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N. Miki, M. Ono, and K. Shizumen


Secretion of GH occurs in episodic bursts under the dual control of two hypothalamic peptides, GH-releasing factor (GRF) and GH-inhibiting factor (somatostatin, SRIF). Recent studies in rats suggest that episodic GH secretion is generated by the periodic release of GRF, which is associated with the simultaneous withdrawal of SRIF secretion. To test the possibility that GRF discharge is functionally coupled with the withdrawal of SRIF, we investigated whether acute withdrawal of SRIF can induce GRF release by the rat hypothalamus using highly specific antisera against SRIF and rat GRF. In conscious unrestrained rats, i.v. administration of SRIF antiserum at the period of the GH trough induced a rapid onset of the GH secretory surge with a peak value of 309 ± 67 μg/l (mean ± s.e.m.) 30 min after injection. Pretreatment with antiserum to rat GRF resulted in a ∼83% suppression of the GH surge induced by SRIF antiserum without affecting the trough GH values. GRF antiserum also significantly inhibited the spontaneous GH surge. In urethane-anaesthetized rats, as in conscious rats, an acute phasic GH release was caused by SRIF antiserum despite the interference of anaesthesia with spontaneous GH secretion. A further surge-like GH secretion was not restored during the next several hours, however, with the GH secretory profile being characterized by a tonic increase in the baseline levels of GH. In the anaesthetized rat antiserum to rat GRF, having no effect on basal GH levels, similarly inhibited by ∼66% the acute GH surge induced by SRIF antiserum and decreased by about 30% the later sustained rise in GH.

These results indicate that an acute rather than a chronic withdrawal of SRIF can trigger the phasic discharge of GRF by the hypothalamus, and raise the possibility that SRIF, originally isolated as a hypothalamic hypophysiotrophic GH-inhibiting factor, also acts as a GRF-inhibiting factor within the hypothalamus. We suggest that the episodic GH secretion may be initiated by an acute disinhibition of GRF secretion caused by the sudden withdrawal of SRIF.

J. Endocr. (1988) 117, 245–252

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K. Shibayama, Y. Ohyama, M. Ono, and S. Furudate


The rdw rat (gene symbol: rdw) with hereditary dwarfism has been shown immunohistochemically to have subnormal numbers not only of GH- but also of prolactin- and thyrotrophin-positive cells. To characterize the dwarfism of this strain, the expression of pituitary hormone mRNAs was examined by Northern hybridization. The pituitary gland in the rdw rat expressed 30–100 times less GH and prolactin mRNAs than normal controls, whereas mRNAs for pro-opiomelanocortin and the α subunit of rat glycoprotein hormone revealed a significant increase. There was a non-significant difference in rat LH-β subunit and FSH-β subunit between normal and rdw rats. The suppressed expression of a pituitary-specific transcription factor, Pit-1, is considered to cause hereditary dwarfism in mouse strains Snell and Jackson, whose phenotypes resemble those of the rdw rat. In this study, however, no difference in mRNA expression for Pit-1 was found between rdw rats and controls. This work indicates that the rdw rat may not have the same genotype as the phenotypically similar dwarf mice, Snell, Jackson and Ames.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 138, 307–313

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K Ono, T Akatsu, T Murakami, M Nishikawa, M Yamamoto, N Kugai, K Motoyoshi, and N Nagata

Of various PGs, PGE1 and PGE2 are shown to be the most potent stimulators of osteoclastogenesis in vitro. PGE receptors have been classified into four subtypes, EP1-EP4. Little is known about PGE receptors functioning in bone cells. In this study, using mouse marrow culture, we investigated which PGE receptors are important in osteoclast-like cell (OCL) formation induced by PGE. 11-deoxy-PGE1 (EP2, EP3 and EP4 agonist) stimulated OCL formation potently. Butaprost (EP2 agonist) stimulated it slightly, while sulprostone (EP1 and EP3 agonist) and ONO-AP-324-01 (EP3 agonist) did not. AH23848B (EP4 antagonist) inhibited PGE2-induced OCL formation in a dose-dependent manner. The expression of EP4 mRNA in mouse bone marrow was confirmed by RT-PCR. The results indicate an important role of EP4 in PGE2-induced OCL formation in marrow cultures and suggest therapeutic potential of EP4 antagonists in some clinical conditions with accelerated bone resorption.

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Y Nakamura, H Tamura, M Ono, K Shimamura, N Sugino, F Numa, K Ueda, and H Kato


The purpose of this study was to examine the possible mechanism through which RU486 induces luteolysis during the late-luteal phase in pseudopregnant (PSP) rats. PSP rats received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil (5 mg/kg body weight) or sesame oil alone once a day between day 9 and day 11 of pseudopregnancy. Serial blood samples were collected on days 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12 and assayed for progesterone content. To examine the possible action of RU486 through a uterine and/or a pituitary (prolactin-dependent) mechanism, PSP rats and chronic hysterectomized PSP rats which had been hysterectomized before PSP induction received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil (5 mg/kg body weight), sesame oil alone, prolactin in 50% polyvinylpyrrolidone (15 IU/day), or RU486 and prolactin once a day between day 9 and day 11 of pseudopregnancy. Serial blood samples were collected on days 5, 9, 10 and 11 and assayed for progesterone content. Blood samples were also collected at 0400 h on day 12 and used for prolactin and progesterone determinations. To examine the direct effect of RU486 on corpus luteum and/or pituitary, hysterectomized rats underwent hypophysectomy and pituitary autotransplantation on dioestrus 1 and received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil or sesame oil alone for 3 days between day 21 and day 23 after surgery. Serial blood samples were collected on days 10, 21, 22, 23 and 24 and assayed for progesterone and prolactin contents.

In ordinary PSP rats, serum progesterone levels were significantly (P<0·01) lower in the RU486-treated group than in the control group (9 ± 1 vs 53 ± 7 ng/ml; mean ± s.e.m.) on day 11. Serum prolactin levels at 0400 h on day 12 of pseudopregnancy were significantly (P<0·05) lower in the RU486-treated group than in the control group (16 ±4 vs 154 ±44 ng/ml; mean ± s.e.m.). The concomitant prolactin treatment reversed the luteolytic effects of RU486 on day 11 of pseudopregnancy. In hysterectomized PSP rats, RU486 also suppressed serum prolactin levels, and the concomitant prolactin treatment again reversed the luteolytic effects of RU486. In hysterectomized rats which were hypophysectomized and pituitary autotransplanted, RU486 treatment did not induce any significant changes in serum progesterone and prolactin levels.

These results indicated that RU486 induced luteolysis during the late-luteal phase in PSP rats by suppressing prolactin secretion via a hypothalamic mechanism.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 93–98

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K Horiguchi, S Yagi, K Ono, Y Nishiura, M Tanaka, M Ishida, and T Harigaya

Prolactin (PRL) is a single-chain polypeptide hormone that is generally secreted from prolactin cells of the anterior pituitary gland into the blood circulation. However, recent studies indicate that the gene expression of prolactin is ectopic in several tissues across several species. These studies found that lymphocytes also produce PRL, which is involved in the immunoregulatory system. Here, we searched for PRL messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), using the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Southern blotting in the spleens of mice at various growth stages. We also localized mouse prolactin (mPRL) and its mRNA in the spleens of 30- and 60-day-old mice by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization respectively. The mPRL gene was expressed in all spleen samples at 0–60 days postpartum. We localized mPRL mRNA in the sheathed artery, periarterial lymphatic sheath and the marginal zone of the spleen. Moreover, we detected mPRL in essentially the same area as its mRNA. Furthermore, we performed double-fluorescence immunohistochemical staining for mPRL and mouse CD4 that is specifically produced in helper T cells, or for mPRL and mouse CD19 or CD40 specified B cells. We colocalized mPRL immunoreactivity only in some CD4-immunopositive cells. These results clearly suggest that T cells synthesize mPRL in the mouse spleen.

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K Iizuka, H Nakajima, A Ono, K Okita, J Miyazaki, J Miyagawa, M Namba, T Hanafusa, and Y Matsuzawa

Glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase) hydrolyzes glucose-6-phosphate to glucose, reciprocal with the so-called glucose sensor, glucokinase, in pancreatic beta cells. To study the role of G-6-Pase in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from beta cells, we have introduced rat G-6-Pase catalytic subunit cDNA and have established permanent clones with 3-, 7- and 24-fold G-6-Pase activity of the mouse beta-cell line, MIN6. In these clones, glucose usage and ATP production in the presence of 5.5 or 25 mM glucose were reduced, and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was decreased in proportion to the increased G-6-Pase activity. In addition, insulin secretory capacity in response to d-fructose and pyruvate was unchanged; however, 25 mM glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and intracellular calcium response were completely inhibited. In the clone with 24-fold G-6-Pase activity, changes in intracellular NAD(P)H autofluorescence in response to 25 mM glucose were reduced, but the changes with 20 mM fructose and 20 mM pyruvate were not altered. Stable overexpression of G-6-Pase in beta cells resulted in attenuation of the overall glucose-stimulated metabolic responses corresponding to the degree of overexpression. This particular experimental manipulation shows that the possibility exists of modulating glucose-stimulated insulin release by thoroughly altering glucose cycling at the glucokinase/G-6-Pase step.

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Y Itoh, S Imamura, K Yamamoto, Y Ono, M Nagata, T Kobayashi, T Kato, M Tomita, A Nakai, M Itoh, and A Nagasaka

Endothelin-1 (ET-1) concentrations are increased in patients with diabetes mellitus, particularly those with diabetic retinopathy, or essential hypertension. We hypothesized that ET-1 might participate in the development and progression of diabetic microangiopathy. In this study, the effects of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, enalapril maleate, on diabetic angiopathy were examined in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic (STZ-DM) rats by monitoring variations in renal function and ET-1 concentrations in blood and organ tissues. Significant increases in kidney weight and in concentrations of urinary albumin, N-acetyl-fl-d-glucosamidase (NAG) and serum ET-1 were observed in the STZ-DM rats as compared with the non-diabetic rats, and the concentration of ET-1 in the kidneys tended to be increased. Microscopic and electron microscopic analyses showed increased mesangial cell proliferation, matrix expansion and enlarged mesangial area in the kidney of the diabetic rats. After administration of the ACE inhibitor, increased concentrations of urinary albumin and NAG in the STZ-DM rats were reduced to the control values with a slight improvement in the electron microscopic changes. These data suggest that ET-1 may be involved in the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy and may explain, in part, why diabetes is liable to complicate hypertension. ACE inhibitor may help to restore diabetic nephropathy in the STZ-induced diabetic rats.