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NO Vidal, S Ekberg, S Enerback, A Lindahl and C Ohlsson

The transcription factor C/EBP alpha, a member of the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein family, is highly expressed in the liver and in adipose tissue. The aim of this study was to determine if C/EBP alpha is expressed in rat growth cartilage. The expression pattern of C/EBP alpha in monolayer-cultured growth plate chondrocytes was similar to that of C/EBP alpha during hepatocyte and preadipocyte differentiation. Immunohistochemistry with a polyclonal antibody for C/EBP alpha revealed that the C/EBP alpha protein is present in the perichondrial ring, in the germinal layer of the growth plate and on the surface of the articular cartilage. The growth hormone (GH) receptor has a similar distribution in the rat tibial growth plate, and hypophysectomised rats were used to investigate a possible connection between C/EBP alpha and GH. C/EBP alpha mRNA levels were decreased in rib cartilage after hypophysectomy. However, GH treatment did not counteract this effect, indicating that other pituitary hormones regulate the C/EBP alpha mRNA levels in growth plate cartilage. We thus demonstrate, for the first time, that C/EBP alpha is expressed in cartilage. The finding that C/EBP alpha, like the GH receptor, is predominantly expressed in stem cell areas of the rat growth plate indicates a possible functional role for C/EBP alpha during early chondrogenic differentiation.

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S. Ekberg, M. Luther, T. Nakamura and J.-O. Jansson

ABSTRACT

GH accelerates hepatic regeneration in the rat. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a potent hepatocyte mitogen in vitro, is considered to be a major regulator of hepatic regeneration. In the present study, the effects of GH and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) on HGF gene expression in regenerating rat liver was investigated. In hypophysectomized rats treated with GH, hepatic HGF mRNA levels were increased 3 h after partial hepatectomy and reached peak levels after 5 h. In rats with intact pituitaries and in hypophysectomized rats not given GH treatment, HGF mRNA levels in liver were unchanged during the first 5 h following hepatectomy and reached peak levels after 10-18 h. DNA synthesis in the liver of GH-treated rats increased from low levels 10 h after hepatectomy to peak levels after 18 h. In rats without GH treatment the synthesis of DNA was still low 18 h after hepatectomy and was increased after 26 h. Treatment of hypophysectomized rats with IGF-I promoted increases in hepatic HGF mRNA levels and DNA synthesis 3·5 h and 15 h after hepatectomy respectively. HGF mRNA levels were constantly lower after sham-hepatectomy than after partial hepatectomy. In summary, in hypophysectomized rats the responses of hepatic HGF gene expression and DNA synthesis to partial hepatectomy were both accelerated by treatment with GH or IGF-I.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 135, 59–67