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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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J Oscarsson, M Ottosson, K Vikman-Adolfsson, F Frick, S Enerback, H Lithell and S Eden

Changes in GH secretion are associated with changes in serum lipoproteins, utilisation of fuels and body composition. Since lipoprotein lipase (LPL) is a key enzyme in the regulation of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, changes in LPL activity may contribute to these effects of GH. The present study was undertaken to investigate the role of GH and the GH-dependent growth factor, IGF-I, in the regulation of LPL in heart, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Female rats were hypophysectomised at 50 days of age. One week later, hormonal therapy was commenced. All hypophysectomised rats received l-thyroxine and cortisol. Adipose tissue, the heart, soleus and gastrocnemius muscles were excised after 1 week of hormonal therapy. The effect of insulin injections on adipose tissue and heart LPL activity was also studied. In separate experiments, LPL activity in post-heparin plasma was measured.Hypophysectomy had no effect on adipose tissue LPL activity, whereas activity was reduced in heart, soleus and gastrocnemius muscle tissues. GH treatment had no significant effect on LPL activity in adipose tissue or soleus muscle, but increased the LPL activity in heart and gastrocnemius muscle. GH treatment increased post-heparin plasma LPL activity. Recombinant human IGF-I treatment (1.25 mg/kg per day) markedly reduced LPL activity in adipose tissue, but had no effect in muscle tissues. The effect of IGF-I treatment on adipose tissue LPL was not reflected by a decrease in post-heparin plasma LPL activity. Daily injections of insulin for 7 days increased LPL activity in adipose tissue but had no effect on heart LPL activity. In adipose tissue, LPL mRNA levels tended to decrease as a result of IGF-I treatment. In the muscle tissues, no significant effects of hypophysectomy, GH or IGF-I treatment on LPL mRNA levels were observed.%It is concluded that GH increases heart and skeletal muscle tissue LPL activity, which probably contributes to an increased post-heparin plasma LPL activity. The effect of GH on muscle LPL activity is probably not mediated by IGF-I or insulin. Insulin and IGF-I have opposite effects on LPL activity in adipose tissue.