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  • Author: A Filippis x
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K Walder, A Filippis, S Clark, P Zimmet and GR Collier

Leptin is secreted from adipose tissue, and is thought to act as a 'lipostat', signalling the body fat levels to the hypothalamus resulting in adjustments to food intake and energy expenditure to maintain body weight homeostasis. In addition, plasma leptin concentrations have been shown to be related to insulin sensitivity independent of body fat content, suggesting that the hyperleptinemia found in obesity could contribute to the insulin resistance. We investigated the effects of leptin on insulin binding by isolated adipocytes. Adipocytes isolated from Sprague-Dawley rats exhibited a dose-dependent reduction in the uptake of 125I-labelled insulin when incubated with various concentrations of exogenous leptin. For example, addition of 50 nM leptin reduced total insulin binding in isolated adipocytes by 19% (P < 0.05). Analysis of displacement curve binding data suggested that leptin reduced maximal insulin binding in a dose-dependent manner, but had no significant effect on the affinity of insulin for its binding site. We conclude that leptin directly inhibited insulin binding by adipocytes, and the role of leptin in the development of insulin resistance in obese individuals requires further investigation.

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X H Zhang, S Filippi, L Vignozzi, A Morelli, R Mancina, M Luconi, S Donati, M Marini, G B Vannelli, G Forti and M Maggi

We recently found that the oxytocin receptor (OTR) is expressed in the human and rabbit corpus cavernosum and mediates contractility in vitro. The present study extended our investigations to the rat, and explored whether OTR regulates penile detumescence in vivo. Real-time RT-PCR quantitatively characterized the distribution of OTR mRNA in the male genital tract. Specific transcripts for OTR were expressed in all the tissues investigated. Penile expression of OTR was comparable to that observed in testis and prostate. Western blot analysis detected a single band of the expected molecular mass for OTR in all tissues examined, including rat penis. Expression of OTR protein in rat penile extracts was further confirmed by binding studies, using the OTR selective radiolabeled ligand 125I-OTA (K d=17 ± 6.5 pM, Bmax=15.7 ± 5 fmoles/mg protein). OTR was immunolocalized to the endothelial and smooth muscle compartments of cavernous spaces and blood vessels. In rat corpus cavernosum strips, oxytocin (OT) and an OTR selective agonist ([Thr4,Gly7]OT) induced identical increases in tension, while different vasopressin agonists were less active. In vivo, OT intra-cavernous injection (ICI) dose-dependently inhibited intracavernous pressure (ICP) increase elicited by either electrical stimulation of the cavernous nerve or ICI of papaverine with similar IC50s (117.7 ± 37 mU). The OTR antagonist, atosiban, counteracted the contractile effect of OT both in vitro and in vivo. Atosiban alone significantly increased ICP at lower stimulation frequencies (2 Hz=P<0.001 and 4 Hz=P<0.05 vs control), but not at the maximal frequency (16 Hz). Our data showed that OTR is present in the rat penis and mediates contractility both in vitro and in vivo, therefore suggesting a role for OT in maintaining penile detumescence.