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N de Pedro, R Martínez-Álvarez and M J Delgado

The purpose of the present study was to elucidate the possible role of leptin in food intake and body weight regulation in goldfish. We examined the effects of i.c.v. or i.p. acute leptin administration on food intake in food-deprived goldfish at different time intervals post-injection (0–2, 2–8 and 0–8 h). Food intake was reduced by i.p. administered leptin (1 μg) at 8 h post-injection, without statistically significant differences after i.c.v. treatment. The present study shows for the first time in a teleost that chronic (10 days) leptin treatment (i.p.) reduces food intake, body weight gain, specific growth rate and food efficiency ratio. Moreover, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism seems to be regulated by leptin in fish. Chronic leptin treatment increased lipid mobilization and carbohydrate storage as hepatic and muscle glycogen. Finally, leptin could mediate its actions on energy homeostasis in fish, at least in part, through interactions with hypothalamic catecholamines, since chronic leptin treatment reduced both hypothalamic noradrenergic and dopaminergic turnover without significant modifications in hypothalamic serotoninergic and neuropeptide Y (NPY) systems. In summary, our results suggest that leptin can regulate feeding behaviour and body weight homeostasis in fish.

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C Gonzalez, A Alonso, N Alvarez, F Diaz, M Martinez, S Fernandez and AM Patterson

The mechanism for the development of insulin resistance in normal pregnancy is complex and is associated with serum levels of both progesterone and 17beta-estradiol. However, it remains unclear whether estrogens alone or progestins alone can cause insulin resistance, or whether it is a combination of both which produces this effect. We attempted to determine the role played by progesterone and/or 17beta-estradiol on the phenomena of sensitivity to insulin action that take place during pregnancy in the rat. Ovariectomized rats were treated with different doses of progesterone and/or 17beta-estradiol in order to simulate the plasma levels in normal pregnant rats. A euglycemic/hyperinsulinemic clamp was used to measure insulin sensitivity. At days 6 and 11, vehicle (V)- and progesterone (P)-treated groups were more insulin resistant than 17beta-estradiol (E)- and 17beta-estradiol+progesterone (EP)-treated groups. Nevertheless, at day 16, the V, EP and E groups were more resistant to insulin action than the P group. On the other hand, the V, EP and E groups were more insulin resistant at day 16 than at day 6, whereas the P group was more insulin resistant at day 6 than at day 16. Our results seem to suggest that the absence of female steroid hormones gives rise to a decreased insulin sensitivity. The rise in insulin sensitivity during early pregnancy, when the plasma concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone are low, could be due to 17beta-estradiol. However, during late pregnancy when the plasma concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone are high, the role of 17beta-estradiol could be to antagonize the effect of progesterone, diminishing insulin sensitivity.

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M Kurtz, E Capobianco, V Careaga, N Martinez, M B Mazzucco, M Maier and A Jawerbaum

Maternal diabetes impairs fetal lung development. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated transcription factors relevant in lipid homeostasis and lung development. This study aims to evaluate the effect of in vivo activation of PPARs on lipid homeostasis in fetal lungs of diabetic rats. To this end, we studied lipid concentrations, expression of lipid metabolizing enzymes and fatty acid composition in fetal lungs of control and diabetic rats i) after injections of the fetuses with Leukotriene B4 (LTB4, PPARα ligand) or 15deoxyΔ12,14prostaglandin J2 (15dPGJ2, PPARγ ligand) and ii) fed during pregnancy with 6% olive oil- or 6% safflower oil-supplemented diets, enriched with PPAR ligands were studied. Maternal diabetes increased triglyceride concentrations and decreased expression of lipid-oxidizing enzymes in fetal lungs of diabetic rats, an expression further decreased by LTB4 and partially restored by 15dPGJ2 in lungs of male fetuses in the diabetic group. In lungs of female fetuses in the diabetic group, maternal diets enriched with olive oil increased triglyceride concentrations and fatty acid synthase expression, while those enriched with safflower oil increased triglyceride concentrations and fatty acid transporter expression. Both olive oil- and safflower oil-supplemented diets decreased cholesterol and cholesteryl ester concentrations and increased the expression of the reverse cholesterol transporter ATP-binding cassette A1 in fetal lungs of female fetuses of diabetic rats. In fetal lungs of control and diabetic rats, the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids increased with the maternal diets enriched with olive and safflower oils. Our results revealed important changes in lipid metabolism in fetal lungs of diabetic rats, and in the ability of PPAR ligands to modulate the composition of lipid species relevant in the lung during the perinatal period.

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N Grion, E M Repetto, Y Pomeraniec, C Martinez Calejman, F Astort, R Sanchez, O P Pignataro, P Arias and C B Cymeryng

The present study was designed to investigate the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the expression levels and activities of the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and heme oxygenase (HO) systems in the rat adrenal gland. Both enzymatic activities were significantly increased in this tissue after in vivo treatment with LPS. The concurrent induction of the HO-1, NOS-1, and NOS-2 gene products was also detected as both mRNAs and protein levels were augmented by this treatment in a time-dependent way. A significant interaction between both signaling systems was also demonstrated as in vivo blockage of NOS activity with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) resulted in a significant reduction in HO expression and activity levels, while an increase in NOS activity was observed when HO was inhibited by Sn-protoporphyrin IX (Sn-PPIX). As both NOS and HO activities have been previously involved in the modulation of adrenal steroidogenesis, we investigated the participation of these signaling systems in the adrenal response to LPS. Our results showed that acute stimulation of steroid production by ACTH was significantly increased when either NOS or HO activities were inhibited. We conclude that adrenal NOS and HO can be induced by a non-lethal dose of endotoxin supporting a modulatory role for these activities in the adrenal response to immune challenges.

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N Zmora, D Gonzalez-Martinez, JA Munoz-Cueto, T Madigou, E Mananos-Sanchez, SZ Doste, Y Zohar, O Kah and A Elizur

The cDNA sequences encoding three GnRH forms, sea bream GnRH (sbGnRH), salmon GnRH (sGnRH) and chicken GnRH II (cGnRH II), were cloned from the brain of European sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax. Comparison of their deduced amino acid sequences to the same forms in the gilthead sea bream, Sparus aurata, and striped bass, Morone saxatilis, revealed high homology of the prepro-cGnRH II (94% and 98% respectively), and prepro-sGnRH (92% to both species). The sbGnRH exhibited dissimilar identities, with high homology to the striped bass (93%), and lower homology (59%) to the gilthead sea bream. Two transcript types were identified for the GnRH-associated peptide (GAP)-sGnRH as well as for the GAP-cGnRH II, which suggests a possible alternative splicing followed by the addition of an early stop codon. In order to obtain antibodies specific for the three GnRH precursors, recombinant GAP proteins were produced. The differential expression of the three GnRHs previously reported in the brain by means of in situ hybridization, using riboprobes corresponding to the GAP-coding regions, was fully confirmed by immunocytochemistry using antibodies raised against the recombinant GAP proteins, indicating that the transcripts are translated into functional proteins. Moreover, this approach allowed us to follow, for the first time, the specific projections of the different cell groups: sGAP fibers are distributed mainly in the forebrain with few projections reaching the pituitary, sbGAP fibers are mainly present in the preoptic area, mediobasal hypothalamus and predominantly project to the pars distalis of the pituitary, whereas cGnRH II fibers have a widespread distribution primarily in the posterior brain, and do not project to the pituitary. These new tools will be extremely useful to study further the development, regulation and functional significance of three independent GnRH systems in the brain of vertebrate species.