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M. Kato, M. Hagiwara, Y. Nimura, S. Shionoya and H. Hidaka

ABSTRACT

Calmodulin has been identified in parathyroid cells and is thought to play an important role in the production or secretion of parathyroid hormone. However, a detailed investigation of calmodulinbinding proteins in parathyroid glands has not been conducted. In this study, we attempted to determine the presence of calmodulin-binding protein in human parathyroid adenoma by affinity chromatography. The eluted protein from a calmodulin-coupled Sepharose 4B column with EGTA was analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis which revealed a major protein band of M r 50 000. A Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase activity was detected at the protein peak using dephosphorylated casein as a substrate. The 50 kDa band was identified as calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM-kinase II) by immunoblotting. The substrate specificity, pH dependency and affinity for calmodulin of this enzyme were identical to those of CaM-kinase II from rat brain. Also, the kinase activity was sensitive to KN-62, a specific inhibitor of CaM-kinase II. In total, 0·48 mg of this kinase was purified from 3 g human parathyroid adenoma.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 131, 155–162

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N. Sugino, H. Tamura, Y. Nakamura, K. Ueda and H. Kato

ABSTRACT

The present study investigated possible sites through which ACTH or corticosterone inhibit progesterone secretion in pregnant rats, and the role of placental factors in blocking the inhibitory effect. The number of conceptuses was adjusted to one (1C group) or more than ten (FC group) on day 7 of pregnancy by aspirating the desired number. Serum concentrations of progesterone, testosterone and oestradiol were significantly (P<0·01) lower on day 15 in the 1C group than in the FC group. Corpora lutea (CL) obtained on day 15 were incubated for 6 h with corticosterone or ACTH. Corticosterone (1 μmol/l) significantly (P<0·05) inhibited progesterone secretion in the IC group but not in the FC group. The inhibitory effect of corticosterone in the IC group was completely blocked by co-addition of 1 μmol testosterone/l or 1 μmol oestradiol/l but not by 1 μmol dihydrotestosterone/l. ACTH (1 μg/l–1 mg/l) had no direct effect on progesterone secretion in either the IC or the FC groups, although ACTH apparently decreases progesterone secretion in vivo. Placentae obtained from rats of the FC group on day 15 were incubated for 24 h with or without ACTH (1 mg/l). The supernatant after placental incubation without ACTH significantly (P<0·01) increased progesterone secretion by the CL in both the IC and FC groups, and also eliminated the inhibitory effect of corticosterone in the IC group. The supernatant after placental incubation with ACTH also increased progesterone secretion in the FC group as effectively as the supernatant from the control incubation, but it had no effect in the IC group. It is concluded that corticosterone directly inhibits progesterone secretion by the CL, whereas the inhibitory effect of ACTH is mediated through the placenta. The results indicate that these inhibitory effects of corticosterone or ACTH are eliminated if the CL has been exposed to enough placental hormones before day 15 of pregnancy.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 129, 405–410

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H Shimizu, K Ohtani, Y Kato and M Mori

Interleukin (IL)-6, one of the cytokines released from inflammatory cells, stimulates insulin secretion in a physiological concentration (1-100 pg/ml), but the exact mechanism is still unknown. The present studies were undertaken to investigate the mechanism of IL-6-induced stimulation of insulin secretion in HIT-T 15 cells. The effects of the addition of nifedipine on the IL-6 (100 pg/ml)-induced stimulation of insulin secretion were investigated. We also examined the possibility that IL-6 (1-100 pg/ml) may stimulate insulin messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression, using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction method. The addition of 100 and 1000 nM nifedipine significantly attenuated the stimulatory effects of 100 pg/ml IL-6 on insulin secretion. The addition of 1-100 pg/ml IL-6 dose-dependently increased preproinsulin mRNA expression relative to beta-actin mRNA. IL-6 increased insulin gene promoter activity of fragments A (-2188 to +337 bp) and B (-1782 to +270 bp) but not fragments C (-1275 to +270 bp), D (-1138 to +270 bp), E (-880 to +236 bp) or F (-356 to +252 bp). The addition of 10 nM nifedipine completely abolished the stimulatory effect of 10-100 pg/ml IL-6 on relative preproinsulin mRNA expression. These data raised the possibility that IL-6 increased preproinsulin mRNA expression via the stimulation of Ca(2+) influx which enhances insulin gene expression.

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

Abstract

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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Y Nakamura, H Tamura, M Ono, K Shimamura, N Sugino, F Numa, K Ueda and H Kato

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the possible mechanism through which RU486 induces luteolysis during the late-luteal phase in pseudopregnant (PSP) rats. PSP rats received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil (5 mg/kg body weight) or sesame oil alone once a day between day 9 and day 11 of pseudopregnancy. Serial blood samples were collected on days 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12 and assayed for progesterone content. To examine the possible action of RU486 through a uterine and/or a pituitary (prolactin-dependent) mechanism, PSP rats and chronic hysterectomized PSP rats which had been hysterectomized before PSP induction received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil (5 mg/kg body weight), sesame oil alone, prolactin in 50% polyvinylpyrrolidone (15 IU/day), or RU486 and prolactin once a day between day 9 and day 11 of pseudopregnancy. Serial blood samples were collected on days 5, 9, 10 and 11 and assayed for progesterone content. Blood samples were also collected at 0400 h on day 12 and used for prolactin and progesterone determinations. To examine the direct effect of RU486 on corpus luteum and/or pituitary, hysterectomized rats underwent hypophysectomy and pituitary autotransplantation on dioestrus 1 and received a subcutaneous injection of RU486 in sesame oil or sesame oil alone for 3 days between day 21 and day 23 after surgery. Serial blood samples were collected on days 10, 21, 22, 23 and 24 and assayed for progesterone and prolactin contents.

In ordinary PSP rats, serum progesterone levels were significantly (P<0·01) lower in the RU486-treated group than in the control group (9 ± 1 vs 53 ± 7 ng/ml; mean ± s.e.m.) on day 11. Serum prolactin levels at 0400 h on day 12 of pseudopregnancy were significantly (P<0·05) lower in the RU486-treated group than in the control group (16 ±4 vs 154 ±44 ng/ml; mean ± s.e.m.). The concomitant prolactin treatment reversed the luteolytic effects of RU486 on day 11 of pseudopregnancy. In hysterectomized PSP rats, RU486 also suppressed serum prolactin levels, and the concomitant prolactin treatment again reversed the luteolytic effects of RU486. In hysterectomized rats which were hypophysectomized and pituitary autotransplanted, RU486 treatment did not induce any significant changes in serum progesterone and prolactin levels.

These results indicated that RU486 induced luteolysis during the late-luteal phase in PSP rats by suppressing prolactin secretion via a hypothalamic mechanism.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 93–98

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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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A. Nakano, M. Terasawa, M. Watanabe, K. Okazaki, S. Inoue, M. Kato, Y. Nimura, N. Usuda, T. Morita and H. Hidaka

ABSTRACT

Neurocalcin (molecular weight 23 000 and 24 000) is a Ca2+-binding protein with three putative Ca2+-binding domains and is present in large amounts in nervous tissues. Neurocalcin isoproteins separated by C18 reverse-phase column chromatography are insoluble in buffer solution and it is impossible to determine the dissociation constant of neurocalcin with Ca2+. To overcome this difficulty, recombinant neurocalcin was synthesized, based on one of the cDNAs of the neurocalcin isoproteins. Stoichiometric titration experiments, using recombinant neurocalcin, indicated that this protein bound 2 mol Ca2+/mol protein and that the apparent dissociation constant for Ca2+ was 2·2 μmol/l, suggesting that neurocalcin plays a physiological role in cellular function. Immunoblotting showed that neurocalcin is present in the bovine adrenal gland in addition to the nervous tissues. Neurocalcin, identified by immunoblotting, was purified from the bovine adrenal gland. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of neurocalcin from the bovine brain showed 23 kDa and 24 kDa double bands, while SDS-PAGE of neurocalcin from the adrenal gland showed a single band of apparently 24 kDa, suggesting that the expression of neurocalcin isoproteins differs from tissue to tissue. The content of neurocalcin in the adrenal gland was 10 μg protein/100 g wet tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis showed the occurrence of neurocalcin in zona glomerulosa and adrenal medulla but not in zona fasciculata or zona reticularis. The restricted localization of neurocalcin in the adrenal gland suggests that a similar Ca2+ signal pathway may be present in zona glomerulosa and the adrenal medulla.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 138, 283–290

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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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T Mano, K Iwase, I Yoshimochi, Y Sawai, N Oda, Y Nishida, T Mokuno, M Kotake, A Nakai, N Hayakawa, R Kato, A Nagasaka and H Hidaka

Abstract

Hyper- and hypothyroid states occasionally induce skeletal muscle dysfunction i.e. periodic paralysis and thyroid myopathy. The etiology of these diseases remains unclear, but several findings suggest that the catecholamine-β-receptor-cAMP system or other messenger systems are disturbed in these diseases. In this context, we evaluated changes in the cyclic 3′,5′-nucleotide metabolic enzyme, cyclic 3′,5′-nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) and calmodulin concentrations in skeletal muscles of hyper- and hypothyroid rats.

Activities of cyclic AMP-PDE were low in skeletal muscle both from hyper- and hypothyroid rats, and calmodulin concentration was high in hyperthyroid and low in hypothyroid rats, as compared with normal rats. DE-52 column chromatographic analysis showed that the cGMP hydrolytic activity in peak I and the cAMP hydrolytic activity in peak II were decreased in hypothyroid rats, whereas cAMP hydrolytic activity in peak III was unchanged. The cAMP hydrolytic activity in peak III was decreased in hyperthyroid rats, but the activities in peaks I and II were unchanged. These findings indicate that cAMP and calmodulin may have some role in skeletal muscle function in the hyperthyroid state, and that cAMP and calmodulin-dependent metabolism may be suppressed in the hypothyroid state.

Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 146, 287–292