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Almas R Juma, Pauliina E Damdimopoulou, Sylvia V H Grommen, Wim J M Van de Ven and Bert De Groef

Pleomorphic adenoma gene 1 (PLAG1) belongs to the PLAG family of zinc finger transcription factors along with PLAG-like 1 and PLAG-like 2. The PLAG1 gene is best known as an oncogene associated with certain types of cancer, most notably pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary gland. While the mechanisms of PLAG1-induced tumorigenesis are reasonably well understood, the role of PLAG1 in normal physiology is less clear. It is known that PLAG1 is involved in cell proliferation by directly regulating a wide array of target genes, including a number of growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor 2. This is likely to be a central mode of action for PLAG1 both in embryonic development and in cancer. The phenotype of Plag1 knockout mice suggests an important role for PLAG1 also in postnatal growth and reproduction, as PLAG1 deficiency causes growth retardation and reduced fertility. A role for PLAG1 in growth and reproduction is further corroborated by genome-wide association studies in humans and domestic animals in which polymorphisms in the PLAG1 genomic region are associated with body growth and reproductive traits. Here we review the current evidence for PLAG1 as a regulator of growth and fertility and discuss possible endocrine mechanisms involved.

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L A Salamonsen, R J Young, S Garcia and J K Findlay


Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is present in ovine endometrium, primarily in epithelial cells, and increases around the time of implantation. We examined the cell type expressing ET-binding sites in vitro and whether ET-1 has mitogenic actions in the endometrium, alone or in synergy with other growth factors. Purified epithelial and stromal cells were prepared from luteal-phase endometrium. Specific receptors were demonstrated by binding of 125I-ET-1 and proliferative effects of ET-1 and/or other growth factors determined by uptake of [3H]thymidine by cells in serum-free culture. 125I-ET-1 bound to both epithelial (2516 ± 820 c.p.m./well) and stromal (6368 ± 1350 c.p.m./well) cells and was displaced by ET-1 (1 μmol l−1). There were no proliferative effects of ET on epithelial cells. ET-1 (10 nmol l−1) stimulated uptake of [3H]thymidine by stromal cells under serum-free conditions in 13/20 individual cell preparations, to 149 ± 13% of control (untreated=100%) with dose-dependence between the range of 1 to 100 nmol l−1. Stimulation by fetal calf serum was to 377 ± 126% of control. The effects on proliferation by other growth factors (dose; % of control ± s.e.m., number of positives/total number of cell preparations) were: IGF-I (13 nmol l−1; 182 ± 14, 4/4), epidermal growth factor (EGF; 4·8 nmol l−1; 132 ± 5%, 7/7), platelet-derived growth factor-BB (0·4 nmol l−1; 146 ± 3, 2/2) and leukaemia inhibitory factor (0·4 nmol l−1; 110 ± 2, 3/3). All stimulations except that of EGF were significant and dose-responsive but only insulin was additive with ET (350 ± 35, 5/5). ET-1 also stimulated expression of the the AP-1 cis element c-jun, this being maximal at 60 min of exposure to mitogen. ET-1, along with other growth factors has a likely paracrine role in cellular proliferation in the endometrium, possibly in association with blastocyst implantation.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 283–290

Free access

JA Shaw, MI Delday, AW Hart, HM Docherty, CA Maltin and K Docherty

The objective of these studies was to evaluate human insulin gene expression following intramuscular plasmid injection in non-diabetic rats as a potential approach to gene therapy for diabetes mellitus avoiding the need for immunosuppression. A wild-type human preproinsulin construct and a mutant construct in which PC2/PC3 sites were engineered to form furin consensus sites were evaluated in in vitro transfections of hepatocyte (HepG2) and myoblast (C2C12/L6) cell lines, primary rat myoblasts, and dermal fibroblasts. In vivo gene transfer by percutaneous plasmid injection of soleus muscle +/- prior notexin-induced myolysis was assessed in rats. In vitro transfection of non-neuroendocrine cell lines and primary cultures with wild-type human preproinsulin resulted in secretion of predominantly unprocessed proinsulin. Employing the mutant construct, there was significant processing to mature insulin (HepG2, 95%; C2C12, 75%; L6, 65%; primary myoblasts, 48%; neonatal fibroblasts, 56%; adult fibroblasts, 87%). In rats aged 5 weeks, circulating human (pro)insulin was detected from 1 to 37 days following plasmid injection and the potential of augmenting transfection efficiency by prior notexin injection was demonstrated (wild-type processing, 87%; mutant, 90%). Relative hypoglycaemia was confirmed by HbA1C (saline, 5.5%; wild type, 5.1%; mutant, 5.1% (P<0.05)). Human (pro)insulin levels and processing (wild-type, 8%; mutant, 53%) were lower in rats aged 9 months but relative hypoglycaemia was confirmed by serum glucose at 10 days (saline, 6.4 mmol/l; wild-type, 6.0 mmol/l; mutant, 5.4 mmol/l). In conclusion, prolonged constitutive systemic secretion of bioactive human (pro)insulin has been attained in non-neuroendocrine cells in vitro and in growing and mature rats following intramuscular plasmid injection.

Free access

H Del Zotto, L Massa, R Rafaeloff, GL Pittenger, A Vinik, G Gold, A Reifel-Miller and JJ Gagliardino

The possible relationship between changes in islet cell mass and in islet neogenesis-associated protein (INGAP)-cell mass induced by sucrose administration to normal hamsters was investigated. Normal hamsters were given sucrose (10% in drinking water) for 5 (S8) or 21 (S24) weeks and compared with control (C) fed hamsters. Serum glucose and insulin levels were measured and quantitative immunocytochemistry of the endocrine pancreas was performed. Serum glucose levels were comparable among the groups, while insulin levels were higher in S hamsters. There was a significant increase in beta-cell mass (P<0.02) and in beta-cell 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine index (P<0.01), and a significant decrease in islet volume (P<0.01) only in S8 vs C8 hamsters. Cytokeratin (CK)-labelled cells were detected only in S8 hamsters. INGAP-positive cell mass was significantly larger only in S8 vs C8 hamsters. Endocrine INGAP-positive cells were located at the islet periphery ( approximately 96%), spread within the exocrine pancreas ( approximately 3%), and in ductal cells (<1%) in all groups. INGAP positivity and glucagon co-localization varied according to topographic location and type of treatment. In C8 hamsters, 49.1+/-6. 9% cells were INGAP- and glucagon-positive in the islets, while this percentage decreased by almost half in endocrine extra-insular and ductal cells. In S8 animals, co-expression increased in endocrine extra-insular cells to 36.3+/-9.5%, with similar figures in the islets, decreasing to 19.7+/-6.9% in ductal cells. INGAP-positive cells located at the islet periphery also co-expressed CK. In conclusion, a significant increase of INGAP-positive cell mass was only observed at 8 weeks when neogenesis was present, suggesting that this peptide might participate in the control of islet neogenesis. Thus, INGAP could be a potentially useful tool to treat conditions in which there is a decrease in beta-cell mass.

Free access

Rhonda D Prisby, Joshua M Swift, Susan A Bloomfield, Harry A Hogan and Michael D Delp

Osteopenia and an enhanced risk of fracture often accompany type 1 diabetes. However, the association between type 2 diabetes and bone mass has been ambiguous with reports of enhanced, reduced, or similar bone mineral densities (BMDs) when compared with healthy individuals. Recently, studies have also associated type 2 diabetes with increased fracture risk even in the presence of higher BMDs. To determine the temporal relationship between type 2 diabetes and bone remodeling structural and mechanical properties at various bone sites were analyzed during pre-diabetes (7 weeks), short-term (13 weeks), and long-term (20 weeks) type 2 diabetes. BMDs and bone strength were measured in the femora and tibiae of Zucker diabetic fatty rats, a model of human type 2 diabetes. Increased BMDs (9–10%) were observed in the distal femora, proximal tibiae, and tibial mid- shafts in the pre-diabetic condition that corresponded with higher plasma insulin levels. During short- and long-term type 2 diabetes, various parameters of bone strength and BMDs were lower (9–26%) in the femoral neck, distal femora, proximal tibiae, and femoral and tibial mid-shafts. Correspondingly, blood glucose levels increased by 125% and 153% during short- and long-term diabetes respectively. These data indicate that alterations in BMDs and bone mechanical properties are closely associated with the onset of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, which may have direct adverse effects on skeletal tissue. Consequently, disparities in the human literature regarding the effects of type 2 diabetes on skeletal properties may be associated with the bone sites studied and the severity or duration of the disease in the patient population studied.

Free access

Hong Liu, Jian Guo, Lin Wang, Ning Chen, Andrew Karaplis, David Goltzman and Dengshun Miao

To assess the roles of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) in hard tissue formation in oro-facial tissues, we examined the effect of either 1,25(OH)2D or PTH deficiency on dentin and dental alveolar bone formation and mineralization in the mandibles, and osteoblastic bone formation in long bones of 1α-hydroxylase knockout (1α(OH)ase−/−) mice. Compared with wild-type mice, the mineral density was decreased in the teeth and mandibles, and unmineralized dentin (predentin and biglycan immunopositive dentin) and unmineralized bone matrix in the dental alveolar bone were increased in 1α(OH)ase−/− mice. The dental volume, reparative dentin volume, and dentin sialoprotein immunopositive areas were reduced in 1α(OH)ase−/− mice. The cortical thickness, dental alveolar bone volume, and osteoblast number were all decreased significantly in the mandibles; in contrast, the osteoblast number and surface were increased in the trabecular bone of the tibiae in 1α(OH)ase−/− mice consistent with their secondary hyperparathyroidism. The expression of PTH receptor and IGF1 was reduced slightly in mandibles, but enhanced significantly in the long bones in the 1α(OH)ase−/− mice. To control for the role of secondary hyperparathyroidism, we also examined teeth and mandibles in 6-week-old PTH−/− mice. In these animals, dental and bone volumes in mandibles were not altered when compared with their wild-type littermates. These results suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 plays an anabolic role in both dentin and dental alveolar bone as it does in long bones, whereas PTH acts predominantly in long bones rather than mandibular bone.

Free access

VA Gault, PR Flatt, P Harriott, MH Mooney, CJ Bailey and FP O'Harte

The therapeutic potential of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in improving glycaemic control in diabetes has been widely studied, but the potential beneficial effects of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) have until recently been almost overlooked. One of the major problems, however, in exploiting either GIP or GLP-1 as potential therapeutic agents is their short duration of action, due to enzymatic degradation in vivo by dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPP IV). Therefore, this study examined the plasma stability, biological activity and antidiabetic potential of two novel NH2-terminal Ala2-substituted analogues of GIP, containing glycine (Gly) or serine (Ser). Following incubation in plasma, (Ser2)GIP had a reduced hydrolysis rate compared with native GIP, while (Gly2)GIP was completely stable. In Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts stably transfected with the human GIP receptor, GIP, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP stimulated cAMP production with EC(50) values of 18.2, 14.9 and 15.0 nM respectively. In the pancreatic BRIN-BD11 beta-cell line, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP (10(-8) M) evoked significant increases (1.2- and 1.5-fold respectively; P<0.01 to P<0.001) in insulinotropic activity compared with GIP. In obese diabetic ob/ob mice, both analogues significantly lowered (P<0.001) the glycaemic excursion in response to i.p. glucose. This enhanced glucose-lowering ability was coupled to a significantly raised (P<0.01) and more protracted insulin response compared with GIP. These data indicate that substitution of the penultimate Ala2 in GIP by Gly or Ser confers resistance to plasma DPP IV degradation, resulting in enhanced biological activity, therefore raising the possibility of their use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Free access

Ruben Rodriguez, Jacqueline N Minas, Jose Pablo Vazquez-Medina, Daisuke Nakano, David G Parkes, Akira Nishiyama and Rudy M Ortiz

Obesity is associated with the inappropriate activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which increases arterial pressure, impairs insulin secretion and decreases peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity. RAS blockade reverses these detriments; however, it is not clear whether the disease state of the organism and treatment duration determine the beneficial effects of RAS inhibition on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the benefits of acute vs chronic angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1) blockade started after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension on pancreatic function and peripheral insulin resistance. We assessed adipocyte morphology, glucose intolerance, pancreatic redox balance and insulin secretion after 2 and 11 weeks of AT1 blockade in the following groups of rats: (1) untreated Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (lean control; n = 10), (2) untreated Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF; n = 12) and (3) OLETF + ARB (ARB; 10 mg olmesartan/kg/day by oral gavage; n = 12). Regardless of treatment duration, AT1 blockade decreased systolic blood pressure and fasting plasma triglycerides, whereas chronic AT1 blockade decreased fasting plasma glucose, glucose intolerance and the relative abundance of large adipocytes by 22, 36 and 70%, respectively. AT1 blockade, however, did not improve pancreatic oxidative stress or reverse impaired insulin secretion. Collectively, these data show that AT1 blockade after the onset of obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension improves peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity, but cannot completely reverse the metabolic derangement characterized by impaired insulin secretion once it has been compromised.

Free access

Haijiang Wu, Xinna Deng, Yonghong Shi, Ye Su, Jinying Wei and Huijun Duan

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic disease characterized by glucose metabolic disturbance. A number of transcription factors and coactivators are involved in this process. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α) is an important transcription coactivator regulating cellular energy metabolism. Accumulating evidence has indicated that PGC-1α is involved in the regulation of T2DM. Therefore, a better understanding of the roles of PGC-1α may shed light on more efficient therapeutic strategies. Here, we review the most recent progress on PGC-1α and discuss its regulatory network in major glucose metabolic tissues such as the liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas and kidney. The significant associations between PGC-1α polymorphisms and T2DM are also discussed in this review.

Free access

A Alidibbiat, C E Marriott, K T Scougall, S C Campbell, G C Huang, W M Macfarlane and J A M Shaw

Generation of new β-cells from the adult pancreas or the embryonic stem cells is being pursued by research groups worldwide. Success will be dependent on confirmation of true β-cell phenotype evidenced by capacity to process and store proinsulin. The aim of these studies was to robustly determine endocrine characteristics of the AR42J rat pancreatic acinar cell line before and after in vitro transdifferentiation. β-cell phenotypic marker expression was characterised by RT-PCR, immunostaining, western blotting, ELISA and in human preproinsulin transgene over-expression studies in wild-type AR42J cells and after culture on Matrigel basement membrane matrix with and without growth/differentiation factor supplementation. Pancreatic duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1), forkhead box transcription factor a2 (Foxa2), glucokinase, pancreatic polypeptide and low-level insulin gene transcription in wild-type AR42J cells were confirmed by RT-PCR. Culture on Matrigel-coated plates and supplementation of medium with glucagon-like peptide 1 induced expression of the β-cell Glut 2 with maintained expression of insulin and PDX1. Increased biosynthesis and secretion of proinsulin were confirmed by immunocytochemical staining and sensitive ELISA. Absence of the regulated secretory pathway was demonstrated by undetectable prohormone convertase expression. In addition, inability to process and store endogenous proinsulin or human proinsulin translated from a constitutively over-expressed preproinsulin transgene was confirmed. The importance of robust phenotypic characterisation at the protein level in attempted β-cell transdifferentiation studies has been confirmed. Rodent and human sensitive/specific differential proinsulin/insulin ELISA in combination with human preproinsulin over-expression enables detailed elucidatation of core endocrine functions of proinsulin processing and storage in putative new β-cells.