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T. Endo, H. Watanabe, H. Yamamoto, S. Tanaka, and M. Hashimoto


While prostaglandin F (PGF) has been thought to be a natural luteolysin in non-primates, a luteolytic effect in the human corpus luteum is less evident. We therefore investigated the action of PGF on monolayer cultures of human luteal cells obtained from mid-luteal phase corpora lutea.

PGF increased basal and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)-stimulated progesterone production by human cultured luteal cells. A potent tumour-promoting phorbol ester, phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA), also stimulated progesterone production by cultured human luteal cells.

Although human luteal cells were incubated for 24 h with PMA, hCG was still able to stimulate the production of progesterone by PMA-pretreated cells. However, PMA pretreatment blocked the ability of PGF to stimulate progesterone production. It is possible that the luteotrophic effect of PGF may be mediated, in part, by the activation of protein kinase C.

Addition of PGF to suspensions of human luteal cells preincubated with myo-[2-3H]inositol promoted an increase in labelled inositol phosphates. PGF also rapidly increased intracellular free Ca2+ in human luteal cells loaded with the fluorescent Ca2+ probe, fura-2.

We conclude that PGF and PMA stimulate progesterone production and that PGF increases the intracellular free calcium and inositol phosphates of human cultured luteal cells in the mid-luteal phase.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 133, 451–458

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H. Okamura, K. Yamamoto, S. Hayashi, A. Kuroiwa, and M. Muramatsu


A rat oestrogen receptor-β-galactosidase fusion protein was expressed using a pEX2/rat oestrogen receptor cDNA construct. Scatchard analysis of [3H]oestradiol-17β binding to the cell lysate revealed that the fusion protein had functional binding sites specific for oestradiol with a dissociation constant of 1·49 nmol/l. The relative molecular weight (M r) of the fusion protein was determined as 180 000 by immunoblot analysis of the cell lysate employing a monoclonal antibody to the human oestrogen receptor.

The protein was isolated by means of SDS-PAGE and subsequent electroblotting. By immunization with the purified materials on nitrocellulose membrane, a polyclonal antibody to the rat oestrogen receptor was raised in a rabbit. Binding of [3H]oestradiol to the oestrogen receptor from the rat uterus was inhibited by the antibody in a dose-dependent manner. The antibody was also able to recognize the oestrogen receptor occupied by [3H]oestradiol. Thus, the antibody could react with both forms of the receptor molecule, either occupied or unoccupied by the hormone. In immunoblot analysis of the cytosol fraction of the rat uterus, a single band of M r 67 000, the size of the oestrogen receptor, was detected by the antibody. Moreover, when the antibody was applied to immunohistochemical examination of paraffin-embedded pituitary and brain sections of the rat, immunostaining was observed in cells of the anterior pituitary and in neurones in specific regions of the brain. The immunoreactivity was restricted exclusively to cell nuclei in both tissues.

These results demonstrate that the polyclonal antibody obtained in the present study was specific to the oestrogen receptor, and that it would be a powerful tool to detect and analyse the receptors in various target tissues for oestrogen.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 135, 333–341

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Y Koshihara, K Hoshi, R Okawara, H Ishibashi, and S Yamamoto

Accumulating evidence indicates that menaquinone-4 (MK-4), a vitamin K(2) with four isoprene units, inhibits osteoclastogenesis in murine bone marrow culture, but the reason for this inhibition is not yet clear, especially in human bone marrow culture. To clarify the inhibitory mechanism, we investigated the differentiation of colony-forming-unit fibroblasts (CFU-Fs) and osteoclasts in human bone marrow culture, to learn whether the enhancement of the differentiation of CFU-Fs from progenitor cells might relate to inhibition of osteoclast formation. Human bone marrow cells were grown in alpha-minimal essential medium with horse serum in the presence of MK-4 until adherent cells formed colonies (CFU-Fs). Colonies that stained positive for alkaline phosphatase activity (CFU-F/ALP(+)) were considered to have osteogenic potential. MK-4 stimulated the number of CFU-F/ALP(+) colonies in the presence or absence of dexamethasone. The stimulation was also seen in vitamin K(1) treatment. These cells had the ability to mineralize in the presence of alpha-glycerophosphate. In contrast, both MK-4 and vitamin K(1) inhibited 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3)-induced osteoclast formation and increased stromal cell formation in human bone marrow culture. These stromal cells expressed ALP and Cbfa1. Moreover, both types of vitamin K treatment decreased the expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand/osteoclast differentiation factor (RANKL/ODF) and enhanced the expression of osteoprotegerin/osteoclast inhibitory factor (OPG/OCIF) in the stromal cells. The effective concentrations were 1.0 microM and 10 microM for the expression of RANKL/ODF and OPG/OCIF respectively. Vitamin K might stimulate osteoblastogenesis in bone marrow cells, regulating osteoclastogenesis through the expression of RANKL/ODF more than through that of OPG/OCIF.

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T. Tamura, J. Kitawaki, T. Yamamoto, Y. Osawa, S. Kominami, S. Takemorit, and H. Okada


Immunohistochemical localization of 17α-hydroxylase/C17-20 lyase (P-45017α,lyase) and aromatase cytochrome P-450 (P-450arom) in polycystic ovary (PCO) syndrome was studied using specific polyclonal antibodies which had been raised against the corresponding enzymes. In the majority of follicles that were atretic and smaller than 7 mm in diameter, theca interna cells showed high P-45017α,lyase immunoreaction, while small numbers of granulosa cells showed little P-450arom immunoreaction. In some atretic follicles that were larger than 11 mm in diameter, the hyperplastic theca interna cell layer showed high immunoreaction to P-45017α,lyase, while the poorly proliferated granulosa cell layer showed a mixture of weak and negative immunoreaction to P-450arom. No immunoreaction to P-45017α,lyase or P-450arom was recognized in PCO stroma. These findings suggest that the theca interna cells and the granulosa cells from PCOs show abnormal steroidogenic function, while the localization of P-45017α,lyase and P-450arom in PCOs was essentially identical to that in the normal ovary. Theca interna cells in PCO atretic follicles are the main site of excess androgen production.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 139, 503–509

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T. Tamura, J. Kitawaki, T. Yamamoto, Y. Osawa, S. Kominami, S. Takemori, and H. Okada


Immunohistochemical localization of 17α-hydroxylase/C17–20 lyase (P-45017α,lyase) and aromatase cytochrome P-450 (P-450arom) in normal human ovaries during the menstrual cycle was studied using specific polyclonal antibodies which were raised against corresponding enzymes. In the follicular phase of matured follicles, P-45017α,lyase was localized in theca interna cells and P-450arom in granulosa cells. P-45017α,lyase was expressed in theca interna cells before P-450arom was expressed in granulosa cells. The corpus luteum showed immunoreactivity to both enzymes and, after menstruation, immunoreactivity decreased gradually until it could not be detected in the corpus albicans. In corpus luteum graviditatis the immunoreactivity continued to be expressed strongly. In some atretic follicles, P-45017α,lyase and/or P-450arom continued to be expressed. In the stromal layer, P-45017α,lyase was detected in secondary interstitial cells, which originated from the theca interna of atretic follicles, and P-450arom was detected in hilar cells. Immunoreactivity to both enzymes was also detected in oocytes of developing follicles. These results are consistent with the two cell theory in the human ovary. They also suggest that androgens and oestrogens are produced not only by follicles and corpora lutea but also by stroma and oocytes.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 135, 589–595

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H Ikawa, K Yamamoto, Y Takahashi, N Ueda, Y Hayashi, S Yamamoto, K Ishimura, M Irahara, and T Aono


Arachidonate 12-lipoxygenase, which oxygenates positions 12 and 13 of arachidonic and linoleic acids, is present in porcine anterior pituitary cells. Colocalization of the 12-lipoxygenase with various pituitary hormones was examined by immunohistochemical double-staining using antibodies against 12-lipoxygenase and various anterior pituitary hormones. Under light microscopy, approximately 7% of the cells producing luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were positive for 12-lipoxygenase, whereas the enzyme was detected in less than 2% of the cells producing thyrotrophin, prolactin, growth hormone (GH), and adrenocorticotrophin. In an attempt to examine the participation of 12-lipoxygenase metabolites in pituitary hormone release, we incubated the primary culture of porcine anterior pituitary cells with 12-hydroperoxy-arachidonic acid or 13-hydroperoxy-linoleic acid. Significant stimulation of LH and FSH release by these hydroperoxides was observed at 10 μm in a time-dependent manner. At doses around 10 μm these compounds produced responses of similar magnitude to 1 nm gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH), but higher concentrations (30 μm) of the compounds were required for GH release. In contrast, 12-hydroxy-arachidonic and 13-hydroxy-linoleic acids were almost ineffective. Furthermore, the gonadotrophin release by 1 nm GnRH was inhibited by nordihydroguaiaretic acid (a lipoxygenase inhibitor) with an IC50 of about 5 μm. Thus, the hydroperoxy (but not hydroxy) products of 12-lipoxygenase may be involved in the release of pituitary hormones especially LH and FSH.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 148, 33–41

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T Kotani, K Umeki, I Yamamoto, H Maesaka, K Tachibana, and S Ohtaki

In this study we describe a novel mutation of the thyroid peroxidase (TPO) gene that resulted in a total iodide organification defect. TPO activity and thyroxine formation in thyroglobulin in the thyroid gland of the patient were below the limits of detection. However, TPO mRNA was detectable at a similar size and concentration as compared with normal thyroid tissues when measured by Northern blot analysis. Sequence analysis of the TPO gene showed the presence of two mutations, a missense mutation in exon 7 and C insertion in exon 14. These mutations were heterozygous and located in different alleles. The latter mutation has already been reported as one of the mutations of the TPO gene resulting in total iodide organification defect. The former mutation was further analysed by mRNA transfection studies in which mutated mRNA was transfected to CHO-K1 cells by electroporation. The results of transfection studies showed that the cells transfected with mutated mRNA expressed similar size TPO molecules to those of cells transfected with wild-type mRNA but that they lacked TPO activity. The two mutations of the TPO gene resulting in the total iodide organification defect in the patient cosegregated from her parents.

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T. Endo, H. Fukue, M. Kanaya, M. Mizunuma, M. Fujii, H. Yamamoto, S. Tanaka, and M. Hashimoto


The present studies were carried out to investigate the effect of several growth factors on human endometrial stromal cells.

In human endometrial stromal cells, bombesin and bradykinin provoked an increase in intracellular free Ca2+ and in labelled inositol phosphates when pre-incubated with [3H]myoinositol. Some or possibly all of the initial increase in intracellular free Ca2+ represented a mobilization of Ca2+ from intracellular stores and the second phase of the response depended on Ca2+ influx from the extracellular medium.

[3H]Thymidine was added to human cultured endometrial stromal cells with bombesin, bradykinin, epidermal growth factor (EGF), prostaglandin F, vasopressin and platelet-derived growth factor. Bombesin, bradykinin and EGF stimulated the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA in quiescent cells.

In conclusion, bombesin and bradykinin are growth factors which activate phospholipase C in human endometrial stromal cells, while EGF stimulates DNA synthesis without the activation of phospholipase C.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 131, 313–318

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O. Carnevali, G. Mosconi, K. Yamamoto, T. Kobayashi, S. Kikuyama, and A. M. Polzonetti-Magni


Male and female Rana esculenta liver was induced in an in-vitro system by homologous and Rana catesbeiana pituitary to synthesize and release vitellogenin, a lipoglycophosphoprotein precursor of yolk proteins, lipovitellins and phosvitins, in oviparous vertebrates.

In the present experiments, the action of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis and release was investigated, using ovine prolactin and Rana catesbeiana prolactin. The effects of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis displayed different trends related to sex; male liver was found to be more responsive than female liver to both ovine and frog prolactin; moreover, the response to prolactin was dose-related (r = 0·998; P <0·05) in male but not in female liver. In both sexes, a high degree of seasonality in the responsiveness of the liver was found, since the vitellogenin levels induced by prolactin during the winter phase were significantly (P < 0·001) higher than those produced during the summer phase. Thus, there was no significant difference between the action of ovine and frog prolactin on vitellogenin synthesis; in fact, mammalian prolactins are structurally similar with regard to nucleotide and amino acid sequences.

The direct action of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis in the frog Rana esculenta is discussed, on the basis of the role played by prolactin as an important growth modulatory hormone in fetal and adult tissues.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 137, 383–389

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M Tetsuka, S Yamamoto, N Hayashida, KG Hayashi, M Hayashi, TJ Acosta, and A Miyamoto

In glucocorticoid target organs, local concentrations of active glucocorticoid are determined by the relative expression of two 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSDs): bi-directional 11beta-HSD type1 (11HSD1) that mainly activates cortisone to cortisol, and dehydrogenase 11beta-HSD type2 (11HSD2) that inactivates cortisol to cortisone. In this study, we examined the expression of mRNA encoding these two 11beta-HSDs in bovine granulosa cells harvested from preovulatory follicles and corpora lutea (CL). Ovaries were obtained from Holstein cows at a local slaughterhouse. Follicles larger than 10 mm in diameter and CL were dissected and follicular fluid and granulosa cells were taken. Corpora lutea were weighed and their stages were morphologically assessed (stage I, days 1-4; stage II, days 5-10; stage III, days 11-17; stage IV, days 8-20). Follicles were classified into four groups according to their hormonal status (oestradiol (E(2)): progesterone (P(4))>1: oestrogen active; E(2):P(4)<1: oestrogen inactive) and stage of the oestrous cycle (luteal or follicular phase). Total RNA was extracted with phenol-chloroform and subjected to a semi-quantitative RT-PCR for 11HSD1, 11HSD2 and beta-actin. Concentrations of steroids in follicular fluid were determined by an enzyme immunoassay. In granulosa cells, only 11HSD1 mRNA was detected. There was a negative correlation between the expression of 11HSD1 and the concentration of cortisol in follicular fluid (P<0.05), indicating 11HSD1 may act as a dehydrogenase in the bovine follicle. Both types of 11beta-HSDs were expressed in CL. The levels of mRNA for both isozymes were high in stage I and II, and were decreased in stage III CL. In stage IV CL, the expression of 11HSD2 but not 11HSD1 mRNA increased. These results indicate that the bovine granulosa cells and CL express 11HSD1 and 11HSD2, and they may play an important physiological role in the bovine ovary through modulating the local glucocorticoid environment.