Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 2 of 2 items for

  • Author: GA Lincoln x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Free access

GA Lincoln, H Andersson, and A Loudon

Melatonin-based photoperiod time-measurement and circannual rhythm generation are long-term time-keeping systems used to regulate seasonal cycles in physiology and behaviour in a wide range of mammals including man. We summarise recent evidence that temporal, melatonin-controlled expression of clock genes in specific calendar cells may provide a molecular mechanism for long-term timing. The agranular secretory cells of the pars tuberalis (PT) of the pituitary gland provide a model cell-type because they express a high density of melatonin (mt1) receptors and are implicated in photoperiod/circannual regulation of prolactin secretion and the associated seasonal biological responses. Studies of seasonal breeding hamsters and sheep indicate that circadian clock gene expression in the PT is modulated by photoperiod via the melatonin signal. In the Syrian and Siberian hamster PT, the high amplitude Per1 rhythm associated with dawn is suppressed under short photoperiods, an effect that is mimicked by melatonin treatment. More extensive studies in sheep show that many clock genes (e.g. Bmal1, Clock, Per1, Per2, Cry1 and Cry2) are expressed in the PT, and their expression oscillates through the 24-h light/darkness cycle in a temporal sequence distinct from that in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (central circadian pacemaker). Activation of Per1 occurs in the early light phase (dawn), while activation of Cry1 occurs in the dark phase (dusk), thus photoperiod-induced changes in the relative phase of Per and Cry gene expression acting through PER/CRY protein/protein interaction provide a potential mechanism for decoding the melatonin signal and generating a long-term photoperiodic response. The current challenge is to identify other calendar cells in the central nervous system regulating long-term cycles in reproduction, body weight and other seasonal characteristics and to establish whether clock genes provide a conserved molecular mechanism for long-term timekeeping.

Free access

Davis JR, RF McMahon, PR Lowenstein, MG Castro, GA Lincoln, and AS McNeilly

Gene therapy for pituitary disease requires evaluation for safety as well as efficacy. We have reported results of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer using the sheep as a large animal model that allows longitudinal evaluation of hormone secretion and have confirmed high levels of transgene expression up to 7 days after direct stereotaxic injection into the pituitary gland. Here we report the results of detailed histological examination of the pituitary glands from animals injected with two recombinant adenoviruses expressing the beta-galactosidase marker gene, or with saline vehicle to control for the potential tissue-disruptive effect of the injection volume itself. Pituitaries injected with saline showed no evidence of inflammatory response apart from occasional minor foci of apoptosis. In all other respects they were indistinguishable from normal uninjected control pituitary glands. Glands injected with recombinant adenoviruses containing either the hCMV-beta-gal or the hPRL-beta-gal transgene, on the other hand, displayed variable degrees of inflammatory response, with periglandular fibrosis, lymphocytic infiltrate and venulitis in almost all cases. Focal necrosis and/or apoptosis was noted in six of nine cases. In summary, we have found evidence of severe inflammatory reaction within the first seven days of adenovirus injection, amounting to significant hypophysitis. The histological extent of this reaction has not previously been recognised by studies of the efficacy of gene transfer in rodents, and was underestimated by immunocytochemical studies of hormone and transgene expression. The findings emphasise the need for careful evaluation of the safety of endocrine gene therapy, and for caution with the dose of vector used.