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  • Author: A Andersson x
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Dogs were kept in a state of excessive hydration by the oral administration of water, or its infusion into the stomach, for periods varying from 3 hr to 10 days. The effect of this procedure on the stainable neurosecretory material (NSM) in the hypothalamus was determined by histological examination.

At the end of the longer periods of hydration there was seen an accumulation of NSM in the descending tracts from the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. In the 10-day hydrated animal a high proportion of the cell-bodies in these nuclei were depleted of NSM. The staining properties of the pars nervosa did not differ from normal.

The hydrated animals exhibited large numbers of vesiculated neurones in the hypothalamic neurohypophysial nuclei.

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GA Lincoln, H Andersson and A Loudon

Melatonin-based photoperiod time-measurement and circannual rhythm generation are long-term time-keeping systems used to regulate seasonal cycles in physiology and behaviour in a wide range of mammals including man. We summarise recent evidence that temporal, melatonin-controlled expression of clock genes in specific calendar cells may provide a molecular mechanism for long-term timing. The agranular secretory cells of the pars tuberalis (PT) of the pituitary gland provide a model cell-type because they express a high density of melatonin (mt1) receptors and are implicated in photoperiod/circannual regulation of prolactin secretion and the associated seasonal biological responses. Studies of seasonal breeding hamsters and sheep indicate that circadian clock gene expression in the PT is modulated by photoperiod via the melatonin signal. In the Syrian and Siberian hamster PT, the high amplitude Per1 rhythm associated with dawn is suppressed under short photoperiods, an effect that is mimicked by melatonin treatment. More extensive studies in sheep show that many clock genes (e.g. Bmal1, Clock, Per1, Per2, Cry1 and Cry2) are expressed in the PT, and their expression oscillates through the 24-h light/darkness cycle in a temporal sequence distinct from that in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (central circadian pacemaker). Activation of Per1 occurs in the early light phase (dawn), while activation of Cry1 occurs in the dark phase (dusk), thus photoperiod-induced changes in the relative phase of Per and Cry gene expression acting through PER/CRY protein/protein interaction provide a potential mechanism for decoding the melatonin signal and generating a long-term photoperiodic response. The current challenge is to identify other calendar cells in the central nervous system regulating long-term cycles in reproduction, body weight and other seasonal characteristics and to establish whether clock genes provide a conserved molecular mechanism for long-term timekeeping.

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AM Svensson, B Bodin, A Andersson and L Jansson

Increased blood perfusion of pancreatic islets is seen during various conditions of increased demand for insulin secretion. Pregnancy confers an increased need for insulin secretion, met by increased islet mass and volume as well as a decreased threshold for glucose-induced insulin secretion. In the present study, whole pancreatic and islet blood flow were studied with a microsphere technique in Wistar rats on days 15, 18 and 20 of pregnancy and days 2 and 7 post-partum. There were no changes in total pancreatic blood flow during pregnancy and the first post-partum week. Total blood perfusion through islet tissue expressed as flow per weight of whole pancreas was higher at day 15 of pregnancy. When islet blood flow was expressed per gram of islet tissue there was a decrease at day 18 of pregnancy. This decrease of islet blood flow was concomitant to a short-lived increase of the islet mass at the end of pregnancy. We conclude that upregulation of insulin output during late pregnancy does not specifically include increased net blood perfusion through the islets. One possible reason for this might be lack of synchronization between the proliferation of endocrine cells and angiogenesis, resulting in a relative decrease in islet vascular density in the islets.

Open access

K L Gustafsson, K H Nilsson, H H Farman, A Andersson, V Lionikaite, P Henning, J Wu, S H Windahl, U Islander, S Movérare-Skrtic, K Sjögren, H Carlsten, J-Å Gustafsson, C Ohlsson and M K Lagerquist

Estrogen treatment has positive effects on the skeleton, and we have shown that estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) expression in cells of hematopoietic origin contributes to a normal estrogen treatment response in bone tissue. T lymphocytes are implicated in the estrogenic regulation of bone mass, but it is not known whether T lymphocytes are direct estrogen target cells. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the importance of ERα expression in T lymphocytes for the estrogenic regulation of the skeleton using female mice lacking ERα expression specifically in T lymphocytes (Lck-ERα−/−) and ERαflox/flox littermate (control) mice. Deletion of ERα expression in T lymphocytes did not affect bone mineral density (BMD) in sham-operated Lck-ERα−/− compared to control mice, and ovariectomy (ovx) resulted in a similar decrease in BMD in control and Lck-ERα−/− mice compared to sham-operated mice. Furthermore, estrogen treatment of ovx Lck-ERα−/− led to an increased BMD that was indistinguishable from the increase seen after estrogen treatment of ovx control mice. Detailed analysis of both the appendicular (femur) and axial (vertebrae) skeleton showed that both trabecular and cortical bone parameters responded to a similar extent regardless of the presence of ERα in T lymphocytes. In conclusion, ERα expression in T lymphocytes is dispensable for normal estrogenic regulation of bone mass in female mice.