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R Paschke, F Schuppert, M Taton, and T Velu


Cytokines are thought to mediate the initiation and perpetuation of autoimmune thyroiditis. However, this concept is mainly based on in vitro findings and to date only interleukin (IL)-6 and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) have been detected in Graves' disease in vivo. The cytokine pattern produced by T-helper (Th) cells has important regulatory effects on the nature of the immune response. We therefore determined these cytokine mRNAs in Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

RNA was extracted by cesium chloride gradient centrifugation from the thyroid tissue of 12 patients undergoing thyroid resection for Graves' disease and from two patients being treated for Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Two patients with parathyroid adenomas and one patient with a goiter were used as controls. RNA was also extracted from normal human thyroid epithelial cells in primary culture. The cDNAs were prepared by reverse transcription and amplified for IL-2, -4, -5, -6 and -10 and IFN-γ by polymerase chain reaction.

All the cytokine mRNAs were detected in the Hashimoto's thyroid glands in large quantities. Six of the 12 Graves' disease thyroid glands showed, when compared with controls, an increased accumulation of transcripts for: IFN-γ, IL-2, -4 and -10 or IL-2, -4 and IFN-γ or IL-2 and IFN-γ or IFN-γ alone, each in one case or IL-2 alone in two cases. These cytokine profiles were not representative of a Th1 or Th2 phenotype. Increased amounts of cytokine mRNA in thyroid glands from Graves' disease patients were mostly associated with high microsomal antibody titres and/or prominent intrathyroidal lymphocytic infiltration. IL-6 and/or IL-10 mRNAs were detectable in all Graves' disease thyroid glands and in control thyroid tissue. IL-10 mRNA was not detectable in normal human thyroid epithelial cells in primary culture.

Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis clearly differ with respect to the number of positive intrathyroidal cytokine mRNAs and their levels. The different cytokine patterns in Graves' disease and in Hashimoto's thyroiditis could reflect the clinical spectrum of autoimmune thyroiditis which is characterized by thyroid tissue destruction and/or thyroid autoantibody production. These data suggest that the course of autoimmune thyroiditis is regulated by the interplay of several cytokines.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 141, 309–315

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C Voigt, HP Holzapfel, S Meyer, and R Paschke

G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) are implicated in the pathophysiology of human diseases such as arterial hypertension, heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. While G-protein-coupled receptor kinases 2 and 5 have been shown to be involved in the desensitization of the rat thyrotropin receptor (TSHR), their role in the pathophysiology of hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules (HTNs) is unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the expression pattern of the known GRKs in human thyroid tissue and investigated their function in the pathology of HTNs. The expression of different GRKs in human thyroid and HTNs was measured by Western blotting. The influence of GRK expression on TSHR function was analyzed by coexpression experiments in HEK 293 cells. We demonstrate that in addition to GRKs 2, 5 and 6, GRKs 3 and 4 are also expressed in the human thyroid. GRKs 2, 3, 5 and 6 are able to desensitize the TSHR in vitro. This GRK-induced desensitization is amplified by the additional over-expression of beta-arrestin 1 or 2. We did not find any mutations in the GRKs 2, 3 and 5 from 14 HTNs without TSHR mutations and Gsalpha mutations. The expression of GRKs 3 and 4 was increased in HTNs independently from the existence of TSHR mutations or Gsalpha mutations. In conclusion, the increased expression of GRK 3 in HTNs and the ability of GRK 3 to desensitize the TSHR in vitro, suggest a potential role for GRK 3 as a negative feedback regulator for the constitutively activated cAMP pathway in HTNs.

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M Fasshauer, J Klein, U Lossner, and R Paschke

SOCS (suppressor of cytokine signaling)-3 has recently been shown to be an insulin- and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-induced negative regulator of insulin signaling. To further clarify a potential involvement of SOCS-3 in the development of insulin resistance, we measured differentiation-dependent SOCS-3 mRNA expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and studied its regulation by various hormones known to impair insulin signaling using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. There was a differentiation-dependent downregulation of SOCS-3 mRNA by 50% over the 9 day adipocyte differentiation course. Interestingly, besides insulin and TNF-alpha, chronic treatment of differentiated 3T3-L1 cells with 10 microM isoproterenol for 16 h stimulated SOCS-3 gene expression by about 3.5-fold. Furthermore, isoproterenol stimulated SOCS-3 mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner with significant activation detectable at concentrations as low as 10 nM isoproterenol. Moreover, a strong 27- and 47-fold activation of SOCS-3 mRNA expression could be seen after 1 h of isoproterenol and GH treatment respectively. The stimulatory effect of isoproterenol could be almost completely reversed by pretreatment of 3T3-L1 cells with the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol. Finally, isoproterenol's action could be mimicked by stimulation of G(S)-proteins with cholera toxin and of adenylyl cyclase with forskolin and dibutyryl cAMP. Taken together, our results demonstrate a differentiation-dependent downregulation of SOCS-3 in adipocytes and suggest that SOCS-3 gene expression is stimulated by beta-adrenergic agents via activation of a G(S)-protein-adenylyl cyclase-dependent pathway. As SOCS-3 is a novel inhibitor of insulin signaling, the data support a possible role of this protein as a selectively regulated mediator of catecholamine-induced insulin resistance.

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S Kralisch, U Lossner, M Bluher, R Paschke, M Stumvoll, and M Fasshauer

Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 is an adipocytokine upregulated in obesity which might promote adipose tissue development. In the current study, the impact of the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol on TIMP-1 gene expression and secretion was determined in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Interestingly, isoproterenol increased TIMP-1 secretion 2.7-fold. Furthermore, isoproterenol induced TIMP-1 mRNA in a time- and dose-dependent fashion with significant effects observed as early as 1 h after effector addition and at concentrations as low as 1 μM isoproterenol. Significant isoproterenol-induced upregulation of TIMP-1 mRNA could also be found in immortalized brown adipocytes. Inhibitor experiments confirmed that the positive effect of isoproterenol on TIMP-1 is mediated via β-adrenergic receptors and protein kinase A. Moreover, increasing cAMP levels with forskolin or dibutyryl-cAMP was sufficient to stimulate TIMP-1 synthesis. Insulin induced basal TIMP-1 mRNA, but did not significantly influence forskolin-induced TIMP-1 expression. Taken together, we demonstrate that TIMP-1 expression and secretion are selectively upregulated in adipocytes by β-adrenergic agonists via a classic Gs-protein-coupled pathway.

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M Fasshauer, J Klein, S Krahlisch, U Lossner, M Klier, M Bluher, and R Paschke

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha-induced adipose-related protein (TIARP) has recently been cloned as a TNFalpha-stimulated protein expressed in adipocytes. Its expression is differentiation-dependent and potentially involved in mediating TNFalpha-induced insulin resistance. To further characterize regulation of TIARP gene expression, 3T3-L1 adipocytes were treated with key hormones modulating insulin sensitivity and influencing adipocyte metabolism, and TIARP gene expression was determined by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Interestingly, TIARP mRNA expression was stimulated almost 9-fold after 500 ng/ml GH were added for 16 h whereas addition of 10 microM isoproterenol, 100 nM insulin and 100 nM dexamethasone for 16 h significantly decreased TIARP gene expression to between 35 and 50% of control levels. In contrast, angiotensin 2 (10 microM) and triiodothyronine (1 microM) did not have any effect. The stimulatory effect of GH was time- and dose-dependent with stimulation occurring as early as 1 h after effector addition and at concentrations as low as 5 ng/ml GH. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of Janus kinase 2 and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase reversed the stimulatory effect of GH, suggesting that both signaling molecules are involved in activation of TIARP gene expression by GH. Furthermore, an increase of TIARP mRNA could be completely reversed to control levels by withdrawal of GH for 24 h. Taken together, these results show that TIARP is not only responsive to TNFalpha but also to important other hormones influencing glucose homeostasis and adipocyte metabolism. Thus, this factor may play an integrative role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and its link to obesity.

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M Fasshauer, S Kralisch, M Klier, U Lossner, M Bluher, J Klein, and R Paschke

Various cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, growth hormone (GH) and interleukin (IL)-6, induce insulin resistance. Recently, it was demonstrated that induction of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 by TNFalpha and GH is an important mechanism by which these cytokines impair insulin sensitivity. The current study investigated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes whether TNFalpha and GH also upregulate SOCS-1 and SOCS-6, which have both been shown to inhibit insulin signaling potently, and whether IL-6 might alter synthesis of SOCS-1, -3 and -6. Interestingly, 10 ng/ml TNFalpha, 500 ng/ml GH and 30 ng/ml IL-6 induced SOCS-1 mRNA time-dependently with maximal stimulation detectable after 8 h of TNFalpha and 1 h of GH and IL-6 addition respectively. Furthermore, TNFalpha and GH caused sustained upregulation of SOCS-1 for up to 24 h, whereas stimulation by IL-6 was only transient, with SOCS-1 mRNA returning to basal levels 2 h after effector addition. Induction of SOCS-1 was dose-dependent, and significant stimulation was detectable at concentrations as low as 3 ng/ml TNFalpha, 50 ng/ml GH and 10 ng/ml IL-6. Furthermore, stimulation experiments and studies using pharmacologic inhibitors suggested that the positive effect of TNFalpha, GH and IL-6 on SOCS-1 mRNA is, at least in part, mediated by Janus kinase (Jak) 2. Finally, SOCS-3 expression was dose- and time-dependently induced by IL-6, at least in part via Jak2, but none of the cytokines affected SOCS-6 expression. Taken together, our results show a differential regulation of SOCS mRNA by insulin resistance-inducing hormones, and suggest that SOCS-1, as well as SOCS-3, may be an important intracellular mediator of insulin resistance in fat cells and a potential pharmacologic target for the treatment of impaired insulin sensitivity.