Laron-type GH insensitivity and patients with uraemia increased markedly after preincubation with excess rhIGF-I. The accurate measurement of IGF-II by IRMA in extracts from these subjects therefore requires the displacement of IGF-II from IGFBPs prior to assay. We conclude that, in contrast to radioimmunoassays, the two-site IRMA developed here provides a practical, rapid and specific method for the measurement of IGF-II in human plasma.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 137, 141–150