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PE Lobie and MJ Waters

Based on localization studies of the GH receptor/binding protein (BP) in the gastrointestinal tract, we have recently demonstrated growth hormone regulation of gastric intrinsic factor. In order to define the role of GH in the submandibular gland (SMG) we have investigated the effect of GH on SMG structure and function with particular reference to haptocorrin. Bovine GH (65 micrograms/100 g body weight) was administered twice daily to adult male dwarf rats for 6 days (DW+) while control animals received vehicle (DW-). Administration of GH produced a significant increase in body weight (P < 0.001) and allometric increase in SMG weight (P = 0). There was no change in RNA or protein content per g SMG and GH administration produced a small decrease in DNA content normalized to SMG weight. Morphometric analysis of the SMG revealed a significant increase in the percentage area of the gland occupied by tubular (GH receptor/BP expressing) structures and a significant increase in the diameter of both the intralobular striated and granular convoluted tubules. The effect of GH on cellular proliferation in the ductular and acinar components was determined by the immunohistochemical detection of nuclear 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporated during a 2-h pulse of BrdU. GH treatment induced a 5.5-fold increase in the labelling index of tubular cells whereas the acinar cell labelling index increased only 3.3-fold. Soluble extracts of SMG were prepared for estimation of 57Co-cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) binding. GH administration resulted in an increase in total 57Co-cyanocobalamin (CBL) binding per mg SMG protein. To determine the contribution of haptocorrin (R-protein) the amount of cobinamide dicyanide (CD) displaceable binding was calculated. GH administration produced a 70% increase in CD displaceable CBL binding per mg SMG indicating GH regulation of haptocorrin. A comparison of total SMG CBL binding and CD displaceable CBL binding between male and female rats detected no sex difference. Therefore sex-specific GH secretory profiles are unlikely to be of importance in the regulation of haptocorrin. In conclusion we have demonstrated that GH stimulates hypertrophy and hyperplasia of components of the SMG in the dwarf rat. The observed upregulation of haptocorrin may synergize with the GH-stimulated increase in intrinsic factor to facilitate absorption of CBL during the anabolic state.

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MC Saunders, RT Gemmell, MJ Waters, and JD Curlewis

Plasma concentrations of growth hormone (GH) were measured in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) pouch young from 25 through to 198 days post-partum (n=71). GH concentrations were highest early in pouch life (around 100 ng/ml), and thereafter declined in an exponential fashion to reach adult concentrations (10.8+/-1.8 ng/ml; n=21) by approximately 121-145 days post-partum, one to two months before the young is weaned. Growth hormone-binding protein (GHBP), which has been shown to modify the cellular actions of GH in eutherian mammals, was identified for the first time in a marsupial. Based on size exclusion gel filtration, possum GHBP had an estimated molecular mass of approximately 65 kDa, similar to that identified in other mammalian species, and binding of (125)I-labelled human GH (hGH) was displaced by excess hGH (20 microg). An immunoprecipitation method, in which plasma GHBP was rendered polyethylene glycol precipitable with a monoclonal antibody to the rabbit GHBP/GH receptor (MAb 43) and labelled with (125)I-hGH, was used to quantitate plasma GHBP by Scatchard analysis in the developing (pooled plasma samples) and adult (individual animals) possums. Binding affinity (K(a)) values in pouch young aged between 45 and 54 and 144 and 153 days post-partum varied between 1.0 and 2.4 x 10(9)/M, which was slightly higher than that in adult plasma (0.96+/-0.2 x 10(9)/M, n=6). Binding capacity (B(max)) values increased from non-detectable levels in animals aged 25-38 days post-partum to reach concentrations around half that seen in the adult (1.4+/-0.2 x 10(-9) M) by about 117 days post-partum and remained at this level until 153 days post-partum. Therefore, in early pouch life when plasma GH concentrations are highest, the very low concentrations of GHBP are unlikely to be important in terms of competing with GH-receptor for ligand or altering the half-life of circulating GH.

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Y Qiu, CE Waters, AE Lewis, MJ Langman, and MC Eggo

Epidemiological studies of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy show a reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer, and animal studies using 17beta-oestradiol (E(2)) demonstrate a decreased incidence of chemically-induced colon cancer. Using the colon cancer cell line, COLO205, we found that E(2) induced a dose-dependent increase in DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation, significant effects being seen at 10(-12 )mol/l. BSA-conjugated E(2), which cannot enter cells, was ineffective at inducing apoptosis in COLO205 cells, indicating that E(2) was not acting through a cell-membrane receptor. E(2) did not induce the morphological changes characteristic of differentiation. Using RT-PCR we found that the oestrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) isoform was absent in the COLO205 cell line in contrast to CACO-2, LoVo and SW620 cells, but mRNAs for ERbeta1, -beta2, -beta5 and -beta6 isoforms were detected. Western immunoblotting results showed full-length ERbeta protein but no detectable ERalpha in COLO205 cells. In normal human colon tissue samples immunoreactive ERbeta was found but ERalpha was barely detectable. Expression of ERbeta was lost in some colon cancer specimens and reduced in others. We conclude that E(2), through ERbeta, at concentrations found during replacement therapy, may inhibit the development of colon cancer by inducing apoptosis.

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F Sinowatz, D Schams, S Kolle, A Plath, D Lincoln, and MJ Waters

We have used immunohistochemistry and non-radioactive in situ hybridisation to localise the GH receptor and its transcript in the bovine mammary gland during mammogenesis, lactation and involution. We found a characteristic pattern of immunoreactive GH (irGH) receptor distribution in the epithelial and stromal compartments during the different stages of mammary gland development: The ductular epithelium showed a distinct staining for irGH receptor during most stages, whereas the alveolar epithelium contained a modest amount of GH receptor during pregnancy which increased during lactation and galactopoiesis. In dry cows, the immunostaining for GH receptors in the alveolar epithelium was very weak or negative. Curiously, the amount of GH receptor mRNA appeared relatively constant during mammogenesis and lactation. The epithelial cells of the alveoli and ducts as well as the endothelial cells showed a distinct signal in our in situ hy! bridisation studies. The predominant localisation of GH receptors in the epithelium of ducts and alveoli is supportive of a role for GH in epithelial differentiation and maintenance. Furthermore, the increased intensity of immunostaining in bovine mammary tissue post partum suggests a direct role for GH receptor in mediating the effect of GH in milk production and secretion.