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A Puglianiello, D Germani, P Rossi and S Cianfarani

SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells express IGF receptors, IGFs and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs), and provide a model for studying the role of the IGF system in human neuronal development. We investigated the effect of IGF-I and des(1-3)IGF-I on the motility of SH-SY5Y cells by a cell migration assay based on the assessment of the number of cells which migrated across 8 microm pore size membranes and around an agarose drop. IGF-I and des(1-3)IGF-I stimulated neuroblast chemotaxis in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment of cells with these agents for 24 h resulted in a significant increase (IGF-I by 70% and des(1-3)IGF-I by 90%; P<0. 0001) in cell motility relative to control conditions. Addition of monoclonal antibody against type 1 IGF receptor (alpha-IR3), significantly (P<0.05) reduced the cell motility induced by IGF-I (by 30%) and des(1-3)IGF-I (by 70%). Wortmannin, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol (PI)-3 kinase intracellular signalling, also reduced the IGF-stimulated cell migration (by over 40%, P<0.01), indicating a key role of the PI-3 kinase pathway in mediating the IGF effect on neuroblast migration. Finally, cell treatment with plasminogen (PLG) markedly enhanced neuroblast migration (by over 200%, P<0.01), whereas incubation with the PLG inhibitor 4-(2-aminoethyl)-benzenesulphonyl fluoride reduced cell motility (by 80%, P<0.01), thus suggesting an involvement of PLG-dependent IGFBP proteolysis in the regulation of neuroblast motility. In conclusion, IGF-I is a potent stimulator of neuroblast migration through the activation of type 1 IGF receptor and the PI-3 kinase intracellular pathway. IGFBPs and the plasmin system seem to play a role in cell motility, although the nature and the extent of their involvement has yet to be elucidated.

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C. M. Gronda, G. B. Diaz, J. P. F. C. Rossi and J. J. Gagliardino


Using medium with a low ionic strength, a low concentration of Ca2+ and Mg2+ and devoid of K+, we have measured Ca2+-ATPase activity in the homogenates of rat islets preincubated for 3 min with several hormones in the presence of 3·3 mmol glucose/l. Insulin secretion was also measured in islets incubated for 5 min under identical experimental conditions. Islets preincubated with glucose (3·3 mmol/l) and glucagon (1·4 μmol/l) plus theophylline (10 mmol/l), ACTH (0·11 nmol/l), bovine GH (0·46 μmol/l), prolactin (0·2 μmol/l) or tri-iodothyronine (1·0 nmol/l) have significantly lower Ca2+-ATPase activity than those preincubated with only 3·3 mmol glucose/l. All these hormones increased the release of insulin significantly.

Dexamethasone (0·1 μmol/l) and somatostatin (1·2 μmol/l) enhanced the Ca2+-ATPase activity while adrenaline (10 μmol/l) did not produce any significant effect on the activity of the enzyme. These hormones decreased the release of insulin significantly.

These results demonstrated that islet Ca2+-ATPase activity was modulated by the hormones tested. Their inhibitory or enhancing effect seemed to be related to their effect on insulin secretion; i.e. those which stimulated the secretion of insulin inhibited the activity of the enzyme and vice versa. Hence, their effect on insulin secretion may be due, in part, to their effect on enzyme activity and consequently on the concentration of cytosolic Ca2+. These results reinforce the assumption that Ca2+-ATPase activity participates in the physiological regulation of insulin secretion, being one of the cellular targets for several agents which affect this process.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 134, 221–225

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R Rossi, MC Zatelli, A Valentini, P Cavazzini, F Fallo, L del Senno and EC degli Uberti

Evidence for the expression of the canonic androgen receptor (AR) in human adrenal cortex has not been provided so far. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the expression of the AR gene in normal and neoplastic adrenocortical human tissues and in the human adrenocortical cancer cell line, NCI-H295, and then to evaluate the effect of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on human adrenocortical cell growth. An AR cDNA fragment with the expected size of 262 bp was detected by using reverse transcription (RT)-PCR in normal and neoplastic adrenocortical human tissues and in the neoplastic cell line, demonstrating that the gene for AR is indeed expressed in human adrenal cells. In the human adrenocortical cancer cell line NCI-H295, DHT at physiological concentrations produced a significant reduction in cell proliferation and inhibition of colony formation in soft agar. The inhibitory effect on adrenocortical cell growth was evident after both 24 and 48 h of treatment. The antiandrogens, cyproterone acetate and hydroxyflutamide, were capable of reversing the effects exerted by DHT. The androgen-induced growth inhibitory effect was also detected in primary culture of three non-functioning adrenocortical adenomas. These findings show that the canonic AR is present in human adrenocortical cells and that androgens may have a role in the adrenal cortex by reducing cell proliferation.

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R Rossi, P Franceschetti, I Maestri, E Magri, L Cavazzini, E C degli Uberti and L del Senno


Androgen-binding activity has been identified in normal and pathological thyroids, but evidence for the expression of the canonic androgen receptor (AR) in the thyroid has not been provided so far. In this study we have used reverse transcription (RT)-PCR to examine RNA expression of the canonic AR gene in human thyroid tissues, in primary cultures of human thyrocytes and in a variety of neoplastic thyroid cell lines (NPA, TPC and WRO). An AR cDNA fragment with the expected size of 262 bp was detected in normal tissues and cultured thyrocytes as well as in neoplastic cell lines, demonstrating that the gene for AR is indeed expressed in thyroid follicular cells. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed the presence of the AR protein in cancer cell lines and androgen treatment increased nuclear positivity to AR. In a survey of 35 thyroid tissues AR cDNA was detected in all the non-neoplastic samples (6 normal and 3 goitrous) and in 19 of 26 neoplastic samples. AR cDNA was not detected in 4 of the 9 follicular adenomas and in 3 of the 12 papillary carcinomas. AR was revealed by immunohistochemistry in 1 of 2 normal thyroids, in 1 goiter and in 1 of 2 neoplastic thyroids. These findings show the presence of the canonic AR in the human thyroid.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 148, 77–85

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R Rossi, M C Zatelli, P Franceschetti, I Maestri, E Magri, G Aguiari, P Cavazzini, E C degli Uberti and L del Senno


Sex steroid-binding activities have been identified by several authors in normal and pathological thyroids and the expression of the canonic androgen receptor (AR) has recently been demonstrated in human thyroid follicular cells.

In order to assess what influence, if any, androgen exposure has on thyroid cell growth, the effect of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on [3H]thymidine (thy) incorporation and cell proliferation was investigated in thyroid follicular cells in vitro. In a primary culture of goitrous cells, DHT induced a significant reduction of [3H]thy incorporation at concentrations ranging from 10−12 to 10−8 m, with a more pronounced effect at 10−9 m. At this concentration, the inhibitory effect was evident after both 24 and 48 h of treatment and in various types of primary thyroid cell cultures. In goitrous cells, the DHT-induced decrease of [3H]thy was associated with a reduction of expression of the proliferation-associated nuclear Ki-67 antigen, a protein commonly used to assess cell growth fraction. In TPC cells, an AR-positive thyroid papillary carcinoma cell line, DHT at concentrations between 10−12 and 10−8 m significantly decreased the growth rate. DHT (10−9 m) produced an approximately 50–60% inhibition of cell proliferation and the antiandrogen cyproterone acetate was capable of reversing such effects. The DHT-induced reduction of TPC cell proliferation was associated with a significant reduction of c-myc RNA levels. Thyroperoxidase mRNA levels and thyroglobulin production were not reduced by androgen in primary cultures of goitrous cells.

In conclusion, our results indicated that androgens may have a role in this gland by reducing the proliferation, but not the function, of follicular cells.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 151, 185–194

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María E Díaz, Johanna G Miquet, Soledad P Rossi, Pablo E Irene, Ana I Sotelo, Mónica B Frungieri, Daniel Turyn and Lorena González

Current GH administration protocols imply frequent s.c. injections, resulting in suboptimal compliance. Therefore, there is interest in developing delivery systems for sustained release of the hormone. However, GH has different actions depending on its continuous or pulsatile plasma concentration pattern. GH levels and circulating concentration patterns could be involved in the regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in liver. Aberrant expression of this receptor and/or its hyperactivation has been associated with the pathogenesis of different types of carcinoma. Considering that one of the adverse effects associated with GH overexpression and chronic use of GH is the increased incidence of malignancies, the aim of this study was to analyze the effects of GH plasma concentration patterns on EGFR expression and signaling in livers of mice. For this purpose, GH was administered by s.c. daily injections to produce an intermittent plasma pattern or by osmotic pumps to provoke a continuously elevated GH concentration. Intermittent injections of GH induced upregulation of liver EGFR content, augmented the response to EGF, and the induction of proteins involved in promotion of cell proliferation in female mice. In contrast, continuous GH delivery in male mice was associated with diminished EGFR in liver and decreased EGF-induced signaling and expression of early genes. The results indicate that sustained delivery systems that allow continuous GH plasma patterns would be beneficial in terms of treatment safety with regard to the actions of GH on EGFR signaling and its promitogenic activity.

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Lorena González, Johanna G Miquet, Pablo E Irene, M Eugenia Díaz, Soledad P Rossi, Ana I Sotelo, Mónica B Frungieri, Cristal M Hill, Andrzej Bartke and Daniel Turyn

Transgenic mice overexpressing growth hormone (GH) show increased hepatic protein content of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is broadly associated with cell proliferation and oncogenesis. However, chronically elevated levels of GH result in desensitization of STAT-mediated EGF signal and similar response of ERK1/2 and AKT signaling to EGF compared to normal mice. To ascertain the mechanisms involved in GH attenuation of EGF signaling and the consequences on cell cycle promotion, phosphorylation of signaling mediators was studied at different time points after EGF stimulation, and induction of proteins involved in cell cycle progression was assessed in normal and GH-overexpressing transgenic mice. Results from kinetic studies confirmed the absence of STAT3 and 5 activation and comparable levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation upon EGF stimulation, which was associated with diminished or similar induction of c-MYC, c-FOS, c-JUN, CYCLIN D1 and CYCLIN E in transgenic compared to normal mice. Accordingly, kinetics of EGF-induced c-SRC and EGFR phosphorylation at activating residues demonstrated that activation of these proteins was lower in the transgenic mice with respect to normal animals. In turn, EGFR phosphorylation at serine 1046/1047, which is implicated in the negative regulation of the receptor, was increased in the liver of GH-overexpressing transgenic mice both in basal conditions and upon EGF stimulus. Increased basal phosphorylation and activation of the p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase might account for increased Ser 1046/1047 EGFR. Hyperphosphorylation of EGFR at serine residues would represent a compensatory mechanism triggered by chronically elevated levels of GH to mitigate the proliferative response induced by EGF.