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J Singh and DJ Handelsman

Estrogens play an important role in prostate physiology and neonatal exposure to estrogens has profound effects on the mature structure and hormonal sensitivity of rodent prostate. We aimed to determine the long-term effects of neonatal estrogens on the ductal architecture, morphology and hormonal sensitivity of the mature mouse prostate. Newborn mice (day 1-2) were administered a single injection (s.c.) of estrogens (estradiol benzoate (EB), diethylstilbestrol (DES)) with or without concomitant anti-estrogens (tamoxifen (TAM) or ICI 182 780 (ICI)) TAM or ICI alone, GnRH-antagonist (GnRH-A) or vehicle. At 7 weeks of age, ventral prostates (VP) were microdissected to estimate branch tip numbers and processed for stereologic analysis of volume fractions and diameters of various tissue components. Estrogens induced permanently reduced branching morphogenesis leading to reduced VP weights and these effects were fully reproduced by GnRH-A, consistent with an indirect effect. Stereologically, neonatal estrogens induced epithelial and stromal hyperplasia and significantly reduced (P<0.05) the diameters of VP glandular tubules and lumen compared with controls and these regressive effects were not reversed either by TAM or ICI. These studies confirm that a single neonatal dose of both DES and EB produces imprinting in the mature mouse prostate and indicate that neonatal estrogen effects involve both direct as well as indirect effects. In addition, both TAM and ICI act as partial agonists to the estrogen receptor in the ventral prostate of neonatal mouse.

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J Singh and D J Handelsman

Abstract

We previously demonstrated that androgens alone, in the complete absence of gonadotropins, initiated qualitatively complete spermatogenesis in hypogonadal (hpg) mice. Although germ cell to Sertoli cell ratios were normal in hpg mice with androgen-induced spermatogenesis, testicular size, Sertoli cell and germ cell numbers only reached 40% of those of non-hpg mice, and Sertoli cell numbers were unaffected by androgen treatment started at 21 days of age. We postulated that these observations were due to diminished gonadotropin-dependent Sertoli cell proliferation during perinatal life while the Sertoli cells still exhibited normal carrying capacity for mature germ cells. In order to test this hypothesis, we examined the effects of administering androgens and gonadotropins to hpg mice during the first 2 weeks of postnatal life when Sertoli cells normally continue to proliferate. The study end-points were Sertoli and germ cell numbers in hpg mice following induction of spermatogenesis by 8 weeks treatment with 1 cm subdermal silastic testosterone implants. Newborn pups (postnatal day 0–1) were injected s.c. with recombinant human FSH (rhFSH) (0·5 IU/20 μl) or saline once daily for 14 days, with or without a single dose of testosterone propionate (TP) (100 μg/20 μl arachis oil) or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (1 IU/20 μl). Untreated hpg and phenotypically normal littermates were studied as concurrent controls. At 21 days of age, all treated weanling mice received a 1 cm silastic subdermal testosterone implant and, finally, 8 weeks after testosterone implantation, all mice were killed. As expected, qualitatively complete spermatogenesis was induced in all groups by testosterone despite undetectable circulating FSH levels. Exogenous rhFSH increased testis size by 43% (P<0·002) but a single neonatal dose of either TP or hCG reduced the FSH effect although neither TP nor hCG had any effect alone. In contrast, a single neonatal dose of TP or hCG increased final seminal vesicle size whereas FSH had no effect. FSH and TP treatment significantly increased absolute numbers of testicular spermatids compared with saline treatment, whereas hCG and TP significantly increased testicular sperm when expressed relative to testis size. Stereological evaluation of Sertoli and germ cell numbers demonstrated a rise in the absolute numbers of Sertoli and all germ cell populations induced by neonatal administration of hormones. When expressed per Sertoli cells the numbers of germ cells in the treated mice were between 85 and 90% of non-hpg controls. We conclude that exogenous FSH treatment during the first 2 weeks of postnatal life, coinciding with the natural time of Sertoli cell proliferation, increases Sertoli cell numbers and thereby the ultimate size of the mature testis and its germ cell production. Thus neonatal gonadotropin secretion may be a critical determinant of the sperm-producing capacity of the mature testis. In addition, neonatal exposure to androgens could be important for the imprinting of sex accessory organs in hpg mice, with the long-term effects of altering the sensitivity of the accessory organs to exogenous testosterone later in life.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 151, 37–48

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Anita Singh and M.J. Reed

ABSTRACT

Oestradiol-17β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (E2DH) is present in normal and malignant breast tissues and also in cultured breast cancer cells. It can act in a reductive direction to convert oestrone to the biologically active oestrogen, oestradiol, or in an oxidative direction to metabolize oestradiol to oestrone and may therefore have a crucial role in regulating breast tissue concentrations of oestradiol. Insulin-like growth factor-type I (IGF-I) and IGF-II are both mitogens for breast cancer cells. In this study we have examined the effect of these growth factors on the reductive and oxidative activities of E2DH in MCF-7 (receptor positive) and MDA-MB-231 (receptor negative) breast cancer cells. Both IGF-I (80 ng/ml) and IGF-II (80 ng/ml) significantly stimulated E2DH reductive activity (up to 138%) in MCF-7 cells but had no effect on oxidative activity. Addition of IGF-II (100 ng/ml) to MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in a small but statistically significant (p<0.05) increase in E2DH reductive activity (18%) but in these cells reductive activity is 25-70 times lower than oxidative activity. If IGF-I and IGF-II act to stimulate E2DH reductive activity in breast tumours then such a mechanism could account for the increased concentrations of oestradiol detected in breast tumours.

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KUNWAR BAHADUR SINGH and C. J. DOMINIC

It is well established that in mammals ethanol is a potent chemical inhibitor of the release of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), including the antidiuresis that follows the administration of hypertonic saline (see Kleeman & Cutler, 1963; Heller & Ginsburg, 1966). Ethanol also inhibits histological changes in the mammalian hypothalamic neurosecretory system (HNS) that normally follow treatment with hypertonic saline (Raiha, 1960; Kulshreshtha & Dominic, 1972). However, very few studies are available on the effect of ethanol on the neurohypophysis of birds and other non-mammalian vertebrates. The present report deals with the effect of ethanol on the HNS of the spotted owlet after treatment with hypertonic saline.

Birds weighing 120–140 g were divided into four groups with 25 individuals of either sex in each group, and were given the following treatments, Group 1: 3% NaCl solution (1 ml/animal/day) for 3–5 days; Group 2:3% NaCl solution (1 ml/animal/day), and 15% ethanol

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C. J. DOMINIC and RAM MURAT SINGH

The existence of distinct, non-interconnected anterior and posterior groups of portal vessels supplying the cephalic and caudal lobes, respectively, of the pars distalis of the pituitary has been demonstrated in the white-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii (Vitums, Mikami, Oksche & Farner, 1964). In a recent study, we (Dominic & Singh, 1969) demonstrated the occurrence of separate anterior and posterior groups of portal vessels in the pituitary of 15 species of birds, and postulated that this arrangement may be widespread among birds. Sharp & Follett (1969a) concluded that while there is tentative evidence for the separation of the portal system in the Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix, it is much less apparent than in Zonotrichia. The present report deals with the occurrence of the regional distribution of portal vessels in the pituitary of 20 more species of birds.

The hypophysial portal vessels were studied by the Indian ink perfusion technique as

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B. A. Crawford, J. Singh, J. M. Simpson and D. J. Handelsman

ABSTRACT

This study aimed at determining the relationship of sex steroids, particularly in the perinatal period, to the pubertal insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) surge in male mice. We used hypogonadal (hpg) mice, which have a major deletion in the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) gene, in order to have a model lacking all GnRH-induced gonadotrophin and sex steroid secretion throughout pre- and postnatal life. Cross-sectional data on body weights and weights of testes, seminal vesicles, kidneys, liver and spleen from 9 to 77 days of age were obtained in male hpg, heterozygous (Hz) and homozygous normal (N/N) littermates (n = 75–78/group). These data did not reveal any difference between Hz and N/N mice. Hpg mice had decreased body weights which by 70–77 days of age were approximately 18% less than normal controls. Testes and seminal vesicles of hpg mice did not demonstrate any significant postnatal growth. Relative to body weight, kidney weights were also markedly reduced in hpg mice (P<0·0001), deviating significantly from normal by 28–35 days of age, reflecting the impact of androgen deficiency on a non-reproductive organ. From the cross-sectional data it was concluded that puberty commenced soon after weaning (21 days) in the male and that maturity was achieved within 4–5 weeks. Longitudinal study showed that, compared with normal controls, untreated hpg mice had an exaggerated pubertal IGF-I surge (P<0·005) which peaked in mid-puberty. This, together with their reduced body weights (P<0·05), were normalized by treatment from 21 to 70 days of age with two 1 cm s.c. implants of testosterone (n=6) or dihydrotestosterone (n=7). There was no difference in IGF-I levels or in weights of testes, seminal vesicles, kidney, liver or spleen between testosterone and dihydrotestosterone treatments (P>0·05). Prolonged high levels of androgen also restored testicular and seminal vesicle weights to 40% of phenotypically normal controls, while kidney, liver and spleen weights were also significantly increased. The pubertal IGF-I surge in mice does not, therefore, require androgens in either the pre- or postnatal periods, and it is exaggerated in androgen-deficient male mice and dampened to normal regardless of aromatization.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 139, 57–65

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A. Singh, A. Purohit, D.Y. Wang, L.J. Duncan, M.W. Ghilchik and M.J. Reed

ABSTRACT

The interleukin-6 soluble receptor (IL-6sR) may regulate the ability of IL-6 to stimulate oestrogen synthesis in breast cancer cells and breast tumours. Significant aromatase activity was detectable in IL-6 stimulated fibroblasts derived from subcutaneous adipose tissue, but the combination of IL-6sR plus IL-6 resulted in a marked 21-fold stimulation of aromatase activity. To examine the control of IL-6sR release, the effects of oestradiol, 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT), dexamethasone, TPA, TNFα or IL-6 on this process was examined using MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Oestradiol, TNFα and dexamethasone all markedly increased IL-6sR release. While 4-OHT had a small stimulatory effect on IL-6sR release, it blocked the ability of oestradiol to increase IL-6sR release. Significant concentrations of IL-6sR were also detected in conditioned medium collected from lymphocytes and macrophages and in cytosols prepared from normal and malignant breast tissues. These results indicate that IL-6sR may have an important role in potentiating the effect of IL-6 on oestrogen synthesis in breast cancer cells. The abilities of oestradiol or tamoxifen to potentiate or inhibit the IL-6 stimulation of oestrogen synthesis in breast cancer cells may result from their effects on IL-6sR release.

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A. Singh, D. Hamilton-Fairley, R. Koistinen, M. Seppälä, V.H.T. James, S. Franks and M.J. Reed

ABSTRACT

Dietary factors are known to modulate concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). In the present study we have investigated the possibility that insulin like growth factor-type I (IGF-I) may be an additional regulator of SHBG using cultured human hepatoma cells which secrete SHBG. The inhibitory effect of insulin on SHBG secretion by these cells was confirmed but, in addition, IGF-I was shown to inhibit SHBG secretion by about 40% at a concentration of 100 nmol/l. A similar degree of inhibition was achieved using insulin at a concentration of 10 umol/l. Insulin, but not IGF-I, was also found to inhibit the secretion of a low molecular weight IGF-binding protein (IBP-I), which is also secreted by hepatoma cells. It is concluded that IGF-I is an additional regulator of SHBG secretion by these cells and that it may be involved in regulating SHBG secretion in vivo in response to dietary factors.