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Toshihiro Sugiyama, Toshiaki Takaki, Kenya Sakanaka, Hiroki Sadamaru, Koji Mori, Yoshihiko Kato, Toshihiko Taguchi and Takashi Saito

Long-term warfarin use has been reported to increase fracture risk of rib and vertebra but not hip in elderly patients, but the mechanisms remain unknown. We hypothesized that warfarin would impair bone material quality but could not weaken bone strength under conditions with higher mechanical stimuli. To test this hypothesis, rats were randomized to vehicle or warfarin group at 4 weeks of age and subsequently weight matched into a sedentary or jumping exercise group at 12 weeks of age. At 6 months of age, osteocalcin content, bone mineral density (BMD), mineral size, material properties, morphological parameters, and biomechanical properties of cortical bones were evaluated. In order to seek evidence for a common mechanism of action, effects of nucleation rate of mineral crystals on their rigidity were also investigated using computer simulation. In humeral cortical bones, warfarin did not change BMD, but markedly decreased osteocalcin content, diminished mineral size, and impaired material hardness. Consistent with these results, our computer-simulation model showed that osteocalcin-induced delay of mineral crystal nucleation decreased mineral formation rate, increased mean and distribution of mineral sizes, and strengthened mineral rigidity. In tibial cortical bones, warfarin decreased material ultimate stress; however, under jumping exercise, warfarin increased cross-sectional total and bone areas of these tibiae and completely maintained their biomechanical properties including work to failure. Collectively, our findings suggest that long-term warfarin therapy weakens rib and vertebra by impairing cortical bone material quality due to a marked decrease in osteocalcin content but could not reduce hip strength through compensatory adaptation of cortical bone structure to higher mechanical stimuli.

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Hiroki Saito, Tomoya Nakamachi, Kazuhiko Inoue, Ryuji Ikeda, Kazuo Kitamura, Naoto Minamino, Seiji Shioda and Atsuro Miyata

Neuromedin B (NMB) is a mammalian bombesin-like peptide that regulates exocrine/endocrine secretion, smooth muscle contraction, body temperature, and the proliferation of some cell types. Here, we show that mRNA encoding Nmb and its receptor (Nmbr) are expressed in rat bone tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that NMB and NMBR colocalize in osteoblasts, epiphyseal chondrocytes, and proliferative chondrocytes of growth plates from mouse hind limbs. Then, we investigated the effect of NMB on the proliferation of rat primary cultured osteoblasts. Proliferation assays and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation assays demonstrated that NMB augments the cell number and enhances DNA synthesis in osteoblasts. Pretreatment with the NMBR antagonist BIM23127 inhibited NMB-induced cell proliferation and DNA synthesis. Western blot analysis showed that NMB activates ERK1/2 MAPK signaling in osteoblasts. Pretreatment with the MAPK/ERK kinase inhibitor U0126 attenuated NMB-induced cell proliferation and DNA synthesis. We also investigated the effects of molecules that contribute to osteoblast proliferation and differentiation on N mb expression in osteoblasts. Real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that 17β-estradiol (E2) and transforming growth factor β1 increase and decrease N mb mRNA expression levels respectively. Finally, proliferation assays revealed that the NMBR antagonist BIM23127 suppresses E2-induced osteoblast proliferation. These results suggest that NMB/NMBR signaling plays an autocrine or paracrine role in osteoblast proliferation and contributes to the regulation of bone formation.

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Hiroshi Nagano, Yuki Sobue, Hayato Matsuyama, Shoichiro Saito, Hiroki Sakai, Firoj Alom, Yasuyuki Tanahashi, Toshiaki Ishii and Toshihiro Unno

Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors have been suggested to be implicated in arginine–vasopressin secretion because intracerebroventricular muscarinic agonist administration induces arginine–vasopressin release into the circulation. Although which subtype is involved in the regulation of arginine–vasopressin secretion is unclear, M2 receptors have been reported to be highly expressed in the hypothalamus. In the present study, M2 receptor-knockout mice were used to elucidate whether M2 receptor regulates arginine–vasopressin synthesis in the paraventricular nuclei and supraoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus. The number of arginine–vasopressin-immunoreactive neurons in M2 receptor-knockout mice was significantly decreased in the supraoptic nuclei, but not in the paraventricular nuclei compared with wild-type mice. Plasma arginine–vasopressin level in M2 receptor-knockout mice was also significantly lower than in the wild-type mice. Urinary volume and frequency as well as water intake in M2 receptor-knockout mice were significantly higher than those in wild-type mice. The V2 vasopressin receptor expression in kidneys of M2 receptor-knockout mice was comparable with that of wild-type mice, and increased urination in M2 receptor-knockout mice was significantly decreased by administration of desmopressin, a specific V2 receptor agonist, suggesting that V2 receptors in the kidneys of M2 receptor-knockout mice are intact. These results suggest that M2 receptors promote arginine–vasopressin synthesis in the supraoptic nuclei and play a role in the regulation and maintenance of body fluid.

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Hiroki Otsubo, Susumu Hyodo, Hirofumi Hashimoto, Makoto Kawasaki, Hitoshi Suzuki, Takeshi Saito, Toyoaki Ohbuchi, Toru Yokoyama, Hiroaki Fujihara, Tetsuro Matsumoto, Yoshio Takei and Yoichi Ueta

We examined the effects of i.c.v. administration of adrenomedullin 5 (AM5) on the brain of conscious rats. We used porcine AM5 in the present study because rat AM5 has not been detected. We observed Fos-like immunoreactivity (LI) in the hypothalamus and brainstem of conscious rats after i.c.v. administration of AM5 (2 nmol/rat). Fos-LI, measured at 90 min post-AM5 injection, was observed in various brain areas, including the supraoptic (SON) and the paraventricular nuclei (PVN). Dual immunostaining for Fos/oxytocin (OXT) and Fos/arginine vasopressin (AVP) revealed that OXT-LI neurones predominantly colocalized Fos-LI compared with AVP-LI neurones in the SON and the PVN. Plasma OXT levels were significantly increased 5 min after i.c.v. administration of AM5 (1 nmol/rat) compared with vehicle and remained elevated in samples taken at 15 and 30 min without changes in plasma AVP levels at any time. In situ hybridization histochemistry showed that i.c.v. administration of AM5 (0.2, 1 and 2 nmol/rat) caused a marked induction of the expression of the c-fos gene in the SON and the PVN. This induction was significantly but not completely reduced by pretreatment with both the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonist CGRP-(8–37; 3 nmol/rat) and the AM receptor antagonist AM-(22–52; 27 nmol/rat). Although porcine AM5 has not been detected yet in the brain, these results suggest that centrally administered porcine AM5 may activate OXT-secreting neurosecretory cells in the hypothalamus partly through AM/CGRP receptors and elicit secretion of OXT into the systemic circulation in conscious rats.