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W. C. Warren, R. Liang, G. G. Krivi, N. R. Siegel, and R. V. Anthony


Discrepancies exist in the reported purity and biological activity of ovine placental lactogen (oPL), and little structural characterization has been reported. Ovine PL was purified from fetal cotyledonary tissue (day 100 of gestation) by monitoring activity with a recombinant bovine GH (bGH) liver radioreceptor assay. Two hundred grams of tissue yielded 4·2 mg of oPL, with an ∼ 1000-fold purification of oPL specific activity following initial tissue extraction. The oPL was radioiodinated and used in an ovine fetal liver (day 100 of gestation) radioreceptor assay to examine competitive displacement of oPL, ovine GH (oGH) and ovine prolactin (oPRL). The potency of oPL (ED50 = 0·18 nmol/l; ED50 is the quantity of ligand necessary to displace 50% of specifically bound 125I-labelled oPL) was greater than that of oGH (ED50 = 4·1 nmol/l) and oPRL (ED50 = 1·1 μmol/l) in competing for 125I-labelled oPL-binding sites.

Attempts to sequence the NH2 terminus of oPL by vapour-phase sequencing indicated that the NH2 terminus was blocked. Purified oPL was subjected to trypsin and CnBr digestion, and two CnBr and six tryptic peptides were sequenced. The peptide sequences were compared with other PLs, oPRL and bGH for sequence similarity, and found to be most similar to bovine PL (bPL; 68% overall identity) and oPRL (47% overall identity). Complementary DNA (cDNA) clones were isolated for oPL by screening a λZAP cDNA library with a cDNA coding for bPL. Three cDNAs were nucleotide sequenced, and their combined sequence included 41 nucleotides of 5'-untranslated region, the complete coding region of pre-oPL (708 nucleotides) and a portion of the 3' untranslated region (158 nucleotides). The predicted amino acid sequence derived from the nucleotide sequence confirmed homology to bPL (67%) and oPRL (48%). Little amino acid sequence existed with other PLs (≤29%) or GH proteins (≤27%). These results suggest that oPL and oGH are more biologically similar in their ability to compete for fetal liver binding sites, but that oPL is structurally more similar to oPRL. Elucidation of exact structure–function relationships for oPL will, however, require further investigation.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 126, 141–149

Free access

Y Yang, J Cao, W Xiong, J Zhang, Q Zhou, H Wei, C Liang, J Deng, T Li, S Yang, and L Xu

It has been documented that stress or glucocorticoids have conflicting effects on memory under different conditions. However, it is not fully understood why stress can either impair or enhance memory. Here, we have examined the performance of six age groups of Wistar rats in a water maze spatial task to evaluate the effects of stress under different conditions. We found that the impairment or enhancement effect of an 'elevated platform' (EP) stress on memory was dependent on previous stress experience and on age. EP stress impaired memory retrieval in water maze naive animals, but enhanced rather than impaired memory retrieval in young water maze stress-experienced animals. Furthermore, exogenously applied corticosterone or foot shock stress before water maze training prevented the impairment of memory retrieval that should be induced by treatment with corticosterone or foot shock before the 'probe trial'. Again, memory retrieval was enhanced in young animals under these conditions, and this enhancement can be prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU 38486. Thus, glucocorticoid receptor activation not only induced impairment of memory but also increased the capacity of young animals to overcome a later stress. The present findings suggest that the effect of stress on memory can be switched from impairment to enhancement dependent on both stress experience and age.

Free access

Junlan Zhou, Min Cheng, Chan Boriboun, Mariam M Ardehali, Changfei Jiang, Qinghua Liu, Shuling Han, David A Goukassian, Yao-Liang Tang, Ting C Zhao, Ming Zhao, Lu Cai, Stéphane Richard, Raj Kishore, and Gangjian Qin

Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes; molecular mechanisms that promote energy expenditure can be utilized for effective therapy. Src-associated in mitosis of 68 kDa (Sam68) is potentially significant, because knockout (KO) of Sam68 leads to markedly reduced adiposity. In the present study, we sought to determine the mechanism by which Sam68 regulates adiposity and energy homeostasis. We first found that Sam68 KO mice have a significantly reduced body weight as compared to controls, and the difference is explained entirely by decreased adiposity. Interestingly, these effects were not mediated by a difference in food intake; rather, they were associated with enhanced physical activity. When they were fed a high-fat diet, Sam68 KO mice gained much less body weight and fat mass than their WT littermates did, and they displayed an improved glucose and insulin tolerance. In Sam68 KO mice, the brown adipose tissue (BAT), inguinal, and epididymal depots were smaller, and their adipocytes were less hypertrophied as compared to their WT littermates. The BAT of Sam68 KO mice exhibited reduced lipid stores and expressed higher levels of Ucp1 and key thermogenic and fatty acid oxidation genes. Similarly, depots of inguinal and epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT) in Sam68 KO mice appeared browner, their multilocular Ucp1-positive cells were much more abundant, and the expression of Ucp1, Cidea, Prdm16, and Ppargc1a genes was greater as compared to WT controls, which suggests that the loss of Sam68 also promotes WAT browning. Furthermore, in all of the fat depots of the Sam68 KO mice, the expression of M2 macrophage markers was up-regulated, and that of M1 markers was down-regulated. Thus, Sam68 plays a crucial role in controlling thermogenesis and may be targeted to combat obesity and associated disorders.

Open access

Shisan Xu, Fangjing Xie, Li Tian, Samane Fallah, Fatemeh Babaei, Sinai H C Manno, Francis A M Manno III, Lina Zhu, Kin Fung Wong, Yimin Liang, Rajkumar Ramalingam, Lei Sun, Xin Wang, Robert Plumb, Lee Gethings, Yun Wah Lam, and Shuk Han Cheng

Sexual differences have been observed in the onset and prognosis of human cardiovascular diseases, but the underlying mechanisms are not clear. Here, we found that zebrafish heart regeneration is faster in females, can be accelerated by estrogen and is suppressed by the estrogen-antagonist tamoxifen. Injuries to the zebrafish heart, but not other tissues, increased plasma estrogen levels and the expression of estrogen receptors, especially esr2a. The resulting endocrine disruption induces the expression of the female-specific protein vitellogenin in male zebrafish. Transcriptomic analyses suggested heart injuries triggered pronounced immune and inflammatory responses in females. These responses, previously shown to elicit heart regeneration, could be enhanced by estrogen treatment in males and reduced by tamoxifen in females. Furthermore, a prior exposure to estrogen preconditioned the zebrafish heart for an accelerated regeneration. Altogether, this study reveals that heart regeneration is modulated by an estrogen-inducible inflammatory response to cardiac injury. These findings elucidate a previously unknown layer of control in zebrafish heart regeneration and provide a new model system for the study of sexual differences in human cardiac repair.