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A J Taylor, J-M Ye, and C Schmitz-Peiffer

Increased lipid availability is associated with diminished insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in muscle, but it is not clear whether alterations in glycogen synthase activity itself play a direct role. Because intracellular localization of this enzyme is involved in its regulation, we investigated whether fat oversupply causes an inhibitory redistribution. We examined the recovery of glycogen synthase in subcellular fractions from muscle of insulin-resistant, fat-fed rats and chow-fed controls, either maintained in the basal state or after a euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp. Although glycogen synthase protein and activity were mostly recovered in an insoluble fraction, insulin caused translocation of activity from the smaller soluble pool to the insoluble fraction. Fat-feeding, which led to a reduction in glycogen synthesis during the clamp, was associated with a depletion in the soluble pool, consistent with an important role for this component. A similar depletion was also observed in cytosolic fractions of muscles from obese db/db mice, another model of lipid-induced insulin resistance. To investigate this in more detail, we employed lipid-pretreated L6 myotubes, which exhibited a reduction in insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis independently of alterations in glucose flux or insulin signalling through protein kinase B. In control cells, insulin caused redistribution of a minor cytosolic pool of glycogen synthase to an insoluble fraction, which was again forestalled by lipid pretreatment. Glycogen synthase recovered in the insoluble fraction from pre-treated cells exhibited a low fractional velocity that was not increased in response to insulin. Our results suggest that the initial localization of glycogen synthase in a soluble pool plays an important role in glycogen synthesis, and that its sequestration in an insulin-resistant insoluble pool may explain in part the reduced glycogen synthesis caused by lipid oversupply.

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K Rousseau, N Le Belle, M Sbaihi, J Marchelidon, M Schmitz, and S Dufour

The regulation of growth hormone (GH) by thyroid hormones (THs) has been shown to present species variation. We investigated the regulation of GH in the eel, a representative of an ancient group of teleosts. In vivo administration of triiodothyronine (T(3)) or thyroxine (T(4)) significantly reduced pituitary and serum GH levels, as measured by homologous RIA. In order to investigate the ability of THs to regulate GH production directly at the pituitary level, we used a long-term, serum-free primary culture of eel pituitary cells. Both T(3) and T(4) inhibited GH release in a concentration-dependent manner, producing up to 50% inhibition at 10 nM, with an ED(50) of <0.2 nM, within the range of their physiological circulating levels. Other hormones also acting via the nuclear receptor superfamily, such as sex steroids (testosterone, estradiol and progesterone) and corticosteroid (cortisol), had no effect on GH release in vitro, underlining the specificity of the regulatory effect of THs on GH. Measurement of both GH release and cellular content for calculation of GH production in vitro indicated that THs not only inhibited GH release but also GH synthesis. Dot-blot assay of GH messenger RNA (mRNA) using an homologous eel cDNA probe showed a decrease in GH mRNA levels in cells cultured in the presence of T(3), as compared with control cells. This demonstrated that the inhibition of T(3) on GH synthesis was mediated by a decrease in GH mRNA steady state levels. In conclusion, we demonstrate inhibitory regulation of eel GH synthesis and release by THs, exerted directly at the pituitary level. These data contrast with the rat, where THs are known to have a stimulatory effect and suggest that the pattern observed here in an early vertebrate and also found in birds, reptiles and some mammals including humans, may represent an ancestral and more generalized vertebrate pattern of TH regulation of pituitary GH.