Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 18 items for

  • Author: S Li x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Free access

S You, W Li, and T Lin

Gap junctions are intercellular protein channels which provide a pathway for the exchange of ions and small molecules. This exchange of materials allows metabolic coupling of cells. Gap junction channels are made up of connexins, integral membrane proteins encoded by a multigene family. Rat testes contain mRNAs for at least five different connexins: Cx26, Cx32, Cx33, Cx37 and Cx43. Immunocytochemical studies have shown that Cx43 assembles gap junctions between Leydig cells. The present study investigated the expression and regulation of the Cx43 gene in rat Leydig cells. Purified Leydig cells were obtained from 40- to 80-day-old Sprague-Dawley rats using a combination of arterial perfusion, collagenase digestion, centrifugal elutriation and Percoll gradient centrifugation. Leydig cells from 20- and 30-day-old rats were isolated without arterial perfusion or centrifugal elutriation. Cx43 mRNA was present in 20-day-old rat Leydig cells, reached a plateau at day 40, and remained at high levels in 65- and 80-day-old rat Leydig cells. To evaluate the regulation of Cx43 gene expression, Leydig cells were cultured overnight and then treated with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) for variable periods of time. Addition of hCG (10 ng/ml) increased cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein mRNA levels and testosterone formation. However, Cx43 mRNA levels were inhibited by hCG in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Cx43 mRNA levels decreased 27% as early as 2 h after the addition of hCG and decreased 60% by 24 h. Treatment of Leydig cells with 8-bromo-cAMP (0.1 mM) for 6 and 24 h also reduced Cx43 mRNA levels by 36 and 56% respectively. Primary cultured Leydig cells stained strongly positive with anti-Cx43 monoclonal antibody. Treatment with hCG for 24 h reduced Cx43 signals and caused Cx43 to redistribute to the periphery of the cells. To evaluate the regulation of Cx43 in vivo, rats were treated with hCG (300 ng i.p.) and testes were removed 24 h later. Frozen section of testes revealed that these interstitial cells stained positive for 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) by histochemical staining and were positive for Cx43 by immunofluorescence staining. The adjacent seminiferous tubules stained only weakly positive for Cx43. Twenty-four hours after hCG treatment, 3beta-HSD activity increased while Cx43 immunostaining of Leydig cells was reduced. In conclusion, gap junction channels of Leydig cells are regulated by hCG both in vivo and in vitro. hCG increased Leydig cell steroidogenesis and steroidogenic enzyme mRNA levels but caused a redistribution of Cx43.

Free access

Z Li, FA Karlsson, and S Sandler

The aim of this study was to investigate the alpha cell population during the development of type 1 diabetes following multiple low-dose streptozotocin administration in mice. For this purpose C57BL/Ks male mice were injected with streptozotocin (40 mg/kg body weight for 5 days). Development of hyperglycemia was monitored over 28 days and a morphometric analysis of islet endocrine cells was performed. A reduction of islet cell area was observed after two injections of streptozotocin. The subsequent decrease of the area throughout the study period averaged 35%. Insulin-positive beta cells gradually disappeared from the identified islets. Hyperglycemia was present from day 7 onwards and in parallel with hyperglycemia, insulitis developed. An analysis of the alpha cell number per islet area revealed a 2- to 3-fold increase in this cell population, with the highest value on day 21. Confocal microscopy analysis of the ICA 512 protein tyrosine phosphatase revealed strong expression in the alpha cells at day 21, suggesting high secretory activity in the diabetic state. It is concluded that multiple low-dose streptozotocin treatment of C57BL/Ks male mice causes the disappearance of a fraction of the islets of Langerhans. In the remaining islet tissue an expansion of alpha cells occurs, reflecting a loss of intraislet beta cells as well as a regeneration of alpha cells.

Free access

L Givalois, S Li, and G Pelletier

The involvement of the endogenous benzodiazepine, octadecaneuropeptide (ODN), in the regulation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA expression at the pituitary level, and the influence of adrenal and gonadal steroids, have been studied using a quantitative in situ hybridization technique. I.c.v. injection of ODN (4 micrograms/kg) in sham-operated rats induced a 17 and 7% decrease in the POMC mRNA expression in anterior and intermediate pituitary lobes respectively. To determine the reciprocal involvement of adrenal and gonadal steroids in this regulation, animals were adrenalectomized and/or castrated. Adrenalectomy significantly increased POMC mRNA expression by 48% at the anterior pituitary level, but induced a 10% decrease of hybridization signal at the intermediate pituitary lobe (vs control sham-operated). Adrenal ablation reversed the effect induced by ODN and increased POMC mRNA expression at the anterior and intermediate pituitary levels by 60 and 10% respectively, compared with control sham-operated. By contrast, castration, which produced a decrease in POMC mRNA in the anterior pituitary and an increase in the intermediate lobe, did not modify the negative influence of ODN observed in sham-operated animals. When rats were adrenalectomized and castrated, the adrenalectomy influence was predominant at the anterior pituitary level, since ODN increased significantly the hybridization signal (+68% vs control sham-operated), while the castration influence was predominant at the intermediate pituitary level, since ODN induced an 11% decrease in POMC mRNA signal compared with control sham-operated. These studies indicate that, in vivo, the decrease in POMC mRNA expression in the anterior and intermediate pituitary induced by an endogenous benzodiazepine is differently modulated by adrenal and gonadal steroids, with a predominant influence of adrenal steroids at the anterior pituitary level and gonadal steroids at the intermediate pituitary level.

Free access

K Teshigawara, S Takahashi, T Boswell, Q Li, S Tanaka, and S Takeuchi

The presence and possible physiological roles of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) in the peripheral tissues of birds have not been established. By a combination of RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization, we have examined alpha-MSH expression in the eye of the chicken during development. In the 1-day-old chick, alpha-MSH was expressed in the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, and also at a lower level in the cone cells. The melanocortin receptor subtypes, CMC1, CMC4 and CMC5, were expressed in the layers of the choroid and the neural retina, but not in the RPE cells. It is probable that the RPE cells secrete alpha-MSH to exert paracrine effects on the choroid and neural retina. During embryonic development, alpha-MSH immunoreactivity in the RPE cells was initially detected at embryonic day 10, and increased in intensity as development proceeded. No cone cells were stained with anti-alpha-MSH antiserum in any of the embryonic stages tested. The immunoreactivities for two prohormone convertases, PC1 and PC2, were co-localized to the RPE cells with a pattern of staining similar to that of alpha-MSH. Despite containing alpha-MSH immunoreactivity, the RPE cells in 1-day-old chicks expressed no immunoreactivity for the endoproteases. Furthermore, in a 3-day-old chick, pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA was detectable by in situ hybridization only in the photoreceptor layer and not in the RPE cells. These results suggest that the RPE cells and the cone cells are intraocular sources of alpha-MSH in the embryonic and postnatal life of the chicken respectively. Embryonic expression of alpha-MSH in the RPE cells implies a possible role for the peptide in ocular development.

Free access

G Pelletier, V Luu-The, S Li, and F Labrie

Androgen receptors (AR) are highly expressed in female reproductive organs. In order to define the possible involvement of estrogens in the regulation of AR expression in the uterus and vagina, we have studied the effect of short-term administration of 17beta-estradiol (E2) to ovariectomized adult mice on AR mRNA levels. Seven days after ovariectomy, the mice received a single injection of E2 (0.05 microg/mouse) 3, 12 or 24 h before they were killed. The levels of AR mRNA were measured in the different uterine and vaginal compartments using quantitative in situ hybridization. In the uterus, AR mRNA was expressed in the luminal and glandular epithelial cells, stromal cells and smooth muscle cells. In the vagina, AR mRNA was localized in both epithelial and stromal cells. In the uterus after ovariectomy, AR mRNA levels were decreased by 18% in the epithelial cells, 23% in the stromal cells and 50% in the myometrial cells. AR mRNA levels were completely restored as early as 3 h after E2 administration in the epithelium and stroma, and at the 12-h time-interval in the myometrium. In the vaginal epithelium, ovariectomy induced a 70% decrease in AR mRNA expression. No effect could be detected 3 h after E2 administration, while at the longest time-intervals (12 and 24 h) there was an increase in mRNA levels corresponding to 70% of the levels observed in intact animals. In the vaginal stroma, ovariectomy was responsible for a 55% decrease in mRNA levels. While no significant changes were observed at the 3-h time-interval, a complete restoration of AR mRNA levels in stromal cells could be recorded at the longest time-intervals after E2 administration. The data obtained indicated that, in adult mice, estrogens exert a positive regulation of AR mRNA expression in the different compartments of both the uterus and the vagina.

Restricted access

K. M. Hua, R. Ord, S. Kirk, Q. J. Li, S. C. Hodgkinson, G. S. G. Spencer, P. C. Molan, and J. J. Bass


Tissue and plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and relative levels of liver IGF-I RNA, were measured in 6-month-old ewe lambs which were well fed (n = 10) or starved (n = 10) for 5 days. Half of each nutrition group was given daily (09.00 h) injections of human GH (hGH; 0·15 mg/kg body weight per day). Blood was sampled daily from 09.00 to 12.00 h at 15-min intervals through jugular vein catheters and the lambs were slaughtered 24 h after the fifth injection of hGH.

Tissue and plasma IGF-I was extracted using an acid-ethanol-cryo-precipitation technique and estimated by radioimmunoassay. Tissue IGF-I was corrected for retained plasma IGF-I using tissue and blood haemaglobin levels. Liver IGF-I RNA levels were monitored by in-situ hybridization.

Plasma IGF-I (nmol/l) was higher in both the fed group and the fed group given GH treatment. Tissue IGF-I from kidneys (nmol/kg) was also higher (P < 0·001) in the fed group. There was no significant difference in IGF-I concentrations in the muscle biceps femoris or liver between fed and starved lambs. Although GH treatment did not increase IGF-I levels in tissues significantly, IGF-I RNA levels in liver were increased (P = 0·02) in both fed and starved animals. The relative liver IGF-I RNA levels positively correlated with their corresponding tissue IGF-I levels in the fed group and the fed group given GH treatment. The lack of a significant IGF-I response to GH in tissues may be due to either the time at which tissues were sampled after the GH treatment or the dose of GH administered. However, the higher IGF-I concentrations in plasma and kidney from fed compared with starved animals and the positive correlations between liver IGF-I and IGF-I RNA levels suggest that tissue and plasma IGF-I is regulated by nutrition and GH, with nutrition playing a critical role in the regulation of tissue and plasma IGF-I in normal lambs.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 136, 217–224

Free access

G Pelletier, S Li, V Luu-The, Y Tremblay, A Belanger, and F Labrie

The biosynthesis of steroid hormones in endocrine steroid-secreting glands results from a series of successive steps involving both cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are mixed-function oxidases, and steroid dehydrogenases. So far, the subcellular distribution of steroidogenic enzymes has been mostly studied following subcellular fractionation, performed in placenta and adrenal cortex. In order to determine in situ the intracellular distribution of some steroidogenic enzymes, we have investigated the ultrastructural localization of the three key enzymes: P450 side chain cleavage (scc) which converts cholesterol to pregnenolone; 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta-HSD) which catalyzes the conversion of 3 beta-hydroxy-5-ene steroids to 3-oxo-4-ene steroids (progesterone and androstenedione); and P450(c17) which is responsible for the transformation of C(21) into C(19) steroids (dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione). Immunogold labeling was used to localize the enzymes in rat adrenal cortex and gonads. The tissues were fixed in 1% glutaraldehyde and 3% paraformaldehyde and included in LR gold resin. In the adrenal cortex, both P450(scc) and 3 beta-HSD immunoreactivities were detected in the reticular, fascicular and glomerular zones. P450(scc) was exclusively found in large mitochondria. In contrast, 3 beta-HSD antigenic sites were mostly observed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with some gold particles overlying crista and outer membranes of the mitochondria. P450(c17) could not be detected in adrenocortical cells. In the testis, the three enzymes were only found in Leydig cells. Immunolabeling for P450(scc) and 3 beta-HSD was restricted to mitochondria, while P450(c17) immunoreactivity was exclusively observed in ER. In the ovary, P450(scc) and 3 beta-HSD immunoreactivities were found in granulosa, theca interna and corpus luteum cells. The subcellular localization of the two enzymes was very similar to that observed in adrenocortical cells. P450(c17) could also be detected in theca interna cells of large developing and mature follicles. As observed in Leydig cells, P450(c17) immunolabeling could only be found in the ER. These results indicate that in different endocrine steroid-secreting cells P450(scc), 3 beta-HSD and P450(c17) have the same association with cytoplasmic organelles (with the exception of 3 beta-HSD in Leydig cells), suggesting similar intracellular pathways for biosynthesis of steroid hormones.

Restricted access

C S Kovacs, C L Chik, B Li, E Karpinski, and A K Ho


Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) share 68% homology and function as neurotransmitters or neuroendocrine factors. Although VIP immunoreactivity has been detected in bone cells, the presence of PACAP or PACAP receptors in bone has not been determined. In this study, we investigated the role of PACAP and VIP in regulating cAMP accumulation in the UMR 106 osteoblast-like tumor cell line.

PACAP 27 (10−9 to 3 × 10−7 m), PACAP 38 (10−9 to 3 × 10−7 m) and VIP (10−8 to 10−6 m) stimulated cAMP accumulation up to eightfold. PACAP 27 was slightly more potent than PACAP 38, and both were tenfold more potent than VIP. Both PACAP- and VIP-stimulated cAMP accumulation were potentiated by 4β-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, an activator of protein kinase C. Two PACAP antagonists, PACAP 6–27 (3 × 10−6 m) and PACAP 6–38 (3 × 10−6 m), blocked PACAP- and VIP-stimulated cAMP accumulation. Two VIP antagonists ([Lys1,Pro2,5,Arg3,4,Tyr6]-VIP, and 4 Cl-d-Phe6,Leu17]-VIP) did not reduce the PACAP-or VIP-stimulated cAMP accumulation. Pretreatment with PACAP 27, PACAP 38 or VIP equally blocked PACAP- and VIP-stimulated cAMP accumulation.

These results suggest that PACAP is a more potent stimulator of cAMP accumulation than VIP in UMR 106 cells. PACAP and VIP may share a role in the paracrine or neuroendocrine regulation of bone metabolism.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 149, 287–295

Free access

RT Boudreau, SM Sangster, LM Johnson, S Dauphinee, AW Li, and CK Too

A prolactin (PRL)-responsive 3'-end cDNA encoding rat alpha4 phosphoprotein was previously isolated from a rat lymphoma cDNA library. Rat alpha4 is a homologue of yeast Tap42 and is a component of the mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway that stimulates translation initiation and G1 progression in response to nutrients and growth factors. In the present study, the full-length rat alpha4 cDNA was obtained by 5'-RACE and the 1023 bp open reading frame predicted a 340 amino acid protein of 39.1 kDa. The alpha4 mRNA was expressed in quiescent PRL-dependent Nb2 lymphoma cells deprived of PRL for up to 72 h but expression was downregulated within 4 h of PRL treatment. In contrast, PRL-independent Nb2-Sp cells showed constitutive expression of alpha4 that was not affected by PRL. Western analysis of Nb2 cell lysates or of V5-tagged-alpha4 expressed in COS-1 cells detected a single immunoreactive band of approximately 45 kDa. Enzymatic deglycosylation of affinity-purified 45 kDa alpha4 yielded the predicted 39 kDa protein. Phosphorylation of Nb2 alpha4 was induced by PRL or 2-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and further enhanced by a combination of PRL and TPA. The Nb2 alpha4 associated with the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 2A and localized predominantly in Nb2 nuclear fractions with trace amounts in the cytosol. The immunosuppressant drug rapamycin inhibited proliferation of Nb2 cells in response to PRL or interleukin-2, but had no effect on Nb2-Sp cells. Furthermore, transient overexpression of alpha4 in COS-1 cells inhibited PRL stimulation of the immediate-early gene interferon regulatory factor-1 promoter activity. Therefore, PRL downregulation of alpha4 expression and/or PRL-inducible phosphorylation of alpha4 may be necessary for PRL receptor (PRLr) signalling to the interferon regulatory factor-1 promoter in the Nb2 cells and, furthermore, implicates cross-talk between the mTOR and PRLr signalling cascades during Nb2 cell mitogenesis.

Free access

C Martel, A Sourla, G Pelletier, C Labrie, M Fournier, S Picard, S Li, M Stojanovic, and F Labrie

In order to assess the relative roles of the androgenic and/or estrogenic components in the stimulatory effect of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on bone mineral content (BMC) and density (BMD), ovariectomized (OVX) female rats received DHEA administered alone or in combination with the antiandrogen flutamide (FLU) or the antiestrogen EM-800 for 12 months. We also evaluated, for comparison, the effect of estradiol (E2) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) constantly released by Silastic implants as well as medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) released from poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres. Femoral BMD was decreased by 11% 1 year after OVX, but treatment of OVX animals with DHEA increased BMD to a value 8% above that of intact animals. The administration of FLU reversed by 76% the stimulatory effect of DHEA on femoral BMD and completely prevented the stimulatory effect of DHEA on total body and lumbar spine BMD. Similar results were obtained for BMC. On the other hand, treatment with the antiestrogen EM-800 did not reduce the action of DHEA on BMD or BMC. At the doses used, MPA, E2 and DHT increased femoral BMD, but to a lesser degree than observed with DHEA. Bone histomorphometry measurements were also performed. While DHEA treatment partially reversed the marked inhibitory effect of OVX on the tibial trabecular bone volume, the administration of FLU inhibited by 51% (P < 0.01) the stimulatory effect of DHEA on this parameter. The addition of EM-800 to DHEA, on the other hand, increased trabecular bone volume to a value similar to that of intact controls. DHEA administration markedly increased trabecular number while causing a marked decrease in the intertrabecular area. The above stimulatory effect of DHEA on trabecular number was reversed by 54% (P < 0.01) by the administration of FLU, which also reversed by 29% the decrease in intertrabecular area caused by DHEA administration. On the other hand, the addition of EM-800, while further decreasing the intertrabecular space achieved by DHEA treatment, also led to a further increase in trabecular number to a value not significantly different from that of intact control animals, suggesting an additional effect of EM-800 over that achieved by DHEA. Treatment with DHEA caused a 4-fold stimulation of serum alkaline phosphatase, a marker of bone formation, while the urinary excretion of hydroxyproline, a marker of bone resorption, was decreased by DHEA treatment. Treatment with DHEA and DHEA + EM-800 decreased serum cholesterol levels by 22 and 65% respectively, while the other treatments had no significant effect on this parameter. The present data indicate that the potent stimulatory effect of DHEA on bone in the rat is mainly due to the local formation of androgens in bone cells and their intracrine action in osteoblasts.