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A Takenaka, M Mori, S Yamada, J Ohgane, S-I Takahashi and T Noguchi


The plasma concentration and liver mRNA content of IGF-I are regulated by the quantity and quality of dietary proteins. To determine whether the synthesis of IGF-binding proteins (BPs) is also affected by protein nutrition, we assessed plasma concentration, tissue mRNA content and liver transcription rate of each BP after rats were fed either a 12% casein or a protein-free diet for 1 week. Protein deprivation reduced the plasma concentration of IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4 and increased that of IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2. The mRNA content in tissues and liver transcription rates of IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4 did not change in response to protein deprivation although their plasma concentrations decreased. The increased plasma IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 concentrations were explained by the increased mRNA content and transcription rate of their genes in the liver. Although IGFBP-1 mRNA was increased by protein deprivation not only in liver but also in kidney, IGFBP-2 mRNA was increased only in liver and did not increase in any other tissue examined. In addition, the liver mRNA content of the acid-labile subunit, which can form a ternary complex with IGFs and IGFBP-3, was not affected by protein deprivation. These results show that tissue-specific synthesis of each BP is regulated in a distinct way in response to protein deprivation.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 33–41

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A 27-year-old patient with a hilus cell tumour of the ovary giving rise to secondary amenorrhea and marked virilization was studied clinically and endocrinologically, and the tumour was examined by light and electron microscopy. Clinical, roentogenological and endocrinological studies showed that the ovarian tumour was the source of excessive androgen production. Urinary 17-oxosteroid excretion was always higher than 65 mg./day. The urinary production rates of testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate were 1970 mg./day, 98·5 mg./day and 31·9 mg./day, respectively. Postoperatively, the androgenic manifestations gradually subsided, and the menstrual cycle returned to normal.

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S Yamada, M Komatsu, T Aizawa, Y Sato, H Yajima, T Yada, S Hashiguchi, K Yamauchi and K Hashizume

When isolated rat pancreatic islets are treated with 16.7 mM glucose, a time-dependent potentiation (TDP) of insulin release occurs that can be detected by subsequent treatment with 50 mM KCl. It has been thought that TDP by glucose is a Ca2+-dependent phenomenon and only occurs when exposure to glucose is carried out in the presence of Ca2+. In contrast to this, we now demonstrate TDP under stringent Ca2+-free conditions (Ca2+-free buffer containing 1 mM EGTA). In fact, under these Ca2+-free conditions glucose caused an even stronger TDP than in the presence of Ca2+. TDP induced by glucose in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ was unaffected by inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC). However, cerulenin or tunicamycin, two inhibitors of protein acylation, eradicated TDP without affecting glucose metabolism. The TDP by glucose was not associated with an increase in the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) during subsequent treatment with high K+. Exposure of islets to forskolin under Ca(2+)-free conditions did not cause TDP despite a large increase in the cellular cAMP levels. In conclusion, glucose alone induces TDP under stringent Ca2+-free conditions when [Ca2+]i was significantly lowered. Protein acylation is implicated in the underlying mechanism of TDP.

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K. Tamura, M. Kobayashi, S. Suzuki, Y. Ishii, S. Koyama, H. Yamada, K. Hashimoto, M. Niwa and F. Shibayama


Monoclonal antibodies (McAb) and polyclonal antibodies (PcAb) against human insulin-like growth factor-I (somatomedin C; hIGF-I) were produced. Using these two antibodies, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system for hIGF-I was established. The ELISA system was able to detect hIGF-I at a range of 1–25 μg/l, compared with the range of 1–50 μg/l detected by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Human IGF-II and human insulin could not be recognized in this system. The plasma concentrations of IGF-I found using the ELISA agreed well with those found using RIA after conventional Sep-Pak C18 cartridge pretreatment. Epitopes of hIGF-I to McAb and PcAb were investigated by enzymatic digestion of hIGF-I followed by comparing the affinity of the antibodies to the peptides obtained proteolytically. The epitope to McAb was found to be a peptide containing Leu10-Val11-Asp12 (epitope 2). Five epitopes to PcAb containing the following key fragments were identified: a conformational structure formed by the disulphide bonds between Cys6 and Cys48, and between Cys47 and Cys52 (epitope 1), Leu10-Val11-Asp12 (epitope 2), Val17-Cys18-Gly19-Asp20 (epitope 3), Arg21-Gly22-Phe23-Tyr24 (epitope 4) and Lys68-Ser69-Ala70 (epitope 5). Of these, the peptide containing epitope 5 showed the highest affinity to PcAb. The results indicated that our ELISA system combined recognition by epitope 2 of McAb and recognition by epitope 5 of PcAb to obtain its good specificity.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 125, 327–335

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Y. Nishii, K. Hashizume, K. Ichikawa, T. Miyamoto, S. Suzuki, T. Takeda, K. Yamauchi, M. Kobayashi and T. Yamada


Changes in the amount of cytosolic 3,5,3′-tri-iodo-l-thyronine (T3)-binding protein (CTBP) and its activator during administration of l-thyroxine (T4) to thyroidectomized rats were investigated. Thyroidectomy decreased the amount of CTBP in the kidney, whereas the activator was not significantly modified by thyroidectomy. The activator was increased by administration of T4 to thyroidectomized rats. The amount of CTBP was also increased by administration of T4. The activator increased the maximal binding capacity (MBC) without changes in the affinity constant for T3 binding in CTBP. A T4-induced increase in MBC in cytosol inhibited nuclear T3 binding in vitro by competition of T3 binding between CTBP and the nuclear receptor.

These results suggest that thyroid hormone increases the capacity for cytosolic T3 binding through increasing the amount of CTBP and its activator, and that these increases play a role in regulating the amount of T3 that binds to its nuclear receptor.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 123, 99–104

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T Usui, Y Ikeda, T Tagami, K Matsuda, K Moriyama, K Yamada, H Kuzuya, S Kohno and A Shimatsu

Some plant compounds or herb mixtures are popular alternatives to conventional therapies and contain organic compounds that bind to some nuclear receptors, such as the estrogen receptor (ER), to exert various biological effects. We studied the effect of various herbal extracts on ERalpha and ERbeta isoforms. One herbal extract, Rhei rhizoma (rhubarb), acts as an agonist to both ERalpha and ERbeta. The phytochemical lindleyin, a major component of rhubarb, might contribute to this estrogenic activity through ERalpha and ERbeta. 4-Hydroxytamoxifen, an ER antagonist, completely reversed the estrogenic activity of lindleyin. Lindleyin binds to ERalpha in vitro, as demonstrated using a fluorescent polarization assay. The in vivo effect of rhubarb extract was studied using a vitellogenin assay system in the freshwater fish, Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). There were marked increases in serum vitellogenin levels in male medaka exposed to rhubarb extract. We conclude that lindleyin, a component of some herbal medicines, is a novel phytoestrogen and might trigger many of the biological responses evoked by the physiological estrogens.

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T Ishizuka, A Miura, K Kajita, K Yamada, H Wada, S Itaya, Y Kanoh, M Ishizawa, M Kimura and K Yasuda

The Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rat is a new spontaneous non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) model rat strain developed in Tokushima, Japan. After 18 weeks of age, decreases of 45% and 40% respectively in insulin- and phorbol ester-stimulated [3H]2-deoxyglucose (DOG) uptake were observed, compared with those in Long-Evans Tokushima (LETO) rats (control). Insulin-specific binding and 95 kDa autophosphorylation of insulin receptor in OLETF rats were not different from those in LETO rats. Insulin-induced diacylglycerol (DG) production and Mono Q column-purified protein kinase C (PKC) translocation in adipocytes of OLETF rats were decreased compared with those of LETO rats. Insulin-induced PKC beta translocation from cytosol to membrane was also decreased in adipocytes of OLETF rats. Increases of the PKC beta I, beta II, epsilon and zeta isoforms in membranes of OLETF rats were markedly smaller than those of LETO rats. Analysis of mRNA levels of PKC isoforms in adipocytes of OLETF rats showed decreases of basal level and insulin-induced delayed responses of PKC beta I, beta II, epsilon and zeta mRNA in OLETF rats. On the other hand, insulin- or phorbol ester-induced phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) activation was decreased in adipocytes of OLETF rats compared with those of LETO rats. These results suggest that insulin resistance in OLETF rats, a spontaneous NIDDM model rat, may be associated with deterioration of insulin-induced DG-PKC signaling and subsequent decrease in PI 3-kinase activation.

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I Sekiya, P Koopman, K Tsuji, S Mertin, V Harley, Y Yamada, K Shinomiya, A Nifuji and M Noda

SOX9 is a transcription factor that activates type II procollagen (Col2a1) gene expression during chondrocyte differentiation. Glucocorticoids are also known to promote chondrocyte differentiation via unknown molecular mechanisms. We therefore investigated the effects of a synthetic glucocorticoid, dexamethasone (DEX), on Sox9 gene expression in chondrocytes prepared from rib cartilage of newborn mice. Sox9 mRNA was expressed at high levels in these chondrocytes. Treatment with DEX enhanced Sox9 mRNA expression within 24 h and this effect was observed at least up to 48 h. The effect of DEX was dose dependent, starting at 0.1 nM and maximal at 10 nM. The half life of Sox9 mRNA was approximately 45 min in the presence or absence of DEX. Western blot analysis revealed that DEX also enhanced the levels of SOX9 protein expression. Treatment with DEX enhanced Col2a1 mRNA expression in these chondrocytes and furthermore, DEX enhanced the activity of Col2-CAT (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase) construct containing a 1.6 kb intron fragment where chondrocyte-specific Sry/Sox- consensus sequence is located. The enhancing effect of DEX was specific to SOX9, as DEX did not alter the levels of Sox6 mRNA expression. These data suggest that DEX promotes chondrocyte differentiation through enhancement of SOX9.

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T Aizawa, T Kaneko, H Yajima, S Yamada, Y Sato, Y Kanda, S Kanda, M Noda, T Kadowaki, M Nagai, K Yamauchi, M Komatsu and K Hashizume

Oscillation of insulin release by the pancreatic islets was evaluated under stringent Ca(2+)-free conditions for the first time. Isolated single rat islets were exposed to 16.7 mM glucose in the presence of 1.9 mM Ca(2+), or under the stringent Ca(2+)-free conditions (Ca(2+) omission with 1 mM EGTA, 6 microM forskolin and 100 nM phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate). Fifteen minutes after the initiation of glucose stimulation, effluent was collected at a 6-s interval, insulin was determined in duplicate by a highly sensitive insulin radioimmunoassay, and oscillation and pulsatility of release statistically analyzed. Significant oscillation of insulin release was observed in all islets irrespective of presence and absence of Ca(2+). Significant pulsatility of release was detected in 7 of 11 islets in the presence of Ca(2+) and three of six isl! ets in the absence of Ca(2+). In conclusion, high glucose elicits oscillatory insulin release both in the presence and absence of extracellular Ca(2+).

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S Otabe, N Wada, T Hashinaga, X Yuan, I Shimokawa, T Fukutani, K Tanaka, T Ohki, S Kakino, Y Kurita, H Nakayama, Y Tajiri and K Yamada

We previously reported that transgenic (Tg) expression of adiponectin significantly prolonged the lifespan of normal mice. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanism involved in the longevity effects of adiponectin using KK/Ta mice, a murine model of metabolic syndrome. We established a Tg line of KK/Ta (Tg-KK/Ta) mice expressing human adiponectin in the liver, and assessed their lifespan. The cause of death was determined by macroscopic and microscopic examinations immediately after death. The expressions of SIRT1, C-reactive protein (CRP), inflammatory cytokines, AMPK, and AKT were measured by quantitative real-time PCR, ELISAs, and/or western blotting. KK/Ta mice had lower serum adiponectin levels and shorter lifespan (57.6±13.9 vs 106.5±18.3 weeks, P<0.0001) than C57BL/6N mice. Tg adiponectin expression significantly extended the lifespan of KK/Ta mice (73.6±16.6 weeks, P<0.001) without affecting body weight, daily food consumption, or plasma glucose levels. Neoplasms were observed in only three of 22 KK/Ta mice that died spontaneously because of tumors. Atherosclerotic lesions were not detected in any mice. SIRT1 levels were not significantly different between KK/Ta and Tg-KK/Ta mice. Gene expressions of Crp, Tnf α, Il6, and Nf κ b were increased in KK/Ta mice, but they were significantly attenuated in Tg-KK/Ta mice. Phosphorylated AMPK levels were increased and phosphorylated AKT levels were decreased in Tg-KK/Ta mice. The anti-inflammatory effects of adiponectin, achieved by inhibiting the AKT signaling pathway, may explain how adiponectin slows the accelerated aging process associated with the metabolic syndrome.