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FP Dominici, G Arostegui Diaz, A Bartke, JJ Kopchick, and D Turyn

Growth hormone (GH) deficiency is associated with increased sensitivity to insulin, but the molecular mechanisms involved in this association are poorly understood. In the current work, we have examined the consequences of the absence of the biological effects of GH on the first steps of the insulin signaling system in vivo in liver of mice with targeted disruption of the GH receptor/GH binding protein gene (GHR-KO mice). In these animals, circulating insulin concentrations are less than 4 microIU/ml, and glucose concentrations are low, concordant with a state of insulin hypersensitivity. The abundance and tyrosine phosphorylation state of the insulin receptor (IR), the IR substrate-1 (IRS-1), and Shc, the association between IRS-1 and the p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase, the IRS-1- and the phosphotyrosine-associated PI 3-kinase in liver were examined. We found that, in liver of GHR-KO mice, the lack of GHR and GH eff! ects is associated with: (1) increased IR abundance, (2) increased insulin-stimulated IR tyrosine phosphorylation, (3) normal efficiency of IRS-1 and Shc tyrosine phosphorylation and (4) normal activation of PI 3-kinase by insulin. These alterations could represent an adaptation to the low insulin concentrations displayed by these animals, and may account for their increased insulin sensitivity.

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AI Sotelo, A Bartke, JJ Kopchick, Knapp JR, and D Turyn

We have examined the regulation of hepatic growth hormone receptors (GH-R) and serum GH binding proteins (GHBP) in transgenic mice expressing an antagonist of bovine growth hormone (bGH), G119K-bGH, and consequently exhibiting a growth suppressed dwarf phenotype. Specific GHBP could be measured in transgenic dwarf mouse serum only by immunological methods (RIA), because these mice have a very high concentration of mutated bGH in circulation (> 1 microgram/ml) and, therefore, almost all GHBP is bound to G119K-bGH and cannot be quantitated in binding assays. The concentrations of GHBP were 0.6 +/- 0.4 nM and 1.7 +/- 0.4 nM for normal and dwarf mice respectively. The concentrations of free GHBP in normal mice and in transgenic mice expressing wild-type GH can be calculated using chromatographic techniques as the dissociation constant (Kd) and the ratio of bound 125I-GH to free 125I-GH in the serum ([GHBP]free = B/F.Kd). In agreement with the assumption that GHBP reflects GH-R status, liver uptake of injected labeled bGH was greatly reduced in transgenic dwarfs in comparison with normal mice or with transgenic mice expressing wild-type bGH (liver/blood ratio of 0.48 +/- 0.21, 2.7 +/- 0.2, and 1.3 +/- 0.3 respectively) indicating that the high concentration of the mutated bGH (G119K-bGH) prevents labeled bGH uptake, as was expected from the dwarf phenotype. 125I-bGH taken up by the liver of transgenic dwarf mice was found in a smaller molecular species than in normal mice, compatible with the presence of 1:1 [(GH-R):GH] complexes instead of the 2:1 [(GH-R)2:GH] or 2:2 [(GHBP)2:(GH)2] complexes found in normal mice. The concentration of IGF-I, the principal mediator of GH activity, in the G119K-bGH transgenic mice was correlated with the concentration of free GHBP. This allowed us to use free GHBP concentration as a marker of the effects of the active endogenous hormone (mGH) on liver receptors in the presence of different concentrations of the antagonist of GH. The levels of GHBP in serum, as well as the concentration of GH-R in liver microsomes from mice expressing the bGH antagonist, are up-regulated by the high concentration of G119K-bGH (85%), but significantly less so than that which could be expected for the same concentration of native GH (220-275%). This up-regulation suggests that the G119K-bGH antagonist is internalized and induces synthesis of the receptor and of the binding protein.

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J Wang, J Zhou, CM Cheng, JJ Kopchick, and CA Bondy

The possibility that growth hormone (GH) has effects on long bone growth independent of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) has long been debated. If this is true, then long bone growth should be more profoundly affected by the absence of GH (since both GH and GH-stimulated IGF-I effects are absent) than by the absence of IGF-I alone (since GH is still present and actually elevated). To test this hypothesis, we compared long bone growth in mice with targeted deletions of Igf1 vs growth hormone receptor (Ghr). Tibial linear growth rate was reduced by approximately 35% in Igf1 null mice and by about 65% in Ghr null mice between postnatal days 20 and 40, a time of peak GH effect during normal longitudinal growth. The Igf1 null mouse growth plate demonstrated significant enlargement of the germinal zone; chondrocyte proliferation and numbers were normal but chondrocyte hypertrophy was significantly reduced. In contrast, the Ghr null mouse germinal zone was hypoplastic, chondrocyte proliferation and numbers were significantly reduced, and chondrocyte hypertrophy was also reduced. We have previously demonstrated that IGF-II is highly expressed in growth plate germinal and proliferative zones, so we considered the possibility that GH-stimulated IGF-II production might promote germinal zone expansion and maintain normal proliferation in the Igf1 null mouse growth plate. Supporting this view, IGF-II mRNA was increased in the Igf1 null mouse and decreased in the Ghr null mouse growth plate.Thus, in the complete absence of IGF-I but in the presence of elevated GH in the Igf1 null mouse, reduction in chondrocyte hypertrophy appears to be the major defect in longitudinal bone growth. In the complete absence of a GH effect in the Ghr null mouse, however, both chondrocyte generation and hypertrophy are compromised, leading to a compound deficit in long bone growth. These observations support dual roles for GH in promoting longitudinal bone growth: an IGF-I-independent role in growth plate chondrocyte generation and an IGF-I-dependent role in promoting chondrocyte hypertrophy. The question of whether GH has direct effects on chondrocyte generation is still not settled, however, since it now appears that IGF-II may medicate some of these effects on the growth plate.