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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.

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K Ohshima, H Kishi, M Itoh, G Watanabe, K Arai, K Uehara, NP Groome and K Taya

Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alphaC, inhibin A and inhibin B were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at 6 h intervals throughout the 4-day oestrous cycle of the golden hamster. Plasma concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol-17beta were also measured by radioimmunoassay during the oestrous cycle. Plasma concentrations of inhibin A increased from the early morning of day 1 (day 1=day of ovulation) and reached plateau levels at 0500 h on day 2. An abrupt increase in plasma concentrations of inhibin A was found at 1700 h on day 4, when the preovulatory FSH surge was observed. An increase in plasma concentrations of inhibin B occurred on day 1 and reached plateau levels at 1700 h on day 1. The levels remained elevated until 0500 h on day 4 and declined gradually by 2300 h on day 4. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alphaC gradually increased with some fluctuation from day 1 to 1700 h on day 4 and then declined. Significant negative relationships were noted between plasma FSH and both dimeric forms of inhibin from day 1 to day 3. Significant positive relationships were found between plasma oestradiol-17beta and inhibin A or inhibin pro-alphaC throughout the oestrous cycle. In contrast, no significant relationship was found between plasma oestradiol-17beta and inhibin B. These findings suggest that both dimeric forms of inhibin play a role in the regulation of FSH secretion during follicular development. These findings also suggest that inhibin pro-alphaC could be secreted primarily by large follicles, and early atretic follicles could also be responsible for inhibin pro-alphaC secretion. On the other hand, the secretory pattern of dimeric inhibins might shift from inhibin B to inhibin A with follicular development.

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T Mokuno, K Uchimura, R Hayashi, N Hayakawa, M Makino, M Nagata, H Kakizawa, Y Sawai, M Kotake, N Oda, A Nakai, A Nagasaka and M Itoh

The deterioration of glucose metabolism frequently observed in hyperthyroidism may be due in part to increased gluconeogenesis in the liver and glucose efflux through hepatocyte plasma membranes. Glucose transporter 2 (GLUT 2), a facilitative glucose transporter localized to the liver and pancreas, may play a role in this distorted glucose metabolism. We examined changes in the levels of GLUT 2 in livers from rats with l-thyroxine-induced hyperthyroidism or methimazole-induced hypothyroidism by using Western blotting to detect GLUT 2. An oral glucose tolerance test revealed an oxyhyperglycemic curve (impaired glucose tolerance) in hyperthyroid rats (n=7) and a flattened curve in hypothyroid rats (n=7). GLUT 2 levels in hepatocyte plasma membranes were significantly increased in hyperthyroid rats and were not decreased in hypothyroid rats compared with euthyroid rats. The same results were obtained with a densitometric assay. These findings suggest that changes in the liver GLUT 2 concentration may contribute to abnormal glucose metabolism in thyroid disorders.

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M Kondo, M Kondo, T Udono, WZ Jin, WZ Jin, M Funakoshi, K Shimizu, M Itoh, CB Herath, G Watanabe, G Watanabe, NP Groome, K Taya and K Taya

Plasma concentrations of inhibin A and inhibin B during pregnancy and early lactation in chimpanzees were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Plasma samples were taken from five pregnant chimpanzees at 6-9, 10, 20 and 25 weeks of pregnancy, and following parturition. Throughout pregnancy and the early postpartum period, circulating inhibin A and inhibin B concentrations remained low, at similar levels to those during the normal menstrual cycle in chimpanzees. Concentrations of inhibin A in the placental homogenate were high enough to be measured by the ELISA and by bioassay, whereas circulating inhibin bioactivities in late pregnancy were too low to be measured. Plasma concentrations of FSH remained low with no significant changes throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. Plasma concentrations of oestradiol-17beta and progesterone at 25 weeks of pregnancy were much higher than normal menstrual cycle levels. It was concluded that in chimpanzees the levels of circulating inhibin A and inhibin B remained low throughout pregnancy and the early postpartum period, and that the concentrations of bioactive dimeric inhibin did not increase towards the end of pregnancy. The suppression of circulating FSH levels during pregnancy is suggested to be controlled by steroid hormones that increased significantly in late pregnancy, and the present findings further suggest that the secretory pattern and role of inhibin during pregnancy in chimpanzees may be different from that in human and other primates.

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K Ohshima, H Kishi, M Itoh, KY Arai, G Watanabe, K Arai, K Uehara, NP Groome and K Taya

The changes in plasma concentrations of inhibins A, B and pro-alpha C were determined in the cyclic golden hamster during follicular atresia induced with antiserum against luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH-AS) at 1100 h on day 4 (day 1=day of ovulation). Follicular status in the ovary was also studied by determining the number of follicles ovulating in response to human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) injection. The time-courses of changes in plasma concentrations of inhibins A, B and pro-alpha C were different from each other during induced follicular atresia and subsequent follicular development. Plasma concentrations of inhibin A decreased to 58.6% of initial values by 24 h after LHRH-AS treatment, and then remained relatively low until at least 60 h later. Plasma concentrations of inhibin B decreased to 64.2% of the initial values by 18 h after LHRH-AS treatment and remained at basal values for 36 h, but increased abruptly to greater than initial values at 42 h after the treatment. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alpha C increased at 6 and 12 h, decreased suddenly to 21.9% of the initial values by 24 h after LHRH-AS treatment, and then gradually increased until 60 h after LHRH-AS. The number of follicles responding to hCG decreased gradually between 0 and 30 h after LHRH-AS, when no ovulations were observed, and then gradually increased until 60 h. The changes in follicular ovulatory responses to hCG correlated with the plasma profile of inhibin A throughout the experiment. These results suggest that inhibin A is mainly secreted by large antral follicles. In contrast, during the subsequent follicular development, the plasma concentration of inhibin B increased earlier than that of inhibin A. These results suggest that inhibin B is secreted by small and large antral follicles. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alpha C were high at a time when plasma concentrations of oestradiol-17 beta had already decreased, indicating that inhibin pro-alpha C is secreted not only from healthy follicles but also from early atretic antral follicles.

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R Shinohara, T Mano, A Nagasaka, R Hayashi, K Uchimura, I Nakano, F Watanabe, T Tsugawa, M Makino, H Kakizawa, M Nagata, K Iwase, Y Ishizuki and M Itoh

Free radicals, hydroxyperoxides and H(2)O(2) are all known to damage cell components. This study was designed to compare the concentrations of hydroxyperoxide and free radical scavengers in the cardiac muscles of old rats in the hyper- or hypothyroid condition, to determine whether rates of peroxidation would differ with age, thyroid status, or both. Rats were rendered hyper- or hypothyroid by administration of l-thyroxine or methimazole for 4 weeks. Among the old rats, the lipid peroxide (LPO) concentrations, measured as thiobarbituric acid (TBA) reactants, were significantly greater in the hyperthyroid than in the euthyroid state and the LPO concentrations measured as TBA+Fe(3+) reactants, which may be precursors of LPO, were significantly greater in the hyperthyroid state, whereas in young rats, the LPO concentrations measured by TBA or TBA+Fe(3+) methods did not differ significantly in the hyperthyroid state. In the euthyroid state, the concentration of LPO measured as TBA+Fe(3+) reactants was significantly reduced with age. Xanthine oxidase (XOD) activity also was markedly increased with age, being more pronounced in the hyperthyroid than in the euthyroid state. The Mn and Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase activities were greater in the hyperthyroid than in the euthyroid state. Glutathione peroxidase activity decreased with age in the euthyroid and, particularly, in the hyperthyroid state. Catalase activity was not affected in the old rats. Concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in the old rats were high in the hyperthyroid state and low in the hypothyroid state, whereas the levels of beta- and gamma-tocopherols in these rats were unchanged in both conditions as compared with the euthyroid state findings. Data suggest that the site of free radical generation differs in older rats, with additional shifts in the location of intracellular lipid peroxidation being noted during hyperthyroidism. Thus, as rats age, the reduction of the free radical scavenger system and the increase in LPO and XOD activities might induce myocardial dysfunction.

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T Tsugawa, R Shinohara, A Nagasaka, I Nakano, F Takeda, M Nagata, N Oda, Y Sawai, N Hayakawa, A Suzuki and M Itoh

An accelerated polyol pathway in diabetes contributes to the development of diabetic complications. To elucidate diabetic nephropathy involving also renal tubular damage, we measured urinary sorbitol concentration concomitantly with urinary N-acetyl-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) excretion in WBN-kob diabetic rats.Twenty-four-hour urinary sorbitol concentrations increased in the diabetic rats in parallel with whole blood sorbitol concentrations. An increase in 24-h urinary NAG excretion coincided with the elevated urinary sorbitol levels in the diabetic rats. The administration of epalrestat, an aldose reductase inhibitor, reduced the increased whole blood and urinary sorbitol concentrations and urinary NAG excretion concomitantly with renal aldose reductase inhibition in the diabetic rats.These results indicate that diabetic nephropathy involves distorted cell function of renal tubules, and that treatment with epalrestat may prevent at least the progress of the nephropathy.

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M Makino, N Oda, N Miura, S Imamura, K Yamamoto, T Kato, K Fujiwara, Y Sawai, K Iwase, A Nagasaka and M Itoh

Thyroid hormones affect reactions in almost all pathways of lipid metabolism. It has been reported that plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration in hypothyroidism is generally within the normal range. In this study, however, we show that plasma FFA concentration in some hypothyroid patients is higher than the normal range. Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction in these individuals were less severe than those of patients with lower plasma FFA concentrations. From these findings we hypothesized that the change in FFA concentration must correlate with thyroid function. Using an animal model, we then examined the effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester (EPA-E), a n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid derived from fish oil, on thyroid function in 1-methyl-2-imidazolethiol (MMI)-induced hypothyroid rats. Oral administration of EPA-E inhibited reduction of thyroid hormone levels and the change of thyroid follicles in MMI-induced hypothyroid rats. These findings suggest that FFA may affect thyroid functions and EPA-E may prevent MMI-induced hypothyroidism.

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T Mano, K Iwase, Y Sawai, N Oda, Y Nishida, T Mokuno, Y Itoh, M Kotake, R Masunaga, A Nakai, T Tujimura, A Nagasaka and H Hidaka

Abstract

To investigate the effect of thyroid hormone on cardiac muscle dysfunction in hyper- and hypothyroid states, we evaluated cyclic 3′, 5′-nucleotide metabolism by measuring cyclic 3′, 5′-nucleotide phosphodiesterase activity and calmodulin concentrations in the cardiac muscles of hyper- and hypothyroid rats.

Cyclic AMP (cAMP) concentration was significantly high in the cardiac muscle of hyperthyroid rats and low in that from hypothyroid rats compared with control rats. Cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase activities were significantly decreased in the soluble fraction of cardiac muscle from hyperthyroid rats and markedly increased in this fraction in hypothyroid rats compared with normal animals. Calmodulin concentration was high in hyperthyroid and low in hypothyroid rats.

It was concluded from these findings that low cAMP-phosphodiesterase activity might, in part, bring about the high concentration of cAMP. Calmodulin was sigificantly high in the cardiac muscle of hyperthyroid rats and the reverse was the case in hypothyroid rats compared with normal rats. The implication is that, in hyper- and hypothyroid states, these changes may play an important role in cardiac function via their effect on cyclic nucleotide and Ca2+ metabolism.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 143, 515–520

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K Ohshima, K Ohshima, KY Arai, H Kishi, M Itoh, G Watanabe, PF Terranova, K Arai, K Uehara, NP Groome and K Taya

Numerous antral follicles develop during the second half of pregnancy in the golden hamster. However, mechanisms regulating follicular development during this period are unknown. Because inhibin and activin are related to follicular development, these hormones were studied to gain insight into any potential roles in follicular development. Plasma inhibin A and B suddenly increased from day 8 of pregnancy, reached peak levels on day 10 and gradually declined to term. Plasma activin A gradually increased from day 8 to day 15 of pregnancy, and this was followed by an abrupt decrease at day one of lactation. Ovariectomy on day 12 of pregnancy rapidly reduced plasma inhibin A and B, but not activin A levels. Hysterectomy or placentectomy on day 12 of pregnancy caused an abrupt decrease in the levels of plasma activin A and FSH, but not inhibin A and B at 6 h after surgery. Hysterectomy also induced atresia of large antral follicles at 24 h after surgery. These results indicate that antral follicles are the main source of circulating inhibin A and B, whereas uteri and placentae are the main source of circulating activin A. These results suggest that increased levels of activin A may be involved in folliculogenesis in the ovary during the second half of pregnancy in the golden hamster.