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Y Yang, J Cao, W Xiong, J Zhang, Q Zhou, H Wei, C Liang, J Deng, T Li, S Yang, L Xu and L Xu

It has been documented that stress or glucocorticoids have conflicting effects on memory under different conditions. However, it is not fully understood why stress can either impair or enhance memory. Here, we have examined the performance of six age groups of Wistar rats in a water maze spatial task to evaluate the effects of stress under different conditions. We found that the impairment or enhancement effect of an 'elevated platform' (EP) stress on memory was dependent on previous stress experience and on age. EP stress impaired memory retrieval in water maze naive animals, but enhanced rather than impaired memory retrieval in young water maze stress-experienced animals. Furthermore, exogenously applied corticosterone or foot shock stress before water maze training prevented the impairment of memory retrieval that should be induced by treatment with corticosterone or foot shock before the 'probe trial'. Again, memory retrieval was enhanced in young animals under these conditions, and this enhancement can be prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU 38486. Thus, glucocorticoid receptor activation not only induced impairment of memory but also increased the capacity of young animals to overcome a later stress. The present findings suggest that the effect of stress on memory can be switched from impairment to enhancement dependent on both stress experience and age.

Free access

X H Zhang, S Filippi, L Vignozzi, A Morelli, R Mancina, M Luconi, S Donati, M Marini, G B Vannelli, G Forti and M Maggi

We recently found that the oxytocin receptor (OTR) is expressed in the human and rabbit corpus cavernosum and mediates contractility in vitro. The present study extended our investigations to the rat, and explored whether OTR regulates penile detumescence in vivo. Real-time RT-PCR quantitatively characterized the distribution of OTR mRNA in the male genital tract. Specific transcripts for OTR were expressed in all the tissues investigated. Penile expression of OTR was comparable to that observed in testis and prostate. Western blot analysis detected a single band of the expected molecular mass for OTR in all tissues examined, including rat penis. Expression of OTR protein in rat penile extracts was further confirmed by binding studies, using the OTR selective radiolabeled ligand 125I-OTA (K d=17 ± 6.5 pM, Bmax=15.7 ± 5 fmoles/mg protein). OTR was immunolocalized to the endothelial and smooth muscle compartments of cavernous spaces and blood vessels. In rat corpus cavernosum strips, oxytocin (OT) and an OTR selective agonist ([Thr4,Gly7]OT) induced identical increases in tension, while different vasopressin agonists were less active. In vivo, OT intra-cavernous injection (ICI) dose-dependently inhibited intracavernous pressure (ICP) increase elicited by either electrical stimulation of the cavernous nerve or ICI of papaverine with similar IC50s (117.7 ± 37 mU). The OTR antagonist, atosiban, counteracted the contractile effect of OT both in vitro and in vivo. Atosiban alone significantly increased ICP at lower stimulation frequencies (2 Hz=P<0.001 and 4 Hz=P<0.05 vs control), but not at the maximal frequency (16 Hz). Our data showed that OTR is present in the rat penis and mediates contractility both in vitro and in vivo, therefore suggesting a role for OT in maintaining penile detumescence.

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Paramita M Ghosh, Zhen-Ju Shu, Bing Zhu, Zhongding Lu, Yuji Ikeno, Jeffrey L Barnes, Chih-Ko Yeh, Bin-Xian Zhang, Michael S Katz and Amrita Kamat

Excessive fat accumulation in liver (hepatic steatosis) predisposes to hepatic functional and structural impairment and overall metabolic risk. Previous studies noted an association between hepatic steatosis and age in humans and rodents. However, the mechanisms leading to age-associated hepatic fat accumulation remain unknown. Earlier work from our group showed that β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) levels and β-AR-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity increase in rat liver during aging. Here we investigated whether age-associated increases in β-AR signaling play a role in augmenting hepatic lipid accumulation. We demonstrate an increase in hepatic lipid content during senescence and a significant correlation between hepatic fat content and stimulation of adenylyl cyclase activity by the β-AR agonist isoproterenol in rat liver. Isoproterenol administration to young and old rodents in vivo increased hepatic lipid accumulation. Furthermore, in vitro overexpression of β1- and β2-AR subtypes in hepatocytes from young rodents increased cellular lipid content, whereas inhibition of β-ARs by receptor subtype-specific inhibitors reduced lipid levels in hepatocytes from senescent animals. Isoproterenol-induced hepatic lipid accumulation in vivo was prevented by the β-AR nonselective blocker propranolol, suggesting a novel therapeutic effect of this class of drugs in hepatic steatosis. Acipimox, which inhibits adipose tissue lipolysis, did not alter isoproterenol-mediated hepatic fat accumulation; thus β-AR responsive hepatic lipid accumulation does not appear to be related primarily to altered lipolysis. These findings suggest that augmented hepatic β-AR signaling during aging may increase lipid accumulation in liver and advocate a possible role for β-adrenergic blockers in preventing or retarding the development of hepatic steatosis.

Free access

Zhang S-L, X Chen, TJ Hsieh, M Leclerc, N Henley, A Allidina, JP Halle, MG Brunette, JG Filep, SS Tang, Ingelfinger JR and JS Chan

Clinical and animal studies have shown that treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor antagonists slows the progression of nephropathy in diabetes, indicating that Ang II plays an important role in its development. We have reported previously that insulin inhibits the stimulatory effect of high glucose levels on angiotensinogen (ANG) gene expression in rat immortalized renal proximal tubular cells (IRPTCs) via the mitogen-activated protein kinase (p44/42 MAPK) signal transduction pathway. We hypothesize that the suppressive action of insulin on ANG gene expression might be attenuated in renal proximal tubular cells (RPTCs) of rats with established diabetes. Two groups of male adult Wistar rats were studied: controls and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-STZ administration. Kidney proximal tubules were isolated and cultured in either normal glucose (i.e. 5 mM) or high glucose (i.e. 25 mM) medium to determine the inhibitory effect of insulin on ANG gene expression. Immunoreactive rat ANG (IR-rANG) in culture media and cellular ANG mRNA were measured by a specific radioimmunoassay and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay respectively. Activation of the p44/42 MAPK signal transduction pathway in rat RPTCs was evaluated by p44/42 MAPK phosphorylation employing a PhosphoPlus p44/42 MAPK antibody kit. Insulin (10(-7) M) inhibited the stimulatory effect of high glucose levels on IR-rANG secretion and ANG gene expression and increased p44/42 MAPK phosphorylation in normal rat RPTCs. In contrast, it failed to affect these parameters in diabetic rat RPTCs. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate that hyperglycaemia induces insulin resistance on ANG gene expression in diabetic rat RPTCs by altering the MAPK signal transduction pathway.

Free access

B T Layden, V Durai, M V Newman, A M Marinelarena, C W Ahn, G Feng, S Lin, X Zhang, D B Kaufman, N Jafari, G L Sørensen and W L Lowe Jr

Pancreatic β cells adapt to pregnancy-induced insulin resistance by unclear mechanisms. This study sought to identify genes involved in β cell adaptation during pregnancy. To examine changes in global RNA expression during pregnancy, murine islets were isolated at a time point of increased β cell proliferation (E13.5), and RNA levels were determined by two different assays (global gene expression array and G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) array). Follow-up studies confirmed the findings for select genes. Differential expression of 110 genes was identified and follow-up studies confirmed the changes in select genes at both the RNA and protein level. Surfactant protein D (SP-D) mRNA and protein levels exhibited large increases, which were confirmed in murine islets. Cytokine-induced expression of SP-D in islets was also demonstrated, suggesting a possible role as an anti-inflammatory molecule. Complementing these studies, an expression array was performed to define pregnancy-induced changes in expression of GPCRs that are known to impact islet cell function and proliferation. This assay, the results of which were confirmed using real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays, demonstrated that free fatty acid receptor 2 and cholecystokinin receptor A mRNA levels were increased at E13.5. This study has identified multiple novel targets that may be important for the adaptation of islets to pregnancy.

Open access

A Edlund, M Barghouth, M Hühn, M Abels, J S E Esguerra, I G Mollet, E Svedin, A Wendt, E Renström, E Zhang, N Wierup, B J Scholte, M Flodström-Tullberg and L Eliasson

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is a common complication for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The cause of CFRD is unclear, but a commonly observed reduction in first-phase insulin secretion suggests defects at the beta cell level. Here we aimed to examine alpha and beta cell function in the Cftr tm1 EUR/F508del mouse model (C57BL/6J), which carries the most common human mutation in CFTR, the F508del mutation. CFTR expression, beta cell mass, insulin granule distribution, hormone secretion and single cell capacitance changes were evaluated using islets (or beta cells) from F508del mice and age-matched wild type (WT) mice aged 7–10 weeks. Granular pH was measured with DND-189 fluorescence. Serum glucose, insulin and glucagon levels were measured in vivo, and glucose tolerance was assessed using IPGTT. We show increased secretion of proinsulin and concomitant reduced secretion of C-peptide in islets from F508del mice compared to WT mice. Exocytosis and number of docked granules was reduced. We confirmed reduced granular pH by CFTR stimulation. We detected decreased pancreatic beta cell area, but unchanged beta cell number. Moreover, the F508del mutation caused failure to suppress glucagon secretion leading to hyperglucagonemia. In conclusion, F508del mice have beta cell defects resulting in (1) reduced number of docked insulin granules and reduced exocytosis and (2) potential defective proinsulin cleavage and secretion of immature insulin. These observations provide insight into the functional role of CFTR in pancreatic islets and contribute to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of CFRD.