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C Gonzalez, A Alonso, F Diaz, and AM Patterson

Numerous studies have suggested that ovarian hormones are able to modulate insulin sensitivity, but their exact role remains unclear. We have investigated whether different doses of 17beta-oestradiol mediate changes in insulin sensitivity and if these changes could be related to modifications of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1). Female rats were ovariectomized and later separated into three groups: untreated; treated with a dose of 17beta-oestradiol sufficient to reproduce gestational plasma concentrations of 17beta-oestradiol (group E); and treated with a dose 100 times greater than that given to group E (group E2). A euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp was used to measure insulin sensitivity. Changes in IRS-1 were analysed by Western blotting and RT-PCR assays. In group E we found a decrease in insulin sensitivity between days 11 and 16 of treatment as in late gestation, whereas in the untreated group and group E2, development of insulin resistance was observed throughout the treatment. In contrast, whereas in group E2 insulin resistance throughout the hormonal treatment was related to diminished expression and phosphorylation of IRS-1, in group E the decrease in insulin sensitivity between days 11 and 16 of treatment was not related to a decrease in IRS-1 expression. Our results suggest that the effects of oestradiol on insulin sensitivity were dose-dependent and that the insulin resistance associated with a high dose of 17beta-oestradiol was related to downregulation of IRS-1 expression.

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C Gonzalez, A Alonso, N Alvarez, F Diaz, M Martinez, S Fernandez, and AM Patterson

The mechanism for the development of insulin resistance in normal pregnancy is complex and is associated with serum levels of both progesterone and 17beta-estradiol. However, it remains unclear whether estrogens alone or progestins alone can cause insulin resistance, or whether it is a combination of both which produces this effect. We attempted to determine the role played by progesterone and/or 17beta-estradiol on the phenomena of sensitivity to insulin action that take place during pregnancy in the rat. Ovariectomized rats were treated with different doses of progesterone and/or 17beta-estradiol in order to simulate the plasma levels in normal pregnant rats. A euglycemic/hyperinsulinemic clamp was used to measure insulin sensitivity. At days 6 and 11, vehicle (V)- and progesterone (P)-treated groups were more insulin resistant than 17beta-estradiol (E)- and 17beta-estradiol+progesterone (EP)-treated groups. Nevertheless, at day 16, the V, EP and E groups were more resistant to insulin action than the P group. On the other hand, the V, EP and E groups were more insulin resistant at day 16 than at day 6, whereas the P group was more insulin resistant at day 6 than at day 16. Our results seem to suggest that the absence of female steroid hormones gives rise to a decreased insulin sensitivity. The rise in insulin sensitivity during early pregnancy, when the plasma concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone are low, could be due to 17beta-estradiol. However, during late pregnancy when the plasma concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone are high, the role of 17beta-estradiol could be to antagonize the effect of progesterone, diminishing insulin sensitivity.

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C. M. Gronda, G. B. Diaz, J. P. F. C. Rossi, and J. J. Gagliardino


Using medium with a low ionic strength, a low concentration of Ca2+ and Mg2+ and devoid of K+, we have measured Ca2+-ATPase activity in the homogenates of rat islets preincubated for 3 min with several hormones in the presence of 3·3 mmol glucose/l. Insulin secretion was also measured in islets incubated for 5 min under identical experimental conditions. Islets preincubated with glucose (3·3 mmol/l) and glucagon (1·4 μmol/l) plus theophylline (10 mmol/l), ACTH (0·11 nmol/l), bovine GH (0·46 μmol/l), prolactin (0·2 μmol/l) or tri-iodothyronine (1·0 nmol/l) have significantly lower Ca2+-ATPase activity than those preincubated with only 3·3 mmol glucose/l. All these hormones increased the release of insulin significantly.

Dexamethasone (0·1 μmol/l) and somatostatin (1·2 μmol/l) enhanced the Ca2+-ATPase activity while adrenaline (10 μmol/l) did not produce any significant effect on the activity of the enzyme. These hormones decreased the release of insulin significantly.

These results demonstrated that islet Ca2+-ATPase activity was modulated by the hormones tested. Their inhibitory or enhancing effect seemed to be related to their effect on insulin secretion; i.e. those which stimulated the secretion of insulin inhibited the activity of the enzyme and vice versa. Hence, their effect on insulin secretion may be due, in part, to their effect on enzyme activity and consequently on the concentration of cytosolic Ca2+. These results reinforce the assumption that Ca2+-ATPase activity participates in the physiological regulation of insulin secretion, being one of the cellular targets for several agents which affect this process.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 134, 221–225

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A. Ulloa-Aguirre, J. J. Mejia, R. Dominguez, J. Guevara-Aguirre, V. Diaz-Sánchez, and F. Larrea


Anterior pituitary glands were removed from male rats at 5, 10, 15, 18, 21, 28, 30, 40, 45, 50 and 90 days of age, and the multiple forms of FSH present within them were separated by polyacrylamide gel–isoelectric focusing (PAGE–IEF; pH range 3·0–8·0). Gel eluents were analysed for FSH content by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and a specific radioreceptor assay (RRA). All pituitaries studied exhibited one or more peaks of immunoactive FSH within a pH range of 7·0–3·0; the major peak exhibited an isoelectric point (pi) of 4·9–4·0. Between 25 and 56% of anterior pituitary FSH obtained from rats 5–30 days old focused within a pH range of 4·9–4·5, whilst in older animals (≥40 days) this pH range contained 17–27% of the total FSH recovered. In contrast, in animals 40–90 days old, the greatest proportion of immunoactive FSH (42–62% of the total immunoactivity recovered) focused within a pH range of 4·4–4·0; further, only these groups of animals exhibited a significant proportion of anterior pituitary FSH with a pI ≤3·9. Between 14 and 21% of total FSH from 5- to 30-day-old rats focused within a pH range of 5·4–5·0, whereas in older animals this pH range contained 6–9% of the total FSH recovered. These shifts in FSH pI occurred at the time of appearance of spermiogenesis, at 45 days of age.

Although the ratio of the concentration of FSH measured by RRA to that measured by RIA declined as the pI of the anterior pituitary FSH decreased throughout a pH range of 7·0–4·0, the most acidic FSH molecules (pI <4·0) showed an abrupt increase in that ratio.

These results demonstrate that the transition from sexual immaturity to adulthood is accompanied by qualitative changes of intracellular pituitary FSH. They contrast with previous findings in female rats in which a shift to less acidic anterior pituitary FSH forms was detected at the time of vaginal opening, thus indicating the existence of a sexual dichotomy in terms of the action of gonadal steroids on the type of FSH molecule synthesized by the anterior pituitary gland.

J. Endocr. (1986) 110, 539–549

Free access

Marcos C Carreira, Jesus P Camiña, Esther Díaz-Rodríguez, Rodrigo Alvear-Perez, Catherine Llorens-Cortes, and Felipe F Casanueva

Ghrelin regulates GH secretion and energy homeostasis through the GH secretagogue receptor type-1a (GHS-R1a). This G-protein coupled receptor shows the peculiarity to transduce information provided not just by ghrelin as well as by adenosine through a supposed binding site different from the characterized ghrelin-binding pocket. Indeed, adenosine triggers intracellular calcium rise through a distinct signaling pathway to the one described for ghrelin, although it fails to stimulate GH secretion. Despite multiple active conformations of GHS-R1a, suggested as an explanation for a ligand-dependent activation of the downstream signaling, the concept of adenosine as agonist for GHS-R1a has been re-evaluated. The results revealed that calcium rise of both ghrelin and adenosine appears to be mediated by receptors that did not show the same sensitivity to protein kinase C (PKC) activity in GHS-R1a-transfected HEK 293 cells (HEK-GHS-R1a cells). The binding analyses showed the same number of adenosine-binding sites in both HEK 293 (B max = 2.01 ± 0.15 fmol/cell) and HEK-GHS-R1a cells (B max = 1.90 ± 0.11 fmol/cell). This binding was unaltered by different GHS-R1a antagonists. Western blot analysis showed a similar endogenous expression of endogenous adenosine receptor type-2b and -3 in both cell lines. The K d values for adenosine were 1.78 μM in HEK 293 cells and 6.30 μM in HEK-GHS-R1a cells, pointing to a modification of agonist affinity induced by overexpression of the GHS-R1a. Additionally, adenosine failed to induce the GHS-R1a endocytosis, although it attenuates the ghrelin-induced GHS-R1a endocytosis. In conclusion, adenosine is not an agonist of the GHS-R1a and its action is mediated by the endogenous adenosine receptor type-2b and -3, which is able to partially use the intracellular signaling machinery of HEK-GHS-R1a cells.

Free access

J Santiago-Moreno, A Gómez-Brunet, A Toledano-Díaz, R Salas-Vega, F Gómez-Guillamón, and A López-Sebastián

This work examines the effect of testosterone secretion and photoperiod on seasonal changes in horn growth and sperm variables in the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica), here used as a model for polygynous wild bovids. The hypothesis that high levels of testosterone provide an endocrine signal that inhibits horn growth in autumn was tested by assessing the effect of cyproterone acetate (CA), an anti-androgen, administered in October – coinciding with the period of natural increases in plasma testosterone concentrations – under different photoperiodic conditions (natural photoperiod and artificial long days). The persistence of horn growth during autumn in all ibexes held under the long-day photoperiodic conditions clearly shows that horn growth regulation in the mating season is primarily modulated by day length and not by a fall in testosterone concentration. A retrospectively designed second experiment involving testosterone propionate (TP) administration in April (when horns are growing) was then undertaken to confirm that high levels of testosterone do not inhibit horn growth. Overall, the results strongly suggest that the rise in testosterone secretion during the autumn mating season does not act as an endocrine signal for the arrest of horn growth, although the rate of horn growth before the mating season may be related to springtime testosterone levels. A direct relationship was seen between the rate of horn growth and the incidence of sperm abnormalities. Neither CA treatment in October nor TP administration in April affected the studied sperm variables. By contrast, CA treatment plus artificial long days in autumn had a negative effect on sperm motility and sperm morphology.

Free access

H A Sterle, E Valli, F Cayrol, M A Paulazo, D J Martinel Lamas, M C Diaz Flaqué, A J Klecha, L Colombo, V A Medina, G A Cremaschi, and M L Barreiro Arcos

We have shown in vitro that thyroid hormones (THs) regulate the balance between proliferation and apoptosis of T lymphoma cells. The effects of THs on tumor development have been studied, but the results are still controversial. Herein, we show the modulatory action of thyroid status on the in vivo growth of T lymphoma cells. For this purpose, euthyroid, hypothyroid, and hyperthyroid mice received inoculations of EL4 cells to allow the development of solid tumors. Tumors in the hyperthyroid animals exhibited a higher growth rate, as evidenced by the early appearance of palpable solid tumors and the increased tumor volume. These results are consistent with the rate of cell division determined by staining tumor cells with carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester. Additionally, hyperthyroid mice exhibited reduced survival. Hypothyroid mice did not differ significantly from the euthyroid controls with respect to these parameters. Additionally, only tumors from hyperthyroid animals had increased expression levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and active caspase 3. Differential expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins was also observed. The levels of cyclins D1 and D3 were augmented in the tumors of the hyperthyroid animals, whereas the cell cycle inhibitors p16/INK4A (CDKN2A) and p27/Kip1 (CDKN1B) and the tumor suppressor p53 (TRP53) were increased in hypothyroid mice. Intratumoral and peritumoral vasculogenesis was increased only in hyperthyroid mice. Therefore, we propose that the thyroid status modulates the in vivo growth of EL4 T lymphoma through the regulation of cyclin, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, and tumor suppressor gene expression, as well as the stimulation of angiogenesis.