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T Ubuka, M Ueno, K Ukena, and K Tsutsui

We previously isolated a novel dodecapeptide containing a C-terminal -Arg-Phe-NH(2) sequence, SIKPSAYLPLRF-NH(2) (RFamide peptide), from the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) brain. This novel quail peptide was shown to be located in neurons of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and their terminals in the median eminence (ME), and to decrease gonadotropin release from cultured anterior pituitary in adult birds. We therefore designated this peptide gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH). Furthermore, a cDNA encoding the GnIH precursor polypeptide has been characterized. To understand the physiological roles of this peptide, in the present study we analyzed developmental changes in the expressions of GnIH precursor mRNA and the mature peptide GnIH during embryonic and posthatch ages in the quail diencephalon including the PVN and ME. GnIH precursor mRNA was expressed in the diencephalon on embryonic day 10 (E10) and showed a significant increase on E17, just before hatch. GnIH was also detected in the diencephalon on E10 and increased significantly around hatch. Subsequently, the diencephalic GnIH content decreased temporarily, and again increased progressively until adulthood. GnIH-like immunoreactive (GnIH-ir) neurons were localized in the PVN on E10, but GnIH-ir fibers did not extend to the ME. However, GnIH-ir neurons increased in the PVN on E17, just before hatch, and GnIH-ir fibers extended to the external layer of the ME, as in adulthood. These results suggest that GnIH begins its function around hatch and acts as a hypothalamic factor to regulate gonadotropin release in the bird.

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Maria E C Amaral, Daniel A Cunha, Gabriel F Anhê, Mirian Ueno, Everardo M Carneiro, Lício A Velloso, Silvana Bordin, and Antonio C Boschero

Prolactin (PRL) exerts its biological effects mainly by activating the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (JAK/STAT5) signaling pathway. We have recently demonstrated that PRL also stimulates the insulin receptor substrates/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (IRSs/PI3K) and SH2-plekstrin homology domain (SHC)/ERK pathways in islets of neonatal rats. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of the PI3K and MAP kinase (MAPK) cascades in islet development and growth in pregnant rats. The protein expression of AKT1, p70S6K and SHC was higher in islets from pregnant compared with control rats. Higher basal levels of tyrosine phosphorylation were found in classic transducers of insulin cell signaling (IRS1, IRS2 and SHC). Increased levels of threonine/tyrosine phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and serine phosphorylation of AKT and p70S6K were also detected. To assess the participation of PRL in these phenomena, pregnant and control rats were treated with an antisense oligonucleotide to reduce the expression of the PRL receptor (PRLR). Phosphorylation of AKT was reduced in islets from pregnant and control rats, whereas p70S6K protein levels were reduced only in islets from treated pregnant rats. Finally, glucose-induced insulin secretion was reduced in islets from pregnant but not from control rats treated with the PRLR antisense oligonucleotide. In conclusion, downstream proteins of the PI3K (AKT and p70S6K) and MAPK (SHC and ERK1/2) cascades are regulated by PRL signaling in islets from pregnant rats. These findings indicate that these pathways participate in the increase in islet mass and the sensitivity to glucose during pregnancy.