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Dan Li, Yan Ji, Chunlan Zhao, Yapeng Yao, Anlan Yang, Honghong Jin, Yang Chen, Mingjun San, Jing Zhang, Mingjiao Zhang, Luqing Zhang, Xuechao Feng and Yaowu Zheng

Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) is a G-protein-coupled receptor and known for regulation of maternal and social behaviors. Null mutation (Oxtr−/−) leads to defects in lactation due to impaired milk ejection and maternal nurturing. Overexpression of OXTR has never been studied. To define the functions of OXTR overexpression, a transgenic mouse model that overexpresses mouse Oxtr under β-actin promoter was developed (++ Oxtr). ++ Oxtr mice displayed advanced development and maturation of mammary gland, including ductal distention, enhanced secretory differentiation and early milk production at non-pregnancy and early pregnancy. However, ++ Oxtr dams failed to produce adequate amount of milk and led to lethality of newborns due to early involution of mammary gland in lactation. Mammary gland transplantation results indicated the abnormal mammary gland development was mainly from hormonal changes in ++ Oxtr mice but not from OXTR overexpression in mammary gland. Elevated OXTR expression increased prolactin-induced phosphorylation and nuclear localization of STAT5 (p-STAT5), and decreased progesterone level, leading to early milk production in non-pregnant and early pregnant females, whereas low prolactin and STAT5 activation in lactation led to insufficient milk production. Progesterone treatment reversed the OXTR-induced accelerated mammary gland development by inhibition of prolactin/p-STAT5 pathway. Prolactin administration rescued lactation deficiency through STAT5 activation. Progesterone plays a negative role in OXTR-regulated prolactin/p-STAT5 pathways. The study provides evidence that OXTR overexpression induces abnormal mammary gland development through progesterone and prolactin-regulated p-STAT5 pathway.

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Sheng-Gao Tang, Xiao-Yu Liu, Ji-Ming Ye, Ting-Ting Hu, Ying-Ying Yang, Ting Han and Wen Tan

Diabetes-induced injury of myocardium, defined as diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM), accounts for significant mortality and morbidity in diabetic population. Alleviation of DCM by a potent drug remains considerable interests in experimental and clinical researches because hypoglycemic drugs cannot effectively control this condition. Here, we explored the beneficial effects of isosteviol sodium (STVNa) on type 1 diabetes-induced DCM and the potential mechanisms involved. Male Wistar rats were induced to diabetes by injection of streptozotocin (STZ). One week later, diabetic rats were randomly grouped to receive STVNa (STZ/STVNa) or its vehicle (STZ). After 11 weeks of treatment or 11 weeks treatment following 4 weeks of removal of the treatment, the cardiac function and structure were evaluated and related mechanisms were investigated. In diabetic rats, oxidative stress, inflammation, blood glucose and plasma advanced glycation end products (AGEs) were significantly increased, whereas superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD-2) expression and activity were decreased. STVNa treatment inhibited cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and inflammation, showed similar ratio of heart to body weight and antioxidant capacities almost similar to the normal controls, which can be sustained at least 4 weeks. Moreover, STVNa inhibited diabetes-inducted stimulation of both extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signal pathways. However, blood glucose, plasma AGE and insulin levels were not altered by STVNa treatment. These results indicate that STVNa may be developed into a potent therapy for DCM. The mechanism underlying this therapeutic effect involves the suppression of oxidative stress and inflammation by inhibiting ERK and NF-κB without changing blood glucose or AGEs.

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Yu Wang, Airong Wu, Liting Xi, Ji Yang, Wenjing Zhou, Yuming Wang, Shuang Liang, Weixin Yu, Yue Wang and Jinzhou Zhu