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Recent Articles in Endocrine Reviews

Parent AS, Teilmann G, Juul A, Skakkebaek NE, Toppari J, Bourguignon JP
The timing of normal puberty and the age limits of sexual precocity: variations around the world, secular trends, and changes after migration.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Oct;24(5):668-93.
During the past decade, possible advancement in timing of puberty has been reported in the United States. In addition, early pubertal development and an increased incidence of sexual precocity have been noticed in children, primarily girls, migrating for foreign adoption in several Western European countries. These observations are raising the issues of current differences and secular trends in timing of puberty in relation to ethnic, geographical, and socioeconomic background. None of these factors provide an unequivocal explanation for the earlier onset of puberty seen in the United States. In the formerly deprived migrating children, refeeding and catch-up growth may prime maturation. However, precocious puberty is seen also in some nondeprived migrating children. Attention has been paid to the changing milieu after migration, and recently, the possible role of endocrine- disrupting chemicals from the environment has been considered. These observations urge further study of the onset of puberty as a possible sensitive and early marker of the interactions between environmental conditions and genetic susceptibility that can influence physiological and pathological processes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

De Leo V, la Marca A, Petraglia F
Insulin-lowering agents in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Oct;24(5):633-67.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that has brought multiple specialists together. Gynecologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, pediatricians, and dermatologists are all concerned with PCOS patients and share research data and design clinical trials to learn more about the syndrome. Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS and is more marked in obese women, suggesting that PCOS and obesity have a synergistic effect on the magnitude of the insulin disorder. Hyperinsulinemia associated with insulin resistance has been causally linked to all features of the syndrome, such as hyperandrogenism, reproductive disorders, acne, hirsutism, and metabolic disturbances. Women with PCOS should be evaluated for cardiovascular risk factors, such as lipid profile and blood pressure. Modification of diet and lifestyle should be suggested to those who are obese. Several insulin-lowering agents have been tested in the management of PCOS. In particular, metformin is the only drug currently in widespread clinical use for treatment of PCOS. In a high percentage of patients, treatment with metformin is followed by regularization of menstrual cycle, reduction in hyperandrogenism and in cardiovascular risk factors, and improvement in response to therapies for induction of ovulation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Turner HE, Harris AL, Melmed S, Wass JA
Angiogenesis in endocrine tumors.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Oct;24(5):600-32.
Angiogenesis is the process of new blood vessel development from preexisting vasculature. Although vascular endothelium is usually quiescent in the adult, active angiogenesis has been shown to be an important process for new vessel formation, tumor growth, progression, and spread. The angiogenic phenotype depends on the balance of proangiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and inhibitors, as well as interactions with the extracellular matrix, allowing for endothelial migration. Endocrine glands are typically vascular organs, and their blood supply is essential for normal function and tight control of hormone feedback loops. In addition to metabolic factors such as hypoxia, the process of angiogenesis is also regulated by hormonal changes such as increased estrogen, IGF-I, and TSH levels. By measuring microvascular density, differences in angiogenesis have been related to differences in tumor behavior, and similar techniques have been applied to both benign and malignant endocrine tumors with the aim of identification of tumors that subsequently behave in an aggressive fashion. In contrast to other tumor types, pituitary tumors are less vascular than normal pituitary tissue, although the mechanism for this observation is not known. A relationship between angiogenesis and tumor size, tumor invasiveness, and aggressiveness has been shown in some pituitary tumor types, but not in others. There are few reports on the role of microvascular density or angiogenic factors in adrenal tumors. The mechanism of the vascular tumors, which include adrenomedullary tumors, found in patients with Von Hippel Lindau disease has been well characterized, and clinical trials of antiangiogenic therapy are currently being performed in patients with Von Hippel Lindau disease. Thyroid tumors are more vascular than normal thyroid tissue, and there is a clear correlation between increased VEGF expression and more aggressive thyroid tumor behavior and metastasis. Although parathyroid tissue induces angiogenesis when autotransplanted and PTH regulates both VEGF and MMP expression, there are few studies of angiogenesis and angiogenic factors in parathyroid tumors. An understanding of the balance of angiogenesis in these vascular tumors and mechanisms of vascular control may assist in therapeutic decisions and allow appropriately targeted treatment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Thomas RP, Hellmich MR, Townsend CM, Evers BM
Role of gastrointestinal hormones in the proliferation of normal and neoplastic tissues.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Oct;24(5):571-99.
Gastrointestinal (GI) hormones are chemical messengers that regulate the physiological functions of the intestine and pancreas, including secretion, motility, absorption, and digestion. In addition to these well-defined physiological effects, GI hormones can stimulate proliferation of the nonneoplastic intestinal mucosa and pancreas. Furthermore, in an analogous fashion to breast and prostate cancer, certain GI cancers possess receptors for GI hormones; growth can be altered by administration of these hormones or by blocking their respective receptors. The GI hormones that affect proliferation, either stimulatory or inhibitory, include gastrin, cholecystokinin, gastrin-releasing peptide, neurotensin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide-2, and somatostatin. The effects of these peptides on normal and neoplastic GI tissues will be described. Also, future perspectives and potential therapeutic implications will be discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


The Endocrine Society 2003 annual awards.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):558-69. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


The Endocrine Society awards.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):556-7. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Genetically modified animals in endocrinology.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):554-5. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bravo EL, Tagle R
Pheochromocytoma: state-of-the-art and future prospects.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):539-53.
This review provides current understanding of the pathophysiology of pheochromocytoma and the wide range of associated clinical manifestations that have led to earlier recognition of the disease. In addition, it reviews optimal screening methods and localization techniques that have enhanced the clinician's ability to make the diagnosis with greater certainty. This article will also discuss alternative antihypertensive regimens and innovative anesthetic and surgical procedures that have made successful management more promising than ever before. Areas requiring further development include additional clinical experience with the measurement of plasma metanephrines that have been shown to have high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of sporadic and familial pheochromocytoma, optimizing cost effectiveness of diagnostic imaging, improving the ability to predict and treat malignant pheochromocytoma, and elucidating not only the surgical approach but, perhaps with rapid advances in molecular genetics, ways of preventing familial pheochromocytoma. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

McDougal WS
Pheochromocytoma: state-of-the-art and future prospects.
J Urol. 2005 Mar;173(3):922. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hochberg Z, Pacak K, Chrousos GP
Endocrine withdrawal syndromes.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):523-38.
Hypersecretion of endogenous hormones or chronic administration of high doses of the same hormones induces varying degrees of tolerance and dependence. Elimination of hormone hypersecretion or discontinuation of hormone therapy may result in a mixed picture of two syndromes: a typical hormone deficiency syndrome and a generic withdrawal syndrome. Thus, hormones with completely different physiological effects may produce similar withdrawal syndromes, with symptoms and signs reminiscent of those observed with drugs of abuse, suggesting shared mechanisms. This review postulates a unified endocrine withdrawal syndrome, with changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the central opioid peptide, in which noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems of the brain act as common links in its pathogenesis. Long-term adaptations to hormones may involve relatively persistent changes in molecular switches, including common intracellular signaling systems, from membrane receptors to transcription factors. The goals of therapy are to ease withdrawal symptoms and to expedite weaning of the patient from the hormonal excess state. Clinicians should resort to the fundamentals of tapering hormones down over time, even in the case of abrupt removal of a hormone-producing tumor. In addition, the prevention of stress and concurrent administration of antidepressants may ameliorate symptoms and signs of an endocrine withdrawal syndrome. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

De Bosscher K, Vanden Berghe W, Haegeman G
The interplay between the glucocorticoid receptor and nuclear factor-kappaB or activator protein-1: molecular mechanisms for gene repression.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):488-522.
The inflammatory response is a highly regulated physiological process that is critically important for homeostasis. A precise physiological control of inflammation allows a timely reaction to invading pathogens or to other insults without causing overreaction liable to damage the host. The cellular signaling pathways identified as important regulators of inflammation are the signal transduction cascades mediated by the nuclear factor-kappaB and the activator protein-1, which can both be modulated by glucocorticoids. Their use in the clinic includes treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allograft rejection, and allergic skin diseases. Although glucocorticoids have been widely used since the late 1940s, the molecular mechanisms responsible for their antiinflammatory activity are still under investigation. The various molecular pathways proposed so far are discussed in more detail. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Harley VR, Clarkson MJ, Argentaro A
The molecular action and regulation of the testis-determining factors, SRY (sex-determining region on the Y chromosome) and SOX9 [SRY-related high-mobility group (HMG) box 9].
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):466-87.
Despite 12 yr since the discovery of SRY, little is known at the molecular level about how SRY and the SRY-related protein, SOX9 [SRY-related high-mobility group (HMG) box 9], initiate the program of gene expression required to commit the bipotential embryonic gonad to develop into a testis rather than an ovary. Analysis of SRY and SOX9 clinical mutant proteins and XX mice transgenic for testis-determining genes have provided some insight into their normal functions. SRY and SOX9 contain an HMG domain, a DNA-binding motif. The HMG domain plays a central role, being highly conserved between species and the site of nearly all missense mutations causing XY gonadal dysgenesis. SRY and SOX9 are architectural transcription factors; their HMG domain is capable of directing nuclear import and DNA bending. Whether SRY and SOX9 activate testis-forming genes, repress ovary-forming genes, or both remains speculative until downstream DNA target genes are identified. However, factors that control SRY and SOX9 gene expression have been identified, as have a dozen sex-determining genes, allowing some of the pieces in this molecular genetic puzzle to be connected. Many genes, however, remain unidentified, because in the majority of cases of XY females and in all cases of XX males lacking SRY, the mutated gene is unknown. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Curry TE, Osteen KG
The matrix metalloproteinase system: changes, regulation, and impact throughout the ovarian and uterine reproductive cycle.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):428-65.
The ovary and uterus undergo extensive tissue remodeling throughout each reproductive cycle. This remodeling of the extracellular environment is dependent upon the cyclic hormonal changes associated with each estrous or menstrual cycle. In the ovary, tissue remodeling is requisite for growth and expansion of the follicle, breakdown of the follicular wall during the ovulatory process, transformation of the postovulatory follicle into the corpus luteum, as well as the structural dissolution of the corpus luteum during luteal regression. In the uterus, there is extraordinary turnover of the endometrial connective tissue matrix during each menstrual cycle. This turnover encompasses the complete breakdown and loss of this layer, followed by its subsequent regrowth. With implantation, extensive remodeling of the uterus occurs to support placentation. These dynamic changes in the ovarian and uterine extracellular architecture are regulated, in part, by the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) system. The MMP system acts to control connective tissue remodeling processes throughout the body and is comprised of both a proteolytic component, the MMPs, and a regulatory component, the associated tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases. The current review will highlight the key features of the MMPs and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases, focus on the changes and regulation of the MMP system that take place throughout the estrous and menstrual cycles, and address the impact of the dynamic tissue remodeling processes on ovarian and uterine physiology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Reubi JC
Peptide receptors as molecular targets for cancer diagnosis and therapy.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Aug;24(4):389-427.
During the past decade, proof of the principle that peptide receptors can be used successfully for in vivo targeting of human cancers has been provided. The molecular basis for targeting rests on the in vitro observation that peptide receptors can be expressed in large quantities in certain tumors. The clinical impact is at the diagnostic level: in vivo receptor scintigraphy uses radiolabeled peptides for the localization of tumors and their metastases. It is also at the therapeutic level: peptide receptor radiotherapy of tumors emerges as a serious treatment option. Peptides linked to cytotoxic agents are also considered for therapeutic applications. The use of nonradiolabeled, noncytotoxic peptide analogs for long-term antiproliferative treatment of tumors appears promising for only a few tumor types, whereas the symptomatic treatment of neuroendocrine tumors by somatostatin analogs is clearly successful. The present review summarizes and critically evaluates the in vitro data on peptide and peptide receptor expression in human cancers. These data are considered to be the molecular basis for peptide receptor targeting of tumors. The paradigmatic peptide somatostatin and its receptors are extensively reviewed in the light of in vivo targeting of neuroendocrine tumors. The role of the more recently described targeting peptides vasoactive intestinal peptide, gastrin-releasing peptide, and cholecystokinin/gastrin is discussed. Other emerging and promising peptides and their respective receptors, including neurotensin, substance P, and neuropeptide Y, are introduced. This information relates to established and potential clinical applications in oncology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rigotti A, Miettinen HE, Krieger M
The role of the high-density lipoprotein receptor SR-BI in the lipid metabolism of endocrine and other tissues.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):357-87.
Because cholesterol is a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones, steroidogenic tissues have evolved multiple pathways to ensure adequate supplies of cholesterol. These include synthesis, storage as cholesteryl esters, and import from lipoproteins. In addition to endocytosis via members of the low-density lipoprotein receptor superfamily, steroidogenic cells acquire cholesterol from lipoproteins by selective lipid uptake. This pathway, which does not involve lysosomal degradation of the lipoprotein, is mediated by the scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI). SR-BI is highly expressed in steroidogenic cells, where its expression is regulated by various trophic hormones, as well as in the liver. Studies of genetically manipulated strains of mice have established that SR-BI plays a key role in regulating lipoprotein metabolism and cholesterol transport to steroidogenic tissues and to the liver for biliary secretion. In addition, analysis of SR-BI-deficient mice has shown that SR-BI expression is important for alpha-tocopherol and nitric oxide metabolism, as well as normal red blood cell maturation and female fertility. These mouse models have also revealed that SR-BI can protect against atherosclerosis. If SR-BI plays similar physiological and pathophysiological roles in humans, it may be an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in cardiovascular and reproductive diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ruskoaho H
Cardiac hormones as diagnostic tools in heart failure.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):341-56.
In patients with heart failure, plasma levels of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), and the N-terminal fragments of their prohormones (N-ANP and N-BNP) are elevated, because the cardiac hormonal system is activated by increased wall stretch due to increased volume and pressure overload. Patients suspected of having heart failure can be selected for further investigations on the basis of having an elevated plasma concentration of N-ANP, BNP, and N-BNP. High levels of cardiac hormones identify those at greatest risk for future serious cardiovascular events. Moreover, adjusting heart failure treatment to reduce plasma levels of N-BNP may improve outcome. Cardiac hormones are most useful clinically as a rule-out test. In acutely symptomatic patients, a very high negative predictive value is coupled with a relatively high positive predictive value. Measurement of cardiac hormones in patients with heart failure may reduce the need for hospitalizations and for more expensive investigations such as echocardiography. However, there have also been conflicting reports on the diagnostic value of cardiac hormones, they are not specific for any disease, and the magnitude of the effects of age and gender on BNP in the normal subgroup suggests that these parameters need to be considered when interpreting cardiac hormone levels. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liu PY, Death AK, Handelsman DJ
Androgens and cardiovascular disease.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):313-40.
Globally, cardiovascular disease will continue causing most human deaths for the foreseeable future. The consistent gender gap in life span of approximately 5.6 yr in all advanced economies must derive from gender differences in age-specific cardiovascular death rates, which rise steeply in parallel for both genders but 5-10 yr earlier in men. The lack of inflection point at modal age of menopause, contrasting with unequivocally estrogen-dependent biological markers like breast cancer or bone density, makes estrogen protection of premenopausal women an unlikely explanation. Limited human data suggest that testosterone exposure does not shorten life span in either gender, and oral estrogen treatment increases risk of cardiovascular death in men as it does in women. Alternatively, androgen exposure in early life (perinatal androgen imprinting) may predispose males to earlier onset of atherosclerosis. Following the recent reevaluation of the estrogen-protection orthodoxy, empirical research has flourished into the role of androgens in the progression of cardiovascular disease, highlighting the need to better understand androgen receptor (AR) coregulators, nongenomic androgen effects, tissue-specific metabolic activation of androgens, and androgen sensitivity. Novel therapeutic targets may arise from understanding how androgens enhance early plaque formation and cause vasodilatation via nongenomic androgen effects on vascular smooth muscle, and how tissue-specific variations in androgen effects are modulated by AR coregulators as well as metabolic activation of testosterone to amplify (via 5alpha-reductase to form dihydrotestosterone acting on AR) or diversify (via aromatization to estradiol acting upon estrogen receptor alpha/beta) the biological effects of testosterone on the vasculature. Observational studies show that blood testosterone concentrations are consistently lower among men with cardiovascular disease, suggesting a possible preventive role for testosterone therapy, which requires critical evaluation by further prospective studies. Short-term interventional studies show that testosterone produces a modest but consistent improvement in cardiac ischemia over placebo, comparable to the effects of existing antianginal drugs. By contrast, testosterone therapy has no beneficial effects in peripheral arterial disease but has not been evaluated in cerebrovascular disease. Erectile dysfunction is most frequently caused by pelvic arterial insufficiency due to atherosclerosis, and its sentinel relationship to generalized atherosclerosis is insufficiently appreciated. The commonality of risk factor patterns and mechanisms (including endothelial dysfunction) suggests that the efficacy of antiatherogenic therapy is an important challenge with the potential to enhance men's motivation for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Legro RS
Polycystic ovary syndrome and cardiovascular disease: a premature association?
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):302-12.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are often assumed, a priori, to be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), given the high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome X among them. There is, however, no single definition of PCOS, and for that reason a comparison of studies that have analyzed its association with CVD is compromised from the start. Long-term studies of well characterized women with PCOS are lacking, and the link to primary cardiovascular events such as stroke or myocardial infarction remains more speculative than substantive. Epidemiological studies that have focused on isolated signs and stigmata of PCOS, such as polycystic ovaries, hyperandrogenism, or chronic anovulation, have found mixed results. There are studies that suggest a slight increase in cardiovascular events in women with polycystic ovaries, with perhaps stronger evidence between an increased risk of cardiovascular events in women with menstrual irregularity. However, there is little evidence for an association between hyperandrogenism per se and cardiovascular events. Furthermore, there are less data to substantiate an increased risk of events in women with PCOS identified on the basis of a combination of signs and symptoms, such as hyperandrogenic chronic anovulation. The existing data suggest that PCOS may adversely affect or accelerate the development of an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, and even of subclinical signs of atherosclerosis, but it does not appear to lower the age of clinical presentation to a premenopausal age group. Future studies to identify the risk of cardiovascular events in women with PCOS will benefit from clear and extensive phenotyping of PCOS abnormalities at baseline, from a prospective design, from larger sample sizes, and from longer follow-up. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fernández-Real JM, Ricart W
Insulin resistance and chronic cardiovascular inflammatory syndrome.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):278-301.
Insulin resistance is increasingly recognized as a chronic, low-level, inflammatory state. Hyperinsulinemia and insulin action were initially proposed as the common preceding factors of hypertension, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, hypertriglyceridemia, abdominal obesity, and altered glucose tolerance, linking all these abnormalities to the development of coronary heart disease. The similarities of insulin resistance with another inflammatory state, atherosclerosis, have been described only in the last few decades. Atherosclerosis and insulin resistance share similar pathophysiological mechanisms, mainly due to the actions of the two major proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL-6. Genetic predisposition to increased transcription rates of these cytokines is associated with metabolic derangement and simultaneously with coronary heart disease. Dysregulation of the inflammatory axis predicts the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The knowledge of how interactions between metabolic and inflammatory pathways occur will be useful in future therapeutic strategies. The effective administration of antiinflammatory agents in the treatment of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis is only the beginning of a promising approach in the management of these syndromes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Clayton RN
Cardiovascular function in acromegaly.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):272-7.
Even with modern treatment, acromegaly is associated with a 2- to 3-fold increase in mortality, mainly from vascular disease, which is probably a result of the long exposure of tissues to excess GH before diagnosis and treatment. There is accumulating evidence that effective treatment to lower serum GH levels to less than 1-2 ng/ml (glucose suppressed or random, respectively) and normalize IGF-I improves long-term outcome and survival. In addition to recognized cardiovascular risk factors of hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia, there is accumulating evidence of specific structural and functional changes in the heart in acromegaly. Along with endothelial dysfunction, these changes may contribute to the increased mortality in this disease. There are specific structural changes in the myocardium with increased myocyte size and interstitial fibrosis of both ventricles. Left ventricular hypertrophy is common even in young patients with short duration of disease. Some of these structural changes can be reversed by effective treatment. Functionally, the main consequence of these changes is impaired left ventricular diastolic function, particularly when exercising, such that exercise tolerance is reduced. Diastolic function improves with treatment, but the effect on exercise tolerance is more variable, and more longitudinal data are required to assess the benefits. What scant data there are on rhythm changes suggest an increase in complex ventricular arrhythmias, possibly as a result of the disordered left ventricular architecture. The functional consequences of these changes are unclear, but they may provide a useful early marker for the ventricular remodeling that occurs in the acromegalic heart. Endothelial dysfunction, especially flow-mediated dilatation, is an early marker of atherosclerosis, and limited data imply that this is impaired in active acromegaly and can be improved with treatment. Similarly, early arterial structural changes, such as thickened intima media layer, appear more common in acromegalics, and there are hints that this may diminish with effective treatment, although more studies are required for a definite conclusion on this topic. In conclusion, impaired cardiac and endothelial structure and function in acromegaly are risk factors for vascular mortality and should be regarded as legitimate therapeutic targets in the overall management of this condition. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Carey RM, Siragy HM
Newly recognized components of the renin-angiotensin system: potential roles in cardiovascular and renal regulation.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):261-71.
The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is a coordinated hormonal cascade in the control of cardiovascular, renal, and adrenal function that governs body fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as arterial pressure. The classical RAS consists of a circulating endocrine system in which the principal effector hormone is angiotensin (ANG) II. ANG is produced by the action of renin on angiotensinogen to form ANG I and its subsequent conversion to the biologically active octapeptide by ANG-converting enzyme. ANG II actions are mediated via the ANG type 1 receptor. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the components and actions of the RAS, including local tissue RASs, a renin receptor, ANG-converting enzyme-2, ANG (1-7), the function of the ANG type 2 receptor, and ANG receptor heterodimerization. The role of the RAS in the regulation of cardiovascular and renal function is reviewed and discussed in light of these newly recognized components. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Baxter JD, Young WF, Webb P
Cardiovascular endocrinology: introduction.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Jun;24(3):253-60. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cleare AJ
The neuroendocrinology of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Apr;24(2):236-52.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a common and disabling problem; although most likely of biopsychosocial origin, the nature of the pathophysiological components remains unclear. There has been a wealth of interest in the endocrinology of this condition, which will be reviewed in this article. Most studied has been the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; although the quality of many studies is poor, the overall balance of evidence points to reduced cortisol output in at least some patients, with some evidence that this is linked to symptom production or persistence. There is evidence for heightened negative feedback and glucocorticoid receptor function and for impaired ACTH and cortisol responses to a variety of challenges. However, there is no evidence for a specific or uniform dysfunction of the HPA axis. Given the many factors that may impinge on the HPA axis in CFS, such as inactivity, sleep disturbance, psychiatric comorbidity, medication, and ongoing stress, it seems likely that HPA axis disturbance is heterogeneous and of multifactorial etiology in CFS. Studies assessing GH, dehydroepiandrostenedione and its sulfate, melatonin, leptin, and neuroendocrine-monoamine interactions are also reviewed. There is some evidence from these studies to suggest alterations of dehydroepiandrostenedione sulfate function and abnormal serotonin function in CFS, but whether these changes are of functional importance remains unclear. To obtain a clearer assessment of the etiological and pathophysiological relevance of endocrine changes in CFS, it is suggested that more prospective cohort studies be undertaken in groups at high risk for CFS, that patients with CFS are followed up into recovery, and that multidimensional assessments are undertaken to unravel the influence of the various confounding factors on the observed endocrine changes in CFS. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Canalis E, Economides AN, Gazzerro E
Bone morphogenetic proteins, their antagonists, and the skeleton.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Apr;24(2):218-35.
Skeletal homeostasis is determined by systemic hormones and local factors. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are unique because they induce the differentiation of mesenchymal cells toward cells of the osteoblastic lineage and also enhance the differentiated function of the osteoblast. However, the activity of BMPs needs to be tempered by intracellular and extracellular antagonists. BMPs bind to specific receptors and signal by phosphorylating the cytoplasmic proteins mothers against decapentaplegic (Smad) 1 and 5, which form heterodimers with Smad 4, and after nuclear translocation regulate transcription. BMP antagonists can be categorized as pseudoreceptors that compete with signaling receptors, inhibitory Smads that block signaling, intracellular binding proteins that bind Smad 1 and 5, and factors that induce ubiquitination and proteolysis of signaling Smads. In addition, a large number of extracellular proteins that bind BMPs and prevent their binding to signaling receptors have emerged. They are the components of the Spemann organizer, noggin, chordin, and follistatin, members of the Dan/Cerberus family, and twisted gastrulation. The antagonists tend to be specific for BMPs and are regulated by BMPs, indicating the existence and need of local feedback mechanisms to temper BMP cellular activities. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wu FC, von Eckardstein A
Androgens and coronary artery disease.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Apr;24(2):183-217.
A significant and independent association between endogenous testosterone (T) levels and coronary events in men and women has not been confirmed in large prospective studies, although cross-sectional data have suggested coronary heart disease can be associated with low T in men. Hypoandrogenemia in men and hyperandrogenemia in women are associated with visceral obesity; insulin resistance; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (HDL-C); and elevated triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and plasminogen activator type 1. These gender differences and confounders render the precise role of endogenous T in atherosclerosis unclear. Observational studies do not support the hypothesis that dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate deficiency is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. The effects of exogenous T on cardiovascular mortality or morbidity have not been extensively investigated in prospective controlled studies; preliminary data suggest there may be short-term improvements in electrocardiographic changes in men with coronary artery disease. In the majority of animal experiments, exogenous T exerts either neutral or beneficial effects on the development of atherosclerosis. Exogenous androgens induce both apparently beneficial and deleterious effects on cardiovascular risk factors by decreasing serum levels of HDL-C, plasminogen activator type 1 (apparently deleterious), lipoprotein (a), fibrinogen, insulin, leptin, and visceral fat mass (apparently beneficial) in men as well as women. However, androgen-induced declines in circulating HDL-C should not automatically be assumed to be proatherogenic, because these declines may instead reflect accelerated reverse cholesterol transport. Supraphysiological concentrations of T stimulate vasorelaxation; but at physiological concentrations, beneficial, neutral, and detrimental effects on vascular reactivity have been observed. T exerts proatherogenic effects on macrophage function by facilitating the uptake of modified lipoproteins and an antiatherogenic effect by stimulating efflux of cellular cholesterol to HDL. In conclusion, the inconsistent data, which can only be partly explained by differences in dose and source of androgens, militate against a meaningful assessment of the net effect of T on atherosclerosis. Based on current evidence, the therapeutic use of T in men need not be restricted by concerns regarding cardiovascular side effects. Available data also do not justify the uncontrolled use of T or dehydroepiandrosterone for the prevention or treatment of coronary heart disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Labrie F, Luu-The V, Labrie C, Bélanger A, Simard J, Lin SX, Pelletier G
Endocrine and intracrine sources of androgens in women: inhibition of breast cancer and other roles of androgens and their precursor dehydroepiandrosterone.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Apr;24(2):152-82.
Serum androgens as well as their precursors and metabolites decrease from the age of 30-40 yr in women, thus suggesting that a more physiological hormone replacement therapy at menopause should contain an androgenic compound. It is important to consider, however, that most of the androgens in women, especially after menopause, are synthesized in peripheral intracrine tissues from the inactive precursors dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S) of adrenal origin. Much progress in this new area of endocrine physiology called intracrinology has followed the cloning and characterization of most of the enzymes responsible for the transformation of DHEA and DHEA-S into androgens and estrogens in peripheral target tissues, where the locally produced sex steroids are exerting their action in the same cells in which their synthesis takes place without significant diffusion into the circulation, thus seriously limiting the interpretation of serum levels of active sex steroids. The sex steroids made in peripheral tissues are then inactivated locally into more water-soluble compounds that diffuse into the general circulation where they can be measured. In a series of animal models, androgens and DHEA have been found to inhibit breast cancer development and growth and to stimulate bone formation. In clinical studies, DHEA has been found to increase bone mineral density and to stimulate vaginal maturation without affecting the endometrium, while improving well-being and libido with no significant side effects. The advantage of DHEA over other androgenic compounds is that DHEA, at physiological doses, is converted into androgens and/or estrogens only in the specific intracrine target tissues that possess the appropriate physiological enzymatic machinery, thus limiting the action of the sex steroids to those tissues possessing the tissue-specific profile of expression of the genes responsible for their formation, while leaving the other tissues unaffected and thus minimizing the potential side effects observed with androgens or estrogens administered systemically. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sherwin BB
Estrogen and cognitive functioning in women.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Apr;24(2):133-51.
Research in basic neuroscience has provided biological plausibility for the hypothesis that estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) would protect against cognitive aging in healthy women. The weight of the evidence from randomized controlled trials of estrogen and cognition in women shows that this hormone preferentially protects verbal memory in postmenopausal women, whereas findings from observational studies are less consistent and show a more diffuse effect of estrogen on a range of cognitive functions. There is fairly consistent evidence from epidemiological studies that ERT significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in women. On the other hand, findings from controlled treatment trials of women diagnosed with probable AD failed to show that physiological doses of ERT ameliorate existing deficits in cognitive functioning and/or prevent further deterioration in memory that inevitably occurs in these women over time. Finally, an accumulating body of evidence is beginning to suggest that the immediate postmenopausal period may constitute a critical window for treatment with ERT that maximizes its potential to protect against cognitive decline with aging and/or to reduce the risk of AD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hegedüs L, Bonnema SJ, Bennedbaek FN
Management of simple nodular goiter: current status and future perspectives.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Feb;24(1):102-32.
The simple nodular goiter, the etiology of which is multifactorial, encompasses the spectrum from the incidental asymptomatic small solitary nodule to the large intrathoracic goiter, causing pressure symptoms as well as cosmetic complaints. Its management is still the cause of considerable controversy. The mainstay in the diagnostic evaluation is related to functional and morphological characterization with serum TSH and (some kind of) imaging. Because malignancy is just as common in patients with a multinodular goiter as patients with a solitary nodule, we support the increasing use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (cytology). Most patients need no treatment after malignancy is ruled out. In case of cosmetic or pressure symptoms, the choice in multinodular goiter stands between surgery, which is still the first choice, and radioiodine if uptake is adequate. In addition to surgery, the solitary nodule, whether hot or cold, can be treated with percutaneous ethanol injection therapy. If hot, radioiodine is the therapy of choice. Randomized studies are scarce, and the side effects of nonsurgical therapy are coming into focus. Therefore, the use of the optimum option in the individual patient cannot at present be based on evidence. However, we are of the view that levothyroxine, although widely used, should no longer be recommended routinely for this condition. Within a few years, the introduction of recombinant human TSH and laser therapy may profoundly alter the nonsurgical treatment of simple nodular goiter. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shi Y, Taylor SI, Tan SL, Sonenberg N
When translation meets metabolism: multiple links to diabetes.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Feb;24(1):91-101.
Type 2 diabetes is a polygenic disorder characterized by multiple biochemical defects including transcriptional, translational, and posttranslational abnormalities. Although major progress has been made in elucidation of factors at the transcriptional and posttranslational levels, defects at the translational level remain elusive. Mutation of a kinase that regulates translation initiation has been implicated in the etiology of a monogenic form of diabetes known as Wolcott-Rallison syndrome. Characterization of mice rendered deficient in eukaryotic initiation factors has provided model systems to study the involvement of translation in regulating insulin synthesis and secretion, hepatic function, peripheral insulin resistance, and diabetic complications. Recent progress in the understanding of endoplasmic reticulum overload by unfolded proteins has begun to uncover mechanisms leading to pancreatic beta-cell exhaustion. Future advances in this area may lead to identification of the missing links in the pathogenesis of beta-cell failures due to conditions such as hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and long-term treatment with sulfonylureas, and thus may identify novel therapeutic targets for diabetes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Puigserver P, Spiegelman BM
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1 alpha): transcriptional coactivator and metabolic regulator.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Feb;24(1):78-90.
Investigations of biological programs that are controlled by gene transcription have mainly studied the regulation of transcription factors. However, there are examples in which the primary focus of biological regulation is at the level of a transcriptional coactivator. We have reviewed here the molecular mechanisms and biological programs controlled by the transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1 alpha). Key cellular signals that control energy and nutrient homeostasis, such as cAMP and cytokine pathways, strongly activate PGC-1 alpha. Once PGC-1 alpha is activated, it powerfully induces and coordinates gene expression that stimulates mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in brown fat, fiber-type switching in skeletal muscle, and multiple aspects of the fasted response in liver. The regulation of these metabolic and cell fate decisions by PGC-1 alpha is achieved through specific interaction with a variety of transcription factors such as nuclear hormone receptors, nuclear respiratory factors, and muscle-specific transcription factors. PGC-1 alpha therefore constitutes one of the first and clearest examples in which biological programs are chiefly regulated by a transcriptional coactivator in response to environmental stimuli. Finally, PGC-1 alpha's control of energy homeostasis suggests that it could be a target for anti-obesity or diabetes drugs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dohán O, De la Vieja A, Paroder V, Riedel C, Artani M, Reed M, Ginter CS, Carrasco N
The sodium/iodide Symporter (NIS): characterization, regulation, and medical significance.
Endocr Rev. 2003 Feb;24(1):48-77.
The Na(+)/I(-) symporter (NIS) is an integral plasma membrane glycoprotein that mediates active I(-) transport into the thyroid follicular cells, the first step in thyroid hormone biosynthesis. NIS-mediated thyroidal I(-) transport from the bloodstream to the colloid is a vectorial process made possible by the selective targeting of NIS to the basolateral membrane. NIS also mediates active I(-) transport in other tissues, including salivary glands, gastric mucosa, and lactating mammary gland, in which it translocates I(-) into the milk for thyroid hormone biosynthesis by the nursing newborn. NIS provides the basis for the effective diagnostic and therapeutic management of thyroid cancer and its metastases with radioiodide. NIS research has proceeded at an astounding pace after the 1996 isolation of the rat NIS cDNA, comprising the elucidation of NIS secondary structure and topology, biogenesis and posttranslational modifications, transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation, electrophysiological analysis, isolation of the human NIS cDNA, and determination of the human NIS genomic organization. Clinically related topics include the analysis of congenital I(-) transport defect-causing NIS mutations and the role of NIS in thyroid cancer. NIS has been transduced into various kinds of cancer cells to render them susceptible to destruction with radioiodide. Most dramatically, the discovery of endogenous NIS expression in more than 80% of human breast cancer samples has raised the possibility that radioiodide may be a valuable novel tool in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Recent Articles in Endocrinology

Wu X, Iguchi T, Itoh N, Okamoto K, Takagi T, Tanaka K, Nakanishi T
Ascorbic acid transported by sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 stimulates steroidogenesis in human choriocarcinoma cells.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
Reduced vitamin C (AA) is believed to be important for hormone synthesis, but its role in generating placental steroids needed to maintain pregnancy and fetal development is not clear. It is also not known whether AA enters placental cells via sodium-dependent vitamin C transporters (SVCTs) or whether the oxidized form, dehydroascorbic acid, is taken up by glucose transporters. To determine the steroidogenic effect of AA and the role of SVCT2 in AA-induced steroidogenesis, we tested the effects of AA treatment and SVCT2 knockdown on steroidogenesis in human choriocarcinoma cell lines. AA treatment of JEG-3, BeWo, and JAR cells for 48 h dose-dependently increased progesterone and 17beta-estradiol levels. In JEG-3 cells, AA increased the mRNA expression of P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (3beta-HSD1), and aromatase, key enzymes for steroidogenesis. Stable knockdown of SVCT2 in JEG-3 cells by retrovirally mediated RNA interference decreased the Vmax of AA uptake by approximately 50%, but Km values were not affected. SVCT2 knockdown in JEG-3 cells significantly suppressed the AA-induced mRNA expression of placental P450scc, 3beta-HSD1, and aromatase. This suppression of the AA-induced mRNA expression of steroidogenic enzymes subsequently decreased progesterone and 17beta-estradiol production. In addition, inhibition of MAPK kinase (MEK)-ERK signaling, which is a major pathway for AA-regulated gene expression, failed to affect AA-induced steroidogenesis. Our observations indicate that SVCT2-mediated AA uptake into cells is necessary for AA-induced steroidogenesis in human choriocarcinoma cell, but MEK-ERK signaling is not involved in AA-induced steroidogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Alonso A, Moreno M, Ordóńez P, Fernández R, Pérez C, Díaz F, Navarro A, Tolivia J, González C
Chronic estradiol treatment improves brain homeostasis during aging in female rats.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
Aging is associated with a reduction in metabolic function, insulin resistance, increased incidence of neurodegenerative diseases, and memory-cognitive dysfunction. In aging females, loss of gonadal function determines the beginning of the period of reduced metabolic function. Estrogens have neuroprotective effects, but the mechanisms by which they exert these effects remain unclear. The effects of estradiol treatment on the activation of the IRS-1 signaling pathway, the interactions between ERalpha and IRS-1 and the p85alpha subunit of PI3-k, together with the possible effects of estradiol treatment on Glut-3 and Glut-4 levels, were investigated in female rats. The level of expression of each glucose transporter was greater in control and estradiol-treated groups than in the ovariectomized group. Interactions of ERalpha46-IRS-1, ERalpha46-p85alpha, and p85alpha-IRS-1, as well as IRS-1 phosphorylation, appeared to increase with estradiol treatment. The results indicate that estradiol treatment improves some aspects of neuronal homeostasis that are affected by aging; this may indicate that estradiol has neuroprotective effects in female rats. Additional animal studies are required to clarify the neuroprotective role of estradiol in relation to other important molecules involved in the IRS-1-PI3-k signaling pathway. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wagner GC, Johnston JD, Clarke IJ, Lincoln GA, Hazlerigg DG
Redefining the limits of day length responsiveness in a seasonal mammal.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
At temperate latitudes, increases in day length in the spring promote the summer phenotype. In mammals, this long-day response is mediated by decreasing nightly duration of melatonin secretion by the pineal gland. This affects adenylate cyclase signal transduction and clock gene expression in melatonin responsive cells in the pars tuberalis of the pituitary, which control seasonal prolactin secretion. To define the photoperiodic limits of the mammalian long day response, we transferred short day (8-h light / 24-h) acclimated Soay sheep to various longer photoperiods simulating those occurring from spring to summer in their northerly habitat (57 degrees N). Locomotor activity and plasma melatonin rhythms remained synchronised to the light-dark cycle in all photoperiods. Surprisingly, transfer to 16-h light/day had a greater effect on prolactin secretion and oestrus activity than shorter (12-h) or longer (20 and 22-h) photoperiods. The 16-h photoperiod also had the largest effect on expression of circadian (per1) and neuroendocrine output (betaTSH) genes in the pars tuberalis, and on kisspeptin gene expression in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, which modulates reproductive activity. This "critical photoperiodic window" of responsiveness to long days in mammals is predicted by a model wherein adenylate cyclase sensitisation and clock gene phasing effects of melatonin combine to control neuroendocrine output. This adaptive mechanism may be related to the latitude of origin and the timing of the seasonal transitions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aragno M, Mastrocola R, Alloatti G, Vercellinatto I, Bardini P, Geuna S, Catalano MG, Danni O, Boccuzzi G
Oxidative Stress Triggers Cardiac Fibrosis in the Heart of Diabetic Rats.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is characterized by myocyte loss and myocardial fibrosis, leading to decreased elasticity and impaired contractile function. The study examines the downstream signaling whereby oxidative stress, induced by hyperglycemia, leads to myocardial fibrosis and impaired contractile function in the left ventricle of diabetic rats. It also examines the effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which prevents the oxidative damage induced by hyperglycemia in experimental models. DHEA was administered for 6 weeks in the diet (0.02%, w/w) to rats with STZ-induced diabetes. Oxidative balance, advanced glycated end products (AGEs) and AGE receptors, transcription factors NFk-B and AP-1, and profibrogenic growth factors (CTGF and TGFbeta-1) were determined in the left ventricle of treated and untreated STZ-diabetic rats. Structural and ultra-structural changes, and the contractile force developed by electrically-driven papillary muscles, under basal conditions and after stimulation with isoproterenol, were also evaluated. Oxidative stress induced by hyperglycemia increased AGEs and AGE-receptors and triggered a cascade of signaling, eventually leading to interstitial fibrosis. DHEA treatment, by improving oxidative balance, counteracted the enhanced AGE-receptor activation and increase of pro-fibrogenic factors, and restored tissue levels of collagen I, collagen IV and fibronectin to those of control animals. Moreover, DHEA completely restored the contractility of isolated papillary muscle. Oxidative stress led to cardiac fibrosis, the most important pathogenetic factor of the heart's impaired functional integrity in diabetes. Structural and ultra-structural changes and impairment of muscle function induced by experimental diabetes were minimized by DHEA treatment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wakade C, Khan MM, De Sevilla LM, Zhang QG, Mahesh VB, Brann DW
Tamoxifen Neuroprotection in Cerebral Ischemia Involves Attenuation of Kinase Activation and Superoxide Production and Potentiation of Mitochondrial Superoxide Dismutase.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
The purpose of this study was to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal death following focal cerebral ischemia and the neuroprotective effects of tamoxifen (TMX). The phosphorylation state of 31 protein kinases/signaling proteins and superoxide anion (O2(-)) production in the contralateral and ipsilateral cortex was measured following permanent MCAO (pMCAO) in ovariectomized rats treated with placebo or TMX. The study revealed that pMCAO modulated the phosphorylation of a number of kinases/proteins in the penumbra at 2h after pMCAO. Of significant interest, p-ERK1,2 was elevated significantly following pMCAO. TMX attenuated the elevation of pERK-1,2, an effect correlated with reduced infarct size. In situ detection of O2(-) production showed a significant elevation at 1-2h post-pMCAO in the ischemic cortex with enhanced oxidative damage detected at 24h. ERK activation may be downstream of free radicals, a suggestion supported by the findings that cells positive for O2(-) had high pERK activation, and that an SOD mimetic, tempol significantly attenuated pERK activation following MCAO. TMX treatment significantly reduced the MCAO-induced elevation of O2(-) production, oxidative damage and proapoptotic caspase-3 activation. Additionally, pMCAO induced a significant reduction in the levels of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), which scavenge O2(-,) an effect largely prevented by TMX treatment - thus providing a potential mechanistic basis for the antioxidant effects of TMX. As a whole, these studies suggest that TMX neuroprotection may be achieved via an antioxidant mechanism that involves enhancement of primarily MnSOD levels, with a corresponding reduction of O2(-) production, and downstream kinase and caspase-3 activation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ubuka T, Kim S, Huang YC, Reid J, Jiang J, Osugi T, Chowdhury VS, Tsutsui K, Bentley GE
Gonadotropin-inhibitory Hormone Neurons Interact Directly with Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone-I and -II Neurons in European Starling Brain.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a hypothalamic dodecapeptide (SIKPSAYLPLRF-NH2) which directly inhibits gonadotropin synthesis and release from quail pituitary. The action of GnIH is mediated by a novel G protein-coupled receptor. This gonadotropin-inhibitory system may be widespread in vertebrates, at least birds and mammals. In these higher vertebrates, histological evidences suggest contact of GnIH immunoreactive axon terminals with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, thus indicating direct regulation of GnRH neuronal activity by GnIH. In this study we investigated the interaction of GnIH and GnRH-I and -II neurons in European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) brain. Cloned starling GnIH precursor cDNA encoded three peptides which possess characteristic LPXRF-amide (X = L or Q) motifs at the C-termini. Starling GnIH was further identified as SIKPFANLPLRF-NH2 by mass spectrometry combined with immunoaffinity purification. GnIH neurons, identified by in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunocytochemistry (ICC), were clustered in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. GnIH immunoreactive fiber terminals were present in the external layer of the median eminence in addition to the preoptic area and midbrain, where GnRH-I and GnRH-II neuronal cell bodies exist, respectively. GnIH axon terminals on GnRH-I and -II neurons were shown by GnIH and GnRH double-label ICC. Further, the expression of starling GnIH receptor mRNA was identified in both GnRH-I and GnRH-II neurons by ISH combined with GnRH ICC. The cellular localization of GnIH receptor has not previously been identified in any vertebrate brain. Thus GnIH may regulate reproduction of vertebrates by directly modulating GnRH-I and GnRH-II neuronal activity, in addition to influencing the pituitary gland. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Banu SK, Lee J, Satterfield MC, Spencer TE, Bazer FW, Arosh JA
MOLECULAR CLONING AND CHARACTERIZATION OF PROSTAGLANDIN TRANSPORTER IN OVINE ENDOMETRIUM: ROLE FOR MULTIPLE CELL SIGNALING PATHWAYS IN TRANSPORT OF PROSTAGLANDIN F2 ALPHA.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
In ruminants, endometrial prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) is the luteolytic hormone. Cellular transport of PGF2alpha in the uterine endometrium is critical for regulation of the estrous cycle. Molecular mechanisms responsible for control of PGF2alpha transport in endometrium during luteolysis are largely unknown. In the present study, we characterized the prostaglandin transporter (PGT) in ovine endometrium. Ovine PGT cDNA consists of 1935 nucleotides that encode 644 amino acids. In ovine endometria, PGT is highly expressed during the period of luteolysis, between Days 14 and 16 of the estrous cycle, in luminal and glandular epithelia. Pharmacological and genomic inhibition of PGT indicates that it is responsible for influx and efflux of PGF2alpha in ovine endometrial epithelial cells. Inhibition of PGT during the period of luteolysis prevents the release of oxytocin-induced PGF2alpha pulses and maintains functional corpus luteum and its secretion of progesterone. In ovine endometrial epithelial cells, protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) pathways are involved in regulating the influx of PGF2alpha whereas epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathways are implicated in regulation of influx and efflux of PGF2alpha. The extracellular regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway is associated with efflux of PGF2alpha while Jun-amino-terminal kinase /stress-activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK) pathways are involved in both efflux and influx of PGF2alpha. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways are not involved in either influx or efflux of PGF2alpha in ovine endometrial epithelial cells. These are the first results to demonstrate a functional role for PGT in regulation of PGF2alpha efflux and influx in ovine endometrial cells that influence luteolytic mechanisms in ruminants. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Callewaere C, Fernette B, Raison D, Mechighel P, Burlet A, Calas A, Kitabgi P, Parsadaniantz SM, Rostčne W
Cellular and subcellular evidence for neuronal interaction between the chemokine SDF-1/CXCL12 and vasopressin: Regulation in the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system of the Brattleboro rats.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 27;
We previously described a colocalization between arginine vasopressin (AVP) and the chemokine Stromal cell-Derived Factor 1alpha (SDF-1) in the magnocellular neurons of both the hypothalamic supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN) as well as in the posterior pituitary. SDF-1 physiologically affects the electrophysiological properties of AVP neurons and consequently AVP release. In the present study we confirm by confocal and electron microscopy that AVP and SDF-1 have a similar cellular distribution inside the neuronal cell and can be found in dense core vesicles in the nerve terminals in the posterior pituitary. Because the Brattleboro rats represent a good model of AVP deficiency, we tested in these animals the fate of SDF-1 and its receptor CXCR4. We identified by immunohistochemistry that both SDF-1 and CXCR4 immunoreactivity were strongly decreased in Brattleboro rats and were strictly correlated with the expression of AVP protein in SON, PVN and the posterior pituitary. We observed by real time PCR an increase in SDF-1mRNA in both heterozygous (HZ) and homozygous (DI) rats. The effect on SDF-1/CXCR4 system was not linked to peripheral modifications of kidney water balance since it could not be restored by chronic infusion of deamino-8D-ariginine-vasopressin, an AVP V2-receptor agonist. These original data further suggest that SDF-1 may play an essential role in the regulation of water balance. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dubé PE, Rowland KJ, Brubaker PL
Glucagon-like peptide-2 activates {beta}-catenin signaling in the mouse intestinal crypt: Role of insulin-like growth factor-1.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Chronic administration of glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) induces intestinal growth and crypt cell proliferation through an indirect mechanism requiring insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). However, the intracellular pathways through which IGF-1 mediates GLP-2-induced epithelial tropic signaling remain undefined. As beta-catenin and Akt are important regulators of crypt cell proliferation, we hypothesized that GLP-2 activates these signaling pathways through an IGF-1-dependent mechanism. Fasted mice were administered Gly(2)-GLP-2 or LR(3)-IGF-1 (positive control), for 0.5h to 4h. Nuclear translocation of beta-catenin in non-Paneth crypt cells was assessed by immunohistochemistry, and expression of its downstream proliferative marker, c-myc, by qRT-PCR. Akt phosphorylation and activation of its targets, GSK-3beta and caspase-3, were determined by western blot. IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and IGF-1 signaling were blocked by pre-administration of NVP-AEW541 and through the use of IGF-1 knock-out mice, respectively. GLP-2 increased beta-catenin nuclear translocation in non-Paneth crypt cells by 72 +/- 17% (P < 0.05), and increased mucosal c-myc mRNA expression by 90 +/- 20% (P < 0.05), with similar results observed with IGF-1. This effect of GLP-2 was prevented by blocking the IGF-1R, as well as by ablation of IGF-1 signaling. GLP-2 also produced a time- and dose-dependent activation of Akt in the intestinal mucosa (P < 0.01), most notably in the epithelium. This action was reduced by IGF-1R inhibition, but not by IGF-1 knockout. Acute administration of GLP-2 activates beta-catenin and proliferative signaling in non-Paneth murine intestinal crypt cells, as well as Akt signaling in the mucosa. However, IGF-1 is required only for the GLP-2-induced alterations in beta-catenin. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Minnaard-Huiban M, Emmen JM, Roumen L, Beugels IP, Cohuet GM, van Essen H, Ruijters E, Pieterse K, Hilbers PA, Ottenheijm HC, Plate R, de Gooyer ME, Smits JF, Hermans JJ
Fadrozole Reverses Cardiac Fibrosis in SHHF Rats: Discordant Enantioselectivity Versus Reduction of Plasma Aldosterone.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Reversal of cardiac fibrosis is a major determinant of the salutary effects of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists in heart failure. Recently, R-fadrozole was coined as an aldosterone biosynthesis inhibitor, offering an appealing alternative to mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists to block aldosterone action. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of R- and S-fadrozole on plasma aldosterone and urinary aldosterone excretion rate and to compare their effectiveness versus the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist potassium canrenoate to reverse established cardiac fibrosis. Male lean spontaneously hypertensive heart failure (SHHF) rats (40 weeks) were treated for 8 weeks by subcutaneous infusions of low (0.24 mg/kg.day) or high (1.2 mg/kg.day) doses of R- or S-fadrozole or by potassium canrenoate via drinking water (7.5 mg/kg.day). At the high dose, plasma aldosterone levels were decreased similarly by R- and S-fadrozole, while urinary aldosterone excretion rate was only reduced by S-fadrozole. In contrast, whereas at the high dose R-fadrozole effectively reversed pre-existent left ventricular interstitial fibrosis by 50% (versus 42% for canrenoate), S-fadrozole was devoid of an antifibrotic effect. The low doses of the fadrozole enantiomers did not change cardiac fibrosis or plasma aldosterone but similarly reduced urinary aldosterone excretion rate. In conclusion, R-fadrozole may possess considerable therapeutic merit because of its potent antifibrotic actions in the heart. However, the observed discordance between the aldosterone-lowering and antifibrotic effects of the fadrozole enantiomers raises some doubt about the mechanism by which R-fadrozole diminishes cardiac collagen and about the generality of the concept of lowering aldosterone levels to treat the diseased heart. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Thomas FH, Wilson H, Silvestri A, Fraser HM
Thrombospondin-1 Expression is increased during Follicular Atresia in the Primate Ovary.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Thrombospondin (TSP)-1 is an anti-angiogenic extracellular matrix glycoprotein that modulates several aspects of cellular function. The aim of this study was to determine the pattern of TSP-1 mRNA and protein expression, as well as expression of its receptor CD36 in the marmoset ovary, and to investigate the effects of inhibition of gonadotropins or VEGF activity on TSP-1 and CD36 expression in vivo. GnRH antagonist or VEGF Trap, a soluble decoy receptor, was administered on Day 0 of the follicular phase of the cycle, and ovaries were collected at the end of the follicular phase (Day 10). TSP-1 mRNA and protein was present in granulosa cells of preantral and antral follicles, with the highest staining at the late secondary and tertiary stages. Moreover, expression of TSP-1 mRNA and protein was significantly increased in tertiary follicles undergoing atresia. CD36 protein was detected in granulosa cells of preantral and antral follicles, as well as in endothelial cells of large vessels. Inhibition of gonadotropin secretion or VEGF activity had no effect on TSP-1 expression; however, expression of CD36 protein was inhibited by the VEGF Trap. In conclusion, TSP-1 may be involved in the cessation of angiogenesis in follicles undergoing atresia; alternatively, TSP-1 may act on granulosa and/or endothelial cells to promote follicular atresia in the ovary. Angiogenesis is likely to involve a balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic factors. Our results suggest that loss of VEGF activity does not regulate TSP-1 expression directly, but may influence TSP-1 activity via downregulation of the CD36 receptor. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Damdimopoulos AE, Spyrou G, Gustafsson JA
Ligands Differentially Modify the Nuclear Mobility of Estrogen Receptors {alpha} and {beta}
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Signaling of nuclear receptors depends on the structure of their ligands, different ligands eliciting different responses. In this study using a comparative analysis, an array of ligands was examined for effects on ERalpha and ERbeta mobility. Our results indicated that these two receptors share similarities in response to some ligands but differ significantly in response to others. Our results suggest that for ERalpha, ligands can be classified into three distinct groups: 1. Ligands that do not affect the mobility of the receptor; 2. ligands that cause a moderate effect and 3. ligands that strongly impact mobility of ERalpha. Interestingly, we found that for ERbeta such a classification was not possible as ERbeta ligands caused a wider spectrum of responses. One of the main differences between the two receptors was the response towards the anti-estrogens ICI and raloxifene which was not attributable to differential sub-nuclear localization or different conformations of helix 12 in the C-terminal domain. We showed that both of these ligands caused a robust phenotype, leading to an almost total immobilization of ERalpha, while ERbeta retained its mobility; we provide evidence that the mobility of the two receptors depends upon the function of the proteosome machinery. This novel finding that ERbeta retains its mobility in the presence of anti-estrogens, could be important for its ability to regulate genes that do not contain classic ERE sites and do not require DNA binding and could be used in the investigation of ligands that show ER subtype specificity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang T, Wang Y, Kontani Y, Kobayashi Y, Sato Y, Mori N, Yamashita H
Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a UCP1-independent manner: Involvement of anti-adipogenic mechanism and ERK/MAPK signaling.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Evodiamine is an alkaloidal compound with anti-obesity effects that have been thought to be due to uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) thermogenesis similar to the effects of capsaicin, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To clarify the mechanisms, we first examined whether the anti-obesity effect of evodiamine could be attributed to the involvement of UCP1. When UCP1-KO mice were fed a high fat diet with 0.03% evodiamine (w/w) for 2 months, the increases in body weight, adiposity, and the serum levels of leptin and insulin were reduced in a manner indistinguishable from control mice fed a high fat diet with evodiamine, suggesting that evodiamine triggered a UCP1-independent mechanism to prevent diet-induced obesity. By using preadipocyte cultures, we found that evodiamine, but not capsaicin, increased phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) / mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), reduced the expression of transcription factors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, and strongly inhibited adipocyte differentiation. Evodiamine treatment also reduced insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt, a crucial regulator of adipocyte differentiation; and the reduction of phosphorylated-Akt and augmentation of phosphorylated-ERK were reversed by blockade of the MAPK kinase (MEK)/MAPK signaling pathway, restoring adipogenesis in the cultures. The changes in ERK and Akt phosphorylation levels were also observed in white adipose tissues of UCP1-KO mice fed the evodiamine diet. These findings suggest that evodiamine has a potential to prevent the development of diet-induced obesity in part by inhibiting adipocyte differentiation through ERK activation and its negative cross-talk with the insulin signaling pathway. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Santos SJ, Haslam SZ, Conrad SE
Estrogen and Progesterone are Critical Regulators of Stat5a Expression in the Mouse Mammary Gland.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
Signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)5a is a well-established regulator of mammary gland development. Several pathways for activating Stat5a have been identified, but little is known about the mechanisms that regulate its expression in this tissue. In this report, we used immunofluorescent staining to examine Stat5a expression in mammary epithelial cells during normal development and in response to treatment with the ovarian hormones estrogen (E) and progesterone (P). Stat5a was present at very low levels in the pre-pubertal gland, and was highly induced in a subset of luminal epithelial cells during puberty. The percentage of positive cells increased in adult virgin, pregnant, and lactating animals, dropped dramatically during involution and then increased again post-weaning. Ovariectomy ablated Stat5a expression in virgin animals, and treatment with both E and P was necessary to restore it. Double labeling experiments in animals treated with E+P for three days demonstrated that Stat5a was localized exclusively to cells containing both estrogen and progesterone receptors. Together, these results identify a novel role for E and P in inducing Stat5a expression in the virgin mammary gland, and suggest that these hormones act at the cellular level through their cognate receptors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ziegler CG, Sicard F, Lattke P, Bornstein SR, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Krug AW
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) induces a neuroendocrine phenotype in nerve growth factor (NGF)-stimulated chromaffin pheochromocytoma PC12 cells.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
The adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced in the inner zone of the adrenal cortex which is in direct contact to adrenal medullary cells. Due to their close anatomical proximity and tightly intermingled cell borders a direct interaction of adrenal cortex and medulla has been postulated. In humans congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase (OH) deficiency results in androgen excess accompanied by severe adrenomedullary dysplasia and chromaffin cell dysfunction. Therefore, in order to define the mechanisms of DHEA action on chromaffin cell function, we investigated its effect on cell survival and differentiation processes on a molecular level in the chromaffin cell line PC12. DHEA lessened the positive effect of NGF on cell survival and neuronal differentiation. NGF-mediated induction of a neuronal phenotype was inhibited by DHEA as indicated by reduced neurite outgrowth and decreased expression of neuronal marker proteins such as SNAP-25 and VAMP-2. We examined whether DHEA may stimulate the cells towards a neuroendocrine phenotype. DHEA significantly elevated catecholamine release from unstimulated PC12 cells in the presence, but not in the absence of NGF. Accordingly, DHEA enhanced the expression of the neuroendocrine marker protein chromogranin A. Next, we explored the possible molecular mechanisms of DHEA and NGF interaction. We demonstrate that NGF-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation was reduced by DHEA. In summary, our data show that DHEA influences cell survival and differentiation processes in PC12 cells, possibly by interacting with the ERK1/2 MAPK pathway. DHEA drives NGF-stimulated cells towards a neuroendocrine phenotype, suggesting that the interaction of intraadrenal steroids and growth factors is required for the maintenance of an intact adrenal medulla. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cecconi S, Mauro A, Capacchietti G, Berardinelli P, Bernabň N, Di Vincenzo AR, Mattioli M, Barboni B
MEIOTIC MATURATION OF INCOMPETENT PREPUBERTAL SHEEP OOCYTES IS INDUCED BY PARACRINE FACTOR(S) RELEASED BY GONADOTROPIN-STIMULATED OOCYTE-CUMULUS CELL COMPLEXES AND INVOLVES MAPK ACTIVATION.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
In this study, sheep oocyte-cumulus cell complexes derived from medium antral follicles (M-OCC) were in vitro matured alone or in co-culture with complexes derived from small antral follicles (S-OCC) to investigate the contribution of cumulus cells (CC) and oocytes to the process of oocyte meiotic maturation and cumulus expansion (CE). Experiments were conducted with or without gonadotropins (FSH/LH). Regardless of culture conditions, about 12% of S-oocytes reached the metaphase II stage (MII), and S-CC showed a low degree of CE. In contrast, both maturational processes were significantly stimulated by gonadotropins in M-OCC. However, about 48% of S-oocytes progressed to MII and S-CC expanded following co-culture with gonadotropin-stimulated M-OCC and M-CC, but not with mural granulosa cells. Both maturational processes were inhibited when S-OCC were co-cultured with M-denuded oocytes, or when S-denuded oocytes were co-cultured with M-CC. The capacity of these paracrine factor(s) to activate MAPK pathway in somatic and germ cells of S-complexes was investigated. It was found that MEK/MAPK phosphorylation levels in M-OCC but not in S-OCC were significantly increased by gonadotropins, firstly in cumulus cells and later in the oocytes. Kinase phosphorylations were activated only in S-oocytes co-cultured with M-OCC or M-CC. These results demonstrate that soluble factor(s) specifically produced by M-CC are capable to induce meiotic maturation and CE in S-complexes by acting via cumulus cells. These factor(s) can induce MAPK activation only in S-oocytes, whose meiotic arrest could be due to the inability of surrounding cumulus cells to respond to gonadotropin stimulation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Poncin S, Gérard AC, Boucquey M, Senou M, Calderon PB, Knoops B, Lengelé B, Many MC, Colin IM
Oxidative stress in the thyroid gland: from harmlessness to hazard depending on the iodine content.
Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 20;
In basal conditions, thyroid epithelial cells produce moderate amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are physiologically required for thyroid hormone synthesis. They are not necessarily toxic because they are continuously detoxified either in the process of hormone synthesis or by endogenous antioxidant systems. Using a rat model of goiter formation and iodine-induced involution, we found that compared to control thyroids, the oxidative stress, assessed by the detection of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), was strongly enhanced both in hyperplastic and involuting glands. The level of antioxidant defences (glutathione peroxidases and peroxiredoxins) was also up-regulated in both groups, although somewhat less in the latter. Of note, increased oxidative stress came along with an inflammatory reaction, but only in involuting glands suggesting that although antioxidant systems can adequately buffer heavy load of ROS in goiter, it is not necessarily the case in involuting glands. The effects of 15 deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J2 (15dPGJ2), an endogenous ligand of PPARgamma with anti-inflammatory properties, were then investigated in involuting glands. This drug strongly reduced both 4-HNE staining and the inflammatory reaction indicating that it can block iodine-induced cytotoxicity. When experiments were carried out with the PPARgamma antagonist, bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), 15dPGJ2-induced effects remained unchanged suggesting that these effects were not mediated by PPARgamma. In conclusion, thyroid epithelial cells are well adapted to endogenously produced ROS in basal and goitrous conditions. In iodine-induced goiter involution, the increased oxidative stress is accompanied by inflammation that can be blocked by 15dPGJ2 through PPARgamma-independent protective effects. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Madiraju SR, Poitout V
G protein-coupled receptors and insulin secretion: 119 and counting.
Endocrinology. 2007 Jun;148(6):2598-600. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chu ZL, Jones RM, He H, Carroll C, Gutierrez V, Lucman A, Moloney M, Gao H, Mondala H, Bagnol D, Unett D, Liang Y, Demarest K, Semple G, Behan DP, Leonard J
A role for beta-cell-expressed G protein-coupled receptor 119 in glycemic control by enhancing glucose-dependent insulin release.
Endocrinology. 2007 Jun;148(6):2601-9.
Pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction is a hallmark event in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Injectable peptide agonists of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor have shown significant promise as antidiabetic agents by virtue of their ability to amplify glucose-dependent insulin release and preserve pancreatic beta-cell mass. These effects are mediated via stimulation of cAMP through beta-cell GLP-1 receptors. We report that the Galpha(s)-coupled receptor GPR119 is largely restricted to insulin-producing beta-cells of pancreatic islets. Additionally, we show here that GPR119 functions as a glucose-dependent insulinotropic receptor. Unlike receptors for GLP-1 and other peptides that mediate enhanced glucose-dependent insulin release, GPR119 was suitable for the development of potent, orally active, small-molecule agonists. The GPR119-specific agonist AR231453 significantly increased cAMP accumulation and insulin release in both HIT-T15 cells and rodent islets. In both cases, loss of GPR119 rendered AR231453 inactive. AR231453 also enhanced glucose-dependent insulin release in vivo and improved oral glucose tolerance in wild-type mice but not in GPR119-deficient mice. Diabetic KK/A(y) mice were also highly responsive to AR231453. Orally active GPR119 agonists may offer significant promise as novel antihyperglycemic agents acting in a glucose-dependent fashion. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shiraishi K, Ascoli M
Lutropin/choriogonadotropin stimulate the proliferation of primary cultures of rat Leydig cells through a pathway that involves activation of the extracellularly regulated kinase 1/2 cascade.
Endocrinology. 2007 Jul;148(7):3214-25.
Primary cultures of progenitor and immature rat Leydig cells were established from the testes of 21- and 35-d-old rats, respectively. The cell population remained homogeneous after 4-6 d in culture as judged by staining for 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, but the cells were unable to bind 125I-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or to respond to hCG with classical LH receptor (LHR)-mediated responses, including cAMP and inositol phosphate accumulation, steroid biosynthesis, or the phosphorylation of ERK1/2. Infection of primary cultures with recombinant adenovirus coding for beta-galactosidase showed that approximately 65% of the cells are infected. Infection with adenovirus coding for the human LHR (hLHR) allowed for expression of the hLHR at a density of approximately 25,000 receptors per cell and allowed the cells to respond to hCG with increases in cAMP and inositol phosphate accumulation, steroid biosynthesis, and the phosphorylation of ERK1/2. Although progenitor and immature cells were able to respond to hCG with an increase in progesterone, only the immature cells responded with an increase in testosterone. In addition to these classical LHR-mediated responses, the primary cultures of progenitor or immature rat Leydig cells expressing the recombinant hLHR proliferated robustly when incubated with hCG, and this proliferative response was sensitive to an inhibitor of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. These studies establish a novel experimental paradigm that can be used to study the proliferative response of Leydig cells to LH/CG. We conclude that activation of the LHR-provoked Leydig cell proliferation requires activation of the ERK1/2 cascade. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lazarenko OP, Rzonca SO, Hogue WR, Swain FL, Suva LJ, Lecka-Czernik B
Rosiglitazone induces decreases in bone mass and strength that are reminiscent of aged bone.
Endocrinology. 2007 Jun;148(6):2669-80.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) regulates both glucose metabolism and bone mass. Recent evidence suggests that the therapeutic modulation of PPARgamma activity with antidiabetic thiazolidinediones elicits unwanted effects on bone. In this study, the effects of rosiglitazone on the skeleton of growing (1 month), adult (6 month), and aged (24 month) C57BL/6 mice were determined. Aging was identified as a confounding factor for rosiglitazone-induced bone loss that correlated with the increased expression of PPARgamma in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. The bone of young growing mice was least affected, although a significant decrease in bone formation rate was noted. In both adult and aged animals, bone volume was significantly decreased by rosiglitazone. In adult animals, bone loss correlated with attenuated bone formation, whereas in aged animals, bone loss was associated with increased osteoclastogenesis, mediated by increased receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) expression. PPARgamma activation led to changes in marrow structure and function such as a decrease in osteoblast number, an increase in marrow fat cells, an increase in osteoclast number, and a loss of the multipotential character of marrow mesenchymal stem cells. In conclusion, rosiglitazone induces changes in bone reminiscent of aged bone and appears to induce bone loss by altering the phenotype of marrow mesenchymal stem cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yuan G, Deng J, Wang T, Zhao C, Xu X, Wang P, Voltz JW, Edin ML, Xiao X, Chao L, Chao J, Zhang XA, Zeldin DC, Wang DW
Tissue kallikrein reverses insulin resistance and attenuates nephropathy in diabetic rats by activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B and adenosine 5'-monophosphate-activated protein kinase signaling pathways.
Endocrinology. 2007 May;148(5):2016-26.
We previously reported that iv delivery of the human tissue kallikrein (HK) gene reduced blood pressure and plasma insulin levels in fructose-induced hypertensive rats with insulin resistance. In the current study, we evaluated the potential of a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector expressing the HK cDNA (rAAV-HK) as a sole, long-term therapy to correct insulin resistance and prevent renal damage in streptozotocin-induced type-2 diabetic rats. Administration of streptozotocin in conjunction with a high-fat diet induced systemic hypertension, diabetes, and renal damage in rats. Delivery of rAAV-HK resulted in a long-term reduction in blood pressure, and fasting plasma insulin was significantly lower in the rAAV-HK group than in the control group. The expression of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase p110 catalytic subunit and the levels of phosphorylation at residue Thr-308 of Akt, insulin receptor B, and AMP-activated protein kinases were significantly decreased in organs from diabetic animals. These changes were significantly attenuated after rAAV-mediated HK gene therapy. Moreover, rAAV-HK significantly decreased urinary microalbumin excretion, improved creatinine clearance, and increased urinary osmolarity. HK gene therapy also attenuated diabetic renal damage as assessed by histology. Together, these findings demonstrate that rAAV-HK delivery can efficiently attenuate hypertension, insulin resistance, and diabetic nephropathy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yu J, Liu J, Sun Y, Liu Y, Zhu T, Xie Y, Zha J, Ding G
WITHDRAWN: Mechanisms of the Adipogenic Effect of 11{beta}-hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1: Relationship with the Glucocorticoid Receptor and Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor {gamma} Pathway.
Endocrinology. 2007 Apr 12;
This manuscript was withdrawn at the request of the authors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pu Y, Huang L, Birch L, Prins GS
Androgen regulation of prostate morphoregulatory gene expression: Fgf10-dependent and -independent pathways.
Endocrinology. 2007 Apr;148(4):1697-706.
Androgens are essential and sufficient for prostate gland morphogenesis; however, the downstream gene targets that mediate this action are unclear. To identify androgen-regulated genes involved in prostate development, we used short-term organ culture and examined the effect of testosterone on the expression of several critical prostate morphoregulatory genes. Rat ventral prostates (VP) and lateral prostates (LP) were collected at birth, and contralateral lobes were cultured for 18 h in the presence or absence of 10 nM testosterone with or without OH-flutamide to block residual androgens. Gene expression was quantitated using real-time RT-PCR. Although expression of Fgf10, Nkx3.1, and Ptc was increased in both prostate lobes, other genes were regulated by testosterone in a lobe-specific manner. This included up-regulation of epithelial genes FgfR2iiib, Shh, Hoxb13, and Bmp7 in the VP specifically and down-regulation of mesenchymal genes Wnt5a (VP) and Bmp4 (LP). Thus, in addition to stimulation of homeobox genes and paracrine-acting growth factors, androgens may positively regulate prostatic development through suppression of growth inhibitory genes. Because previous studies revealed a similar gene regulation pattern in response to exogenous Fgf10, experiments were performed to identify androgen-regulated genes mediated through Fgf10 signaling. Short-term VP and LP cultures with FgfR antagonist PD173074 and Mek inhibitor U0126 identified epithelial Shh and Hoxb13 up-regulation by androgens to be Fgf10-dependent. We propose that androgen regulation of prostate development is mediated through positive and negative regulation of multiple morphoregulatory genes acting in combination through complex gene networks. Lobe-specific responses may provide a developmental basis for prostate gland heterogeneity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zizzari P, Longchamps R, Epelbaum J, Bluet-Pajot MT
Obestatin partially affects ghrelin stimulation of food intake and growth hormone secretion in rodents.
Endocrinology. 2007 Apr;148(4):1648-53.
Administration of ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for the GH secretagogue receptor 1a (GHSR 1a), induces potent stimulating effects on GH secretion and food intake. However, more than 7 yr after its discovery, the role of endogenous ghrelin remains elusive. Recently, a second peptide, obestatin, also generated from proteolytic cleavage of preproghrelin has been identified. This peptide inhibits food intake and gastrointestinal motility but does not modify in vitro GH release from pituitary cells. In this study, we have reinvestigated obestatin functions by measuring plasma ghrelin and obestatin levels in a period of spontaneous feeding in ad libitum-fed and 24-h fasted mice. Whereas fasting resulted in elevated ghrelin levels, obestatin levels were significantly reduced. Exogenous obestatin per se did not modify food intake in fasted and fed mice. However, it inhibited ghrelin orexigenic effect that were evident in fed mice only. The effects of obestatin on GH secretion were monitored in superfused pituitary explants and in freely moving rats. Obestatin was only effective in vivo to inhibit ghrelin stimulation of GH levels. Finally, the relationship between octanoylated ghrelin, obestatin, and GH secretions was evaluated by iterative blood sampling every 20 min during 6 h in freely moving adult male rats. The half-life of exogenous obestatin (10 microg iv) in plasma was about 22 min. Plasma obestatin levels exhibited an ultradian pulsatility with a frequency slightly lower than octanoylated ghrelin and GH. Ghrelin and obestatin levels were not strictly correlated. In conclusion, these results show that obestatin, like ghrelin, is secreted in a pulsatile manner and that in some conditions; obestatin can modulate exogenous ghrelin action. It remains to be determined whether obestatin modulates endogenous ghrelin actions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lecka-Czernik B, Ackert-Bicknell C, Adamo ML, Marmolejos V, Churchill GA, Shockley KR, Reid IR, Grey A, Rosen CJ
Activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) by rosiglitazone suppresses components of the insulin-like growth factor regulatory system in vitro and in vivo.
Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):903-11.
Rosiglitazone (Rosi) belongs to the class of thiazolidinediones (TZDs) that are ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma). Stimulation of PPARgamma suppresses bone formation and enhances marrow adipogenesis. We hypothesized that activation of PPARgamma down-regulates components of the IGF regulatory system, leading to impaired osteoblast function. Rosi treatment (1 microm) of a marrow stromal cell line (UAMS-33) transfected with empty vector (U-33/c) or with PPARgamma2 (U-33/gamma2) were analyzed by microarray. Rosi reduced IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-4, and the type I and II IGF receptor (IGF1R and IGF2R) expression at 72 h in U-33/gamma2 compared with U-33/c cells (P < 0.01); these findings were confirmed by RT-PCR. Rosi reduced secreted IGF-I from U-33/gamma2 cells by 75% (P < 0.05). Primary marrow stromal cells (MSCs) extracted from adult (8 months) and old (24 months) C57BL/6J (B6) mice were treated with Rosi (1 microm) for 48 h. IGF-I, IGFBP-4, and IGF1R transcripts were reduced in Rosi-treated MSCs compared with vehicle (P < 0.01) and secreted IGF-I was also suppressed (P < 0.05). B6 mice treated with Rosi (20 mg/kg.d) for short duration (i.e. 4 d), and long term (i.e. 7 wk) had reduced serum IGF-I; this was accompanied by markedly suppressed IGF-I transcripts in the liver and peripheral fat of treated animals. To determine whether Rosi affected circulating IGF-I in humans, we measured serum IGF-I, IGFBP-2, and IGFBP-3 at four time points in 50 postmenopausal women randomized to either Rosi (8 mg/d) or placebo. Rosi-treated subjects had significantly lower IGF-I at 8 wk than baseline (-25%, P < 0.05), and at 16 wk their levels were reduced 14% vs. placebo (P = 0.15). We conclude that Rosi suppresses IGF-I expression in bone and liver; these changes could affect skeletal acquisition through endocrine and paracrine pathways. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lolait SJ, Stewart LQ, Jessop DS, Young WS, O'Carroll AM
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress in mice lacking functional vasopressin V1b receptors.
Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):849-56.
The role of arginine vasopressin (Avp) as an ACTH secretagogue is mediated by the Avp 1b receptor (Avpr1b) found on anterior pituitary corticotropes. Avp also potentiates the actions of CRH (Crh) and appears to be an important mediator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to chronic stress. To investigate the role of Avp in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress, we measured plasma ACTH and corticosterone (CORT) levels in Avpr1b knockout (KO) mice and wild-type controls in response to two acute (restraint and insulin administration) and one form of chronic (daily restraint for 14 d) stress. No significant difference was found in the basal plasma levels of ACTH and CORT between the two genotypes. Acute restraint (30 min) increased plasma ACTH and CORT to a similar level in both the Avpr1b mutant and wild-type mice. In contrast, plasma ACTH and CORT levels induced by hypoglycemia were significantly decreased in the Avpr1b KO mice when compared with wild-type littermates. There was no difference in the ACTH response to acute and chronic restraint in wild-type mice. In the Avpr1b KO group subjected to 14 sessions of daily restraint, plasma ACTH was decreased when compared with wild-type mice. On the other hand, the CORT elevations induced by restraint did not adapt in the Avpr1b KO or wild-type mice. The data suggest that the Avpr1b is required for the normal pituitary and adrenal response to some acute stressful stimuli and is necessary only for a normal ACTH response during chronic stress. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zoeller RT
Endocrine disruptors: do family lines carry an epigenetic record of previous generations' exposures?
Endocrinology. 2006 Dec;147(12):5513-4. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Anway MD, Leathers C, Skinner MK
Endocrine disruptor vinclozolin induced epigenetic transgenerational adult-onset disease.
Endocrinology. 2006 Dec;147(12):5515-23.
The fetal basis of adult disease is poorly understood on a molecular level and cannot be solely attributed to genetic mutations or a single etiology. Embryonic exposure to environmental compounds has been shown to promote various disease states or lesions in the first generation (F1). The current study used the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin (antiandrogenic compound) in a transient embryonic exposure at the time of gonadal sex determination in rats. Adult animals from the F1 generation and all subsequent generations examined (F1-F4) developed a number of disease states or tissue abnormalities including prostate disease, kidney disease, immune system abnormalities, testis abnormalities, and tumor development (e.g. breast). In addition, a number of blood abnormalities developed including hypercholesterolemia. The incidence or prevalence of these transgenerational disease states was high and consistent across all generations (F1-F4) and, based on data from a previous study, appears to be due in part to epigenetic alterations in the male germ line. The observations demonstrate that an environmental compound, endocrine disruptor, can induce transgenerational disease states or abnormalities, and this suggests a potential epigenetic etiology and molecular basis of adult onset disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chang HS, Anway MD, Rekow SS, Skinner MK
Transgenerational epigenetic imprinting of the male germline by endocrine disruptor exposure during gonadal sex determination.
Endocrinology. 2006 Dec;147(12):5524-41.
Embryonic exposure to the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin at the time of gonadal sex determination was previously found to promote transgenerational disease states. The actions of vinclozolin appear to be due to epigenetic alterations in the male germline that are transmitted to subsequent generations. Analysis of the transgenerational epigenetic effects on the male germline (i.e. sperm) identified 25 candidate DNA sequences with altered methylation patterns in the vinclozolin generation sperm. These sequences were identified and mapped to specific genes and noncoding DNA regions. Bisulfite sequencing was used to confirm the altered methylation pattern of 15 of the candidate DNA sequences. Alterations in the epigenetic pattern (i.e. methylation) of these genes/DNA sequences were found in the F2 and F3 generation germline. Therefore, the reprogramming of the male germline involves the induction of new imprinted-like genes/DNA sequences that acquire an apparent permanent DNA methylation pattern that is passed at least through the paternal allele. The expression pattern of several of the genes during embryonic development were found to be altered in the vinclozolin F1 and F2 generation testis. A number of the imprinted-like genes/DNA sequences identified are associated with epigenetic linked diseases. In summary, an endocrine disruptor exposure during embryonic gonadal sex determination was found to promote an alteration in the epigenetic (i.e. induction of imprinted-like genes/DNA sequences) programming of the male germline, and this is associated with the development of transgenerational disease states. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hewitt SC
The five W's of progesterone receptors A and B: now we know where and when.
Endocrinology. 2006 Dec;147(12):5501-2. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mote PA, Arnett-Mansfield RL, Gava N, deFazio A, Mulac-Jericevic B, Conneely OM, Clarke CL
Overlapping and distinct expression of progesterone receptors A and B in mouse uterus and mammary gland during the estrous cycle.
Endocrinology. 2006 Dec;147(12):5503-12.
In rodents, progesterone receptors (PRs) A and B have different and often nonoverlapping roles, and this study asked whether different activities of the PR proteins in mouse are related to differences in their expression in reproductive tissues. The individual expression of PRA and PRB was determined immunohistochemically in mammary gland and uterus during the estrous cycle or in response to endocrine manipulation. In the mammary gland, PRA and PRB were colocated in PR+ epithelial cells, with little change during the estrous cycle. In the uterus, PRA was not detected in luminal epithelium at any stage of the cycle, and PR+ luminal cells expressed only PRB. In the stroma and myometrium, PRA and PRB levels fluctuated with cyclical systemic hormone exposure. Observation of functional end points suggested that augmented stromal and/or myometrial PRA in proestrus inhibited estrogen receptor expression and epithelial proliferation. Colocation of PRA and PRB was hormonally regulated, and ovariectomy did not reproduce the expression of PRA and PRB in the uterus during the estrous cycle. Whereas PRB was the only PR in the luminal epithelium in cycling mice, ovariectomy restored PRA expression, resulting in PRA-PRB colocation. In stroma and myometrium, PRA and PRB colocated in PR+ cells, but ovariectomy reduced PRA levels more than PRB, resulting in PRB-only-expressing cells. This study has shown that nonoverlapping PRA and PRB expression in the uterus, in particular the lack of PRA, and expression of PRB only in the luminal epithelium throughout the estrous cycle, is likely to contribute to the distinct roles of PRA and PRB in the adult mouse. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Julien M, Magne D, Masson M, Rolli-Derkinderen M, Chassande O, Cario-Toumaniantz C, Cherel Y, Weiss P, Guicheux J
Phosphate stimulates matrix Gla protein expression in chondrocytes through the extracellular signal regulated kinase signaling pathway.
Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):530-7.
Whereas increasing evidence suggests that inorganic phosphate (Pi) may act as a signaling molecule in mineralization-competent cells, its mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. The aims of the present work were to determine whether Pi regulates expression of matrix Gla protein (MGP), a mineralization inhibitor, in growth plate chondrocytes and to identify the involved signaling pathways. Chondrogenic ATDC5 cells and primary growth plate chondrocytes were used. Messenger RNA and protein analyses were performed by quantitative PCR and Western blotting, respectively. The activation and role of MAPKs were, respectively, determined by Western blotting and the use of specific inhibitors. Immunohistological detection of ERK1/2 was performed in rib organ cultures from newborn mice. The results indicate that Pi markedly stimulates expression of MGP in ATDC5 cells and primary growth plate chondrocytes. Investigation of the involved intracellular signaling pathways reveals that Pi activates ERK1/2 in a cell-specific manner, because the stimulation was observed in ATDC5 and primary chondrocytes, MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts, and ST2 stromal cells, but not in L929 fibroblasts or C2C12 myogenic cells. Accordingly, immunohistological detection of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in rib growth plates revealed a marked signal in chondrocytes. Finally, a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor, UO126, blocks Pi-stimulated MGP expression in ATDC5 cells, indicating that ERK1/2 mediates, mainly, the effects of Pi. These data demonstrate, for the first time, that Pi regulates MGP expression in growth plate chondrocytes, thereby suggesting a key role for Pi and ERK1/2 in the regulation of bone formation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jager J, Grémeaux T, Cormont M, Le Marchand-Brustel Y, Tanti JF
Interleukin-1beta-induced insulin resistance in adipocytes through down-regulation of insulin receptor substrate-1 expression.
Endocrinology. 2007 Jan;148(1):241-51.
Inflammation is associated with obesity and insulin resistance. Proinflammatory cytokines produced by adipose tissue in obesity could alter insulin signaling and action. Recent studies have shown a relationship between IL-1beta level and metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. However, the ability of IL-1beta to alter insulin signaling and action remains to be explored. We demonstrated that IL-1beta slightly increased Glut 1 translocation and basal glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Importantly, we found that prolonged IL-1beta treatment reduced the insulin-induced glucose uptake, whereas an acute treatment had no effect. Chronic treatment with IL-1beta slightly decreased the expression of Glut 4 and markedly inhibited its translocation to the plasma membrane in response to insulin. This inhibitory effect was due to a decrease in the amount of insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 but not IRS-2 expression in both 3T3-L1 and human adipocytes. The decrease in IRS-1 amount resulted in a reduction in its tyrosine phosphorylation and the alteration of insulin-induced protein kinase B activation and AS160 phosphorylation. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK totally inhibited IL-1beta-induced down-regulation of IRS-1 mRNA. Moreover, IRS-1 protein expression and insulin-induced protein kinase B activation, AS160 phosphorylation, and Glut 4 translocation were partially recovered after treatment with the ERK inhibitor. These results demonstrate that IL-1beta reduces IRS-1 expression at a transcriptional level through a mechanism that is ERK dependent and at a posttranscriptional level independently of ERK activation. By targeting IRS-1, IL-1beta is capable of impairing insulin signaling and action, and could thus participate in concert with other cytokines, in the development of insulin resistance in adipocytes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Recent Articles in Molecular Endocrinology

Wang L, Huang J, Saha P, Kulkarni RN, Hu M, Kim Y, Park K, Chan L, Rajan AS, Lee I, Moore DD
Orphan receptor small heterodimer partner is an important mediator of glucose homeostasis.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2671-81.
The orphan receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP; NROB2) is a transcriptional repressor that inhibits nuclear receptor signaling in diverse metabolic pathways. Here, we report that SHP(-/-) mice exhibited hypoinsulinemia with age, which was associated with increased peripheral insulin sensitivity and increased response of isolated islets to glucose stimulation, yet maintain normal levels of blood glucose. Deficiency in SHP function resulted in up-regulation of glucose transporter 4 mRNA and glucose uptake in muscles, and overexpression of SHP in C2C12 cells inhibited both basal and peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) coactivator-1alpha-stimulated glucose transporter 4 expression and glucose uptake. SHP(-/-) hepatocytes showed markedly decreased basal glucose production in cultures, and SHP(-/-) livers had increased glycogen stores and were more sensitive to insulin inhibition of glucose output, which were concomitant with decreased expression for PPARgamma1, fatty acid translocase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and phosphoenol/pyruvate carboxykinase, and increased mRNAs for glucokinase and pyruvate kinase. In white fat, SHP deficiency resulted in up-regulation of genes involved in insulin sensitizing, including PPARgamma2 and adiponectin. We show that, at the transcriptional level, SHP directly represses adiponectin promoter activity by PPARgamma/liver receptor homolog-1. The results suggest that the increases in insulin sensitivity through multiple signaling pathways in muscle, liver, and fat, with an increase in islet secretory function, represent the complex mechanism whereby SHP deficiency leads to improvement in insulin sensitivity, secretion, and diabetes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Endocrine-related resources from the National Institutes of Health.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Jul;20(7):1699-702. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Robins T, Carlsson J, Sunnerhagen M, Wedell A, Persson B
Molecular model of human CYP21 based on mammalian CYP2C5: structural features correlate with clinical severity of mutations causing congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2946-64.
Enhanced understanding of structure-function relationships of human 21-hydroxylase, CYP21, is required to better understand the molecular causes of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. To this end, a structural model of human CYP21 was calculated based on the crystal structure of rabbit CYP2C5. All but two known allelic variants of missense type, a total of 60 disease-causing mutations and six normal variants, were analyzed using this model. A structural explanation for the corresponding phenotype was found for all but two mutants for which available clinical data are also discrepant with in vitro enzyme activity. Calculations of protein stability of modeled mutants were found to correlate inversely with the corresponding clinical severity. Putative structurally important residues were identified to be involved in heme and substrate binding, redox partner interaction, and enzyme catalysis using docking calculations and analysis of structurally determined homologous cytochrome P450s (CYPs). Functional and structural consequences of seven novel mutations, V139E, C147R, R233G, T295N, L308F, R366C, and M473I, detected in Scandinavian patients with suspected congenital adrenal hyperplasia of different severity, were predicted using molecular modeling. Structural features deduced from the models are in good correlation with clinical severity of CYP21 mutants, which shows the applicability of a modeling approach in assessment of new CYP21 mutations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Weaver AM, Silva CM
Modulation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b activity in breast cancer cells by mutation of tyrosines within the transactivation domain.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2392-405.
The signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins are latent transcription factors activated by a variety of cytokines and growth factors. Activation leads to phosphorylation on a conserved tyrosine residue. Although phosphorylation of STAT5b on Y699 is required for activation, it was previously shown that in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-overexpressing cell lines, three tyrosines (Y725, Y740, and Y743) in the STAT5b transactivation domain are also phosphorylated upon epidermal growth factor stimulation. The significance of these additional tyrosine phosphorylation sites was analyzed in the context of the human breast cancer cell line SKBr3, which overexpresses the EGFR and c-Src. When compared with wild-type STAT5b, mutation of Y725 decreased basal and epidermal growth factor-induced DNA synthesis. In contrast, mutation of Y740 and/or Y743 enhanced basal STAT5b Y699 phosphorylation, basal transcriptional activity, and basal DNA synthesis compared with wtSTAT5b. This indicates that Y699 and Y725 are positive regulators and Y740 and Y743 are negative regulators for STAT5b activity. Anti-phospho-Y740/743-specific antibodies demonstrated that the c-Src tyrosine kinase inhibits the phosphorylation of these two sites. Furthermore, Y740 and Y743 were not detectably phosphorylated in breast cancer cells overexpressing c-Src, but the Y740/743F mutant increased basal activity suggesting that the conformation of the transactivation domain is important in regulating STAT5b activity. Mechanistic insight into the inhibitory action of Y740 and Y743 may lead to the development of therapeutics that specifically modulate the activity of STAT5b in breast cancer and potentially other EGFR/c-Src-overexpressing cancers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dhananjayan SC, Ramamoorthy S, Khan OY, Ismail A, Sun J, Slingerland J, O'Malley BW, Nawaz Z
WW domain binding protein-2, an E6-associated protein interacting protein, acts as a coactivator of estrogen and progesterone receptors.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2343-54.
WW domain binding protein-2 (WBP-2) was cloned as an E6-associated protein interacting protein, and its role in steroid hormone receptors functions was investigated. We show that WBP-2 specifically enhanced the transactivation functions of progesterone receptor (PR) and estrogen receptor (ER), whereas it did not have any significant effect on the androgen receptor, glucocorticoid receptor, or the activation functions of p53 and VP-16. Depletion of endogenous WBP-2 with small interfering RNAs indicated that WBP-2 was required for the proper functioning of PR and ER. We also demonstrated that WBP-2 contains an intrinsic activation domain. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate the hormone-dependent recruitment of WBP-2 onto an estrogen-responsive promoter. Mutational analysis suggests that one of three polyproline (PY) motifs of WBP-2 is essential for its coactivation and intrinsic activation functions. We show that WBP-2 and E6-associated protein each enhance PR function, and their effect on PR action are additive when coexpressed, suggesting a common signaling pathway. In this study, we also demonstrate that the WBP-2 binding protein, Yes kinase-associated protein (YAP) enhances PR transactivation, but YAP's coactivation function is absolutely dependent on WBP-2. Taken together, our data establish the role of WBP-2 and YAP as coactivators for ER and PR transactivation pathways. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jankiewicz M, Groner B, Desrivičres S
Mammalian target of rapamycin regulates the growth of mammary epithelial cells through the inhibitor of deoxyribonucleic acid binding Id1 and their functional differentiation through Id2.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2369-81.
Organ development requires the integration of multiple extracellular signals to assure a proper balance between proliferation and differentiation and to achieve and maintain specialized functions. Considerable progress has been made in the study of hormones and growth factors and in the understanding of the regulated intracellular pathways and transcriptional events that contribute to mammogenesis. Cell culture experiments have pointed out crucial pathways and components, which were subsequently validated in vivo experiments. We found that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is essential for both growth and differentiation of mammary epithelial cells and that the action of mTOR is mediated through the induction of the helix-loop-helix transcriptional regulators Id1 and Id2. Pharmacological inhibition of mTOR activity in HC11 mammary epithelial cells reduced cellular proliferation and prevented the lactogenic hormone-induced expression of milk proteins. Treatment of female mice with rapamycin impaired mammary gland differentiation and milk protein synthesis. The effects of mTOR on proliferation and differentiation require the functions of the helix-loop-helix proteins Id1 and Id2. Rapamycin treatment of HC11 cells resulted in a suppression of Id1 expression and an inhibition of proliferation. This effect of rapamycin was reversed by the forced expression of Id1. Rapamycin also prevented the induction of Id2 by lactogenic hormones and milk protein gene expression. Expression of a Id2 transgene bypassed the requirement of mTOR activity for beta-casein induction. These data suggest that mTOR activity has distinguishable functions in the proliferative and the differentiated state of mammary epithelial cells: it is a prerequisite for proliferation through the induction of Id1 and for differentiation-specific gene expression through the induction of Id2. The relative strengths of these proliferation and differentiation signals reflected by the expression levels of the individual Id proteins are crucial to the functional life cycle of mammary epithelial cells and might be disturbed in tumorigenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang H, Bailey JS, Coss D, Lin B, Tsutsumi R, Lawson MA, Mellon PL, Webster NJ
Activin modulates the transcriptional response of LbetaT2 cells to gonadotropin-releasing hormone and alters cellular proliferation.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2909-30.
Both GnRH and activin are crucial for the correct function of pituitary gonadotrope cells. GnRH regulates LH and FSH synthesis and secretion and gonadotrope proliferation, whereas activin is essential for expression of FSH. Little is known, however, about the interplay of signaling downstream of these two hormones. In this study, we undertook expression profiling to determine how activin pretreatment alters the transcriptional response of LbetaT2 gonadotrope cells to GnRH stimulation. Activin treatment alone altered the transcriptional profile of 303 genes including inducing that of the 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase B1 gene that converts estrone to 17beta-estradiol, altering the sensitivity of the cells to estrone. Furthermore, activin had a dramatic effect on the response of LbetaT2 cells to GnRH. Hierarchical clustering of 2453 GnRH-responsive genes identified groups of genes the response of which to GnRH was either enhanced or blunted after activin treatment. Mapping of these genes to gene ontology classifications or signaling pathways highlighted significant differences in the classes of altered genes. In the presence of activin, GnRH regulates genes in pathways controlling cell energetics, cytoskeletal rearrangements, organelle organization, and mitosis in the absence of activin, but genes controlling protein processing, cell differentiation, and secretion. Therefore, we demonstrated that activin enhanced GnRH induction of p38MAPK activity, caused GnRH-dependent phosphorylation of p53, and reduced the ability of GnRH to cause G1 arrest. Thus, although activin alone changes a modest number of transcripts, activin pretreatment dramatically alters the response to GnRH from an antiproliferative response to a more differentiated, synthetic response appropriate for a secretory cell. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hardy DB, Janowski BA, Corey DR, Mendelson CR
Progesterone receptor plays a major antiinflammatory role in human myometrial cells by antagonism of nuclear factor-kappaB activation of cyclooxygenase 2 expression.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2724-33.
Spontaneous labor in women and in other mammals is likely mediated by a concerted series of biochemical events that negatively impact the ability of the progesterone receptor (PR) to regulate target genes that maintain myometrial quiescence. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that progesterone/PR inhibits uterine contractility by blocking nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation and induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a contractile gene that is up-regulated in labor. To uncover mechanisms for regulation of uterine COX-2, immortalized human fundal myometrial cells were treated with IL-1beta +/- progesterone. IL-1beta alone caused a marked up-regulation of COX-2 mRNA, whereas treatment with progesterone suppressed this induction. This was also observed in human breast cancer (T47D) cells. In both cell lines, this inhibitory effect of progesterone was blocked by RU486. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we observed that IL-1beta stimulated recruitment of NF-kappaB p65 to both proximal and distal NF-kappaB elements of the COX-2 promoter; these effects were diminished by coincubation with progesterone. The ability of progesterone to inhibit COX-2 expression in myometrial cells was associated with rapid induction of mRNA and protein levels of inhibitor of kappaBalpha, a protein that blocks NF-kappaB transactivation. Furthermore, small interfering RNA-mediated ablation of both PR-A and PR-B isoforms in T47D cells greatly enhanced NF-kappaB activation and COX-2 expression. These effects were observed in the absence of exogenous progesterone, suggesting a ligand-independent action of PR. Based on these findings, we propose that PR may inhibit NF-kappaB activation of COX-2 gene expression and uterine contractility via ligand-dependent and ligand-independent mechanisms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kabotyanski EB, Huetter M, Xian W, Rijnkels M, Rosen JM
Integration of prolactin and glucocorticoid signaling at the beta-casein promoter and enhancer by ordered recruitment of specific transcription factors and chromatin modifiers.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2355-68.
Lactogenic hormone regulation of beta-casein gene expression in mammary epithelial cells provides an excellent system in which to perform kinetic studies of chromatin remodeling and transcriptional activation. Using HC11 cells as a model, we have investigated the effects of prolactin (Prl) and glucocorticoids both singly and in combination at different time points after hormone treatment. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis, we have determined the dynamics of assembly and disassembly of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5, glucocorticoid receptor, CCAAT enhancer binding protein beta, and Ying Yang-1 at the hormonally activated beta-casein proximal promoter as well as the distal mouse beta-casein enhancer located approximately -6 kb upstream of the transcription start site. Prl alone resulted in a rapid recruitment of both signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 and histone deacetylase 1 to the beta-casein promoter and enhancer, and reciprocally the dissociation of Ying Yang-1 from the proximal promoter. In addition, we have examined the recruitment of coactivator p300 and determined chromatin acetylation status as a function of hormonal treatment. Finally, we have established the time course of RNA polymerase II and phospho-RNA polymerase II accumulation at the beta-casein promoter and enhancer after stimulation with hydrocortisone and Prl. Although glucocorticoids alone led to a rapid increase in histone H3 acetylation, treatment with both hormones was required for stable association of p300 and phospho-RNA polymerase II at both the promoter and enhancer. Collectively, these data suggest a model for the assembly of a multiprotein complex that helps to define how the signaling pathways controlled by these lactogenic hormones are integrated to regulate beta-casein gene expression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Xu Z, Huang G, Kandror KV
Phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase type IIalpha is targeted specifically to cellugyrin-positive glucose transporter 4 vesicles.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2890-7.
Phosphoinositides now emerge as important regulators of membrane traffic. In particular, phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate may serve as a precursor for polyphosphorylated derivatives of phosphatidylinositol and, also, may regulate vesicular traffic by recruiting specific proteins to the membrane. Early results have demonstrated the presence of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4K) activity in glucose transporter 4 (Glut4) vesicles from fat and skeletal muscle cells. However, the molecular identity of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase(s) associated with Glut4 vesicles has not been characterized. It has also been determined that Glut4 vesicles are not homogeneous and represent a mixture of at least two vesicular populations: ubiquitous cellugyrin-positive transport vesicles and specialized cellugyrin-negative insulin-responsive Glut4 storage vesicles, which are different in size, protein composition, and functional properties. Using sequential immunoadsorption, subcellular fractionation, and immunofluorescence staining, we show that virtually all PI4K activity in Glut4 vesicles is represented by PI4K type IIalpha, which is associated with cellugyrin-positive vesicles and is not detectable in the Glut4 storage vesicles. The unique N terminus of PI4K type IIalpha is required for the targeting of the enzyme to cellugyrin-positive vesicles. Knockdown of PI4K type IIalpha with the help of short hairpin RNA does not decrease the amount of cellugyrin-positive vesicles in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chuang LY, Guh JY, Wang KA, Huang YJ, Huang JS
Role of nitric oxide in high glucose-induced mitogenic response in renal fibroblasts.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2548-58.
Nitric oxide (NO) has been suggested to be associated with tubulointerstitial fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy. Abnormal glucose handling in the tubulointerstitium may play an important role in the development of diabetic nephropathy. This study was designed to investigate the effect of NO generation and action in renal fibroblasts exposed to high glucose (HG). We found that HG (500 mg/dl) significantly decreased nitrite production compared with normal glucose (100 mg/dl) when the incubation period was for 12, 18, or 24 h. HG inhibited cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) activation at 4, 8, and 12 h. Both NO donors and PKG activator treatment induced high levels of NO, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and PKG in HG-incubated cells. Interestingly, HG-induced Janus kinase 2-signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1) activation but not STAT3 or STAT5 activation at 30 min were blocked by NO donors and PKG activator. Moreover, HG-enhanced Raf-1 and p42/p44 MAPK phosphorylation were markedly suppressed by NO donors or PKG activator. The ability of NO-PKG to inhibit HG-induced cell cycle progression was verified by the observation that NO donors and PKG activator inhibited cdk4 activation and increased p21(Waf1/Cip1) and p16(INK4a) (but not p27(Kip1)) expression in HG-treated renal fibroblasts. Collectively, these data suggest that HG significantly blunted NO signaling, and activation of the NO-PKG pathway may modulate HG-enhanced mitogenic response via specific pathways. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Peck GR, Ye S, Pham V, Fernando RN, Macaulay SL, Chai SY, Albiston AL
Interaction of the Akt substrate, AS160, with the glucose transporter 4 vesicle marker protein, insulin-regulated aminopeptidase.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2576-83.
Insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP), a marker of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) storage vesicles (GSVs), is the only protein known to traffic with GLUT4. In the basal state, GSVs are sequestered from the constitutively recycling endosomal system to an insulin-responsive, intracellular pool. Insulin induces a rapid translocation of GSVs to the cell surface from this pool, resulting in the incorporation of IRAP and GLUT4 into the plasma membrane. We sought to identify proteins that interact with IRAP to further understand this GSV trafficking process. This study describes our identification of a novel interaction between the amino terminus of IRAP and the Akt substrate, AS160 (Akt substrate of 160 kDa). The validity of this interaction was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation of both overexpressed and endogenous proteins. Moreover, confocal microscopy demonstrated colocalization of these proteins. In addition, we demonstrate that the IRAP-binding domain of AS160 falls within its second phosphotyrosine-binding domain and the interaction is not regulated by AS160 phosphorylation. We hypothesize that AS160 is localized to GLUT4-containing vesicles via its interaction with IRAP where it inhibits the activity of Rab substrates in its vicinity, effectively tethering the vesicles intracellularly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

De A, Park JI, Kawamura K, Chen R, Klein C, Rauch R, Mulders SM, Sollewijn Gelpke MD, Hsueh AJ
Intraovarian tumor necrosis factor-related weak inducer of apoptosis/fibroblast growth factor-inducible-14 ligand-receptor system limits ovarian preovulatory follicles from excessive luteinization.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2528-38.
In addition to gonadotropins, many ovarian paracrine factors are crucial for optimal follicle rupture, oocyte maturation, and luteinization. Based on DNA microarray analyses, we found that transcripts for the fibroblast growth factor-inducible-14 (Fn14) receptor are increased after LH/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment of gonadotropin-primed immature mice or rats. Fn14 is the cognate receptor for TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), a TNF superfamily member. TWEAK transcripts also were detected in the ovary; however, their levels were not regulated by gonadotropins. In situ hybridization analyses indicated that the Fn14 receptor is expressed in the granulosa and cumulus cells of preovulatory follicles and, to a lesser extent, in theca cells. In contrast, in situ hybridization analyses revealed that TWEAK is primarily expressed in theca cells. In cultured granulosa cells pretreated with hCG to induce Fn14 receptor expression, treatment with TWEAK suppressed progesterone synthesis without accompanying changes in cAMP production. Furthermore, intrabursal injection of TWEAK suppressed ovarian progesterone content in gonadotropin-primed rats. In contrast, preovulatory follicles cultured in the presence of the Fn14 decoy, a recombinant protein containing the ligand-binding domain of Fn14, led to increases in progesterone production, presumably by antagonizing the actions of endogenous TWEAK. Likewise, ip injection of the Fn14 decoy enhanced serum progesterone levels with accompanying increases in transcript levels for several key steroidogenic enzymes. The present findings demonstrate a suppressive role of the TWEAK/Fn14 signaling system in the ovary. Following gonadotropin induction of ovulation, Fn14 is induced and could protect preovulatory follicles from excessive luteinization. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dong Z, Liu Y, Lu S, Wang A, Lee K, Wang LH, Revelo M, Lu S
Vav3 oncogene is overexpressed and regulates cell growth and androgen receptor activity in human prostate cancer.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2315-25.
The purpose of this research was to investigate the role of Vav3 oncogene in human prostate cancer. We found that expression of Vav3 was significantly elevated in androgen-independent LNCaP-AI cells in comparison with that in their androgen-dependent counterparts, LNCaP cells. Vav3 expression was also detected in other human prostate cancer cell lines (PC-3, DU145, and 22Rv1) and, by immunohistochemistry analysis, was detected in 32% (26 of 82) of surgical specimens of human prostate cancer. Knockdown expression of Vav3 by small interfering RNA inhibited growth of both androgen-dependent LNCaP and androgen-independent LNCaP-AI cells. In contrast, overexpression of Vav3 promoted androgen-independent growth of LNCaP cells induced by epidermal growth factor. Overexpression of Vav3 enhanced androgen receptor (AR) activity regardless of the presence or absence of androgen and stimulated the promoters of AR target genes. These effects of Vav3 could be attenuated by either phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors or dominant-negative Akt and were enhanced by cotransfection of PI3K. Moreover, phosphorylation of Akt was elevated in LNCaP cells overexpressing Vav3, which could be blocked by PI3K inhibitors. Finally, we ascertained that the DH domain of Vav3 was responsible for activation of AR. Taken together, our data show that overexpression of Vav3, through the PI3K-Akt pathway, inappropriately activates AR signaling axis and stimulates cell growth in prostate cancer cells. These findings suggest that Vav3 overexpression may be involved in prostate cancer development and progression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tung L, Abdel-Hafiz H, Shen T, Harvell DM, Nitao LK, Richer JK, Sartorius CA, Takimoto GS, Horwitz KB
Progesterone receptors (PR)-B and -A regulate transcription by different mechanisms: AF-3 exerts regulatory control over coactivator binding to PR-B.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Nov;20(11):2656-70.
The two, nearly identical, isoforms of human progesterone receptors (PR), PR-B and -A, share activation functions (AF) 1 and 2, yet they possess markedly different transcriptional profiles, with PR-B being much stronger transactivators. Their differences map to a unique AF3 in the B-upstream segment (BUS), at the far N terminus of PR-B, which is missing in PR-A. Combined mutation of two LXXLL motifs plus tryptophan 140 in BUS, to yield PR-BdL140, completely destroys PR-B activity, because strong AF3 synergism with downstream AF1 and AF2 is eliminated. This synergism involves cooperative interactions among receptor multimers bound at tandem hormone response elements and is transferable to AFs of other nuclear receptors. Other PR-B functions-N-/C-terminal interactions, steroid receptor coactivator-1 coactivation, ligand-dependent down-regulation-also require an intact BUS. All three are autonomous in PR-A, and map to N-terminal regions common to both PR. This suggests that the N-terminal structure adopted by the two PR is different, and that for PR-B, this is controlled by BUS. Indeed, gene expression profiling of breast cancer cells stably expressing PR-B, PR-BdL140, or PR-A shows that mutation of AF3 destroys PR-B-dependent gene transcription without converting PR-B into PR-A. In sum, AF3 in BUS plays a critical modulatory role in PR-B, and in doing so, defines a mechanism for PR-B function that is fundamentally distinct from that of PR-A. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Trujillo MA, Sakagashira M, Eberhardt NL
The human growth hormone gene contains a silencer embedded within an Alu repeat in the 3'-flanking region.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2559-75.
Alu family sequences are middle repetitive short interspersed elements (SINEs) dispersed throughout vertebrate genomes that can modulate gene transcription. The human (h) GH locus contains 44 complete and four partial Alu elements. An Sx Alu repeat lies in close proximity to the hGH-1 and hGH-2 genes in the 3'-flanking region. Deletion of the Sx Alu repeat in reporter constructs containing hGH-1 3'-flanking sequences increased reporter activity in transfected pituitary GC cells, suggesting this region contained a repressor element. Analysis of multiple deletion fragments from the 3'-flanking region of the hGH-1 gene revealed a strong orientation- and position-independent silencing activity mapping between nucleotides 2158 and 2572 encompassing the Sx Alu repeat. Refined mapping revealed that the silencer was a complex element comprising four discrete entities, including a core repressor domain (CRD), an antisilencer domain (ASE) that contains elements mediating the orientation-independent silencer activity, and two domains flanking the CRD/ASE that modulate silencer activity in a CRD-dependent manner. The upstream modulator domain is also required for orientation-independent silencer function. EMSA with DNA fragments representing all of the silencer domains yielded a complex pattern of DNA-protein interactions indicating that numerous GC cell nuclear proteins bind specifically to the CRD, ASE, and modulator domains. The silencer is GH promoter dependent and, in turn, its presence decreases the rate of promoter-associated histone acetylation resulting in a significant decrease of RNA polymerase II recruitment to the promoter. The silencer may provide for complex regulatory control of hGH gene expression in pituitary cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Takabayashi S, Umeki K, Yamamoto E, Suzuki T, Okayama A, Katoh H
A novel hypothyroid dwarfism due to the missense mutation Arg479Cys of the thyroid peroxidase gene in the mouse.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2584-90.
Recently, we found a novel dwarf mutation in an ICR closed colony. This mutation was governed by a single autosomal recessive gene. In novel dwarf mice, plasma levels of the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, were reduced; however, TSH was elevated. Their thyroid glands showed a diffuse goiter exhibiting colloid deficiency and abnormal follicle epithelium. The dwarfism was improved by adding thyroid hormone in the diet. Gene mapping revealed that the dwarf mutation was closely linked to the thyroid peroxidase (Tpo) gene on chromosome 12. Sequencing of the Tpo gene of the dwarf mice demonstrated a C to T substitution at position 1508 causing an amino acid change from arginine (Arg) to cysteine (Cys) at codon 479 (Arg479Cys). Western blotting revealed that TPO protein of the dwarf mice was detected in a microsomal fraction of thyroid tissue, but peroxidase activity was not detected. These findings suggested that the dwarf mutation caused a primary congenital hypothyroidism by TPO deficiency, resulting in a defect of thyroid hormone synthesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zbytek B, Wortsman J, Slominski A
Characterization of a ultraviolet B-induced corticotropin-releasing hormone-proopiomelanocortin system in human melanocytes.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2539-47.
CRH, the main regulator of the systemic response to stress, is also expressed in the skin where it is incorporated into a local homolog of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. To investigate the mechanisms of the induction of the CRH-proopiomelanocortin (POMC) response in human melanocytes, we used UVB as an epidermal-specific stressor. Human normal melanocytes cultured in vitro were irradiated with graded doses of UVB, and the CRH-POMC responses were measured in cell extracts and/or supernatants. UVB stimulated the CRH promoter, the CRH mRNA expression, and peptide release. The UVB-induced stimulation of the CRH promoter was suppressed by pharmacological inhibitors of protein kinase A or by plasmid overexpressing a dominant mutant cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB). UVB also stimulated phosphorylation of CREB, binding of phosphorylated CREB to CRE sites in the CRH promoter, and activity of the reporter gene construct driven by consensus CRE sites. Mutation in the CRE site in the CRH promoter rendered the corresponding reporter gene construct less responsive to UVB in both normal and malignant melanocytes. In addition to CRH effects, UVB activated the POMC promoter, POMC mRNA expression, and ACTH release, whereas an antagonist of the CRH receptor 1 abrogated the UVB-stimulated induction of POMC. In conclusion, UVB induces CRH production in human melanocytes through stimulation of the protein kinase A pathway, with sequential involvement of CRH-CRH receptor 1 in the stimulation of POMC expression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lazzaro MA, Pépin D, Pescador N, Murphy BD, Vanderhyden BC, Picketts DJ
The imitation switch protein SNF2L regulates steroidogenic acute regulatory protein expression during terminal differentiation of ovarian granulosa cells.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2406-17.
Luteinization is a complex process, stimulated by gonadotropins, that promotes ovulation and development of the corpus luteum through terminal differentiation of granulosa cells. The pronounced expression of the mammalian imitation switch (ISWI) genes, SNF2H and SNF2L, in adult ovaries prompted us to investigate the role of these chromatin remodeling proteins during follicular development and luteinization. SNF2H expression is highest during growth of preovulatory follicles and becomes less prevalent during luteinization. In contrast, both SNF2L transcript and SNF2L protein levels are rapidly increased in granulosa cells of the mouse ovary 8 h after human chorionic gonadotropin treatment, and continue to be expressed 36 h later within the functional corpus luteum. We demonstrate a physical interaction between SNF2L and the progesterone receptor A isoform, which regulates progesterone receptor-responsive genes required for ovulation. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that, after gonadotropin stimulation, SNF2L is associated with the proximal promoter of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) gene, a classic marker of luteinization in granulosa cells. Interaction of SNF2L with the StAR promoter is required for StAR expression, because small interfering RNA knockdown of SNF2L prevents the activation of the StAR gene. Our results provide the first indication that ISWI chromatin remodeling proteins are responsive to the LH surge and that this response is required for the activation of the StAR gene and the overall development of a functional luteal cell. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brayman MJ, Julian J, Mulac-Jericevic B, Conneely OM, Edwards DP, Carson DD
Progesterone receptor isoforms A and B differentially regulate MUC1 expression in uterine epithelial cells.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2278-91.
MUC1 expression responds differently to changes in progesterone (P) levels in mouse vs. human uterine epithelium. Two isoforms of progesterone receptor, PRA and PRB, mediate the physiological effects of P. Using transient transfection of a human uterine epithelial cell line, HEC-1A, we showed that liganded PRB stimulated MUC1 gene activity. PRA alone had little effect on MUC1 promoter activity, but antagonized the PRB-mediated stimulation. The region from 523 to 570 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site was shown to be required for the P response. Mutation of two potential P-responsive element (PRE) half-sites in this region partially inhibited the PRB-mediated response, and one PRE half-site disrupted binding of both PRB and PRA to a consensus PRE in an EMSA. These along with other studies indicated that multiple cis elements in the -523- to -570-bp region cooperate to mediate P responsiveness, and that PR interaction with other transcription factors in this region is likely. Using ovariectomized wild-type, PR knockout (PRKO), PRAKO, and PRBKO mice, P antagonism of estrogen-stimulated Muc1 protein and mRNA expression was shown to be dependent on PRA. In summary, these data show that liganded PRB stimulates MUC1 expression in human uterine epithelial cells, whereas liganded PRA antagonizes MUC1 expression in both human and mouse uterine epithelial cells. The differential MUC1 response to P in these two species may be due to dissimilar expression of the two PR isoforms in the uterine epithelium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Orisaka M, Orisaka S, Jiang JY, Craig J, Wang Y, Kotsuji F, Tsang BK
Growth differentiation factor 9 is antiapoptotic during follicular development from preantral to early antral stage.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2456-68.
Ovarian follicular atresia represents a selection process that ensures the release of only healthy and viable oocytes during ovulation. The transition from preantral to early antral stage is the penultimate stage of development in terms of gonadotropin dependence and follicle destiny (survival/growth vs. atresia). We have examined whether and how oocyte-derived growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) and FSH regulate follicular development and atresia during the preantral to early antral transition, by a novel combination of in vitro gene manipulation (i.e. intraoocyte injection of GDF-9 antisense oligos) and preantral follicle culture. Injection of GDF-9 antisense suppressed basal and FSH-induced preantral follicle growth in vitro, whereas addition of GDF-9 enhanced basal and FSH-induced follicular development. GDF-9 antisense activated caspase-3 and induced apoptosis in cultured preantral follicles, a response attenuated by exogenous GDF-9. GDF-9 increased phospho-Akt content in granulosa cells of early antral follicles. Although granulosa cell apoptosis induced by ceramide was attenuated by the presence of GDF-9, this protective effect of GDF-9 was prevented by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 and a dominant negative form of Akt. Injection of GDF-9 antisense decreased FSH receptor mRNA levels in cultured follicles, a response preventable by the presence of exogenous GDF-9. The data suggest that GDF-9 is antiapoptotic in preantral follicles and protects granulosa cells from undergoing apoptosis via activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway. An adequate level of GDF-9 is required for follicular FSH receptor mRNA expression. GDF-9 promotes follicular survival and growth during the preantral to early antral transition by suppressing granulosa cell apoptosis and follicular atresia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tran TT, Segev DL, Gupta V, Kawakubo H, Yeo G, Donahoe PK, Maheswaran S
Mullerian inhibiting substance regulates androgen-induced gene expression and growth in prostate cancer cells through a nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent Smad-independent mechanism.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2382-91.
Mullerian inhibiting substance (MIS), a member of the TGFbeta superfamily, causes regression of the Mullerian duct in male embryos. The presence of MIS type II and type I receptors in tissues and cell lines derived from the prostate suggests that prostate is a likely target for MIS. In this report, we demonstrate that MIS inhibits androgen-stimulated growth of LNCaP cells and decreases their survival in androgen-deprived medium by preventing cell cycle progression and inducing apoptosis. Expression of dominant-negative Smad1 reversed the ability of MIS to decrease LNCaP cell survival in androgen-deprived medium but not androgen-stimulated growth, whereas abrogation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NFkappaB) activation ablated the suppressive effects of MIS on both androgen-stimulated growth and androgen-independent survival. The effect of MIS on androgen-induced growth was not due to changes in androgen receptor expression. However, MIS suppressed androgen-stimulated transcription of prostate-specific antigen; ablation of NFkappaB activation reversed MIS-mediated suppression of prostate-specific antigen. These observations suggest that MIS regulates androgen-induced gene expression and growth in prostate cancer cells through a NFkappaB-dependent but Smad1-independent mechanism. Thus, MIS, in addition to potentially regulating prostate growth indirectly by suppressing testicular testosterone synthesis, may also be a direct regulator of androgen-induced gene expression and growth in the prostate at the cellular level. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yu X, Suzuki K, Wang Y, Gupta A, Jin R, Orgebin-Crist MC, Matusik R
The role of forkhead box A2 to restrict androgen-regulated gene expression of lipocalin 5 in the mouse epididymis.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2418-31.
Murine epididymal retinoic acid-binding protein [or lipocalin 5 (Lcn5)] is synthesized and secreted by the principal cells of the mouse middle/distal caput epididymidis. A 5-kb promoter fragment of the Lcn5 gene can dictate androgen-dependent and epididymis region-specific gene expression in transgenic mice. Here, we reported that the 1.8-kb Lcn5 promoter confers epididymis region-specific gene expression in transgenic mice. To decipher the mechanism that directs transcription, 14 chimeric constructs that sequentially removed 100 bp of 1.8-kb Lcn5 promoter were generated and transfected into epididymal cells and nonepididymal cells. Transient transfection analysis revealed that 1.3 kb promoter fragment gave the strongest response to androgens. Between the 1.2-kb to 1.3-kb region, two androgen receptor (AR) binding sites were identified. Adjacent to AR binding sites, a Foxa2 [Fox (Forkhead box) subclass A] binding site was confirmed by gel shift assay. Similar Foxa binding sites were also found on the promoters of human and rat Lcn5, indicating the Foxa binding site is conserved among species. We previously reported that among the three members of Foxa family, Foxa1 and Foxa3 were absent in the epididymis whereas Foxa2 was detected in epididymal principal cells. Here, we report that Foxa2 displays a region-specific expression pattern along the epididymis: no staining observed in initial segment, light staining in proximal caput, gradiently heavier staining in middle and distal caput, and strongest staining in corpus and cauda, regions with little or no expression of Lcn5. In transient transfection experiments, Foxa2 expression inhibits AR induction of the Lcn5 promoter, which is consistent with the lack of expression of Lcn5 in the corpus and cauda. We conclude that Foxa2 functions as a repressor that restricts AR regulation of Lcn5 to a segment-specific pattern in the epididymis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Burton KA, McDermott DA, Wilkes D, Poulsen MN, Nolan MA, Goldstein M, Basson CT, McKnight GS
Haploinsufficiency at the protein kinase A RI alpha gene locus leads to fertility defects in male mice and men.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2504-13.
Carney complex (CNC) is a familial multiple neoplasia syndrome characterized by spotty skin pigmentation, cardiac and cutaneous myxomas, and endocrine tumors. CNC is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait and is transmitted with greater frequency by women vs. men. Nearly two thirds of CNC patients are heterozygous for inactivating mutations in the gene encoding the protein kinase A (PKA) type I alpha regulatory subunit (RI alpha), PRKAR1. We report here that male mice heterozygous for the Prkar1a gene have severely reduced fertility. Sperm from Prkar1a heterozygous mice are morphologically abnormal and reduced in number. Genetic rescue experiments reveal that this phenotype results from elevated PKA catalytic activity in germ cells as early as the pachytene stage of spermatogenesis. Consistent with this defect in the male mutant mice, sperm from CNC patients heterozygous for PRKAR1A mutations were also found to be morphologically aberrant and decreased in number. We conclude that unregulated PKA activity in male meiotic or postmeiotic germ cells leads to structural defects in mature sperm and results in reduced fertility in mice and humans, contributing to the strikingly reduced transmission of PRKAR1A inactivating mutations by male patients with CNC. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lee HW, Suh JH, Kim AY, Lee YS, Park SY, Kim JB
Histone deacetylase 1-mediated histone modification regulates osteoblast differentiation.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2432-43.
Osteogenesis is a complex process associated with dramatic changes in gene expression. To elucidate whether modifications in chromatin structure are involved in osteoblast differentiation, we examined the expression levels of histone deacetylases (HDACs) and the degree of histone acetylation at the promoter regions of osteogenic genes. During osteogenesis, total HDAC enzymatic activity was decreased with significant reduction in HDAC1 expression. Consistently, recruitment of HDAC1 to the promoters of osteoblast marker genes, including osterix and osteocalcin, was down-regulated, whereas histone H3 and H4 were hyperacetylated at those promoters during osteoblast differentiation. Moreover, suppression of HDAC activity with a HDAC inhibitor, sodium butyrate, accelerated osteogenesis by inducing osteoblast marker genes including osteopontin and alkaline phosphatase. Consistently, knockdown of HDAC1 by the short interference RNA system stimulated osteoblast differentiation. Taken together, these data propose that down-regulation of HDAC1 is an important process for osteogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kublaoui BM, Holder JL, Gemelli T, Zinn AR
Sim1 haploinsufficiency impairs melanocortin-mediated anorexia and activation of paraventricular nucleus neurons.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2483-92.
Single-minded 1 (SIM1) is one of only six genes implicated in human monogenic obesity. Haploinsufficiency of this hypothalamic transcription factor is associated with hyperphagic obesity and increased linear growth in both humans and mice. Additionally, Sim1 heterozygous mice show enhanced hyperphagia and obesity in response to a high-fat diet. Thus the phenotype of Sim1 haploinsufficiency is similar to that of agouti yellow (Ay), and melanocortin 4 receptor (Mc4r) knockout mice, both of which are defective in hypothalamic melanocortin signaling. Sim1 and Mc4r are both expressed in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Here we report that Sim1 heterozygous mice, which have normal energy expenditure, are hyperphagic despite having elevated hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (Pomc) expression. In response to the melanocortin agonist melanotan-2 (MTII) they exhibit a blunted suppression of feeding yet increase their energy expenditure normally. They also fail to activate PVN neurons in response to the drug at a dose that induces robust c-Fos expression in a subset of Sim1 PVN neurons in wild-type mice. The resistance to melanocortin signaling in Sim1 heterozygotes is not due to a reduced number of Sim1 neurons in the PVN. Hypothalamic Sim1 gene expression is induced by leptin and MTII treatment. Our results demonstrate that Sim1 heterozygotes are resistant to hypothalamic melanocortin signaling and suggest that Sim1-expressing PVN neurons regulate feeding, but not energy expenditure, in response to melanocortin signaling. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Solá S, Amaral JD, Borralho PM, Ramalho RM, Castro RE, Aranha MM, Steer CJ, Rodrigues CM
Functional modulation of nuclear steroid receptors by tauroursodeoxycholic acid reduces amyloid beta-peptide-induced apoptosis.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2292-303.
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) prevents amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta)-induced neuronal apoptosis, by modulating both classical mitochondrial pathways and specific upstream targets. In addition, activation of nuclear steroid receptors (NSRs), such as the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) differentially regulates apoptosis in the brain. In this study we investigated whether TUDCA, a cholesterol-derived endogenous molecule, requires NSRs for inhibiting Abeta-induced apoptosis in primary neurons. Our results confirmed that TUDCA significantly reduced Abeta-induced apoptosis; in addition, the fluorescently labeled bile acid molecule was detected diffusely in both cytoplasm and nucleus of rat cortical neurons. Interestingly, experiments using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) revealed that, in contrast to GR siRNA, MR siRNA abolished the antiapoptotic effect of TUDCA. Abeta incubation reduced MR nuclear translocation while increasing nuclear GR levels. Notably, pretreatment with TUDCA markedly altered Abeta-induced changes in NSRs, including MR dissociation from its cytosolic chaperone, heat shock protein 90, and subsequent translocation to the nucleus. Furthermore, when a carboxy terminus-deleted form of MR was used, nuclear trafficking of both MR and the bile acid was abrogated, suggesting that they translocate to the nucleus as a steroid-receptor complex. Transfection experiments with wild-type or mutant MR confirmed that this interaction was required for TUDCA protection against Abeta-induced apoptosis. Finally, in cotransfection experiments with NSR response element reporter and overexpression constructs, pretreatment with TUDCA significantly modulated Abeta-induced changes in MR and GR transactivation. In conclusion, these results provide novel insights into the specific cellular mechanism of TUDCA antiapoptotic function against Abeta-induced apoptosis and suggest targets for potential therapeutic intervention. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Endocrine-related resources from the National Institutes of Health.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Jun;20(6):1462-5. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lin YF, Tseng MJ, Hsu HL, Wu YW, Lee YH, Tsai YH
A novel follicle-stimulating hormone-induced G alpha h/phospholipase C-delta1 signaling pathway mediating rat sertoli cell Ca2+-influx.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2514-27.
FSH is known to activate Gs/cAMP signaling pathway in Sertoli cells (SCs) to support spermatogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism of FSH-induced Gs/cAMP-independent Ca2+-influx in SCs is not clear. In this study, FSH indeed induced an immediate and dose-dependent intracellular Ca2+-elevation in rat SCs. In the presence of EDTA (2.5 mm) or in the absence of extracellular Ca2+, the FSH-induced intracellular Ca2+-elevation was abolished. The confocal microscopic observation of Ca2+ image revealed that the SC cellular Ca2+ level was gradually increased after 50 sec of FSH treatment. Dantrolene, a blocker of intracellular Ca2+ release, did not affect this FSH-induced intracellular Ca2+ elevation. The pretreatment of rat SCs with phosphatidylinositol-phospholipase C (PLC)-specific inhibitor, U73122 (3 and 10 microm), inhibited the FSH-induced Ca2+-influx in a dose-dependent manner, but treatment with Gs-specific inhibitor, NF449 (0.1 and 0.3 microm), did not. On the other hand, the activation of G alpha h was immediately induced by FSH in the rat SCs within 5 sec of treatment. The translocation of PLC-delta1 from cytosol to cell membrane and the formation of G alpha h /PLC-delta1 complexes occurred within 5 and 10 sec, respectively, of FSH exposure. The intracellular inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) production was also detected after 30 sec of FSH treatment. The synthetic peptide of PLC-delta1 (TIPWNSLKQGYRHVHLL), not Gs inhibitor, predominantly inhibited the FSH-induced PLC-delta1 translocation, formation of G alpha h /PLC-delta1 complex, intracellular IP3 production, and Ca2+ influx. In contrast, the peptide did not interfere with FSH-induced intracellular cAMP accumulation. In conclusion, the FSH-induced immediate Ca2+ influx is unambiguously mediated by an alternative G alpha h /PLC-delta1/IP3 pathway that is distinct from the Gs/cAMP pathway in rat SCs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Leung MY, Steinbach PJ, Bear D, Baxendale V, Fechner PY, Rennert OM, Chan WY
Biological effect of a novel mutation in the third leucine-rich repeat of human luteinizing hormone receptor.
Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Oct;20(10):2493-503.
A novel heterozygous mutation A340T leading to the substitution of Phe for the conserved amino acid Ile114 was identified by nucleotide sequencing of the human LH/chorionic gonadotropin receptor (hLHR) of a patient with Leydig cell hypoplasia. This mutation is located in the third leucine-rich repeat in the ectodomain of the hLHR. In vitro expression studies demonstrated that this mutation results in reduced ligand binding and signal transduction of the receptor. Studies of hLHR constructs in which various amino acids were substituted for the conserved Ile114 showed that receptor activity is sensitive to changes in size, shape, and charge of the side chain. A homology model of the wild-type hLHR ectodomain was made, illustrating the packing of conserved hydrophobic side chains in the protein core. Substitution of Ile114 by Phe might disrupt intermolecular contacts between hormone and receptor. This mutation might also affect an LHR-dimer interaction. Thus, the I114F mutation reduces ligand binding and signal transduction by the hLHR, and it is partially responsible for Leydig cell hypoplasia in the patient. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Recent Articles in BMC Endocrine Disorders

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Recent Articles in Endocrine Journal

Nakazawa R, Tanaka M, Takahashi T, Kobayashi S, Iwamoto T
Effects of castration and testosterone administration on angiotensin II receptor mRNA expression and apoptosis-related proteins in rat urinary bladder.
Endocr J. 2007 Apr;54(2):211-9.
We investigated the effects of castration and androgen administration on angiotensin II receptor mRNA expression and apoptosis related proteins in the rat bladders. Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: the control group (sham operation; n = 8), the castration group (castrated, 8 weeks old, n = 8) and the castration plus testosterone group (1% testosterone gel administrated percutaneously into the dorsum daily for 8 weeks starting at 4 weeks after castration, n = 8). Bladder total RNA was extracted, and real-time PCR was performed to quantitatively measure the mRNA expression of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensin II (A II) receptor type 1 (AT1 receptor) and A II receptor type II (AT2 receptor). Western blotting was performed to determine the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. Expression of AT2 receptor mRNA and caspase-3 protein significantly increased in the rat bladder after castration, and these increases were reduced to control levels by testosterone administration. These results suggest that expression of AT2 receptor and caspase-3 in the bladder is androgen-dependent. Expression of Bcl-2 and Bax protein in the rat bladder was not altered by castration. Expression of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase phosphatase-1 protein in the rat urinary bladder was significantly increased by castration, but this increase was smaller with testosterone administration. These results suggest that expression of AT2 receptor mRNA and apoptosis-related proteins in the rat urinary bladder are affected by the change of androgen environment. The present study was the first to clarify the relationship between AT2 receptor and androgen in the urinary bladder. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Majima T, Komatsu Y, Fukao A, Ninomiya K, Matsumura T, Nakao K
Short-term effects of atorvastatin on bone turnover in male patients with hypercholesterolemia.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):145-51.
No consensus has been reached on whether the 3-hydroxy 3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, known as statins, have beneficial effects on bone health. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effects of atorvastatin on bone metabolism by means of measuring bone turnover markers in male patients with hypercholesterolemia both at diagnosis and prospectively after 3 months of treatment. Twenty-two Japanese male patients (mean age 62.36 +/- 10.1 years) with untreated hypercholesterolaemeia were selected for this study. After 3-months treatment of atorvastatin, total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol significantly decreased as expected (p<0.001 for both parameters). Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) did not change significantly (p = 0.444). However, serum N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx) significantly decreased by -19.86 +/- 26.4% (p = 0.020). In addition, delta NTx during the course of this study was negatively correlated with NTx at baseline (r = -0.645, p = 0.0008). Although there was a tendency of positive correlations of delta NTx with delta total cholesterol, delta triglycerides, and delta low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and of negative correlations of delta NTx and delta BAP with delta high density lipoprotein cholesterol, none of them reached statistical significance. Our findings suggest that atorvastatin may have potentially beneficial effects on bone metabolism in patients with hypercholesterolemia mostly by reducing bone resorption rather than by stimulating bone formation. Further studies with more patients and longer duration are warranted to evaluate its effects, if any, on prevention of osteoporosis and subsequent fractures. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yamada Y, Sekihara H, Omura M, Yanase T, Takayanagi R, Mune T, Yasuda K, Ishizuka T, Ueshiba H, Miyachi Y, Iwasaki T, Nakajima A, Nawata H
Changes in serum sex hormone profiles after short-term low-dose administration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to young and elderly persons.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):153-62.
In man, serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease with age after the twenties. For this reason, the decline in DHEA and DHEAS concentrations may be related to the development of some chronic diseases that are prevalent in the older age population. In this study, we evaluate the benefit and safety level of DHEA administration to men as a hormone replacement therapy. Twenty-two healthy Japanese males (age 26-63; mean +/- SD, 41.0 +/- 10.0 yrs.) received 25 mg DHEA once a day orally in the morning for two weeks. Serum concentrations of steroid hormones and cytokines were measured before and after the DHEA administration. Glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were also assessed before and after the DHEA administration using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-R), respectively. Serum DHEA and DHEAS levels were significantly elevated after the DHEA administration for all ages of test subjects. In subjects who were older than 41 yrs. (older group) serum androstenedione and estradiol levels were elevated after the DHEA administration. Significant negative correlations were observed between the serum DHEA concentration and the serum concentration of fasting insulin, HOMA-R, leptin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein for all subjects. Daily administration of 25 mg DHEA increased the serum DHEA, DHEAS, androstenedione, and estradiol levels of the subjects of the older group to the same level as that of younger subjects. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kumashiro N, Yoshihara T, Kanazawa Y, Shimizu T, Watada H, Tanaka Y, Fujitani Y, Kawamori R, Hirose T
Long-term effect of combination therapy with mitiglinide and once daily insulin glargine in patients who were successfully switched from intensive insulin therapy in short-term study.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):163-6.
We have previously reported the therapeutic efficacy of mitiglinide combined with once daily insulin glargine (mitiglinide regimen) after switching from multiple daily insulin regimen of aspart insulin and glargine (intensive insulin regimen) in inpatients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in two consecutive days. In the present study, we followed up 9 of the 15 responsive patients with these novel regimens for 6 months after discharge. The data collected from these patients were compared to those of 15 randomly chosen patients who had well matched background and received intensive insulin regimen during hospitalization which was continued after discharge. The average HbA1c level of these 9 patients with mitiglinide regimen at 6 months was 6.7 +/- 0.8% and was comparable to that of the patients with intensive insulin regimen (HbA1c = 7.0 +/- 1.0%). In conclusion, mitiglinide and insulin glargine combination therapy maintained fair glycemic control for as long as 6 months in subpopulation of Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yoshihara A, Isozaki O, Hizuka N, Nozoe Y, Harada C, Ono M, Kawamata T, Kubo O, Hori T, Takano K
Expression of type 5 somatostatin receptor in TSH-secreting pituitary adenomas: a possible marker for predicting long-term response to octreotide therapy.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):133-8.
In TSH-secreting pituitary adenomas (TSHoma), octreotide (OCT) therapy reduces tumor size and TSH secretion in some cases but not in others. As OCT acts through various types of somatostatin receptors (SSTRs), the different responses of TSHoma to OCT might be explained by the differences of SSTR expression. We therefore studied the expression of subtype-specific SSTR mRNA transcripts in tumor tissues by RT-PCR. Type 2 (SSTR2) mRNA transcripts were detected in all 8 tumors but those of SSTR3 and SSTR5 were demonstrated only in 5 of them. Serum TSH levels were decreased by OCT administration test in all patients but OCT therapy was effective in two patients out of three. SSTR5 mRNA was detected in two tumors from the responder, but not in one tumor that was resistant to OCT. These observations suggest that the temporal decrease of TSH by OCT may be mediated by SSTR2, and that the long term response to OCT therapy may be related with the expression of SSTR5. Therefore, the expression of SSTR5 in TSHoma may be a useful marker for predicting the outcome of the therapy, but further studies with larger numbers of patients are necessary. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Takahashi S, Uchino H, Shimizu T, Kanazawa A, Tamura Y, Sakai K, Watada H, Hirose T, Kawamori R, Tanaka Y
Comparison of glycated albumin (GA) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in type 2 diabetic patients: usefulness of GA for evaluation of short-term changes in glycemic control.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):139-44.
We studied the cross-sectional relationship between GA and HbA1c in 142 type 2 diabetic patients who had an HbA1c level < 7.5% for at least one year without fluctuation by more than 0.5%. We also followed the changes of GA and HbA1c in 18 type 2 diabetic patients for 16 weeks as they progressed from untreated severe hyperglycemia (HbA1c > or = 9.0%) to good glycemic control (HbA1c < or = 6.5%) by intensive insulin treatment. The annual mean levels of GA and HbA1c in the stably controlled patients showed a weak, but significant, correlation (r = 0.23, p<0.001) in the 142 diabetic patients. However, the GA/HbA1c ratio ranged widely from 2.0 to 4.0 showing a normal distribution (2.9 +/- 0.34, M +/- SE), although patients with conditions affecting albumin turnover or RBC lifespan were excluded from the study. The GA/HbA1c ratio was significantly higher when patients were in hyperglycemic than when glycemic control was good (3.5 +/- 0.15 vs. 2.9 +/- 0.07, M +/- SE, p<0.01). GA decreased more rapidly than HbA1c during intensive insulin therapy, but the percent reduction of HbA1c eventually corresponded with that of GA by 16 weeks after the start of treatment. These results demonstrate that, although unknown influences on GA or HbA1c may exist, GA may be a useful marker for monitoring short-term variations of glycemic control during treatment of diabetic patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fujikura J, Hosoda K, Noguchi M, Ebihara K, Masuzaki H, Hirata M, Fujimoto K, Doi R, Iwanishi M, Nakao K
A case of secretin-responsive insulinoma with low serum C-peptide levels.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):113-21.
Insulinoma is the most common cause of fasting hypoglycemia resulting from autonomous insulin hypersecretion. A 59-year-old woman who had previously had an insulinoma and had undergone a partial pancreatectomy was admitted to our hospital because of recurrence of hypoglycemia after 27 years. She had two unusual endocrinological features: 1) the serum insulin response to intravenous secretin injection was not impaired, and 2) the serum C-peptide levels and ratios of serum C-peptide to insulin were relatively low. Two pancreatic tumors were readily detectable by computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The selective arterial calcium injection (SACI) test showed a hyperinsulinemic response by calcium administration to the gastroduodenal artery. A partial pancreatectomy was done and her hypoglycemia disappeared. Histology revealed that the tumors were composed of monotonous, small round cells that were positive for both insulin and cathepsin B. As previous in vitro studies have shown that C-peptide can be metabolized within human insulinoma cells by proteolytic cleavage by cathepsin B, our patient's low serum C-peptide levels might have been caused by degradation of C-peptide by cathepsin B. According to the data from the literature, the molar ratio of serum C-peptide to insulin is generally decreased in patients with insulinoma than normal subjects. This case highlights the need for careful interpretation of C-peptide levels and the intravenous secretin injection test in the diagnosis of insulinoma. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Suzuki T, Fujimoto N, Kitamura S, Ohta S
Quantitative determination of lobe specificity of mRNA expression of androgen-dependent genes in the rat prostate gland.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):123-32.
The rodent prostate has a complex structure, consisting of a ventral prostate (VP), lateral prostate (LP), dorsal prostate (DP) and anterior prostate (AP), and most studies so far have focused on the VP. Androgen-responsive prostatic secretory proteins, such as prostatein and kallikreins, are mainly produced in the VP, but others are abundant in the LP and DP, though little is known about differences of androgen regulation among the different lobes. Here, the mRNA expression levels of some representative androgen-responsive genes, including those encoding prostatic secreted proteins, were quantitatively determined in each of the prostatic lobes of intact rats and castrated rats treated with testosterone alone or plus flutamide. The results show that the transcriptional regulation of prostatic secretory proteins differs greatly among lobes, generally being more tightly regulated in the VP. A number of growth factor mRNAs were differentially expressed in separate lobes and were regulated by testosterone in a lobe-specific manner. Lobe-specific regulation by androgen was also found for other genes, including the DAD-1 and calreticulin genes. Thus, hormone-dependent transcriptional regulation of prostate genes differs among lobes, and there is also interlobar diversity of basal mRNA expression levels. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fietta P, Manganelli P
A case of hepatitis C-associated osteosclerosis in an elderly man. Comment on the article by Tanaka et al.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):167. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tanaka T, Oki S, Muro S, Tanaka K, Hashimoto J
A case of hepatitis C-associated osteosclerosis in an elderly Japanese man.
Endocr J. 2006 Jun;53(3):393-9.
Hepatitis C-Associated Osteosclerosis (HCAO) is characterized by a marked increase in bone mass with deep bone pain. Since 1992, eleven cases of HCAO have been reported. This report describes an elderly Japanese man with HCAO, whose clinical course we followed for 3 years. A 68-year-old man developed pain in both pretibial regions in June 2000, and he had frequent episodic loss of muscular strength in his hands. He had recieved blood transfusion for a bleeding ulcer 43 years before and was seropositive for hepatitis C virus. His serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level was markedly increased, while his serum calcium was slightly decreased and serum phosphate was normal. Skeletal radiographs of the lower extremities showed a progressive increase in skeletal density, but did not show any apparent deformity. Administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs led to a reduction in bone pain. Treatment with vitamin D3 and calcium decreased the number of episodes of sudden muscular weakness and maintained serum calcium within the normal range. Three years after the onset of the disease, bone mineral density of his lumbar vertebrae and left hip rose from 0.963 g/cm2 to 1.096 g/cm2, and from 0.938 g/cm2 to 1.383 g/cm2, respectively. His serum ALP level decreased from 2889 to 277 IU/L (normal range: 104-338) and serum calcium normalized. These findings were accompanied by a decrease in bone pain. This case and previous reports suggest that the skeletal tissue of this disease appears to be of good quality. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nishiwaki-Yasuda K, Suzuki A, Kakita A, Sekiguchi S, Asano S, Nishii K, Nagao S, Oiso Y, Itoh M
Vasopressin stimulates Na-dependent phosphate transport and calcification in rat aortic smooth muscle cells.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):103-12.
We investigated the effect of arginine vasopressin (AVP) on inorganic phosphate (Pi) transport in A-10 rat aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). AVP time- and dose-dependently stimulated Na-dependent Pi transport in A-10 cells. This stimulatory effect of AVP on Pi transport was markedly suppressed by V1 receptor antagonist. A protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor calphostin C partially suppressed the stimulatory effect of AVP. The selective inhibitors of c-Jun-NH2-terminal mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (Jun kinase) attenuated AVP-induced Pi transport, but Erk kinase or p38 MAP kinase inhibitors did not. Wortmannin, a phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitor, suppressed AVP-induced Pi transport. Rapamycin, a selective inhibitor of S6 kinase, reduced this effect of AVP, while Akt kinase inhibitor did not. The combination of inhibitors for PKC, Jun kinase and PI 3-kinase completely suppressed the AVP-enhanced Pi transport. Furthermore, AVP rescued the VSMC from high phosphate-induced cell death and enhanced mineralization of these cells. In summary, these results suggest that AVP stimulates both Na-dependent Pi transport and mineralization in VSMCs. The mechanism is mediated by the activation of multiple signaling pathways including PKC, PI 3-kinase, S6 kinase and Jun kinase. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Noguchi H
Activation of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase during islet isolation.
Endocr J. 2007 Apr;54(2):169-76.
Pancreatic islet transplantation has been remarkably improved by the Edmonton protocol; however, it is not easy to achieve insulin independence after islet transplantation from one donor pancreas. The islet isolation procedure itself destroys cellular and noncellular components of the pancreas that probably play a role in supporting islet survival. Further islet transplantation exposes cells to a variety of stressful stimuli such as proinflammatory cytokines. The reduction in islet mass immediately after isolation and transplantation implicates beta cell death by apoptosis and the prerecruitment of intracellular death signalling pathways. The c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNKs) are classic stress-activated protein kinases and many cellular stresses have been shown to stimulate JNK activation. JNK in the pancreas is activated during brain death, pancreas procurement, and organ preservation, and its activity is progressively increased during the isolation procedure. Moreover, JNK activity in the transplanted liver after islet transplantation increases markedly within 24 hrs. Use of the JNK inhibitor in pancreas preservation, islet culture, and/or islet transplantation prevents islet apoptosis and improves islet graft function. These findings suggest that the control of JNK activation is important for pancreatic islet transplantation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nishikawa T, Saito J, Omura M
Prevalence of Primary Aldosteronism: Should We Screen for Primary Aldosteronism before Treating Hypertensive Patients with Medication?
Endocr J. 2007 Sep;54(4):487-95.
The present review examines various reports describing prevalence of primary aldosteronism (PA) among hypertensives and the screening method of PA to better understand the current concepts used for diagnosing and managing PA among clinicians as well as specialists. Here, we describe and compare the prevalence of PA in Japan, which is well known to induce various vascular complications due to hyperaldosteronemia, resulting in cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction and renal failure, with that in another Asian area, US, European countries, Australia and Africa. The incidence rates for PA among hypertensives were recently reported to be widely raged between 3.2% and 20%. Those discrepancies are due in part to the completely different characteristics of the starting subjects used for studying the prevalence. Moreover, the criteria for screening PA among hypertensives, including aldosterone-renin ratio (ARR), and confirmatory tests for definitely diagnosing PA, such as saline infusion test are varied. We had already reported that a diagnosis of PA was made in 61 (6%) of the 1,020 hypertensive patients during the past five years, from 1995 until 1999. In our study, only 18% of the patients showed a serum K level of 3.3 mEq/l or less. Thus, many clinicians seem to misdiagnose PA as essential hypertension, because of absence of hypokalemia. Finally, we describe highlight key evidence for optimal methods for screening and definitely diagnosing PA among hypertensive patients in order to avoid misjudgment before or after treating hypertensive patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mergen H, Karaaslan C, Mergen M, Deniz Ozsoy E, Ozata M
LEPR, ADBR3, IRS-1 and 5-HTT genes polymorphisms do not associate with obesity.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):89-94.
Obesity is a growing problem and is associated with numerous medical conditions. In several genes coding for molecules involved in the regulation of body weight (fat mass) and thermogenesis, polymorphisms have been reported which possibly modify human obesity risk. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of the following polymorphisms in the following genes in 262 obese (BMI > or = 30) and 138 control (BMI < or = 25) subjects: leptin receptor (LEPR)-Gln223Arg, B3-adrenergic receptor (B3-AR)-Trp64Arg, serotonin transporter (5-HTT)--a 44-base pair insertion/deletion functional polymorphism in the 5-HTTLPR and insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1)-Gly972Arg. Our hypothesis was that these polymorphisms would occur more frequently in the obese population. The polymorphisms were determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction genotyping in study population. In our results, no strong associations were observed between BMI status and these polymorphisms. Weak, though significant, association coefficients obtained with HTT and LEPR loci indicate that the genotype numbers at these loci may depend on BMI status to some extent. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Usukura M, Yoneda T, Oda N, Yamamoto Y, Takata H, Hasatani K, Takeda Y
Medical treatment of benign insulinoma using octreotide LAR: a case report.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):95-101.
In some patients with insulinoma, surgery is not possible due to either difficulties in detecting the tumor or advanced age. These patients need medical treatment for hypoglycemia. We report a case of benign insulinoma using the long-acting octreotide formulation, octreotide long-acting repeatable (octreotide LAR), as a medical therapy. A 67-year-old woman was referred to our hospital for examinations of hypoglycemia. A blood sample taken during a hypoglycemic episode revealed low plasma glucose concentration, hyperinsulinemia and a high C-peptide level. An abdominal CT scan demonstrated a hypervascular tumor in the body of pancreas. She was diagnosed with insulinoma. As the patient refused surgical resection of the pancreas tumor, we started to use the somatostatin analogue, octreotide, for treatment of hypoglycemia. After the treatment her plasma glucose levels were elevated and serum immunoreactive insulin (IRI) levels were decreased. For long-term treatment, we changed the treatment from daily subcutaneous injection of octreotide to monthly intramuscular administration of octreotide LAR. This treatment was also effective and hypoglycemic attacks disappeared. Both plasma glucose levels and serum IRI levels were improved. Our case demonstrated that octreotide LAR was useful for long-term medical treatment of insulinoma. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yamakawa T, Takano T, Utsunomiya H, Kadonosono K, Okamura A
Effect of colestimide therapy for glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus with hypercholesterolemia.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):53-8.
Colestimide is a new anion-exchange resin used to lower serum cholesterol in Japan. Because of its excellent compliance, colestimide can replace cholestyramine. To clarify the effect of colestimide on glycemic controls, colestimide (3 g/day) or pravastatin (10 mg) was given orally to patients with type 2 diabetes treated with oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin who had low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels exceeding 3.6 mmol/l. In the colestimide groups, fasting plasma glucose concentrations had decreased significantly from 8.5 +/- 1.4 to 7.7 +/- 1.5 mmol/l at 3 months (P<0.05), as had glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) from 7.7 +/- 0.7% to 6.8 +/- 0.5%, for an 8% reduction (P<0.01). Fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c did not change in the pravastatin group. Total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol decreased significantly (P<0.01) with either medication, with similar reduction rates for both drugs. Doses of oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin did not change during the study, and body weight remained stable. Considering that patients with type 2 diabetes often have hyperlipidemia, colestimide therapy may have a clinically useful dual action in such patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Uzunlulu M, Yorulmaz E, Oguz A
Prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):71-6.
Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is a prevalent condition among adult population, however it is frequently overlooked. Thyroid functions affect metabolic syndrome (MetS) parameters including HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and plasma glucose. On the other hand, the relation between MetS and thyroid dysfunction is not clearly identified yet. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of SCH among MetS patients and to identify its relation with MetS parameters. Two hundred and twenty MetS patients (MetS group; 167 female, 53 male, mean age: 48.5 +/- 11.3) and 190 patients without MetS (Control group; 142 female, 48 male, mean age: 46.3 +/- 11.9) attending consecutively to Internal Medicine outpatient clinics were included in this study. Groups were compared in terms of SCH prevalence. SCH was defined as a condition with high thyrotrophin and normal free thyroxine levels. SCH was found in 36 (16.4%) cases in the MetS group and in 11 (5.8%) cases in the control group (p = 0.001). Only female gender was associated with the presence of SCH. About one sixth of MetS patients had SCH. This finding indicates a need for investigating the presence of SCH during the management of MetS patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kishi K, Mawatari K, Sakai-Wakamatsu K, Yuasa T, Wang M, Ogura-Sawa M, Nakaya Y, Hatakeyama S, Ebina Y
APS-mediated ubiquitination of the insulin receptor enhances its internalization, but does not induce its degradation.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):77-88.
APS, a tyrosine kinase adaptor protein with pleckstrin homology and Src homology 2 domains, is rapidly and strongly tyrosine-phosphorylated by insulin receptor kinase upon insulin stimulation. We have previously shown that APS knockout mice have increased insulin sensitivity, and that this enhancement is possibly due to increased insulin-response on adipose tissues. However, the function of APS in insulin signaling has so far been controversial. Here, we report that APS enhanced ligand-dependent multi-ubiquitination of the insulin receptor (IR) in CHO cells overexpressing the IR. APS-mediated ubiquitination of the IR induced enhancement of the IR internalization, but did not affect the IR degradation. This finding shows one of the pleiotropic functions of APS in insulin signaling. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Akinci B, Comlekci A, Ali Ozcan M, Demir T, Yener S, Demirkan F, Yuksel F, Yesil S
Elevated thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) antigen levels in overt and subclinical hypothyroid patients were reduced by levothyroxine replacement.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):45-52.
The influence of hypothyroidism on haemostasis is an active research area. Not only bleeding tendency but also hypercoagulable states have been reported in hypothyroid patients. Decreased and increased fibrinolytic activity in hypothyroid patients has been shown in several studies. Thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) is an inhibitor of fibrinolysis, which has been recently isolated from human plasma. The aim of our study was to determine plasma TAFI antigen levels in overt and subclinical hypothyroidism, and to investigate the effect of levothyroxine treatment on TAFI levels. The study was performed in age- and sex-matched 30 overt hypothyroid, 30 subclinical hypothyroid patients, and 30 healthy controls. Blood samples were obtained from patients with overt and subclinical hypothyroidism before levothyroxine replacement, and one month after achieving a euthyroid state with levothyroxine. TAFI antigen levels were measured using Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay kits (Affinity Biologicals; Ontario, Canada). In baseline evaluation both the overt and subclinical hypothyroid groups had higher TAFI antigen levels than control group (p<0.05). High levels of TAFI antigen were correlated with the degree of thyroid failure. After achieving euthyroid state with levothyroxine replacement, TAFI antigen levels decreased significantly in patients with overt and subclinical hypothyroidism (p<0.05). Our data suggest that there are elevated plasma levels of TAFI antigen both in overt and subclinical hypothyroidism, which may be associated with hypofibrinolysis and elevated risk of thrombosis. Normalization of thyroid state by levothyroxine replacement seems to be effective in lowering of TAFI antigen levels in hypothyroidism. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Saito T, Tojo K, Oki Y, Sakamoto N, Matsudaira T, Sasaki T, Tajima N
A case of prolactin deficiency with familial puerperal alactogenesis accompanying impaired ACTH secretion.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):59-62.
We report here the case of a 34-year-old female with puerperal alactogenesis. Her menstrual cycle was regular and breast development normal. She had delivered a healthy boy but could not breast-feed after parturition. Endocrinological studies disclosed that the cause was a prolactin (PRL) deficiency. In addition, she showed accompanying impaired ACTH secretion that was believed to be triggered by encephalitis, although her plasma levels of GH, TSH, LH and FSH remained intact. Pituitary MRI showed no specific findings and anti-pituitary antibody tests were negative. Interestingly, both her mother and grandmother also reported puerperal alactogenesis. The sequences of all five exons of the PRL gene, including promoter region and transcription initiation point, were surveyed in order to examine for certain genetic disorders, but no mutations were identified. Although it cannot be definitively concluded that this PRL deficiency was not a genomic DNA disorder, in our case at least, her PRL gene was normal and, therefore, was not directly responsible for the patient's impaired PRL secretion. This evidence suggests that familial puerperal alactogenesis and PRL deficiency can be induced by other causes such as via disorders of unknown transcription factors or molecules that contribute to translation of PRL gene. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dedecjus M, Ko?omecki K, Brzezi?ski J, Adamczewski Z, Tazbir J, Lewi?ski A
Influence of L-thyroxine administration on poor-platelet plasma VEGF concentrations in patients with induced short-term hypothyroidism, monitored for thyroid carcinoma.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):63-9.
Angiogenesis is a process of new blood vessel development from pre-existing vasculature. It is a crucial process in normal physiology, as well as in several pathological conditions. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) represents a family of specific endothelial cell mitogens, involved in normal angiogenesis and in tumour development. The aim of the present study was to estimate the influence of L-thyroxine (L-T4) administration on poor-platelet plasma (P-PP) VEGF concentrations in patients with induced short-term hypothyroidism, monitored for differentiated thyroid carcinoma. In the present study, P-PP concentrations of VEGF, thyroglobulin, thyrotropin and free thyroid hormones were investigated in a population of 24 hypothyroid patients, who were withdrawn from L-T4 treatment for 5 weeks and studied before and after 2 months of L-T4 therapy. Only healthy female patients with no evidence of metastasis in whole body scintigraphy were included in the study. They were then compared with 20 healthy control subjects, matched for age, sex and body mass index (BMI). The patients had significantly lower plasma VEGF concentrations before treatment with L-T4 than after administration of that hormone. There was no significant difference in plasma VEGF levels, either between the patients treated with L-T4, and the controls, or between the patients untreated with L-T4, and the controls. Even short-time changes in thyrometabolic profile exert an important influence on P-PP VEGF concentrations, even if there is no thyroid tissue. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Noguchi H
Stem cells for the treatment of diabetes.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):7-16.
Diabetes mellitus is a devastating disease and over 6% of the population is affected worldwide. The success achieved over the last few years with islet transplantation suggest that diabetes can be cured by the replenishment of deficient beta cells. These observations are proof of concept and have intensified interest in treating diabetes or other diseases not only by cell transplantation but also by stem cells. Work with ES cells has not yet produced cells with the phenotype of true beta cells, but there has been recent progress in directing ES cells to the endoderm. Bone marrow-derived stem cells could initiate pancreatic regeneration. Pancreatic stem/progenitor cells have been identified, and the formation of new beta cells from duct, acinar and liver cells is an active area of investigation. Some agents including glucagon-like peptide-1/exendin-4 can stimulate the regeneration of beta cells in vivo. Overexpression of embryonic transcription factors in stem cells could efficiently induce their differentiation into insulin-expressing cells. New technology, known as protein transduction technology, facilitates the differentiation of stem cells into insulin-producing cells. Recent progress in the search for new sources of beta cells has opened up several possibilities for the development of new treatments for diabetes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shimizu H, Oh-I S, Okada S, Mori M
Leptin resistance and obesity.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):17-26. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nakagawa A, Ueno K, Ito M, Okamoto S, Uehara K, Ito H, Mishina S, Kinoshita E, Nojima T, Takahashi H, Ikawa H, Takashima S, Nishizawa M, Nakano S, Kigoshi T, Nakabayashi H, Uchida K
Insulin responses to selective arterial calcium infusion under hyperinsulinemic euglycemic glucose clamps: case studies in adult nesidioblastosis and childhood insulinoma.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):27-33.
Selective arterial calcium stimulation and hepatic venous sampling (ASVS) for insulin secretion is used as a diagnostic procedure in patients with insulinomas or adult nesidioblastosis. In some of those patients, severe hypoglycemia requiring urgent glucose administration occurs during the procedure. Such glucose administration, however, may affect the results and damage the validity of the test. We report two cases of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia, in which ASVS tests were successfully performed under hyperinsulinemic euglycemic glucose clamps. A 40-year-old male with nesidioblastosis developed continual severe hypoglycemia several years after a Billroth II-Braun gastrectomy, and continuous glucose infusion could not be stopped even during ASVS tests. A 9-year-old girl with an insulinoma that showed atypical hypovascularity on imaging examinations had ASVS tests under a glucose clamp for safety. Hyperinsulinemic (approximately 100 microU/ml) euglycemic (approximately 90 mg/dl) clamps were achieved by an artificial endocrine pancreas. The insulin analogue lispro was utilized for clamps and endogenous insulin was measured with an assay that does not cross-react with the analogue. Diagnostically significant responses (more than twofold) of insulin secretion were observed under hyperinsulinemic clamps in both cases. The use of the hyperinsulinemic glucose clamp technique during the ASVS test should be considered for maintaining the safety of some hypoglycemic patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nakagawa Y, Mori K, Hoshikawa S, Ozaki H, Ito S, Yoshida K
Development of subclinical hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease in a hypothyroid woman who had undergone hemithyroidectomy for adenomatous goiter and radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal cancer.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):35-7.
A variety of thyroid disorders develop following external radiation to head and neck cancers. Hypothyroidism is the most common clinical consequence of the radiotherapy and lifelong thyroid hormone replacement is required in many cases. Patients who received both hemithyroidectomy and the external radiation to the neck are at especially high risk for permanent hypothyroidism. Here we report an unusual case with radiation-induced hypothyroidism who had undergone hemithyroidectomy for adenomatous goiter 8 years before the radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal cancer and subclinical hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease developed during thyroxine replacement therapy. Thus subclinical hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease can develop in patients with radiation-induced hypothyroidism even if they have undergone hemithyroidectomy for thyroid nodules. Therefore careful and periodic evaluation of thyroid function is required even on adequate thyroxine replacement therapy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tsuboi K, Ueshiba H, Shimojo M, Ishikawa M, Watanabe N, Nagasawa K, Yuasa R, Yoshino G
The relation of initial methimazole dose to the incidence of methimazole-induced agranulocytosis in patients with Graves' disease.
Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):39-43.
The relation between the incidence of methimazole (methylmercaptoimidazole; MMI)-induced agranulocytosis and initial MMI dose was evaluated in a group of 514 patients with Graves' disease who were treated between 1995 and 2005. One hundred and forty-six (28.40%) patients had received an initial dose of 30 mg MMI and 277 (53.89%) patients had been treated with 15 mg MMI. Nine patients (1.75%) developed agranulocytosis due to MMI treatment. Six (4.11%) of 146 patients who received an initial dose of 30 mg MMI, two (4.54%) of 44 patients given an initial dose of 20 mg MMI, and one (0.36%) of 277 patients given an initial dose of 15 mg MMI developed agranulocytosis. There was a statistically significant difference in agranulocytosis incidence between patients receiving an initial dose of 30 mg MMI and those who received an initial dose of 15 mg. Although 8 (4.10%) of 195 patients in the high-dose group (20 mg or higher) developed agranulocytosis, only 1 (0.31%) of 319 patients in the low-dose group (15 mg or lower) did. In conclusion, the incidence of agranulocytosis with low-dose MMI therapy was ten times lower than that of the high-dose regimen. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yoshizawa A, Ogikubo S
IGF binding protein-5 synthesis is regulated by testosterone through transcriptional mechanisms in androgen responsive cells.
Endocr J. 2006 Dec;53(6):811-8.
We found that androgen and IGF-I up-regulated IGFBP-5 mRNA in androgen-responsive normal human fibroblast, which was blocked by co-treatment with 5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D-ribofuranosyl-benzimidazole, but not cycloheximide. IGFBP-5 promoter activity was stimulated by androgen. Nuclear run-on assay revealed that IGFBP-5 transcripts were increased in response to androgen, which was not enhanced by co-addition of IGF-I. These results collectively indicate that IGFBP-5 synthesis is regulated by androgen through transcriptional mechanisms in androgen responsive cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kiya Y, Miura S, Zhang B, Urata H, Saku K
Effect of levothyroxine on total lipid profiles as assessed by analytical capillary isotachophoresis in a patient with hypothyroidism.
Endocr J. 2006 Dec;53(6):865-8.
The patient was a 51-year-old Japanese female who had been diagnosed with hyperlipidemia. At the first medical examination, her serum levels of total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) were 482 and 205 mg/dl, respectively. Since hyperlipidemia was not improved by pravastatin, atorvastatin or niceritrol, and since the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free T4 were 730 IU/ml and 0.3 ng/dl, respectively, the patient was diagnosed as secondary hyperlipidemia with hypothyroidism. A method for the charge isolation of lipoproteins using capillary isotachophoresis (cITP) is proposed as a clinical application because it allows us to quantitatively measure electronegative low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), a potent marker of coronary heart disease. After 5 months of treatment with levothyroxine, Serum TC and LDL-C levels drastically decreased without statin treatment and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) increased. In the lipoprotein profiles as assessed by cITP after treatment with levothyroxin, all HDL-C subfractions were increased and fast-migrating LDL/electronegative LDL appeared to be greatly reduced after treatment, while the area under the non-modified LDL peak was increased. The cITP analysis was able to obtain more information about coronary risk factors and may be clinically useful for evaluating the effect of treatment with levothyroxine in patients with hypothyroidism and secondary hyperlipidemia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Imanaka M, Iida K, Takahashi K, Tsuji K, Nishizawa H, Fukuoka H, Takeno R, Takahashi Y, Okimura Y, Kaji H, Chihara K
The N131S mutation in the von Hippel-Lindau gene in a Japanese family with pheochromocytoma and hemangioblastomas.
Endocr J. 2006 Dec;53(6):819-27.
von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease (VHLD) is a hereditary autosomal dominant syndrome that causes various benign and malignant tumors. VHLD is caused by mutations in the VHL tumor suppressor gene. Here, we report a mutation in the VHL gene in a Japanese family with VHLD type 2A, characterized by pheochromocytoma (PHE), and hemangioblastomas (HAB) in both the retina and thoracic spinal cord but without renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We identified a heterozygous A to G point mutation at the second base of codon 131 of the VHL protein (pVHL). This mutation was predicted to convert codon 131 from asparagine to serine (N131S). Although most mutations in VHLD type 2A have been detected in the alpha domain of pVHL, the present mutated amino acid was located at the region encoding the beta domain of pVHL. Previous patients with the N131K or N131T mutation in pVHL developed VHLD type 2B with RCC or VHLD type 1 without PHE, respectively. We also identified somatic loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 3p25-26 in the adrenal tumor of the patient. The results of our study suggest that not only the location of mutation but also the altered amino acid may be critical for determining the clinical phenotype of VHLD. LOH was associated with the development of PHE in a patient with the N131S mutation in pVHL. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shigematsu N, Takami H, Kubo A
Unique treatment policy for well-differentiated thyroid cancer in Japan: results of a questionnaire distributed to members of the Japanese Society of Thyroid Surgery and the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons.
Endocr J. 2006 Dec;53(6):829-39.
Although surgery has been the mainstay of treatment for patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer, the extents of thyroid resection and lymph node dissection adopted in Japan differ from those in other countries. Furthermore, regarding the indications for postoperative radiation therapy and hormonal therapy, and treatment modalities for cancer recurrence, there are marked discrepancies between Japan and other countries. A questionnaire survey was thus conducted among domestic and overseas thyroid surgeons to ascertain the actual treatment policy for well-differentiated thyroid cancer in Japan and various foreign countries. For small papillary carcinomas of 2.0 cm or less (T1), thyroid resection was more extensive in foreign countries than in Japan, although the extent of lymph node dissection was limited in the former. For large papillary carcinomas exceeding 3.0 cm (T2), on the other hand, total thyroidectomy was the treatment of first choice for all overseas respondents, but of only 20% in Japan, despite lymph node dissection being more extensive in Japan than in other countries. Overseas surgeons were much more likely to favor postoperative TSH suppression therapy and high-dose (131)I therapy. For recurrence following surgery for papillary thyroid cancer, both domestic and overseas respondents indicated surgical resection to be the most common treatment option, and favored high-dose (131)I therapy as well. In Japan, however, high-dose (131)I therapy is available only in a few institutions. Such limited indications for high-dose (131)I therapy in Japan may reflect a discrepancy in the frequency of total thyroidectomy, a prerequisite for postoperative high-dose (131)I therapy, between Japan and other countries. This is the first questionnaire study conducted in both Japan and other countries in relation to treatment modalities for thyroid cancer. The results reveal that there is a clear disparity in treatment policies between Japan and foreign countries. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Muraki K, Okuya S, Tanizawa Y
Estrogen receptor alpha regulates insulin sensitivity through IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes.
Endocr J. 2006 Dec;53(6):841-51.
There are many clinical and experimental reports demonstrating that estrogens and insulin interact when affecting their target organs. Estrogen receptors consist of two isoforms, estrogen receptors-alpha (ER-alpha) and -beta (ER-beta), but their roles in insulin-induced glucose uptake in mature adipose tissue have yet to be clarified. To evaluate the roles of ER-alpha, expressed predominantly in adipocytes, we have investigated the effects of estradiol (E2), an ER-alpha selective agonist (PPT), and its selective antagonist (MPP) on glucose uptake and insulin action in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. 3T3-L1 adipocytes were exposed to E2 or PPT and/or MPP at different concentrations. The cells were then subjected to 2-deoxy-D-glucose transport assay, western blot analysis, or RT-PCR analysis. Treatment of these cells with E2 or PPT resulted in biphasic effects on glucose transport, that is high (10(-5) M or 3 x 10(-6) M each) and low (10(-8) M) doses produced inhibition and stimulation, respectively. The favorable effect observed at 10(-8) M of E2 was diminished by treatment with MPP. Western bolt analysis revealed that these effects of E2, PPT and MPP paralleled the level of IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation. However, IRS-1 serine phosphorylation, suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-1,-2,-3 and protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) expression did not change compared to control subjects. Our data clearly show that ER-alpha contributes to insulin stimulated glucose uptake through regulation of the tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 protein. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]


Recent Articles in Minerva Endocrinologica

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Recent Articles in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology

Sun F, Ko E, Martin RH
Is there a relationship between sperm chromosome abnormalities and sperm morphology?
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2006;41.
This review explores the relationship between sperm chromosomal constitution and morphology. With the advent of techniques for obtaining information on the chromosome complements of spermatozoa, this relationship has been studied in fertile men and in men with a high frequency of chromosomal abnormalities. Using human sperm karyotype analysis, no relationship between sperm chromosome abnormalities and morphology was found in fertile men, translocation carriers or post-radiotherapy cancer patients. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis has not generally revealed a specific association between morphologically abnormal sperm and sperm chromosome abnormalities, but has indicated that teratozoospermia, like other forms of abnormal semen profiles (aesthenozoospermia, oligozoospermia) is associated with a modest increase in the frequency of sperm chromosome abnormalities. However, FISH studies on some infertile men and mouse strains have suggested that certain types of morphologically abnormal spermatozoa, such as macrocephalic multitailed spermatozoa, are associated with a very significantly increased frequency of aneuploidy. Thus, there may be an association between sperm morphology and aneuploidy in infertile men with specific abnormalities. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gore AJ, Philips DP, Miller WL, Bernard DJ
Differential regulation of follicle stimulating hormone by activin A and TGFB1 in murine gonadotropes.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;373.
BACKGROUND: Activins stimulate the synthesis of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in pituitary gonadotropes, at least in part, by inducing transcription of its beta subunit (Fshb). Evidence from several laboratories studying transformed murine LbetaT2 gonadotropes indicates that activins signal through Smad-dependent and/or Smad-independent pathways, similar to those used by transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFB1) in other cell types. Therefore, given common intracellular signaling mechanisms of these two ligands, we examined whether TGFBs can also induce transcription of Fshb in LbetaT2 cells as well as in purified primary murine gonadotropes. METHODS: Murine Fshb promoter-reporter (-1990/+1 mFshb-luc) activity was measured in LbetaT2 cells treated with activin A or TGFB1, and in cells transfected with either activin or TGFB receptors. The ability of the ligands to stimulate phosphorylation of Smads 2 and 3 in LbetaT2 cells was measured by western blot analysis, and expression of TGFB type I and II receptors was assessed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in both LbetaT2 cells and primary gonadotropes purified from male mice of different ages. Finally, regulation of endogenous murine Fshb mRNA levels by activin A and TGFB1 in purified gonadotropes and whole pituitary cultures was measured using quantitative RT-PCR. RESULTS: Activin A dose-dependently stimulated -1990/+1 mFshb-luc activity in LbetaT2 cells, but TGFB1 had no effect at doses up to 5 nM. Similarly, activin A, but not TGFB1, stimulated Smad 2 and 3 phosphorylation in these cells. Constitutively active forms of the activin (Acvr1b-T206D) and TGFB (TGFBR1-T204D) type I receptors strongly stimulated -1990/+1 mFshb-luc activity, showing that mechanisms down stream of Tgfbr1 seem to be intact in LbetaT2 cells. RT-PCR analysis of LbetaT2 cells and whole adult murine pituitaries indicated that both expressed Tgfbr1 mRNA, but that Tgfbr2 was not detected in LbetaT2 cells. When cells were transfected with a human TGFBR2 expression construct, TGFB1 acquired the ability to significantly stimulate -1990/+1 mFshb-luc activity. In contrast to LbetaT2 cells, primary murine gonadotropes from young mice (8-10 weeks) contained low, but detectable levels of Tgfbr2 mRNA and these levels increased in older mice (1 yr). A second surprise was the finding that treatment of purified primary gonadotropes with TGFB1 decreased murine Fshb mRNA expression by 95% whereas activin A stimulated expression by 31-fold. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that TGFB1-insensitivity in LbetaT2 cells results from a deficiency in Tgfbr2 expression. In primary gonadotropes, however, expression of Tgfbr2 does occur, and its presence permits TGFB1 to inhibit Fshb transcription, whereas activin A stimulates it. These divergent actions of activin A and TGFB1 were unexpected and show that the two ligands may act through distinct pathways to cause opposing biological effects in primary murine gonadotropes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lesmeister MJ, Jorgenson RL, Young SL, Misfeldt ML
17Beta-estradiol suppresses TLR3-induced cytokine and chemokine production in endometrial epithelial cells.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;374.
BACKGROUND: The human endometrium is an important site for contact between the host and pathogens ascending the reproductive tract, and thus plays an important role in female reproductive tract immunity. Previous work in our laboratory has suggested that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved in endometrial epithelial recognition of pathogens and that ligation of endometrial TLRs results in the production of cytokines and chemokines important for both immune and reproductive functions of the endometrium. We have also demonstrated cyclic regulation of TLR3 mRNA and protein expression in human endometrium, suggesting that steroid hormones might play a role in the expression and function of TLR3. In this study, the effects of 17beta-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) on TLR3 expression and function in endometrial cell lines were investigated. METHODS: Endometrial epithelial cell lines were cultured and examined for the presence of TLR3 and hormone receptors by endpoint RT-PCR. For hormonal studies, cells were pre-treated with ethanol vehicle, 10(-8) M E2, and/or 10(-7) M P. For antagonist assays, cells were treated with the ER antagonist, ICI 182, 780, or the PR antagonist, RU486, for two hours prior to treatment with hormones. Following hormone or hormone/antagonist pre-treatment, cells were stimulated with vehicle, the synthetic TLR3 ligand, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C), a negative dsDNA control, or a positive control. Cytokine and chemokine production post-stimulation was measured by ELISA. The effects of E2 and P on TLR3 mRNA and protein expression were measured using Real Time RT-PCR and FACS analysis, respectively. RESULTS: Stimulation of TLR3-expressing cells with the synthetic TLR3 ligand, Poly I:C, resulted in the production of cytokines and chemokines important for endometrial function and regulation. Suppression of Poly I:C-induced cytokine and chemokine production by cells treated with 10(-8) M E2, but not cells treated with 10(-7) M P, was observed in endometrial epithelial cell lines expressing TLR3 and estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha). The effects of E2 were not observed on cells which did not express ERalpha or in cells pre-treated with the ER antagonist, ICI 182, 780. Treatment with E2 did not affect TLR3 mRNA or protein expression. However, treatment with E2 did suppress cytokine and chemokine production resulting from TLR3 stimulation with Poly I:C, suggesting that E2 modulates TLR3 function. CONCLUSION: The data presented in this study are the first indication that E2 can markedly alter the innate immune response to dsRNA, providing a previously unreported process by which E2 can alter immune responses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rago V, Romeo F, Aquila S, Montanaro D, Andň S, Carpino A
Cytochrome P450 aromatase expression in human seminoma.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;372.
BACKGROUND: The enzyme cytochrome P450 aromatase, catalysing the conversion of androgens into estrogens, has been detected in normal human testicular cells suggesting a physiological role of local estrogen biosynthesis on spermatogenesis control. Estrogens, regulating cell growth and apoptosis, can also be involved in tumorigenesis process, but the possible link between estrogens and testicular neoplastic process is, up to now, scarcely known. This study examined aromatase expression in human seminoma, which is the most common germ cell tumour of the testis. METHODS: The tumour-bearing testes were obtained from 20 patients with classic seminoma undergoing to therapeutic orchidectomy. Paraffin embedded tissues were processed for immunohistochemistry using a mouse monoclonal antibody generated against human placental cytochrome P450 arom, as primary antibody, and a biotinylated goat-anti-mouse IgG, as secondary antibody. Furthermore, Western blot analysis of seminoma extracts was carried out. RESULTS: Intense P450 arom immunoreactivity was observed in the seminoma cells and Western blot analysis confirmed the immunodetection. A strong immunostaining was also detected in cells of intratubular germ cell neoplasia (IGCN), adjacent to seminoma. CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrated, for the first time in human, aromatase expression in neoplastic cells of seminoma suggesting a relation between local estrogen biosynthesis and germ cell tumorigenesis. The P450 arom immunolocalization in the cells of IGCN, representing the common precursor of most germ cell tumors, seems to support these findings. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vanhoutte L, De Sutter P, Van der Elst J, Dhont M
Clinical benefit of metaphase I oocytes.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;371.
BACKGROUND: We studied the benefit of using in vitro matured metaphase I (MI) oocytes for ICSI in patients with a maximum of 6 mature metaphase II (MII) oocytes at retrieval. METHODS: In 2004, 187 ICSI cycles were selected in which maximum 6 MII oocytes and at least one MI oocyte were retrieved. MI oocytes were put in culture to mature until the moment of ICSI, which was performed between 2 to 11 hours after oocyte retrieval (day 0). In exceptional cases, when the patient did not have any mature oocyte at the scheduled time of ICSI, MI oocytes were left to mature overnight and were injected between 19 to 26 hours after retrieval (day 1). Embryos from MI oocytes were chosen for transfer only when no other good quality embryos from MII oocytes were available. Outcome parameters were time period of in vitro maturation (IVM), IVM and fertilization rates, embryo development, clinical pregnancy rates, implantation rates and total MI oocyte utilization rate. RESULTS: The overall IVM rate was 43%. IVM oocytes had lower fertilization rates compared to in vivo matured sibling oocytes (52% versus 68%, P < 0.05). The proportion of poor quality embryos was significantly higher in IVM derived oocytes. One pregnancy and live birth was obtained out of 13 transfers of embryos exclusively derived from IVM oocytes. This baby originated from an oocyte that was injected after 22 hrs of IVM. CONCLUSION: Fertilization of in vitro matured MI oocytes can result in normal embryos and pregnancy, making IVM worthwhile, particularly when few MII oocytes are obtained at retrieval. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Petrusz P, Jeyaraj DA, Grossman G
Microarray analysis of androgen-regulated gene expression in testis: the use of the androgen-binding protein (ABP)-transgenic mouse as a model.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;370.
BACKGROUND: Spermatogenesis is an androgen-dependent process, yet the molecular mechanisms of androgens' actions in testis are poorly understood. Transgenic mice overexpressing rat androgen-binding protein (ABP) in their testes have reduced levels of intratesticular androgens and, as a result, show a progressive impairment of spermatogenesis. We used this model to characterize changes in global gene expression in testis in response to reduced bioavailability of androgens. METHODS: Total RNA was extracted from testes of 30-day old transgenic and wild-type control mice, converted to cRNA, labeled with biotin, and hybridized to oligonucleotide microarrays. Microarray results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Three-hundred-eighty-one genes (3.05% of all transcripts represented on the chips) were up-regulated and 198 genes (1.59%) were down-regulated by at least a factor of 2 in the androgen-deficient animals compared to controls. Genes encoding membrane proteins, intracellular signaling molecules, enzymes, proteins participating in the immune response, and those involved in cytoskeleton organization were significantly overrepresented in the up-regulated group. Among the down-regulated transcripts, those coding for extracellular proteins were overrepresented most dramatically, followed by those related to proteolysis, cell adhesion, immune response, and growth factor, cytokine, and ion channel activities. Transcripts with the greatest potential impact on cellular activities included several transcription factors, intracellular signal transducers, secreted signaling molecules and enzymes, and various cell surface molecules. Major nodes in the up-regulated network were IL-6, AGT, MYC, and A2M, those in the down-regulated network were IL-2, -4, and -10, MAPK8, SOCS1, and CREB1. CONCLUSION: Microarray analysis followed by gene ontology profiling and connectivity analysis identified several functional groups of genes and individual genes responding to sustained reduction of androgen levels in the mouse testis. These include genes whose products function as transcription factors, cell surface molecules including ion channels, extra- and intracellular signaling molecules, and secreted enzymes with the potential of regulating cell-to-cell attachment. The transcription factors CREB1 (down-regulated) and MYC (up-regulated) may mediate the most important initial phases of the testicular response to reduced levels of androgens. These results suggest specific avenues for further research that will lead to a better understanding of how androgens regulate spermatogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tokumoto T, Tokumoto M, Nagahama Y
Induction and inhibition of oocyte maturation by EDCs in zebrafish.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;369.
BACKGROUND: Oocyte maturation in lower vertebrates is triggered by maturation-inducing hormone (MIH), which acts on unidentified receptors on the oocyte surface and induces the activation of maturation-promoting factor (MPF) in the oocyte cytoplasm. We previously described the induction of oocyte maturation in fish by an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC), diethylstilbestrol (DES), a nonsteroidal estrogen. METHODS: In this study, stimulatory and inhibitory effects of EDCs and natural steroids on oocyte maturation were examined in zebrafish. For effective agents, some details about the mechanism in induction or inhibition of maturation were examined. Possible groups of DES interacting with the MIH receptor are discussed based on relative potency of steroids to induce maturation. RESULTS: Among agents tested, tamoxifen (TAM) and its metabolite 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) showed stimulatory activity similar to DES. The time courses of the change in germinal vesicle breakdown and an intracellular molecular event (the synthesis of cyclin B) induced by TAM were indistinguishable from those induced by MIH. In contrast, pentachlorophenol (PCP) had a potent inhibitory effect on MIH-induced oocyte maturation. PCP inhibited not only MIH-induced maturation but also DES- and TAM-induced maturation. Methoxychlor also inhibited maturation when oocytes were pre-treated with this agent. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that EDCs act as agonists or antagonists in the induction of oocyte maturation in fish. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ushizawa K, Takahashi T, Hosoe M, Kaneyama K, Hashizume K
Cloning and expression of two new prolactin-related proteins, prolactin-related protein-VIII and -IX, in bovine placenta.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;368.
BACKGROUND: Prolactin-related proteins (PRPs) are specific proteins of the growth hormone/prolactin (GH/PRL) family in bovine placenta. This study reports the identification and sequencing of a full-length cDNA for two new members of bovine PRPs, bPRP-VIII and -IX, and their localization and quantitative expression in bovine placenta. METHODS: New bPRP-VIII and -IX were identified from bovine placentome. Localization and quantitative gene expression in the placenta were respectively investigated by in situ hybridization and real-time RT-PCR methods. Recombinant proteins of these genes were produced by a mammalian HEK293 cell expression system. RESULTS: Full-length bPRP-VIII and -IX cDNA were respectively cloned with 909 and 910 nucleotide open-reading-frames corresponding to proteins of 236 and 238 amino acids. The predicted bPRP-VIII amino acid sequence shared about 40 to 70% homology with other bPRPs, and bPRP-IX had about 50 to 80% homology of others. The two new bPRPs were detected only in the placenta by RT-PCR. mRNA was primarily expressed in the cotyledon and intercotyledonary tissues throughout gestation. An in situ hybridization analysis revealed the presence of bPRP-VIII and -IX mRNA in the trophoblastic binucleate and/or trinucleate cells. bPRP-VIII mRNA was observed in the extra-embryonic membrane on Day 27 of gestation, however, no bPRP-IX mRNA was observed in the extra-embryonic membrane in the same stage of pregnancy by quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis. Both new bPRP genes were possible to translate a mature protein in a mammalian cell expression system with approximately 28 kDa in bPRP-VIII and 38 kDa in bPRP-IX. CONCLUSION: We identified the new members of bovine prolactin-related protein, bPRP-VIII and -IX. Localization and quantitative expression were confirmed in bovine placenta by in situ hybridization or real-time PCR. Their different temporal and spatial expressions suggest a different role for these genes in bovine placenta during gestation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Baker MA, Aitken RJ
Reactive oxygen species in spermatozoa: methods for monitoring and significance for the origins of genetic disease and infertility.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;367.
Human spermatozoa generate low levels of reactive oxygen species in order to stimulate key events, such as tyrosine phosphorylation, associated with sperm capacitation. However, if the generation of these potentially pernicious oxygen metabolites becomes elevated for any reason, spermatozoa possess a limited capacity to protect themselves from oxidative stress. As a consequence, exposure of human spermatozoa to intrinsically- or extrinsically- generated reactive oxygen intermediates can result in a state of oxidative stress characterized by peroxidative damage to the sperm plasma membrane and DNA damage to the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Oxidative stress in the male germ line is associated with poor fertilization rates, impaired embryonic development, high levels of abortion and increased morbidity in the offspring, including childhood cancer. In this review, we consider the possible origins of oxidative damage to human spermatozoa and reflect on the important contribution such stress might make to the origins of genetic disease in our species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Choi KC, Leung PC, Jeung EB
Biology and physiology of Calbindin-D9k in female reproductive tissues: involvement of steroids and endocrine disruptors.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;366.
Although Calbindin-D9k (CaBP-9k), a cytosolic calcium binding protein which has calcium binding sites, is expressed in various tissues, i.e., intestine, uterus, and placenta, potential roles of this gene and its protein are not clearly understood. Uterine CaBP-9k may be involved in controlling myometrial activity related with intracellular calcium level and is not under the control of vitamin D despite the presence of vitamin D receptors. But, it is under the control of the sex steroid hormones, estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4), in female reproductive systems including the uterus and placenta. Thus, in this review, we summarize recent research literature in regards to the expression and regulation of CaBP-9k in mammals and introduce the research data of recent studies by us and others. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

May-Panloup P, Vignon X, Chrétien MF, Heyman Y, Tamassia M, Malthičry Y, Reynier P
Increase of mitochondrial DNA content and transcripts in early bovine embryogenesis associated with upregulation of mtTFA and NRF1 transcription factors.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;365.
BACKGROUND: Recent work has shown that mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial functions are critical determinants of embryonic development. However, the expression of the factors controlling mitochondrial biogenesis in early embryogenesis has received little attention so far. METHODS: We used real-time quantitative PCR to quantify mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in bovine oocytes and in various stages of in vitro produced embryos. To investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for the replication and the transcriptional activation of mtDNA, we quantified the mRNA corresponding to the mtDNA-encoded cytochrome oxidase 1 (COX1), and two nuclear-encoded factors, i.e. the Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1 (NRF1), and the nuclear-encoded Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A (mtTFA). RESULTS: Unlike findings reported in mouse embryos, the mtDNA content was not constant during early bovine embryogenesis. We found a sharp, 60% decrease in mtDNA content between the 2-cell and the 4/8-cell stages. COX1 mRNA was constant until the morula stage after which it increased dramatically. mtTFA mRNA was undetectable in oocytes and remained so until the 8/16-cell stage; it began to appear only at the morula stage, suggesting de novo synthesis. In contrast, NRF1 mRNA was detectable in oocytes and the quantity remained constant until the morula stage. CONCLUSION: Our results revealed a reduction of mtDNA content in early bovine embryos suggesting an active process of mitochondrial DNA degradation. In addition, de novo mtTFA expression associated with mitochondrial biogenesis activation and high levels of NRF1 mRNA from the oocyte stage onwards argue for the essential function of these factors during the first steps of bovine embryogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Berg AH, Thomas P, Olsson PE
Biochemical characterization of the Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) ovarian progestin membrane receptor.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;364.
Membrane progestin receptors are involved in oocyte maturation in teleosts. However, the maturation-inducing steroid (MIS) does not appear to be conserved among species and several progestins may fulfill this function. So far, complete biochemical characterization has only been performed on a few species. In the present study we have characterized the membrane progestin receptor in Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) and show that the 17,20beta-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17,20beta-P) receptor also binds several xenobiotics, thus rendering oocyte maturation sensitive to environmental pollutants. We identified a single class of high affinity (Kd, 13.8 +/- 1.1 nM), low capacity (Bmax, 1.6 +/- 0.6 pmol/g ovary) binding sites by saturation and Scatchard analyses. Receptor binding displayed rapid association and dissociation kinetics typical of steroid membrane receptors, with t1/2 s of less than 1 minute. The 17,20beta-P binding also displayed tissue specificity with high, saturable, and specific 17,20beta-P binding detected in ovaries, heart and gills while no specific binding was observed in muscle, brain or liver. Changes in 17,20beta-P binding during oocyte maturation were consistent with its identity as the oocyte MIS membrane receptor. Incubation of fully-grown ovarian follicles with gonadotropin induced oocyte maturation, which was accompanied by a five-fold increase in 17,20beta-P receptor binding. In addition, competition studies with a variety of steroids revealed that receptor binding is highly specific for 17,20beta-P, the likely maturation-inducing steroid (MIS) in Arctic char. The relative-binding affinities of all the other progestogens and steroids tested were less than 5% of that of 17,20beta-P for the receptor. Several ortho, para derivatives of DDT also showed weak binding affinity for the 17,20beta-P receptor supporting the hypothesis that xenobiotics may bind steroid receptors on the oocyte's surface and might thereby interfere with oocyte growth and maturation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

von Hofsten J, Olsson PE
Zebrafish sex determination and differentiation: involvement of FTZ-F1 genes.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;363.
Sex determination is the process deciding the sex of a developing embryo. This is usually determined genetically; however it is a delicate process, which in many cases can be influenced by environmental factors. The mechanisms controlling zebrafish sex determination and differentiation are not known. To date no sex linked genes have been identified in zebrafish and no sex chromosomes have been identified. However, a number of genes, as presented here, have been linked to the process of sex determination or differentiation in zebrafish. The zebrafish FTZ-F1 genes are of central interest as they are involved in regulating interrenal development and thereby steroid biosynthesis, as well as that they show expression patterns congruent with reproductive tissue differentiation and function. Zebrafish can be sex reversed by exposure to estrogens, suggesting that the estrogen levels are crucial during sex differentiation. The Cyp19 gene product aromatase converts testosterone into 17 beta-estradiol, and when inhibited leads to male to female sex reversal. FTZ-F1 genes are strongly linked to steroid biosynthesis and the regulatory region of Cyp19 contains binding sites for FTZ-F1 genes, further linking FTZ-F1 to this process. The role of FTZ-F1 and other candidates for zebrafish sex determination and differentiation is in focus of this review. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Keye WR, Webster B, Dickey R, Somkuti S, Crain J, Scobey MJ
Subcutaneously administered Menopur, a new highly purified human menopausal gonadotropin, causes significantly fewer injection site reactions than Repronex in subjects undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;362.
BACKGROUND: The safety and tolerability of a new highly purified, urine-derived human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) preparation [Menopur] was compared with a currently available hMG [Repronex] in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). METHODS: This was a randomized, open-label, parallel-group, multicenter study conducted in subjects undergoing IVF. Women (N = 125), 18-39 years of age, underwent pituitary down-regulation with leuprolide acetate beginning 7 days prior to onset of menses and continuing up to the day before hCG administration. Subjects were randomized to receive subcutaneous (SC) Menopur (n = 61) or Repronex SC (n = 64) for a maximum of 12 days. All adverse events (AEs) were recorded and subject self-assessments of injection site reactions were recorded in a daily diary. RESULTS: Significantly fewer subjects in the Menopur group reported injection site reactions (P < 0.001) compared to the Repronex group. Overall, there was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of AEs between the two treatment groups. CONCLUSION: Menopur SC offers a greater safety and tolerability profile compared to Repronex SC. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Scobey MJ, Raike E, Marshall DC
Mixed protocols: multiple ratios of FSH and LH bioactivity using highly purified, human-derived FSH (BRAVELLE) and highly purified hMG (MENOPUR) are unaltered by mixing together in the same syringe.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;361.
BACKGROUND: The use of mixed or blended protocols, that utilize both FSH and hMG, for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation is increasing in use. To reduce the number of injections a patient must administer, many physicians instruct their patients to mix their FSH and hMG together to be given as a single injection. Therefore, the goal of this study was to definitively determine if the FSH and LH bioactivities of highly purified, human-derived FSH (Bravelle) and highly purified hMG (Menopur) were altered by reconstituting in 0.9% saline and mixing in the same syringe. METHODS: Bravelle and Menopur were reconstituted in 0.9% saline and mixed in a Becton Dickinson plastic syringe. The FSH and LH bioactivities of the products were determined after injecting female and male rats, respectively, with Bravelle, Menopur, or a mixture of Bravelle and Menopur. Ratios of FSH:LH activity tested were 150:75 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur), 300:75 IU (3 vials Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur) or 300:225 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 3 vials of Menopur). RESULTS: There were no statistically significant changes in either FSH or LH bioactivity that occurred after mixing Bravelle with Menopur in the same syringe. The theoretical vs. actual FSH bioactivity for Bravelle and Menopur were 75 vs. 76.58 IU/mL and 75 vs. 76.0 IU/mL, respectively. For the 3 ratios of FSH:LH activity tested, 150:75 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur), 300:75 IU (3 vials Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur) or 300:225 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 3 vials of Menopur) tested, the theoretical vs. actual FSH bioactivities were 150 vs. 156.86 IU/mL, 300 vs. 308.69 IU/mL and 300 vs. 306.58 IU/mL, respectively. The theoretical vs. actual LH bioactivity for Menopur in the above mentioned ratios tested were 75 vs. 77.50 IU/mL. For the 3 ratios of FSH:LH activity tested, 150:75 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur), 300:75 IU (3 vials Bravelle: 1 vial Menopur) or 300:225 IU (1 vial Bravelle: 3 vials of Menopur), the theoretical vs. actual LH bioactivities were 75 vs. 78.38 IU/mL, 75 vs. 78.63 IU/mL and 225 vs. 233.48 IU/mL, respectively. CONCLUSION: Mixing human-derived FSH (Bravelle) with highly purified hMG (Menopur) in the same diluent, 0.9% NaCL, does not alter the FSH or LH bioactivity of either gonadotropin preparation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Miller DW, Harrison JL, Brown YA, Doyle U, Lindsay A, Adam CL, Lea RG
Immunohistochemical evidence for an endocrine/paracrine role for ghrelin in the reproductive tissues of sheep.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;360.
BACKGROUND: The gut hormone, ghrelin, is involved in the neuroendocrine and metabolic responses to hunger. In monogastric species, circulating ghrelin levels show clear meal-related and body weight-related changes. The pattern of secretion and its role in ruminant species is less clear. Ghrelin acts via growth hormone secretagogue receptors (GHSR-1a) to alter food intake, fat utilization, and cellular proliferation. There is also evidence that ghrelin is involved in reproductive function. In the present study we used immunohistochemistry to investigate the presence of ghrelin and GHSR-1a in sheep reproductive tissues. In addition, we examined whether ghrelin and GHSR-1a protein expression is developmentally regulated in the adult and fetal ovine testis, and whether there is an association with markers of cellular proliferation, i.e. stem cell factor (SCF) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). METHODS: Antibodies raised against ghrelin and its functional receptor, GHSR-type 1a, were used in standard immunohistochemical protocols on various reproductive tissues collected from adult and fetal sheep. GHSR-1a mRNA presence was also confirmed by in situ hybridisation. SCF and PCNA immunoexpression was investigated in fetal testicular samples. Adult and fetal testicular immunostaining for ghrelin, GHSR-1a, SCF and PCNA was analysed using computer-aided image analysis. Image analysis data were subjected to one-way ANOVA, with differences in immunostaining between time-points determined by Fisher's least significant difference. RESULTS: In adult sheep tissue, ghrelin and GHSR-1a immunostaining was detected in the stomach (abomasum), anterior pituitary gland, testis, ovary, and hypothalamic and hindbrain regions of the brain. In the adult testis, there was a significant effect of season (photoperiod) on the level of immunostaining for ghrelin (p < 0.01) and GHSR-1a (p < 0.05). In the fetal sheep testis, there was a significant effect of gestational age on the level of immunostaining for ghrelin (p < 0.001), GHSR-1a (p < 0.05), SCF (p < 0.05) and PCNA (p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Evidence is presented for the presence of ghrelin and its receptor in various reproductive tissues of the adult and fetal sheep. In addition, the data indicate that testicular expression of ghrelin and its receptor is physiologically regulated in the adult and developmentally regulated in the fetus. Therefore, the ghrelin ligand/receptor system may have a role (endocrine and/or paracrine) in the development (cellular proliferation) and function of the reproductive axis of the sheep. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kumamoto K, Wang H, Yamashiro H, Terada T
Easy and rapid method for the determination of gene expression in cumulus cells incubated for oocyte maturation.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;359.
BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were to develop an easy and rapid method for measuring gene expression in a small number of cells by real-time PCR without RNA extraction and purification, and to use this method to determine more precisely IGF-I gene expression in the cumulus cells surrounding oocytes. METHODS: First, after small numbers of cumulus cells were lysed in cell lysis buffer, they were digested with various concentrations of DNase I for different periods at 37 degrees C to determine the optimal conditions for digestion of genomic DNA in the lysate. Since nonspecific amplification was liable to occur when the non-purified RT product of the cell lysate was used for real-time PCR with the given primers, the optimal conditions for Mg2+ and annealing temperature were well investigated. Further, to create the same conditions as in the actual sample reaction for measurement by real-time PCR, RT-minus product was added to the reaction mixture of the standard curve, and then the amplification efficiency was assessed. Next, IGF-I gene expression in cumulus cells collected from cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) every 4 h during maturation was determined using the developed method. RESULTS: The optimal conditions for measuring gene expression using the cell lysate from a small number of cells were as follows: incubation of the cell lysate with 0.16 U/microL DNase I with 10 U/microL for 30 min, an Mg concentration of 1.5 mM for amplification of target gene by real-time PCR using RT-product of the cell lysate. When the RT-minus products added to the reaction mixture for the standard curve, which was prepared for purified 18SrRNA plasmid, the PCR efficiency was similar between the sample and the standard. The IGF-I gene expression in the cumulus cells was elevated up through the first 8 h of the culture and then declined gradually by the end of maturation, with the maximal gene expression (778-fold) seen at 8 h. CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that the method developed here, in which equivalent to cumulus cells collected from 0.03-0.075 COCs were employed per reaction, permits rapid and easy determination of target gene expression in a limited number of cells using real-time PCR without RNA extraction. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bu L, Setchell KD, Lephart ED
Influences of dietary soy isoflavones on metabolism but not nociception and stress hormone responses in ovariectomized female rats.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;358.
BACKGROUND: Isoflavones, the most abundant phytoestrogens in soy foods, are structurally similar to 17beta-estradiol. Few studies have examined the nociception and stress hormone responses after consumption of soy isoflavones. METHODS: In this study, ovariectomized (OVX) female Long-Evans rats were fed either an isoflavone-rich diet (Phyto-600) or an isoflavone-free diet (Phyto-free). We examined the effects of soy isoflavones on metabolism by measuring body weights, food/water intake, adipose tissue weights as well as serum leptin levels. Also, circulating isoflavone levels were quantified. During chemically induced estrous, nociceptive thresholds were recorded. Then, the animals were subjected to a stressor and stress hormone levels were quantified. RESULTS: Body weights were significantly lower in Phyto-600 fed rats compared to Phyto-free values within one week and during long-term consumption of soy isoflavones. Correspondingly, Phyto-600 fed animals displayed significantly less adipose deposition and lower serum leptin levels than Phyto-free values. However, rats on the Phyto-600 diet displayed greater food/water intake compared to Phyto-free levels. No changes in thermal pain threshold or stress hormone levels (ACTH and corticosterone) were observed after activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) stress axis. CONCLUSION: In summary, these data show that consumption of soy isoflavones 1) increases metabolism, demonstrated by significantly decreased body weights, adipose tissue deposition and leptin levels, but 2) does not alter nociception or stress hormone responses, as indexed by thermal pain threshold, serum corticosterone and ACTH levels in chemically-induced estrous OVX rats. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gruemmer R, Motejlek K, Berghaus D, Weich HA, Neulen J
Regulation of soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (sFlt-1/sVEGFR-1) expression and release in endothelial cells by human follicular fluid and granulosa cells.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;357.
BACKGROUND: During the female reproductive cycle, follicular development and corpus luteum formation crucially depend on the fast generation of new blood vessels. The importance of granulosa cells and follicular fluid in controlling this angiogenesis is still not completely understood. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) produced by granulosa cells and secreted into the follicular fluid plays an essential role in this process. On the other hand, soluble VEGF receptor-1 (sFlt-1) produced by endothelial cells acts as a negative modulator for the bioavailability of VEGF. However, the regulation of sFlt-1 production remains to be determined. METHODS: We analyzed the influence of human follicular fluid obtained from FSH-stimulated women as well as of human granulosa cell conditioned medium on sFlt-1 production in and release from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in vitro. Soluble Flt-1 gene expression was determined by RT-PCR analysis, amount of sFlt-1-protein was quantified by Sandwich-ELISA. RESULTS: Human follicular fluid as well as granulosa cell-conditioned medium significantly inhibit the production of sFlt-1 by endothelial cells on a posttranscriptional level. Treatment of cultured granulosa cells with either hCG or FSH had not impact on the production of sFlt-1 inhibiting factors. We further present data suggesting that this as yet unknown sFlt-1 regulating factor secreted by granulosa cells is not heat-sensitive, not steroidal, and it is of low molecular mass (< 1000 Da). CONCLUSION: We provide strong support that follicular fluid and granulosa cells control VEGF availability by down regulation of the soluble antagonist sFlt-1 leading to an increase of free, bioactive VEGF for maximal induction of vessel growth in the ovary. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Staun-Ram E, Shalev E
Human trophoblast function during the implantation process.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;356.
The implantation process involves complex and synchronized molecular and cellular events between the uterus and the implanting embryo. These events are regulated by paracrine and autocrine factors. Trophoblast invasion and migration through the uterine wall is mediated by molecular and cellular interactions, controlled by the trophoblast and the maternal microenvironment. This review is focused on the molecular constituents of the human trophoblast, their actions and interactions, including interrelations with the uterine endometrium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Paulesu L, Ietta F, Petraglia F
Feto-maternal biology and ethics of human society.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;355.
The growing interest in human reproduction and the identity of the embryo have prompted us to bring some considerations to the attention of scientists. In particular, we focus on the interactive relationship between the embryo and the mother starting from the earliest stages of development. Principles governing the acceptance and growth of the embryo in the uterus may represent a model for mutual tolerance and peaceful co-existence in human society. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mitwally MF, Casper RF, Diamond MP
The role of aromatase inhibitors in ameliorating deleterious effects of ovarian stimulation on outcome of infertility treatment.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;354.
Clinical utilization of ovulation stimulation to facilitate the ability of a couple to conceive has not only provided a valuable therapeutic approach, but has also yielded extensive information on the physiology of ovarian follicular recruitment, endometrial receptivity and early embryo competency. One of the consequences of the use of fertility enhancing agents for ovarian stimulation has been the creation of a hyperestrogenic state, which may influence each of these parameters. Use of aromatase inhibitors reduces hyperestrogenism inevitably attained during ovarian stimulation. In addition, the adjunct use of aromatase inhibitors during ovarian stimulation reduces amount of gonadotropins required for optimum stimulation. The unique approach of reducing hyperestrogenism, as well as lowering amount of gonadotropins without affecting the number of mature ovarian follicles is an exciting strategy that could result in improvement in the treatment outcome by ameliorating the deleterious effects of the ovarian stimulation on follicular development, endometrial receptivity, as well as oocyte and embryo quality. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kohli G, Clelland E, Peng C
Potential targets of transforming growth factor-beta1 during inhibition of oocyte maturation in zebrafish.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;353.
BACKGROUND: TGF-beta is a multifunctional growth factor involved in regulating a variety of cellular activities. Unlike mammals, the function of TGF-beta in the reproduction of lower vertebrates, such as fish, is not clear. Recently, we showed that TGF-beta1 inhibits gonadotropin- and 17alpha, 20beta-dihydroxyprogesterone (DHP)-induced maturation in zebrafish. The aim of the present study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying this action. METHOD: To determine if the effect of TGF-beta1 on oocyte maturation involves transcription and/or translation, ovarian follicles were pre-treated with actinomycin D, a blocker of transcription, and cyclohexamide, an inhibitor of translation, and incubated with hCG or DHP, either alone or in combination with TGF-beta1 and oocyte maturation scored. To determine the effect of TGF-beta1 on mRNA levels of several key effectors of oocyte maturation, three sets of experiments were performed. First, follicles were treated with control medium or TGF-beta1 for 2, 6, 12, and 24 h. Second, follicles were treated with different concentrations of TGF-beta1 (0 to 10 ng/ml) for 18 h. Third, follicles were incubated with hCG in the absence or presence of TGF-beta1 for 18 h. At the end of each experiment, total RNA was extracted and reverse transcribed. PCR using primers specific for 20beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20beta-HSD) which is involved in DHP production, follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR), luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR), the two forms of membrane progestin receptor: mPR-alpha and mPR-beta, as well as GAPDH (control), were performed. RESULTS: Treatment with actinomycin D, a blocker of transcription, reduced the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta1 on DHP-induced oocyte maturation, indicating that the inhibitory action of TGF-beta1 is in part due to regulation of gene transcription. Treatment with TGF-beta1 caused a dose and time-dependent decrease in mRNA levels of 20beta-HSD, LHR and mPR-beta in follicles. On the other hand, TGF-beta1 had no effect on mPR-alpha mRNA expression and increased FSHR mRNA levels. Furthermore, hCG upregulated 20beta-HSD, LHR and mPR-beta mRNA levels, but this stimulatory effect was blocked by TGF-beta1. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that TGF-beta1 acts at multiple sites, including LHR, 20beta-HSD and mPR-beta, to inhibit zebrafish oocyte maturation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Talbot P, Riveles K
Smoking and reproduction: the oviduct as a target of cigarette smoke.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;352.
The oviduct is an exquisitely designed organ that functions in picking-up ovulated oocytes, transporting gametes in opposite directions to the site of fertilization, providing a suitable environment for fertilization and early development, and transporting preimplantation embryos to the uterus. A variety of biological processes can be studied in oviducts making them an excellent model for toxicological studies. This review considers the role of the oviduct in oocyte pick-up and embryo transport and the evidence that chemicals in both mainstream and sidestream cigarette smoke impair these oviductal functions. Epidemiological data have repeatedly shown that women who smoke are at increased risk for a variety of reproductive problems, including ectopic pregnancy, delay to conception, and infertility. In vivo and in vitro studies indicate the oviduct is targeted by smoke components in a manner that could explain some of the epidemiological data. Comparisons between the toxicity of smoke from different types of cigarettes, including harm reduction cigarettes, are discussed, and the chemicals in smoke that impair oviductal functioning are reviewed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Akingbemi BT
Estrogen regulation of testicular function.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;351.
Evidence supporting a role for estrogen in male reproductive tract development and function has been collected from rodents and humans. These studies fall into three categories: i) localization of aromatase and the target protein for estrogen (ER-alpha and ER-beta) in tissues of the reproductive tract; ii) analysis of testicular phenotypes in transgenic mice deficient in aromatase, ER-alpha and/or ER-beta gene; and, iii) investigation of the effects of environmental chemicals on male reproduction. Estrogen is thought to have a regulatory role in the testis because estrogen biosynthesis occurs in testicular cells and the absence of ERs caused adverse effects on spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis. Moreover, several chemicals that are present in the environment, designated xenoestrogens because they have the ability to bind and activate ERs, are known to affect testicular gene expression. However, studies of estrogen action are confounded by a number of factors, including the inability to dissociate estrogen-induced activity in the hypothalamus and pituitary from action occurring directly in the testis and expression of more than one ER subtype in estrogen-sensitive tissues. Use of tissue-specific knockout animals and administration of antiestrogens and/or aromatase inhibitors in vivo may generate additional data to advance our understanding of estrogen and estrogen receptor biology in the developing and mature testis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cano P, Jiménez-Ortega V, Alvarez MP, Alvarińo M, Cardinali DP, Esquifino AI
Effect of rabbit doe-litter separation on 24-hour changes of luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and prolactin release in female and male suckling pups.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;350.
BACKGROUND: The daily pattern of nursing of the rabbit pup by the doe is the most important event in the day for the newborn and is neatly anticipated by them. Such anticipation presumably needs a close correlation with changes in hormones that will allow the pups to develop an appropriate behavior. Although a number of circadian functions have been examined in newborn rabbits, there is no information on 24-h pattern of gonadotropin release or on possible sex-related differences in gonadotropin or prolactin (PRL) release of pups. This study examined the 24-h changes of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin (PRL) in 11 days old suckling female and male rabbits left with the mother or after short-term (i.e., 48 h) doe-litter separation. METHODS: Animals were kept under controlled light-dark cycles (16 h-8 h; lights on at 08:00 h). On day 9 post partum, groups of 6-7 female or male rabbit pups were separated from their mothers starting at 6 different time intervals in the 24 h cycle. Pups were killed 48 h after separation. At each time interval groups of male or female pups that stayed with the mother were killed as controls. Plasma, LH, FSH and PRL levels were measured by specific radioimmunoassays. RESULTS: In pups kept with their mother plasma FSH and LH maxima occurred at the first and second part of the light phase (at 13:00 and 17:00-21:00 h, respectively) (females) or as two peaks for each of the hormones (at 13:00 and 01:00 h) (males). PRL release was similar in female and male rabbit pups kept with their mother, showing a 24-h pattern with two peaks, at 13:00 and 01:00 h, respectively. Mean 24-h values of gonadotropins and PRL did not differ between sexes. Isolation of pups for 48 h augmented circulating gonadotropin and PRL levels and distorted hormone 24-h pattern to a similar extent in both sexes. CONCLUSION: Significant sex differences in 24-h changes in LH and FSH, but not in PRL, release occurred in rabbit pups kept with the doe. Separation of newborn pups from their mother augmented circulating gonadotropin and PRL levels and disrupted 24-h rhythmicity of gonadotropin and PRL release similarly in both sexes. The effect of pups' isolation can be attributed either to a modification of the circadian pacemaker or to a masking effect on some of its output overt rhythms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sorsa-Leslie T, Mason HD, Harris WJ, Fowler PA
Selection of gonadotrophin surge attenuating factor phage antibodies by bioassay.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;349.
BACKGROUND: We aimed to combine the generation of "artificial" antibodies with a rat pituitary bioassay as a new strategy to overcome 20 years of difficulties in the purification of gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor (GnSAF). METHODS: A synthetic single-chain antibody (Tomlinson J) phage display library was bio-panned with partially purified GnSAF produced by cultured human granulosa/luteal cells. The initial screening with a simple binding immunoassay resulted in 8 clones that were further screened using our in-vitro rat monolayer bioassay for GnSAF. Initially the antibodies were screened as pooled phage forms and subsequently as individual, soluble, single-chain antibody (scAbs) forms. Then, in order to improve the stability of the scAbs for immunopurification purposes, and to widen the range of labelled secondary antibodies available, these were engineered into full-length human immunoglobulins. The immunoglobulin with the highest affinity for GnSAF and a previously described rat anti-GnSAF polyclonal antiserum was then used to immunopurify bioactive GnSAF protein. The two purified preparations were electrophoresed on 1-D gels and on 7 cm 2-D gels (pH 4-7). The candidate GnSAF protein bands and spots were then excised for peptide mass mapping. RESULTS: Three of the scAbs recognised GnSAF bioactivity and subsequently one clone of the purified scAb-derived immunoglobulin demonstrated high affinity for GnSAF bioactivity, also binding the molecule in such as way as to block its bioactivity. When used for repeated immunopurification cycles and then Western blot, this antibody enabled the isolation of a GnSAF-bioactive protein band at around 66 kDa. Similar results were achieved using the rat anti-GnSAF polyclonal antiserum. The main candidate molecules identified from the immunopurified material by excision of 2-D gel protein spots was human serum albumin precursor and variants. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the combination of bioassay and phage display technologies is a powerful tool in the study of uncharacterised proteins that defy conventional approaches. In addition, we conclude that these data support suggestions that GnSAF may be structurally related to serum albumin or very tightly bound to serum albumin. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nwagwu MO, Baines H, Kerr JB, Ebling FJ
Neonatal androgenization of hypogonadal (hpg) male mice does not abolish estradiol-induced FSH production and spermatogenesis.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;348.
BACKGROUND: Testicular development is arrested in the hypogonadal (hpg) mouse due to a congenital deficiency in hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) synthesis. Chronic treatment of male hpg mice with estradiol induces FSH synthesis and secretion, and causes testicular maturation and qualitatively normal spermatogenesis. As estradiol negative feedback normally inhibits FSH production in the male, this study tested whether this paradoxical response to estradiol in the male hpg mouse might be due to inadequate masculinisation or incomplete defeminization in the neonatal period. Previous studies have demonstrated that treatment of hpg mice with testosterone propionate in the immediate neonatal period is necessary to allow full reproductive behaviors to be expressed following suitable endocrine stimulation at adult ages. METHODS: Hpg mice were treated with 100 mug testosterone propionate or vehicle on postnatal day 2. At 35 days of age, subgroups of these mice were treated with silastic implants containing estradiol or cholesterol. Reproductive behavior was scored in tests with steroid-primed female mice, then testicular development was assessed histologically, and measures of pituitary FSH content made at 85 days of age. RESULTS: The neonatal testosterone propionate treatment successfully defeminized female litter mates, as revealed by impaired vaginal opening and deficiencies in lordosis behavior, and it allowed appropriate male reproductive behavior to be expressed in a proportion of the hpg males when tested at an adult age. However, neonatal androgen supplementation did not block or even reduce the subsequent actions of estradiol in increasing pituitary FSH content, nor did it affect the ability of estradiol to induce qualitatively normal spermatogenesis. CONCLUSION: The ability of the hpg male to show a "female" neuroendocrine response to estradiol is not a result of inadequate androgenization during neonatal development, and thus the actions of estradiol revealed in this rodent model are not an artefact of incomplete sexual differentiation, but reflect a physiological role of estradiol occurring during a specific early temporal window of male reproductive development. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Heise M, Koepsel R, Russell AJ, McGee EA
Calcium alginate microencapsulation of ovarian follicles impacts FSH delivery and follicle morphology.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;347.
BACKGROUND: We have previously shown that suspension culture prevents follicle flattening and maintains three-dimensional follicle architecture better than culture on flat plates. However, many of the follicles cultured in suspension do eventually rupture, as basement membrane integrity is lost and the three-dimensional structure of the follicle is altered. Therefore, the objective of this study is to support three-dimensional follicle architecture during in vitro growth of ovarian follicles through encapsulation in calcium alginate, while maintaining responsiveness to FSH stimulation. METHODS: Preantral follicles (150-160 micrometers in diameter) were isolated from the ovaries of juvenile rats and grown in culture tubes or encapsulated in calcium alginate and grown in culture tubes. Previous studies revealed that follicles maintained structural integrity but did not grow as well when encapsulated in calcium alginate. In these studies, we evaluated the effect of calcium alginate on FSH-stimulated follicle growth, survival, and morphology in suspension culture. Follicles were grown under 5 culture conditions: 1) not encapsulated; with FSH in the medium, 2) encapsulated in the absence of FSH, grown in medium without FSH, 3) encapsulated with calcium alginate containing FSH but grown in medium without FSH, 4) encapsulated without FSH but grown in medium containing FSH and 5) encapsulated with calcium alginate containing FSH and in medium containing FSH. To assess growth rates, follicles were cultured for 72 hours and analyzed for follicle size increase and DNA content. Survival analysis for encapsulated and unencapsulated follicles was performed by constructing a Kaplan Meier survival curve of daily observations of intact follicle survival. Three-dimensional architecture was assessed histologically and by analysis of the pattern of connexin 43 expression in the cultured follicles. RESULTS: In the absence of FSH, follicle diameter increased by only 6.4%. When FSH was included in the alginate bead alone or the media alone, the follicle diameter increased by 13.5% and 19.9% respectively. This was greater than follicles cultured in the absence of FSH (p < 0.05), but less than that of the FSH-treated unencapsulated follicles (p < 0.05). However, when follicles were cultured with FSH included in both the media and the bead, a 32.6% increase in follicle diameter was observed, statistically no different than the growth rate of the unencapsulated follicles grown with FSH. CONCLUSION: Microencapsulation supports three-dimensional follicle growth, but may limit access to hormones in the medium resulting in altered development compared to unencapsulated follicles. Inclusion of FSH in the alginate bead restores the follicle growth response to FSH, while also providing a scaffold of support for three-dimensional growth. The application of tissue engineering principles to the problems of follicle culture in vitro may provide advances applicable to fertility preservation in women and endangered species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gonzales GF, Salirrosas A
Arterial oxygen saturation in healthy newborns delivered at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m).
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005;346.
BACKGROUND: High altitude is associated with both low pulse oxygen saturation at birth and more pre-term deliveries. The present study was performed to determine pulse oxygen saturation in newborns at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m) to test the hypothesis that low pulse oxygen saturation at birth at high altitudes was not observed at term deliveries. METHODS: The present study was designed to determine pulse oxygen saturation values through 1 minute to 24 hours and values of Apgar score at 1 and 5 minutes in newborns delivered at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m). Pulse oxygen saturation was recorded in 39 newborns from Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and 131 from Lima (150 m) at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes and 1, 2, 8 and 24 hours after delivery. Apgar score was assessed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. Neurological score was assessed at 24 h of birth by Dubowitz exam. RESULTS: Pulse oxygen saturation increased significantly from 1 to 15 min after birth at sea level and from 1 to 30 minutes at Cerro de Pasco. Thereafter, it increased slightly such that at 30 min at sea level and at 60 minutes in Cerro de Pasco it reached a plateau up to 24 hours after birth. At all times, pulse oxygen saturation was significantly higher at sea level than at high altitude (P < 0.01). At 1 minute of life, pulse oxygen saturation was 15% lower at high altitude than at sea level. Apgar score at 1 minute was significantly lower at high altitude (P < 0.05). Neurological score at 24 hours was also lower at high altitude than at sea level. Head circumference, and Apgar score at 5 minutes were similar at sea level and at high altitude (P:NS). Incidence of low birth-weight (<2500 g) at high altitude (5.4%) was similar to that observed at sea level (2.29%) (P:NS). Incidences of low pulse oxygen saturation (<30%), low Apgar score at first minute (<7) and low neurological score at 24 h (<19) were significantly higher at high altitude than at sea level (P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001; and P < 0.001, respectively). CONCLUSION: From these analyses may be concluded that pulse oxygen saturation at 4340 m was significantly low despite the fact that births occurred at term. Apgar scores at first minute and neurological scores were also lower at high altitudes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]