There is growing evidence that prenatal adversities could be implicated in foetal programming of adult chronic diseases. Since maternal stress is known to disturb the foetal glucocorticoid environment, we examined the consequences of prenatal stress on foetal growth, on glucose-insulin metabolism and on feeding behaviour in the aged male rat. In foetuses at term, maternal stress reduced body, adrenal and pancreas weight as well as plasma corticosterone and glucose levels. In aged male rats (24 months of age), prenatal stress induced hyperglycaemia and glucose intolerance and decreased basal leptin levels. Moreover, after a fasting period, they showed an increased food intake. These data suggest that maternal stress induces a long-lasting disturbance in feeding behaviour and dysfunctions related to type 2 diabetes mellitus. This programming could be linked to the early restricted foetal growth and to the adverse glucocorticoid environment in utero.
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J Lesage, F Del-Favero, M Leonhardt, H Louvart, S Maccari, D Vieau, and M Darnaudery
A Levoye, B Mouillac, G Rivière, D Vieau, M Salzet, and C Breton
In annelids, it has been established that arginine-vasopressin (AVP)/oxytocin (OT) superfamily peptides are involved in the maintenance of water and electrolyte homeostasis as well as reproduction. At present, there is little information on their receptors. In this study, we report the characterization of a 1.7 kb cDNA for an AVP-related receptor from the leech Theromyzon tessulatum. The open reading frame encodes a 435-aminoacid transmembrane protein that displays seven segments of hydrophobic amino acids, typical of G-protein-coupled receptors. The overall predicted protein exhibits about 30% amino-acid identities to other invertebrate, as well as vertebrate, AVP/OT receptor family members, and displays conserved characteristic features belonging to the AVP/OT receptor superfamily. RT-PCR expression experiments showed that mRNA is expressed in the genital tract, the ovary and the brain. The receptor expression is stage specific, showing a weak expression after the two first blood meals, increasing dramatically after the last blood meal during the period of sexual maturation and disappearing after egg laying. Thus, the leech AVP-related receptor may mediate reproductive functions. When expressed in COS-7 cells, the receptor binds ligands with the following rank order of potency: AVP= Arg-vasotocin >Arg-conopressin >mesotocin = OT = Lys-conopressin=isotocin>annetocin. This shows an AVP-like pharmacological profile. The transfected receptor mediates AVP-induced accumulation of inositol phosphates, indicating that the leech AVP-related receptor is functional. This study describes the characterization of a novel AVP/OT superfamily receptor in annelids, which are considered the most distant group of coelomate metazoans possessing a functional AVP/OT-related endocrine system.