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Meghan M White and Willis K Samson

Exaggerated thirst and salt appetite occurs when endogenous, brain-derived adrenomedullin (AM) production is compromised. In addition, the arginine vasopressin (AVP) response to hypovolemia is compromised. We hypothesized that AM acts in the hypothalamus to control oxytocin (OT) release and that the inhibitory action of AM on salt appetite is mediated via its effects on OT release in the rat. When plasma tonicity was elevated with sodium, ribozyme-induced compromise of central AM production significantly blunted the release of OT into plasma. OT responses to elevation of plasma osmolality without concomitant change in plasma sodium levels were not altered by compromise of AM production. Thus, brain-derived AM controls OT release in response to altered plasma sodium levels. Furthermore, central AM-induced inhibition of NaCl intake can be reversed by pretreatment with an OT antagonist, and the increase in NaCl appetite seen following ribozyme compromise of central AM can be attenuated with central OT administration. These data support the hypothesis that endogenous, brain-derived AM is an essential participant in the hypothalamic response to hypernatremia via its actions on OT-expressing neurons. Together with our previous reports of the effects of AM on AVP secretion and ingestive behaviors, our results suggest that endogenous AM is a physiologically relevant regulator of the endocrine and behavioral mechanisms that maintain fluid and electrolyte homeostasis.

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Willis K Samson, Gina L C Yosten, Jaw-Kang Chang, Alastair V Ferguson and Meghan M White

Obestatin, a product of post-translational processing of the ghrelin prohormone, has been reported to act in the brain to inhibit thirst. We extended our initial studies on water drinking by examining the effects of obestatin on hypovolemia-induced water and saline drinking and vasopressin release in male rats. Intracerebroventricular administration of obestatin significantly inhibited water, but not saline (0.3 M NaCl) drinking in response to a hypovolemic challenge. Obestatin also inhibited, in a dose-related fashion, dehydration-induced vasopressin secretion without affecting plasma oxytocin levels. Vasopressin release induced by central angiotensin II administration was attenuated significantly by prior administration of obestatin. Finally, central administration of an antiserum specific to obestatin resulted in an exaggerated basal vasopressin release and an increased vasopressin response to overnight water deprivation. Antiserum treatment also resulted in significantly increased ad libitum water drinking and drinking in response to dehydration. We conclude that this product of post-translational processing of the ghrelin prohormone may be an important contributor to the physiologic regulation of fluid and electrolyte homeostasis.

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Gina L C Yosten, Grant R Kolar, Lauren J Redlinger and Willis K Samson

Microvascular diseases, such as retinopathies, neuropathies, and nephropathies, are a devastating consequence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The etiology of diabetes-associated microvascular dysfunction is poorly understood, and, likewise, treatment modalities for these disorders are limited. Interestingly, proinsulin C-peptide has been shown to play a protective role against diabetes-associated complications in experimental animals and in diabetic humans and is thus an attractive therapeutic target. However, an important step in the development of C-peptide-based therapeutics is identification of the C-peptide receptor, which is likely a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Using a unique Deductive Ligand-Receptor Matching Strategy, we sought to determine whether one of the known orphan GPCRs is essential for C-peptide signaling. Knockdown of GPR146, but not GPR107 or GPR160, blocked C-peptide-induced cFos expression in KATOIII cells. Furthermore, stimulation with C-peptide caused internalization of GPR146, and examples of punctate colocalization were observed between C-peptide and GPR146 on KATOIII cell membranes. These data indicate that GPR146 is likely a part of the C-peptide signaling complex and provide a platform for the elucidation of the C-peptide signalosome.