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RD Jones, LN Ruban, IE Morton, SA Roberts, KM English, KS Channer and TH Jones

Testosterone-induced vasodilatation is proposed to contribute to the beneficial effects associated with testosterone replacement therapy in men with cardiovascular disease, and is postulated to occur via either direct calcium channel blockade, or through potassium channel activation via increased production of cyclic nucleotides. We utilised flow cytometry to investigate whether testosterone inhibits the increase in cellular fluorescence induced by prostaglandin F(2alpha) in A7r5 smooth muscle cells loaded with the calcium fluorescent probe indo-1-AM, and to study the cellular mechanisms involved. Two-minute incubation with testosterone (1 microM) significantly inhibited the change in cellular fluorescence in response to prostaglandin F(2alpha) (10 microM) (3.6+/-0.6 vs 7.6+/-1.0 arbitrary units, P=0.001). The change in cellular fluorescence in response to prostaglandin F(2alpha) (10 microM) was also significantly attenuated in the absence of extracellular calcium (3.6+/-0.3 vs 15.6+/-0.7 arbitrary units, P=0.0000002), and by a 2-min incubation with the store-operated calcium channel blocker SK&F 96365 (50 microM) (4.7+/-0.8 vs 8.1+/-0.4 arbitrary units, P=0.003). The response was insensitive to similar incubation with the voltage-operated calcium channel blockers verapamil (10 microM) (12.6+/-1.2 vs 11.9+/-0.2 arbitrary units, P=0.7) or nifedipine (10 microM) (13.9+/-1.3 vs 13.3+/-0.5 arbitrary units, P=0.7). Forskolin (1 microM) and sodium nitroprusside (100 microM) significantly increased the cellular concentration of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and cyclic guanosine monophosphate respectively, but testosterone (100 nM-100 microM) had no effect. These data indicate that the increase in intracellular calcium in response to prostaglandin F(2alpha) occurs primarily via extracellular calcium entry through store-operated calcium channels. Testosterone inhibits the response, suggesting an antagonistic action upon these channels.

Open access

Thomas Nicholson, Chris Church, Kostas Tsintzas, Robert Jones, Leigh Breen, Edward T Davis, David J Baker and Simon W Jones

Adipokines have emerged as central mediators of insulin sensitivity and metabolism, in part due to the known association of obesity with metabolic syndrome disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Recent studies in rodents have identified the novel adipokine vaspin as playing a protective role in inflammatory metabolic diseases by functioning as a promoter of insulin sensitivity during metabolic stress. However, at present the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue expression of vaspin in humans is poorly characterised. Furthermore, the functional role of vaspin in skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity has not been studied. Since skeletal muscle is the major tissue for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, understanding the functional role of vaspin in human muscle insulin signalling is critical in determining its role in glucose homeostasis. The objective of this study was to profile the skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue expression of vaspin in humans of varying adiposity, and to determine the functional role of vaspin in mediating insulin signalling and glucose uptake in human skeletal muscle. Our data shows that vaspin is secreted from both human subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle, and is more highly expressed in obese older individuals compared to lean older individuals. Furthermore, we demonstrate that vaspin induces activation of the PI3K/AKT axis, independent of insulin receptor activation, promotes GLUT4 expression and translocation and sensitises older obese human skeletal muscle to insulin-mediated glucose uptake.

Free access

Iain R Thompson, Annisa N Chand, Kim C Jonas, Jacky M Burrin, Mark E Steinhelper, Caroline P Wheeler-Jones, Craig A McArdle and Robert C Fowkes

In the pituitary, C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) has been implicated as a gonadotroph-specific factor, yet expression of the CNP gene (Nppc) and CNP activity in gonadotrophs is poorly defined. Here, we examine the molecular expression and putative function of a local gonadotroph natriuretic peptide system. Nppc, along with all three natriuretic peptide receptors (Npr1, Npr2 and Npr3), was expressed in both αT3-1 and LβT2 cells and primary mouse pituitary tissue, yet the genes for atrial-(ANP) and B-type natriuretic peptides (Nppa and Nppb) were much less abundant. Putative processing enzymes of CNP were also expressed in αT3-1 cells and primary mouse pituitaries. Transcriptional analyses revealed that the proximal 50 bp of the murine Nppc promoter were sufficient for GNRH responsiveness, in an apparent protein kinase C and calcium-dependent manner. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed Sp1/Sp3 proteins form major complexes within this region of the Nppc promoter. CNP protein was detectable in rat anterior pituitaries, and electron microscopy detected CNP immunoreactivity in secretory granules of gonadotroph cells. Pharmacological analyses of natriuretic peptide receptor activity clearly showed ANP and CNP are potent activators of cGMP production. However, functional studies failed to reveal a role for CNP in regulating cell proliferation or LH secretion. Surprisingly, CNP potently stimulated the human glycoprotein hormone α-subunit promoter in LβT2 cells but not in αT3-1 cells. Collectively, these findings support a role for CNP as the major natriuretic peptide of the anterior pituitary, and for gonadotroph cells as the major source of CNP expression and site of action.