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V. H. T. JAMES, J. LANDON, V. WYNN and F. C. GREENWOOD

SUMMARY

The plasma sugar, 11-hydroxycorticosteroid, and growth hormone responses to insulin have been studied in patients with Cushing's disease. They showed an impaired or absent plasma 11-hydroxycorticosteroid and growth hormone rise during the test, as compared with control subjects, despite the injection of amounts of insulin which produced a similar degree of hypoglycaemia. This test proved of value in differentiating between these patients and those with 'simple ' obesity since the latter usually showed a normal growth hormone and adrenal response provided an adequate amount of insulin was administered.

The patients with Cushing's disease also had an impaired adrenal response to pyrogen and to dexamethasone administration and failed to show a normal plasma 11-hydroxycorticosteroid circadian rhythm. Their response to corticotrophin, lysine vasopressin, and metyrapone, however, was normal or enhanced. It is suggested that these findings imply an abnormality of hypothalamic or cerebral control and not a primary defect of pituitary function as proposed originally by Harvey Cushing.

The growth hormone response to insulin remained impaired in four out of six patients totally adrenalectomized for Cushing's disease but was normal in three patients adrenalectomized for other reasons. It is suggested that the defect which impairs the adrenal response to insulin may, on occasions, also impair the mechanism normally operative for growth hormone secretion.

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W. E. Trout and B. D. Schanbacher

ABSTRACT

Steers were actively immunized at 81 days of age against human serum albumin (hSA; controls) or hSA conjugated to either somatostatin (SRIF) or growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF). Binding titres were observed for the respective peptide antigens after all steers had been given booster immunizations. Although no effects of treatment were observed in SRIF-immunized steers, mean serum concentrations of GH and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) were suppressed (P<0·01) in GRF-immunized steers when compared with hSA-immunized controls. Mean concentrations of prolactin did not differ with treatment but showed seasonal fluctuations (P<0·001) associated with changes in the daylength. In contrast to its marked effect upon serum concentrations of IGF-I, immunization against GRF resulted in a relatively small (6%) but significant decrease in body weight gain (P<0·01) and an increase in carcass backfat thickness (P<0·05). In summary, our findings have shown the susceptibility of steers to growth modulation by GRF immunoneutralization. Secondly, the poor relationship observed between serum concentrations of IGF-I and growth rates in GRF-immunized steers suggested that circulating IGF-I may not be the principle factor determining the post-weaning growth rate in cattle.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 125, 123–129

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S Minami, N Suzuki, H Sugihara, H Tamura, N Emoto and I Wakabayashi

Abstract

It has been surmised that GH exerts feedback action on the hypothalamus and thereby regulates its own secretion. Our previous studies suggested that GH acts on somatostatin neurons in the hypothalamic periventricular nucleus (PeV) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC). However, there remains uncertainty whether GH acts directly or indirectly through the generation of IGFs on the hypothalamus to regulate its own secretion. To examine this, rat GH (rGH) or human IGF-I was injected directly into a defined area of the hypothalamus, and the blood GH profile was observed in conscious male rats. In the rats given 0·5 μg rGH into the ARC or PeV bilaterally, GH secretion was inhibited, and the inhibition lasted for 12 h. During the period of inhibition, the duration and amplitude of GH pulses were significantly decreased and the episodic secretion of GH appeared irregularly compared with the vehicle-injected control rats. In control rats given the vehicle or those given rGH into the lateral hypothalamus, the blood GH profile did not change and pulsatile GH secretion was produced every 3 h. When 0·1 μg IGF-I was injected into the ARC or PeV bilaterally, the blood GH secretory pattern was not affected. Together with the results of our previous studies showing that c-fos gene expression was induced by systemic administration of GH and that GH receptor mRNA was contained in somatostatin neurons in the PeV and NPY neurons in the ARC, the data of the present study indicate that GH, but not IGF-I, acts on the cells in the ARC and the PeV or in their vicinity to inhibit its own secretion, presumably by activating the somatostatin and NPY neurons.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 153, 283–290

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KL Geris, B de Groef, SP Rohrer, S Geelissen, ER Kuhn and VM Darras

Somatostatin (SRIH) functions as an endocrine mediator in processes such as growth, immune resistance and reproduction. Five SRIH receptors (sstr1-5) have been identified in mammals, where they are expressed in both the brain and peripheral tIssues. To study the specific function of each receptor subtype, specific agonists (ag1-5) have been synthesized. The high degree of homology between mammalian and avian SRIH receptors suggests that these agonists might also be used in chickens. In this paper we describe two in vitro protocols (static incubation and perifusion system) to identify the SRIH receptors controlling the secretion of GH and TSH from the chicken pituitary. We found that basal GH or TSH secretion were never affected when SRIH or an agonist (1 microM) were added. SRIH diminished the GH as well as the TSH response to TSH-releasing hormone (TRH; 100 nM) in both systems. Our results have indicated that the SRIH actions at the level of the pituitary are regulated through specific receptor subtypes. In both the static and flow incubations, ag2 lowered the GH response to TRH, whereas stimulated TSH release was diminished by both ag2 and ag5. Ag3 and ag4 tended to increase rather than decrease the responsiveness of both pituitary cell types to TRH in perifusion studies. Our data have indicated that SRIH inhibits chicken pituitary function through sstr2 and sstr5. Only sstr2 seems to be involved in the control of chicken GH release, whereas both sstr2 and sstr5 inhibit induced GH secretion in mammals. The possible stimulatory action of ag3 and ag4 may point towards a species-specific function of sstr3 and sstr4.

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BA Henry, A Rao, AJ Tilbrook and IJ Clarke

Changes in the secretion of GH induced by long-term alterations in nutritional status are thought to result from alterations in somatostatin (SRIF) and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) at the level of the hypothalamus. To date however, the effect of nutrition on the gene expression of SRIF and GHRH in a species where GH secretion is increased by food restriction, as is the case for the sheep and human, remains unknown. We determined the effect of under-nutrition on the expression of SRIF and GHRH in the hypothalamus of sheep. Ovariectomised ewes were randomly divided into two groups and either fed an ad lib diet (n=6) or a restricted diet of 500 g lucerne chaff per day (food-restricted; n=5) for 7 months. In situ hybridisation was used to study hypothalamic gene expression for GHRH, SRIF and galanin (GAL). The food-restricted animals had elevated plasma concentrations of GH; this was associated with an increase in GHRH mRNA levels in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and reduced SRIF in the rostral periventricular nucleus and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. The level of gene expression of GAL in the ARC and SRIF in the caudal periventricular nucleus was similar in ad lib and food-restricted animals. In conclusion, the effect of chronic food-restriction on the secretion of GH reflects increased GHRH and reduced SRIF synthesis in the hypothalamus.

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Roger Guillemin

Originally searched for and eventually isolated as factors of hypothalamic origin controlling anterior pituitary secretions, these hypophysiotropic peptides are now a chapter of physiology and medical endocrinology of their own. Defying the concept of ‘neuropeptides’ they and their receptors are now known to be ubiquitous and to have subtle as well as profound effects on a large number of functions of both soma and psyche. This review will be composed of brief essays on current knowledge of each of the original ‘hypothalamic hormones’, TRH, GnRH, somatostatin, GHRH and corticotropin releasing hormone and will close on possible and probable futures.

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D. Wynick, M. S. Venetikou, R. Critchley, J. M. Burrin and S. R. Bloom

ABSTRACT

Laser-light scatter signals generated from living cells provide useful information with regard to both cell size (forward-angle light scatter) and granularity (ninety-degree or perpendicular light scatter). By measuring angles of light scatter and fluorescence, a fluorescence-activated cell sorter is capable of analysing and sorting cells on the basis of their size, granularity and cell-surface fluorescence. Using an electronically programmable individual cell sorter we were able to analyse single, viable, dispersed anterior pituitary cells of the female rat on the basis of their laser light scatter characteristics. Two distinct populations of differing granularity were defined: 26±2·2% (mean ± s.e.m.) were more granular and 74±3·5% less granular. Acutely dispersed anterior pituitary cells were labelled with antibodies against four of the anterior pituitary hormones, and cell size and granularity were compared amongst the different hormonal cell types. Somatotrophs were the most granular cell type, gonadotrophs were the largest and corticotrophs the smallest, whilst lactotrophs were of intermediate size. Labelling was demonstrated to be dependent upon the secretory state of the cell. Hypothalamic stimulating factors increased cell-surface labelling, whilst dopamine and somatostatin decreased labelling. These changes compare favourably with published data obtained by immunocytochemistry. Using dual-colour fluorescence cell surface labelling we were unable to define a population of cells secreting both prolactin and growth hormone (mammosomatotrophs).

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 126, 261–268

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Maureen J Charron and Patricia M Vuguin

Glucagon action is transduced by a G protein-coupled receptor located in liver, kidney, intestinal smooth muscle, brain, adipose tissue, heart, pancreatic β-cells, and placenta. Genetically modified animal models have provided important clues about the role of glucagon and its receptor (Gcgr) beyond glucose control. The PubMed database was searched for articles published between 1995 and 2014 using the key terms glucagon, glucagon receptor, signaling, and animal models. Lack of Gcgr signaling has been associated with: i) hypoglycemic pregnancies, altered placentation, poor fetal growth, and increased fetal–neonatal death; ii) pancreatic glucagon cell hyperplasia and hyperglucagonemia; iii) altered body composition, energy state, and protection from diet-induced obesity; iv) impaired hepatocyte survival; v) altered glucose, lipid, and hormonal milieu; vi) altered metabolic response to prolonged fasting and exercise; vii) reduced gastric emptying and increased intestinal length; viii) altered retinal function; and ix) prevention of the development of diabetes in insulin-deficient mice. Similar phenotypic findings were observed in the hepatocyte-specific deletion of Gcgr. Glucagon action has been involved in the modulation of sweet taste responsiveness, inotropic and chronotropic effects in the heart, satiety, glomerular filtration rate, secretion of insulin, cortisol, ghrelin, GH, glucagon, and somatostatin, and hypothalamic signaling to suppress hepatic glucose production. Glucagon (α) cells under certain conditions can transdifferentiate into insulin (β) cells. These findings suggest that glucagon signaling plays an important role in multiple organs. Thus, treatment options designed to block Gcgr activation in diabetics may have implications beyond glucose homeostasis.

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C Chakraborty, S Sharma, N Katsumata, L J Murphy, I C Schroedter, M C Robertson, R P C Shiu and H G Friesen

Abstract

The secretion of peptide 23 by rat pituitary cells is stimulated by growth hormone-releasing hormone and inhibited by somatostatin. Recent cloning of the cognate cDNA for peptide 23 revealed that it is identical to pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP). In the present study, the clearance and tissue uptake of recombinant peptide 23/PAP in normal adult male rats was assessed. The plasma half-life of recombinant peptide 23/PAP was 4·8 ±1·4 (s.d.) min. Maximal accumulation of radiolabelled peptide 23/PAP was observed in the kidney, stomach, small intestine and pancreas whereas negligible uptake was seen in the liver, lung or heart. Peptide 23/PAP was detected in a variety of tissue extracts using a radioimmunoassay. Extracts of ileum contained the highest concentrations of peptide 23/PAP. In situ hybridization analysis showed that peptide 23/PAP mRNA was highly expressed in the columnar epithelial cells of ileum, jejunum and duodenum. These observations demonstrate that peptide 23/PAP, a protein previously thought to be of pituitary origin, is widely expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and that it is rapidly removed from the circulation by the kidney and by tissues which express peptide 23/PAP.

Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 145, 461–469

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CT Huizinga, CB Oudejans and HA Delemarre-Van de Waal

Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is associated with persistent postnatal growth retardation accompanied by dysfunction of the hypothalamic components of the growth hormone (GH) axis. At the adult stage, this is reflected by increased somatostatin (SS) and decreased neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA levels, whereas the GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) mRNA levels are normal and the output of GH remains unchanged. To extend our insight into the hypothalamic control of GH secretion in growth retarded rats, we determined galanin (GAL) mRNA levels at the adult stage of perinatally malnourished (i.e. IUGR and early postnatally food restricted) rats. Analyses included comparison of GAL mRNA levels in GHRH neurons in perinatally malnourished adult rats using a semi-quantitative double labeling in situ hybridization technique. We report that IUGR is accompanied by a 60% decrease in GAL mRNA levels in all GHRH neurons in the male IUGR group whereas a tendency towards a decrease was observed in the male early postnatally food restricted (FR) group. These effects became more pronounced when the analysis was restricted to GHRH neurons coexpressing GAL mRNA i.e. decreased GAL mRNA levels were seen in both male and female IUGR rats and in FR males. These data show that GAL mRNA levels in GHRH neurons are persistently decreased after perinatal malnutrition. Taking these results together with our previous data on SS, NPY and GHRH mRNA levels, we can conclude that IUGR leads to a reprogramming of the hypothalamic regulation of GH secretion.