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Te Du, Liu Yang, Xu Xu, Xiaofan Shi, Xin Xu, Jian Lu, Jianlu Lv, Xi Huang, Jing Chen, Heyao Wang, Ji-Ming Ye, Lihong Hu and Xu Shen

Vincamine, a monoterpenoid indole alkaloid extracted from madagascar periwinkle, is clinically used for the treatment of cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, while also treated as a dietary supplement with nootropic function. Given the neuronal protection of vincamine and the potency of β-cell amelioration in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), we investigated the potential of vincamine in protecting β-cells and ameliorating glucose homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, we found that vincamine could protect INS-832/13 cells function by regulating G-protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40)/cAMP/Ca2+/IRS2/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, while increase glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) via modulating GPR40/cAMP/Ca2+/CaMKII pathway, which reveals a novel mechanism underlying GPR40-mediated cell protection and GSIS in INS-832/13 cells. Moreover, administration of vincamine effectively ameliorated glucose homeostasis in either HFD/STZ or db/db type 2 diabetic mice. To our knowledge, our current work might be the first report on vincamine targeting GPR40 and its potential in the treatment of T2DM.

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Te Du, Liu Yang, Xu Xu, Xiaofan Shi, Xin Xu, Jian Lu, Jianlu Lv, Xi Huang, Jing Chen, Heyao Wang, Jiming Ye, Lihong Hu and Xu Shen

Vincamine, a monoterpenoid indole alkaloid extracted from the Madagascar periwinkle, is clinically used for the treatment of cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, while also treated as a dietary supplement with nootropic function. Given the neuronal protection of vincamine and the potency of β-cell amelioration in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), we investigated the potential of vincamine in protecting β-cells and ameliorating glucose homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, we found that vincamine could protect INS-832/13 cells function by regulating G-protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40)/cAMP/Ca2+/IRS2/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, while increasing glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) by modulating GPR40/cAMP/Ca2+/CaMKII pathway, which reveals a novel mechanism underlying GPR40-mediated cell protection and GSIS in INS-832/13 cells. Moreover, administration of vincamine effectively ameliorated glucose homeostasis in either HFD/STZ or db/db type 2 diabetic mice. To our knowledge, our current work might be the first report on vincamine targeting GPR40 and its potential in the treatment of T2DM.

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Y P Xu, P J Chedrese and P A Thacker

Abstract

The interaction between GH and IGF-I in modulating oestradiol biosynthetic capacity was examined in cultured porcine granulosa cells. Granulosa cells (2 × 106 viable cells/culture) were initially cultured for 96 h (treatment period) in an androstenedione-free medium in the absence or presence of IGF-I (0 or 50 ng/ml), with or without GH at 100 ng/ml. At the conclusion of this period, culture media were discarded and the cells were washed twice with the androstenedione-free medium and reincubated for an additional 24 h (test interval) in an androstenedione (10−7 m)-supplemented medium for oestradiol accumulation. GH alone induced no stimulation (P>0·05) of basal oestradiol accumulation. In contrast, concurrent treatment with IGF-I produced a 4·3-fold increase (26 vs 112 ng/2 × 106 cells per 24 h, P<0·001) in oestradiol accumulation. GH amplified IGF-I-induced oestradiol production in a dose (minimal dose requirement of 0·3 ng/ml)- and time (minimal time requirement of 24–48 h)-dependent manner. Studies on the site(s) of action indicated that GH exerts its amplifying effects on IGF-I-induced oestradiol production both proximal and distal to cAMP generation. As the specificity study and the inhibitory study indicated, GH amplification of IGF-I-induced oestradiol production is a process involving gene transcription and/or translation and the synergism is not solely specific to IGF-I as IGF-II-induced oestradiol production was also amplified in the presence of GH.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 201–209

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C B Cohick, L Xu and M J Soares

Abstract

Prolactin-like protein-B (PLP-B) is a member of a family of proteins expressed by the rat placenta and/or decidua with characteristics similar to prolactin (PRL). In this report, we present the heterologous expression and characterization of PLP-B. Recombinant PLP-B heterologously expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells exhibited similar immunoreactive and electrophoretic characteristics with PLP-B produced by rat placental and decidual tissues. N-terminal sequencing verified the identity and purity of the recombinant PLP-B species and the site of cleavage of the signal peptide from the mature secreted PLP-B species. Polyclonal antibodies were generated to the recombinant PLP-B and used for Western blot and immunocytochemical analyses. Recombinant and native PLP-B migrated as a doublet at 30–31 kDa in SDS-PAGE under reducing conditions. Treatment of recombinant and native PLP-B with N-glycanase accelerated their electrophoretic mobility, indicative of their glycoprotein nature. PLP-B was localized exclusively to decidual cells in the developing deciduum and spongiotrophoblast cells in the placental junctional zone. The level of PLP-B protein expression dramatically declined prior to parturition. Potential PRL-like biological actions of PLP-B were also investigated. PLP-B bound weakly to ovarian and liver PRL receptors and did not stimulate the proliferation of lactogen-dependent Nb2 lymphoma cells. In conclusion, recombinant PLP-B possesses characteristics similar to native decidual and placental PLP-B and may represent a hormone/cytokine that has important modulatory actions during the establishment of pregnancy and the initiation of parturition.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 291–302

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Xianghui Meng, Shuhang Xu, Guofang Chen, Michael Derwahl and Chao Liu

An intriguing area of research in thyroidology is the recently discovered association of insulin resistance with thyroid functional and morphological abnormalities. Individuals with hyperinsulinemia have larger thyroid gland and a higher prevalence of thyroid nodules and cancer. Accordingly, patients treated with metformin have a smaller thyroid volume and a lower risk of incident goiter, thyroid nodule and cancer. Multiple studies in vitro and in vivo have demonstrated that metformin can inhibit the growth of thyroid cells and different types of thyroid cancer cells by affecting the insulin/IGF1 and mTOR pathways. Besides, metformin treatment was associated with a decrease in the levels of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in diabetic patients possibly by enhancing the effects of thyroid hormones in the pituitary and activating the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Based on this evidence, metformin appears to be a promising therapeutic tool in patients with thyroid disease. More clinical studies are necessary to evaluate the clinical significance of metformin for the treatment of thyroid diseases.

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Yuqing Wu, Yinyan Xu, Hong Zhou, Jin Tao and Shengnan Li

Urocortin (UCN), a newly identified, 40-amino-acid, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) structurally related peptide, has been demonstrated to be expressed in the central nervous system and many peripheral tissues of rats and man. This study aimed to investigate the expression profile of UCN in rat lung and the effect of UCN on lung vascular permeability. The expression of UCN mRNA was detected by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT–PCR). UCN peptide was measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. We found that both UCN mRNA and peptide were obviously expressed in rat lung. Immunohistochemistry results showed that UCN peptide is mainly expressed in bronchial epithelium mucosa and alveolar epithelium. We also found that rats receiving inhalation aerosol of UCN had a significant elevation of lung vascular permeability compared with rats receiving vehicle and ovalbumin (OVA) by the Evans blue (EB) technique. UCN aerosol inhalation resulted in obvious pulmonary congestion and edema observed under light microscope by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining. The nonselective peptide CRH receptor antagonist astressin markedly reduced lung vascular permeability triggered by UCN. Enhanced pulmonary vascular permeability induced by UCN was markedly inhibited by pretreatment with the mast-cell stabilizer cromolyn and histamine-1 (H1) receptor antagonist azelastine respectively, but not by the leukotriene receptor antagonist montelukast. In summary, in the present study, we demonstrated for the first time that UCN is expressed in rat lung and contributes to an increase in lung vascular permeability through activation of CRH receptors. Mast cells and histamine may be involved in this effect of UCN. Peripherally produced UCN in lung may act as an autocrine and paracrine proinflammatory factor.

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Shuhang Xu, Guofang Chen, Wen Peng, Kostja Renko and Michael Derwahl

Benign and malignant thyroid nodules are more prevalent in females than in males. Experimental data suggest that the proliferative effect of oestrogen rather than polymorphisms is responsible for this gender difference. This study analysed whether both differentiated thyroid cells and thyroid stem and progenitor cells are targets of oestrogen action. In thyroid stem/progenitor cells derived from nodular goitres, the ability of 17β-oestradiol (E2) to induce the formation of thyrospheres and the expression of oestrogen receptors (ERs) and the effect of E2 on the growth and expression of markers of stem cells and thyroid differentiation (TSH receptor, thyroperoxidase, thyroglobulin and sodium iodide symporter (NIS)) were analysed. E2 induced thyrosphere formation, albeit to a lower extent than other growth factors. Thyroid stem and progenitor cells expressed ERα (ESR1) and ERβ (ESR2) with eight times higher expression levels of ER α mRNA compared with the differentiated thyrocytes. E2 was a potent stimulator of the growth of thyroid stem/progenitor cells. In contrast, TSH-induced differentiation of progenitor cells, in particular, the expression of NIS, was significantly inhibited by E2. In conclusion, oestrogen stimulated the growth and simultaneously inhibited the differentiation of thyroid nodule-derived stem/progenitor cells. From these data and based on the concept of cellular heterogeneity, we hypothesize a supportive role of oestrogen in the propagation of thyroid stem/progenitor cells leading to the selection of a progeny of growth-prone cells with a decreased differentiation. These cells may be the origin of hypofunctioning or non-functioning thyroid nodules in females.

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S Yang, X Xu, P Björntorp and S Edén

Abstract

The effects of growth hormone (GH) and testosterone, alone or in combination, on the regulation of lipolysis in isolated adipocytes from hypophysectomized rats were investigated. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were hypophysectomized at 50 days of age. One week after operation, hormonal replacement therapy with l-thyroxine and hydrocortisone acetate was given to hypophysectomized rats. Groups of rats were treated with GH (1·33 mg/kg, daily), testosterone (10 mg/kg, once) alone or in combination. After one week of hormonal treatment, adipocytes were isolated from the pooled epididymal and perirenal fat pads and glycerol release after isoproterenol stimulation and 125I-cyanopindolol binding was measured. Hypophysectomy caused a marked decrease in basal and isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis. There was no effect of testosterone treatment alone on lipolysis, but GH treatment resulted in an increase in isoproterenol-induced lipolysis but not to the levels observed in cells from control rats. Testosterone and GH in combination restored the lipolytic response to isoproterenol. Also 125I-cyanopindolol binding was decreased after hypophysectomy. Testosterone treatment alone and GH treatment alone increased the binding, while in combination the treatment had an additive effect. Affinity was not changed, but the effects seemed to be on receptor number, as determined by Scatchard analysis.

Forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation in adipocytes was markedly reduced after hypophysectomy. Testosterone treatment alone had no effect. GH treatment alone increased forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation, although the level was lower than that found in control rats. The combined treatment resulted in a further increase to levels observed in adipocytes from control rats.

These results demonstrate that GH and testosterone have additive effects in the regulation of lipolysis. Both hormones increase the β-adrenergic receptor density, partly explaining this additive effect. Moreover, GH may contribute to the lipolytic response by affecting steps distal to the receptor in the lipolytic cascade.

Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 147, 147–152

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Jie Wei, Xia Sun, Yajie Chen, Yuanyuan Li, Liqiong Song, Zhao Zhou, Bing Xu, Yi Lin and Shunqing Xu

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals, which is present ubiquitously in daily life. Accumulating evidence indicates that exposure to BPA contributes to metabolic syndrome. In this study, we examined whether perinatal exposure to BPA predisposed offspring to fatty liver disease: the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Wistar rats were exposed to 50 μg/kg per day BPA or corn oil throughout gestation and lactation by oral gavage. Offspring were fed a standard chow diet (SD) or a high-fat diet (HFD) after weaning. Effects of BPA were assessed by examination of hepatic morphology, biochemical analysis, and the hepatic expression of genes and/or proteins involved in lipogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, gluconeogenesis, insulin signaling, inflammation, and fibrosis. On a SD, the offspring of rats exposed to BPA exhibited moderate hepatic steatosis and altered expression of insulin signaling elements in the liver, but with normal liver function. On a HFD, the offspring of rats exposed to BPA showed a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-like phenotype, characterized by extensive accumulation of lipids, large lipid droplets, profound ballooning degeneration, impaired liver function, increased inflammation, and even mild fibrosis in the liver. Perinatal exposure to BPA worsened the hepatic damage caused by the HFD in the rat offspring. The additive effects of BPA correlated with higher levels of hepatic oxidative stress. Collectively, exposure to BPA may be a new risk factor for the development of fatty liver disease and further studies should assess whether this finding is also relevant to the human population.

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You-Hua Xu, Chen-Lin Gao, Heng-Li Guo, Wen-Qian Zhang, Wei Huang, Shan-Shan Tang, Wen-Jun Gan, Yong Xu, Hua Zhou and Quan Zhu

Endotoxemia has been recognized to be closely accompanied with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and is responsible for many diabetic complications. Recent study suggests the potential role of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) from microbiota metabolite, on T2DM. Gut-leak is a key event in diabetic-endotoxemia. To investigate if butyrate could ameliorate diabetic-endotoxemia, both in vivo and in vitro experiments were carried out in the present study. The effect of butyrate supplementation on blood HbA1c and inflammatory cytokines were determined in db/db mice; gut barrier integrity and expression of tight junction proteins were investigated both in vivo and in vitro. Oral butyrate administration significantly decreased blood HbA1c, inflammatory cytokines and LPS in db/db mice; inflammatory cell infiltration was reduced, and gut integrity and intercellular adhesion molecules were increased as detected by HE staining, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. By gut microbiota assay, ratio of Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes for gut microbiota was reduced by butyrate. In Caco-2 cells, butyrate significantly promoted cell proliferation, decreased inflammatory cytokines’ secretion, enhanced cell anti-oxidative stress ability and preserved the epithelial monocellular integrity, which was damaged by LPS. The present findings demonstrated that butyrate supplementation could ameliorate diabetic-endotoxemia in db/db mice via restoring composition of gut microbiota and preserving gut epithelial barrier integrity.