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T Takano, K Takada, H Tada, S Nishiyama and N Amino


Long-term administration of lithium is one of the well-known causes of goiter. It can stimulate DNA synthesis in rat thyroid cells (FRTL-5) treated with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). To investigate the mitogenic signal transduction system activated by lithium, lithium-induced DNA synthesis and Ca2+ influx were studied using two protein kinase inhibitors, genistein as a specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor and staurosporine as a potent inhibitor of protein kinase C.

Genistein but not staurosporine blocked the DNA synthesis induced by lithium in TSH-primed cells but neither compound had any effect on the Ca2+ entry stimulated by lithium. Genistein clearly attenuated the phosphotyrosine content of the 175 kDa substrate in the presence of lithium but staurosporine failed to do so. Moreover, lithium could also stimulate DNA synthesis in protein kinase C down-regulated cells.

These data demonstrate that lithium may require the activation of a particular genistein-sensitive kinase, possibly a tyrosine kinase, to induce cell proliferation. It is suggested that the phorbol ester-sensitive protein kinase C family might not participate in the mitogenic signal transduction pathway activated by lithium.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 143, 221–226

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T Akamizu, T Murayama, S Teramukai, K Miura, I Bando, T Irako, H Iwakura, H Ariyasu, H Hosoda, H Tada, A Matsuyama, S Kojima, T Wada, Y Wakatsuki, K Matsubayashi, T Kawakita, A Shimizu, M Fukushima, M Yokode and K Kangawa

Aging is associated with a decrease in growth hormone (GH) secretion, appetite and energy intake. As ghrelin stimulates both GH secretion and appetite, reductions in ghrelin levels may be involved in the reductions in GH secretion and appetite observed in the elderly. However, only preliminary studies have been performed on the role of ghrelin in elderly subjects. In this study, we sought to clarify the physiologic implications of the age-related alterations in ghrelin secretion by determining plasma ghrelin levels and other clinical parameters in healthy elderly subjects. Subjects were ≥ 65 years old, corresponding to the SENIEUR protocol, had not had a resection of the upper gastrointestinal tract and had not been treated with hormones. One hundred and five volunteers (49 men and 56 women) were admitted to this study (73.4 ± 6.3 years old). Plasma levels of acylated ghrelin in elderly female subjects positively correlated with serum IGF-I levels and bowel movement frequency and negatively with systolic blood pressure. In elderly men, desacyl ghrelin levels correlated only weakly with bowel movement frequency. These findings suggest that the plasma levels of the acylated form of ghrelin may influence the age-related alterations in GH/IGF-I regulation, blood pressure and bowel motility. These observational associations warrant further experimental studies to clarify the physiologic significance of these effects.