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T. Muraki, T. Nakaki, and R. Kato


To examine the mechanism of the α1-adrenoceptor-mediated inhibition of the release of thyroid hormones in the mouse thyroid, the effect of noradrenaline on the production of inositol phosphates was investigated using thyroids preloaded with [3H]inositol. Noradrenaline increased [3H]inositol accumulation into inositol phosphates in the mouse thyroid during a 30-min incubation whereas TSH (10 mU/ml) was without effect. The effect of noradrenaline was mimicked by phenylephrine, but not by clonidine or isoprenaline. Prazosin antagonized the effect of noradrenaline, while yohimbine had no effect. These results suggest that noradrenaline-induced production of inositol phosphates is mediated by α1-adrenoceptors. The inhibition of release of thyroid hormones elicited by α1-adrenergic agonists in the mouse thyroid is possibly mediated through the hydrolysis of membrane phosphoinositides followed by the generation of second messengers such as inositol phosphates and diacylglycerol.

J. Endocr. (1987) 115, 289–293

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ZW Fu, T Kubo, K Sugahara, T Noguchi, and H Kato

We investigated the effects of vitamin A (VA) nutritional status on the levels of expression of retinoic acid (RA) receptor-beta (RARbeta) gene in the various tissues of Japanese quail. VA deficiency caused a significant decrease in the mRNA levels of brain, liver, heart, lung and kidney RARbeta2/beta4, whereas no change was observed in the level of testis RARbeta2 transcript. In contrast, reduction in the RARbeta1 transcript caused by VA depletion was observed only in the lung, remaining unchanged in the other tissues. The administration of RA to the VA-deficient quail rapidly induced the expression of RARbeta2/beta4 mRNAs in all the tissues examined, but RA increased the expression of RARbeta1 transcript in the liver, heart, lung and kidney at a lower magnitude. RA could not change the expression of the brain RARbeta1 transcript, while it induced the expression of the testis RARbeta1 mRNA in a temporal way. These results clearly indicate that VA nutritional status differently regulates the expression of RARbeta1 and RARbeta2/beta4 transcripts in a tissue-specific manner.

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N Hirayama, K Kitamura, T Imamura, J Kato, Y Koiwaya, T Tsuji, K Kangawa, and T Eto

In the biosynthesis of adrenomedullin (AM), an intermediate form, AM(1-52)-glycine-COOH (iAM), is cleaved from proAM and subsequently processed to a biologically active mature form, AM(1-52)-NH2 (mAM), by enzymatic amidation. We recently reported that immunoreactive AM in human plasma consists of mAM and iAM. To clarify the pathophysiological roles of mAM and iAM in heart failure, we established an assay method to specifically detect mAM, and we determined the plasma concentrations of mAM and iAM in 68 patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). The plasma mAM concentrations of the CHF patients classified as being class I or II of New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification were significantly greater than those of the 28 healthy controls, and a further increase was noted in the class III or IV patients. Similar increases in plasma iAM were also observed in these patients compared with controls. The increased plasma mAM and iAM in 12 patients with exacerbated CHF were significantly reduced by treatment of their CHF for 7 days. In addition, the plasma concentrations of both mAM and iAM were significantly correlated with pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, pulmonary artery pressure, right atrial pressure, cardiothoracic ratio, heart rate, and the plasma concentrations of atrial and brain natriuretic peptides in the CHF patients. Thus the plasma concentrations of both mAM and iAM were increased progressively in proportion to the severity of CHF. These results suggest that, though the role of iAM remains to be clarified, mAM acts against the further deterioration of heart failure in patients with CHF.

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M Imae, Y Inoue, Z Fu, H Kato, and T Noguchi

Hepatocyte nuclear factor-3 (HNF-3) belongs to a large family of forkhead transcription factors and is made up of three members (HNF-3alpha, -3beta and -3gamma). It has been shown that HNF-3 regulates a number of metabolically important genes. However, the mechanisms underlying this regulation of HNF-3 activity by hormones and nutrition have not yet been well elucidated. In attempting to explore the regulation of gene expression of HNF-3 members by physiological status, we analyzed the effects of insulin, dexamethasone and protein malnutrition on the hepatic mRNA level of each member. Male Wistar rats were fed on a 12% casein diet, 12% gluten diet (deficient in lysine and threonine) or a protein-free diet for 1 week. The protein-free diet and gluten diet caused a 3. 7-fold increase in HNF-3g mRNA in the liver and did not affect the mRNA level of either HNF-3alpha or HNF-3beta. Daily administration of dexamethasone caused the mRNA levels of HNF-3alpha and HNF-3beta to increase (2.3- and 1.4-fold, respectively), but had no effect on the HNF-3gamma mRNA level. In diabetic rats that had been injected with streptozotocin, an elevation of the hepatic mRNA levels of HNF-3beta and HNF-3gamma was observed (1.6-and 1.9-fold, respectively). Insulin replacement in the diabetic rats decreased both mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner. HNF-3alpha mRNA was not affected by insulin status. These results show that the genes of the three members of the HNF-3 family respond differently to hormonal and nutritional factors suggesting that the activities of HNF-3 members are regulated, at least in part, by the levels of their gene expression.

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F. Miyauchi, H. Kato, H. Yamashita, K. Ueda, H. Tamura, T. Mano, and T. Torigoe


The effects of a conceptus-derived substance on the activity of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) and 20α-HSD in the ovary were studied in the rat. On day 7 of pregnancy (day 1 = insemination), rats were laparotomized and the desired number of conceptuses was aspirated from the uterus; thus, rats carrying one, two, three, four, five to seven or eight to ten conceptuses were prepared. They were autopsied on day 15 and 3β-HSD and 20α-HSD activity in the corpus luteum (CL) or non-luteal ovarian tissue (NLO) was determined. Conceptus number was directly related to 3β-HSD and inversely related to 20α-HSD activity in the CL. The serum progesterone level and CL weight were also directly related to conceptus number. Neither 3β-HSD nor 20α-HSD activity in the NLO was affected by conceptus number. These results indicated that 3β-HSD and 20α-HSD in the CL are probably regulated by placental hormone secreted in proportion to the number of conceptuses; in the NLO these enzymes may be controlled by a different mechanism.

J. Endocr. (1984) 101, 285–288

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Y Ninomiya, Y Arao, T Kometani, S Hiwatashi, T Yamasaki, T Erikawa, H Yamaguchi, T Hasegawa, S Masushige, and S Kato


We examined vitamin A-deficient chicks to determine whether vitamin A affects the estrogen-induced development of the chick oviduct. When oviduct development was stimulated for 5 days with the synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol, the wet weight of the oviduct in vitamin A-deficient chicks was only half that in control chicks. The DNA content in this tissue showed that the decreased oviduct weight in the vitamin A-deficient chicks was caused by the decreased proliferation of oviduct cells. However, the estrogen-induced expression of the ovalbumin gene was not affected by the vitamin A deficiency, suggesting that estrogen-induced cytodifferentiation is not affected by vitamin A. To clarify the vitamin A action on estrogen-induced development in the oviduct, transcripts of nuclear estrogen receptor (ER) and all-trans-retinoic acid (RARα, β and γ) receptors, which exert the effects of estrogen and vitamin A, were measured. The ER, RARα and RARβ genes, but not that of RARγ, were expressed during oviduct development, indicating that estrogen and vitamin A may control the expression of target genes through their cognate receptors. Thus, we have shown that vitamin A is involved in estrogen-induced cell proliferation but not in cytodifferentiation of the chicken oviduct.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 148, 257–265

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H Tokuda, O Kozawa, M Niwa, H Matsuno, K Kato, and T Uematsu

We investigated the effect of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) on the induction of heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) and HSP70, and the mechanism behind the induction in osteoblast-like MC3T3-E1 cells. PGE2 time-dependently increased the level of HSP27 without affecting the level of HSP70. PGE2 stimulated the accumulation of HSP27 dose-dependently in the range between 10 nM and 10 microM. PGE2 stimulated the increase in the level of the mRNA for HSP27. Staurosporine and calphostin C, inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC), suppressed the PGE2-induced HSP27 accumulation. The effect of PGE2 on HSP27 accumulation was reduced in the PKC down-regulated cells. BAPTA/AM, a chelator of intracellular Ca2+, or TMB-8, an inhibitor of intracellular Ca2+ mobilization, reduced the accumulation of HSP27 induced by PGE2. Dibutyryl cAMP had little effect on the basal level of HSP27. PGE2 induced the phosphorylation of both p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and p38 MAP kinase. PD98059 and U-0126, inhibitors of the upstream kinase of p44/p42 MAP kinase, reduced the accumulation of HSP27 induced by PGE2. SB203580, a specific inhibitor of p38 MAP kinase, suppressed the HSP27 accumulation induced by PGE2. U-73122, an inhibitor of phospholipase C, and calphostin C reduced the PGE2-induced phosphorylation of both p44/p42 MAP kinase and p38 MAP kinase. These results indicate that PGE2 stimulates the induction of HSP27 through PKC-dependent activations of both p44/p42 MAP kinase and p38 MAP kinase in osteoblasts.

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T Takahashi, K Sato, S Kato, T Yonezawa, Y Kobayashi, Y Ohtani, S Ohwada, H Aso, T Yamaguchi, S G Roh, and K Katoh

Ghrelin is a multifunctional peptide that promotes an increase of food intake and stimulates GH secretion. Ghrelin secretion is regulated by nutritional status and nutrients. Although a high-protein (HP) diet increases plasma ghrelin secretion in mammals, the mechanisms and the roles of the elevated ghrelin concentrations due to a HP diet have not been fully established. To clarify the roles of elevated acylated ghrelin upon intake of a HP diet, we investigated the regulation of ghrelin concentrations in plasma and tissues in wethers fed with either the HP diet or the control (CNT) diet for 14 days, and examined the action of the elevated plasma ghrelin by using a ghrelin-receptor antagonist. The HP diet gradually increased the plasma acylated-ghrelin concentrations, but the CNT diet did not. Although the GH concentrations did not vary significantly across the groups, an injection of ghrelin-receptor antagonist enhanced insulin levels in circulation in the HP diet group. In the fundus region of the stomach, the ghrelin levels did not differ between the HP and CNT diet groups, whereas ghrelin O-acyltransferase mRNA levels were higher in the group fed with HP diet than those of the CNT diet group were. These results indicate that the HP diet elevated the plasma ghrelin levels by increasing its synthesis; this elevation strongly suppresses the appearance of insulin in the circulation of wethers, but it is not involved in GH secretion. Overall, our findings indicate a role of endogenous ghrelin action in secretion of insulin, which acts as a regulator after the consumption of a HP diet.

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A. Nagasaka, S. Yoshida, A. Nakai, T. Ohyama, K. Iwase, S. Ohtani, H. Nakagawa, R. Masunaga, S. Kato, T. Kawabe, and K. Kataoka


Using hypophysectomized rats, it has been shown that DNA polymerase-β activity in the adrenal gland and testis is largely influenced by pituitary trophic hormones. Sucrose gradient centrifugation of thyroid extracts revealed three peaks of DNA polymerase-β activity sedimenting at 3·3S, 7·3S and 12S. Of these, hypophysectomy induced a decrease in the 3·3S DNA polymerase-β, whereas other molecular forms were affected only slightly. DNA polymerase-α and -γ activities were unaffected by hypophysectomy. These changes in DNA polymerase-β caused by hypophysectomy were reversed by daily i.p. injection of TSH. Furthermore, stimulation of the thyroid by excess TSH induced by the administration of 1-methyl-2-mercaptoimidazole resulted in an increase of all forms of thyroid DNA polymerase-β.

These results show that the level of DNA polymerase is relatively constant after hypophysectomy but that DNA polymerase-β in the rat thyroid gland is also modulated by TSH mainly through the change of activity of the polymerase-β which sediments at 3·3S.

J. Endocr. (1988) 119, 303–308

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Y Itoh, S Imamura, K Yamamoto, Y Ono, M Nagata, T Kobayashi, T Kato, M Tomita, A Nakai, M Itoh, and A Nagasaka

Endothelin-1 (ET-1) concentrations are increased in patients with diabetes mellitus, particularly those with diabetic retinopathy, or essential hypertension. We hypothesized that ET-1 might participate in the development and progression of diabetic microangiopathy. In this study, the effects of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, enalapril maleate, on diabetic angiopathy were examined in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic (STZ-DM) rats by monitoring variations in renal function and ET-1 concentrations in blood and organ tissues. Significant increases in kidney weight and in concentrations of urinary albumin, N-acetyl-fl-d-glucosamidase (NAG) and serum ET-1 were observed in the STZ-DM rats as compared with the non-diabetic rats, and the concentration of ET-1 in the kidneys tended to be increased. Microscopic and electron microscopic analyses showed increased mesangial cell proliferation, matrix expansion and enlarged mesangial area in the kidney of the diabetic rats. After administration of the ACE inhibitor, increased concentrations of urinary albumin and NAG in the STZ-DM rats were reduced to the control values with a slight improvement in the electron microscopic changes. These data suggest that ET-1 may be involved in the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy and may explain, in part, why diabetes is liable to complicate hypertension. ACE inhibitor may help to restore diabetic nephropathy in the STZ-induced diabetic rats.