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CK Wong and DK Chan

The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of cortisol on the development of the freshwater chloride cell (CC), using flow cytometry. Scanning electron microscopy was used to determine the corresponding modifications in CC apical structure. Simultaneously, biochemical analyses were conducted to determine the activities of transport ATPases, mitochondrial enzymes (succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and Mg(2+)-ATPase) and lactate dehydrogenase (Ldh). The effects of daily i.m. injection of 2 microg/g cortisol were compared with sham-injected freshwater-, control freshwater- and seawater-adapted fish. The hormone did not affect the activities of Ca(2+)-ATPases in CCs. However, it stimulated the proliferation and differentiation of the two freshwater CC subtypes (F1, 66+/-2.18% (s.e.m. ) and F2, 34+/-2.18%), in which the relative proportion of F1 CCs was transiently reduced in the first 5 days of treatment (F1, 53+/-1.83%; F2, 47+/-1.83%) but was then restored to a higher relative percentage on day 10 (F1, 70+/-1.42%; F2, 30+/-1.42%). Biochemically, it induced the activities of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase, Mg(2+)-ATPase, SDH and Ldh, suggesting an increase in ion pumping and its associated metabolic activities. CCs from cortisoltreated fish demonstrated recessed apical morphology, accompanied by an increase in cell density (2012 to 2413/mm(2)). Nevertheless, the extent of cell proliferation and differentiation and the biochemical changes were significantly lower than those of seawater fish. Our results indicate that cortisol alone cannot stimulate a complete differentiation of freshwater CCs to seawater CCs. However, the respective roles of the two CC subtypes in freshwater and seawater environments are indicated.

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CK Wong, HY Yeung, NK Mak, GE DiMattia, DK Chan, and GF Wagner

Stanniocalcin is a polypeptide hormone that was first reported in fish as a regulator of mineral metabolism. Its recent identification in mammals has opened a new area of investigation in basic and clinical endocrinology. In the present study, regulation of the stanniocalcin (STC) and stanniocalcin related protein (STCrP) genes were investigated in mouse neuroblastoma cells (Neuro-2A) in relation to neuronal cell differentiation. Neuro-2A is an undifferentiated cell line that contains measurable levels of STCrP mRNA, but undetectable levels of STC mRNA. Treatment of the cells with either dbcAMP (1-4 mM) or 50 microM euxanthone (PW1) resulted in extensive differentiation and neurite outgrowth. However, only neurites of dbcAMP-treated cells developed varicosities, a phenotypic marker of axon formation. Furthermore, following differentiation induced by dbcAMP, there was an upregulation of STC and downregulation of STCrP mRNA levels. In the first 24 and 48 h of treatments, there was a maximum twofold induction and 1.5-fold reduction in STC and STCrP mRNAs respectively. Following 96 h of treatment, an additional 14-fold STC induction and 1.2-fold STCrP reduction were observed. The increase in STC mRNA levels was accompanied by a concomitant increase in axon-specific low molecular form microtubule-associated protein (MAP-2c) mRNA and varicosities on the neurites, suggesting a possible role for STC in axonogenesis. There was no induction of STC mRNA levels when PW1 was added into the culture media, whereas ionomycin (1-10 microM) had no observable effects on cell differentiation or STC/STCrP mRNA. Immunocytochemical staining of dbcAMP-treated cells revealed abundant levels of immunoreactive STC, particularly in the varicosities, with only weak staining in control, untreated cells. Antisense oligodeoxynucleotides transfection studies indicated that the expression of STC was a cause of varicosity formation and a consequence of cell differentiation. Our findings lend further support to the notion that STC is involved in the process of neural differentiation.