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D Blache, RL Tellam, LM Chagas, MA Blackberry, PE Vercoe, and GB Martin

In mature male sheep, the level of nutrition acutely influences the secretion of reproductive hormones. The mechanism involved is not fully understood but findings in humans and laboratory rodents would suggest a major role for leptin that is secreted from adipose tissue and then travels via the circulation to the central nervous system. Before we can begin to test this hypothesis, we need to be able to measure leptin concentrations in blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. We have therefore developed a radioimmunoassay using antibodies raised against biologically active recombinant bovine-ovine leptin. Using this assay, we found that plasma concentrations of leptin were highly correlated to back-fat thickness and to the ratio of back-fat thickness to liveweight, in female and castrated male sheep. Plasma concentrations of leptin were higher in female sheep than in castrated or intact male sheep. Serial samples (every 5 min) suggested that the secretion of leptin in male sheep is episodic but it does not appear to show clear pulsatility, increases post-prandially, or a diurnal rhythm. Leptin concentrations in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid increased within 5 days in male sheep fed a diet with a high content of energy and protein that also stimulates the secretion of LH pulses. These data suggest that in sheep, as in other species, leptin production is correlated with the mass of adipose tissue and that the hormone passes from the circulation to the cerebrospinal fluid and then to hypothalamic sites. There, it may affect appetite and perhaps GnRH secretion. The role of leptin in the link between nutrition and reproduction needs further investigation.

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T Priego, M Granado, I Ibanez de Caceres, AI Martin, MA Villanua, and A Lopez-Calderon

While it is well known that sepsis inhibits serum IGF-I and its gene expression in the liver, the effect on pituitary GH and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) is poorly understood. The GH-IGF-I-IGFBP-3 response to different doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration has been investigated in adult male rats. Two experiments were performed, administration of low doses of LPS (5, 10, 50 and 100 microg/kg) and high doses of LPS (100, 250, 500 and 1000 microg/kg). Rats received two i.p. injections of LPS (at 1730 h and 0830 h the following day) and were killed 4 h after the second injection. LPS administration induced a biphasic response in serum concentrations of GH, with an increase at the 10 microg/kg dose, followed by a decrease at higher doses (100 microg/kg on up). Pituitary GH mRNA was also increased by the administration of 10 and 50 microg/kg LPS, whereas at higher doses LPS did not modify pituitary GH mRNA. We also analyzed the GH response to LPS in primary pituitary cell cultures. When exposed to LPS, in the culture medium, there was an increase in GH release at the concentration of 0.1 and 10 ng/ml, whereas more concentrated LPS did not modify GH release. Serum concentrations of IGF-I declined in a dose-dependent fashion after LPS administration in the rats injected with 10 microg/kg LPS on up. This decrease is secondary to modifications in its synthesis in the liver, since endotoxin injection decreased both IGF-I and its mRNA in the liver. The liver GH receptor mRNA was also decreased by LPS administration, but only in the animals injected with high LPS doses. There was a decrease in both the IGFBP-3 serum levels and its gene expression in the liver with all LPS doses studied. These data suggest a biphasic LPS effect on pituitary GH, a stimulatory effect at low doses and an inhibitory effect at higher doses, whereas it has a clear inhibitory effect on IGF-I and IGFBP-3 synthesis in the liver. The decrease in liver IGFBP-3 mRNA and in serum concentrations of IGFBP-3 in the rats injected with LPS may contribute to the decrease in serum concentrations of IGF-I.

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S Ramos, L Goya, C Alvarez, MA Martin, and AM Pascual-Leone

The effects of different doses of thyroxine (T(4)) delivered by injection or s.c. pellet implantation on alterations of the IGF/IGF binding protein (IGFBP) system were studied in neonatal and adult thyroidectomized (Tx) rats. Body weight, blood glucose, plasma insulin, TSH and GH and pituitary GH content, as well as serum IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-1, -2 and -3 and their liver mRNA expression were assayed. Pellet implantation with the smaller dose of T(4) (1.5 microg/100 g body weight (b.w.) per day) in Tx neonatal rats decreased serum IGF-I, -II and the 30 kDa complex of IGFBPs (IGFBP-1 and -2), and increased serum IGFBP-3. Only the larger dose of T(4) (3 microg/100 g b.w. per day) recovered liver mRNA expression of IGF-I and ensured euthyroid status as shown by the normalized levels of plasma TSH. The rapid increase of body weight and serum GH after T(4) administration indicated a high sensitivity to T(4) during the neonatal period. Serum and liver mRNA expression of IGFs and plasma insulin and GH recovered in adult Tx rats after pellet implantation of 1.75 microg/100 g b.w. per day throughout 10 days. The continuous replacement of T(4) by pellet seems to be the most suitable method for thyroid rehabilitation. A very good correlation was found between insulin and IGF-II in Tx neonates treated with T(4) but not between insulin and IGF-I in Tx adults. IGFBP-2 seems to be up-regulated by T(4) deprivation in neonatal and adult rats. Finally, a good correlation as well as a partial correlation were found between IGFs and thyroid hormones in both neonatal and adult Tx populations, suggesting a direct effect in vivo of T(4) on the hepatic secretion of IGFs, as previously suggested in vitro.

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I Ibanez De Caceres, JM Holly, T Priego, AI Martin, A Lopez-Calderon, and MA Villanua

Adjuvant-induced arthritis is a chronic inflammatory illness that induces a catabolic state, with a decrease in pituitary GH and hepatic IGF-I synthesis. We have previously observed an increase in serum IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) in arthritic rats, and found that GH administration prevents the increase in circulating IGFBP-3 in arthritic rats. The aim of this work was therefore to study IGFBP-3 synthesis in the liver as well as its proteolysis in serum as the two possible causes of the increased circulating IGFBP-3 in arthritic rats. The effect of recombinant human GH (rhGH) administration was also analysed. Adult male Wistar rats were injected with complete Freund's adjuvant or vehicle, and 14 days later they were injected s.c. daily until day 22 after adjuvant injection with rhGH (3 IU/kg) or saline. Three hours after the last GH injection, all rats were killed by decapitation. Arthritis increased serum IGFBP-3 levels (P<0.01). The increase in serum IGFBP-3 levels in arthritic rats seems to be due to decreased proteolysis (P<0.01) rather than to an increased synthesis, since liver IGFBP-3 mRNA content was not modified by arthritis. GH administration to control rats resulted in an increase in both hepatic IGFBP-3 mRNA content and in serum IGFBP-3 levels in spite of the increase in IGFBP-3 proteolysis in serum. In arthritic rats, GH treatment did not modify liver IGFBP-3 synthesis, but it increased serum proteolysis of IGFBP-3, leading to a serum concentration of IGFBP-3 similar to that of control rats. Furthermore, there was a negative correlation between circulating IGFBP-3 and its proteolytic activity in the serum of adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. These data suggest that in chronic arthritis the increase in IGFBP-3 serum concentration is secondary to a decrease in proteolytic activity, rather than to an increase in hepatic IGFBP-3 gene expression.

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I Ibanez De Caceres, MA Villanua, L Soto, AI Martin, and A Lopez-Calderon

Adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats is associated with growth failure, hypermetabolism and accelerated protein breakdown. We have previously reported that adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats results in a decrease in body weight gain, pituitary GH mRNA, circulating GH and IGF-I together with an increase in serum IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs). The aim of this study was to analyze the role of GH in the decrease in body weight and in the alterations in the IGF-I system observed in chronic inflammation. Male Wistar rats were injected with complete Freund's adjuvant and 16 days later arthritic rats were injected daily with recombinant human GH (rhGH) (3 IU/kg s.c.) for 8 days; control rats received 250 microl saline. Arthritis significantly decreased body weight gain and serum IGF-I. These decreases were not due to the reduced food intake, since in pair-fed rats they were not observed. Furthermore, administration of rhGH to arthritic rats increased body weight gain without modifying food intake. To further investigate the effect of GH administration, 14 days after adjuvant injection both control and arthritic rats were treated with 0, 1.5, 3 or 6 IU/kg of rhGH. GH treatment at the dose of 3 and 6 IU/kg significantly increased body weight gain in arthritic rats. GH administration, at the higher dose of 6 IU/kg, increased hepatic and serum concentrations of IGF-I in both control and arthritic rats. In control rats, rhGH at the three doses assayed increased circulating IGFBP-3. GH treatment in arthritic rats decreased IGFBP-1 and -2, and did not modify IGFBP-4. GH treatment at the dose of 3 IU/kg also decreased circulating IGFBP-3 in arthritic rats. These data suggest that GH treatment can ameliorate the catabolism observed in adjuvant-induced arthritis, an effect mediated, at least in part, by modifications in the circulating IGFBPs.

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S Ramos, L Goya, MA Martin, F Escriva, and AM Pascual-Leone

The aim of this work was to study the influence of the endocrine balance between thyroid hormones, insulin and growth hormone (GH) on the regulation of insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs), complementing a study previously reported for insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) in similar populations. Serum concentrations of IGFBPs-1 to -3 were assayed by Western ligand blot and their mRNA expression in the liver assayed by RNase protection assay in the hypothyroid populations: thyroidectomized and mercapto-1-methylimidazole (MMI)-treated neonates, and thyroidectomized adult rats at different periods after thyroidectomy. Serum concentrations of insulin, GH and IGF-I were increased in thyroidectomized neonates and decreased in the other populations. IGFBPs-1 and -2 increased 79% and 50% respectively in thyroidectomized neonatal rats compared with control at 15 days after thyroidectomy, whereas only IGFBP-2 increased (87%) in MMI-treated neonates, which had low serum insulin and GH compared with control on the same days. In thyroidectomized adult rats, IGFBPs-1 and -2 decreased 60% compared with controls on all days studied. Furthermore, when streptozotocin was administered to thyroidectomized neonates and insulin was given to thyroidectomized adult rats to restore insulin to control values in both groups, a differential regulation was found for IGFBPs-1 and -2. The transcriptionally induced decrease in IGFBP-3 (20-25% compared with control in neonates and 50% in adult rats), however, seemed to be regulated by GH and IGF-I. The similarity of changes in IGFBPs found in hypothyroid, undernourished and streptozotocin-induced diabetic neonatal rats suggests that the regulatory effect of insulin or GH on the IGFBPs requires the reduced biologically active thyroid hormone that is found in these three populations.

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T Priego, I Ibanez de Caceres, AI Martin, MA Villanua, and A Lopez-Calderon

The aim of this work was to elucidate the possible role of glucocorticoids in the bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced decrease in hepatic IGF-I synthesis. For this purpose, we studied the effect of LPS on IGF-I in two rat strains, Wistar and Lewis, which have different adrenal responses to inflammation. Compared with Wistar rats, Lewis rats have a reduced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to inflammatory stimuli. Rats received two i.p. injections of 1 mg/kg LPS and were killed 4 h after the second injection. LPS induced an increase in serum concentrations of both ACTH and corticosterone, the increase being more pronounced in Wistar than in Lewis rats. LPS decreased hepatic GH receptor (GHR) and IGF-I mRNA only in Wistar rats. However, serum concentrations of IGF-I were significantly decreased (P<0.01) in both Wistar and Lewis rats. These data indicate that the adrenal axis may mediate the inhibitory effect of LPS on GHR and IGF-I synthesis in the liver. In a second experiment, adrenalectomized or sham-operated Wistar rats were injected with LPS. Two LPS injections (0.1 mg/kg) decreased serum concentrations of IGF-I in both type of rat; however, the inhibitory effect of LPS on liver GHR and IGF-I mRNA was observed in adrenalectomized rats, but not in intact rats. All these data suggest that some component of the adrenal axis, other than glucocorticoids, mediates the inhibitory effect of LPS on liver GHR and IGF-I.