Diazepam-binding inhibitor (DBI) was initially isolated from the rat brain as a result of its ability to compete with benzodiazepines for their receptors. Immunohistochemical studies have recently shown the presence of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR)- and DBI-like immunoreactivity in the frog adrenal gland. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of two biologically active DBI-derived peptides, the triakontatetraneuropeptide [TTN; DBI(17-50)] and the octadecaneuropeptide [ODN; DBI(33-50)], on corticosteroid secretion by frog adrenocortical cells. Exposure of frog adrenal explants to graded concentrations of TTN (3.16 x 10(-8) to 3.16 x 10(-6) M) induced a dose-related increase in corticosterone and aldosterone secretion. In contrast, ODN did not modify corticosteroid output. When repeated pulses of TTN (10(-6) M) were administered at 2-h intervals, the response of the adrenal explants to the second dose of TTN was markedly reduced, suggesting the existence of a desensitization phenomenon. Exposure of dispersed adrenal cells to TTN also induced a marked stimulation of corticosteroid secretion, indicating that TTN acts directly on adrenocortical cells. The central-type benzodiazepine receptor (CBR) agonist, clonazepam, did not stimulate corticosteroid secretion and the CBR antagonist, flumazenil, did not block the stimulatory action of TTN. Similarly, the PBR agonist, Ro5-4864, did not mimic the stimulatory effect of TTN and the PBR antagonist, flunitrazepam, did not affect the stimulatory action of TTN. The present study provides the first evidence for a stimulatory effect of TTN on intact adrenocortical cells. The receptor mediating the corticotropic action of TTN is not related to central- or peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors. Our data suggest that TTN, released by chromaffin cells, may act as a paracrine factor regulating the activity of adrenocortical cells.
O Lesouhaitier, M Feuilloley, and H Vaudry
MH Bassett, Y Zhang, C Clyne, PC White, and WE Rainey
11beta-Hydroxylase (hCYP11B1) and aldosterone synthase (hCYP11B2) are closely related isozymes with distinct roles in cortisol and aldosterone production respectively. Aldosterone synthase catalyzes the final step in aldosterone biosynthesis and is expressed only in the zona glomerulosa of the normal adrenal. 11beta-Hydroxylase catalyzes the final reaction in the production of cortisol and is expressed at higher levels in the zona fasciculata. The mechanisms causing differential expression of these genes are not well defined. Herein, we demonstrate contrasting roles for the orphan receptor steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) in the regulation of human (h) CYP11B1 and hCYP11B2. Human NCI-H295R (H295R) or mouse Y-1 cells were transiently transfected with luciferase reporter constructs containing 5'-flanking regions of hCYP11B1, hCYP11B2, human 17alpha-hydroxylase (hCYP17), human cholesterol side-chain cleavage (hCYP11A1) or mouse (m) cyp11b2 (mcyp11b2). Co-transfection of vectors encoding SF-1 increased expression of hCYP11B1, hCYP11A1 and hCYP17 constructs, but inhibited hCYP11B2 reporter activity. Murine, bovine and human SF-1 were unable to increase transcription of hCYP11B2 in H295R cells. Both hCYP11B2 and mcyp11b2 promoter constructs were inhibited similarly by human SF-1. In mouse Y-1 cells, reporter expression of hCYP11B2 and mcyp11b2 was very low compared with hCYP11B1 constructs, suggesting that this adrenal cell model may not be appropriate for studies of CYP11B2. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that SF-1 interacted with an element from both hCYP11B1 and hCYP11B2. However, mutation of this element, termed Ad4, did not prevent agonist stimulation of hCYP11B2 by angiotensin II or forskolin but blocked activity of hCYP11B1. In some, but not all, reports of genetic linkage analysis, a naturally occurring single nucleotide polymorphism within the Ad4 element of hCYP11B2 (-344C/T) has been associated with cardiovascular disease. Herein, we have demonstrated that this polymorphism influenced binding of SF-1 in electrophoretic mobility shift assays, with the C allele binding SF-1 more strongly than the T allele. However, when hCYP11B2 constructs containing these alleles were transfected into H295R cells, there was no difference in agonist-stimulated expression or the response of either reporter construct to co-expression with human SF-1. Taken together, these data suggest that SF-1 and the Ad4 element are not major regulators of adrenal hCYP11B2 gene expression. Thus far, hCYP11B2 is the first steroid hydroxylase gene which is not positively regulated by SF-1.
The pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) plays a pivotal role in homeostasis and stress response and is thus the major component of the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis. After a brief summary of ACTH production from proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and on ACTH receptor properties, the first part of the review covers the role of ACTH in steroidogenesis and steroid secretion. We highlight the mechanisms explaining the differential acute vs chronic effects of ACTH on aldosterone and glucocorticoid secretion. The second part summarizes the effects of ACTH on adrenal growth, addressing its role as either a mitogenic or a differentiating factor. We then review the mechanisms involved in steroid secretion, from the classical Cyclic adenosine monophosphate second messenger system to various signaling cascades. We also consider how the interaction between the extracellular matrix and the cytoskeleton may trigger activation of signaling platforms potentially stimulating or repressing the steroidogenic potency of ACTH. Finally, we consider the extra-adrenal actions of ACTH, in particular its role in differentiation in a variety of cell types, in addition to its known lipolytic effects on adipocytes. In each section, we endeavor to correlate basic mechanisms of ACTH function with the pathological consequences of ACTH signaling deficiency and of overproduction of ACTH.
Ariadni Spyroglou, Jenny Manolopoulou, Sibylle Wagner, Martin Bidlingmaier, Martin Reincke, and Felix Beuschlein
Aldosterone is synthesized acutely from the zona glomerulosa cells upon stimulation by the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. Several enzymes are involved in this steroidogenic process including the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), P450 side chain cleavage enzyme (Cyp11a1), and aldosterone synthase (Cyp11b2) which has been demonstrated to be transcriptionally regulated by the nuclear transcription factors NGF1-B and Nurr1. We investigated the short time transcriptional regulation of these genes in wild-type mice at 10 min intervals for 1 h following application of 0.2 nmol angiotensin II (ANGII) or sodium chloride in comparison sham injections. Using real-time PCR a fast upregulation of adrenal Cyp11b2 expression (53±5% increase over baseline) could be observed 10 min after sham injection which was accompanied by a transient increase in aldosterone secretion while StAR and Cyp11a1 upregulation was delayed and more sustained. ANGII caused an increase of StAR and Cyp11a1 expression similar to that observed after sham injection while Cyp11b2 upregulation was more pronounced (10 min, 236±39%) and reflected ANGII induced stimulation of aldosterone output. Sodium challenge was followed by a sustained reduction of all three genes examined (Cyp11b2, 20 min, −63±6%) which was accompanied by a significant suppression of aldosterone secretion detectable after 60 min. While increases in NGF1-B mRNA levels were similar between the treatment groups, Nurr1 expression levels were induced only upon ANGII administration. These data suggest that acute regulation of aldosterone synthesis is accompanied by fast transcriptional modulation of steroidogenic enzymes and transcription factors that are likely to be involved in aldosterone secretion.
G. P. Vinson, S. M. Laird, B. J. Whitehouse, and J. P. Hinson
Recent data have implicated the phosphatidylinositol/calcium second-messenger system in the control of aldosterone secretion by the adrenal zona glomerulosa. However, in the rat adrenal there are few reports of a direct effect of protein kinase C activation on steroid secretion, while the effects of calcium mobilization may be variable. Since the rat adrenal zona glomerulosa is sensitive to the mode of tissue preparation, these mechanisms were reinvestigated in intact (non-dispersed) capsular tissue and collagenase-dispersed zona glomerulosa cells.
Steroidogenesis in the intact zona glomerulosa was markedly affected by agonists of the calcium messenger system. Most notably, aldosterone and 18-hydroxycorticosterone (18-OH-B) secretion were stimulated by A23187 (100 nmol to 10 μmol/l) and BAY K 8644 (500 nmol/l). Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (TPA; 1 pmol to 1 μmol/l) stimulated aldosterone secretion at all doses and caused a dose-dependent increase in 18-OH-B and 18-hydroxydeoxycorticosterone (18-OH-DOC) secretion. Corticosterone secretion was slightly increased in the presence of A23187 but not by TPA or BAY K 8644. Production of 18-OH-DOC was unaffected by A23187 and BAY K 8644. The calcium channel antagonist verapamil (10 μmol/l) inhibited ACTH-stimulated aldosterone secretion by the intact zona glomerulosa but had no effect on corticosterone secretion.
Verapamil (10 μmol/l) also inhibited the increase in aldosterone secretion by collagenase-dispersed zona glomerulosa cells stimulated by ACTH (100 fmol to 100 nmol/l), angiotensin II (100 pmol to 10 nmol/l) and potassium (5·9 and 8·4 mmol/l); stimulated corticosterone secretion was unaffected. Aldosterone secretion by dispersed zona glomerulosa cells was unaffected by the calcium ionophore A23187 (10 nmol to 100 μmol/l) or by TPA (1 nmol to 10 μmol/l). Corticosterone secretion was also unaffected by A23187 over the same dose range, but was increased slightly by high doses of TPA (10 and 1 μmol/l), while the calcium channel agonist BAY K 8644 had no effect on either steroid.
The results show that calcium mobilization and protein kinase C activation can stimulate steroid secretion in the rat adrenal zona glomerulosa and that large and reproducible effects are seen when intact tissue is used. In general only 18-OH-B and aldosterone secretion were affected; effects on corticosterone and 18-OH-DOC were much less marked. Together with the effects of calcium blockers, the data strongly support the view that protein kinase C activation and calcium mobilization are primarily involved in the control of the 'late pathway' of aldosterone biosynthesis.
Saulo J A Felizola, Yasuhiro Nakamura, Yoshikiyo Ono, Kanako Kitamura, Kumi Kikuchi, Yoshiaki Onodera, Kazue Ise, Kei Takase, Akira Sugawara, Namita Hattangady, William E Rainey, Fumitoshi Satoh, and Hironobu Sasano
Purkinje cell protein 4 (PCP4) is a calmodulin (CaM)-binding protein that accelerates calcium association and dissociation with CaM. It has been previously detected in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA), but details on its expression and function in adrenocortical tissues have remained unknown. Therefore, we performed the immunohistochemical analysis of PCP4 in the following tissues: normal adrenal (NA; n=15), APA (n=15), cortisol-producing adenomas (n=15), and idiopathic hyperaldosteronism cases (IHA; n=5). APA samples (n=45) were also submitted to quantitative RT-PCR of PCP4, CYP11B1, and CYP11B2, as well as DNA sequencing for KCNJ5 mutations. Transient transfection analysis using PCP4 siRNA was also performed in H295R adrenocortical carcinoma cells, following ELISA analysis, and CYP11B2 luciferase assays were also performed after PCP4 vector transfection in order to study the regulation of PCP4 protein expression. In our findings, PCP4 immunoreactivity was predominantly detected in APA and in the zona glomerulosa of NA and IHA. In APA, the mRNA levels of PCP4 were significantly correlated with those of CYP11B2 (P<0.0001) and were significantly higher in cases with KCNJ5 mutation than WT (P=0.005). Following PCP4 vector transfection, CYP11B2 luciferase reporter activity was significantly higher than controls in the presence of angiotensin-II. Knockdown of PCP4 resulted in a significant decrease in CYP11B2 mRNA levels (P=0.012) and aldosterone production (P=0.011). Our results indicate that PCP4 is a regulator of aldosterone production in normal, hyperplastic, and neoplastic human adrenocortical cells.
Akira Uruno, Ken Matsuda, Naoya Noguchi, Takeo Yoshikawa, Masataka Kudo, Fumitoshi Satoh, William E Rainey, Xiao-Gang Hui, Jun-ichi Akahira, Yasuhiro Nakamura, Hironobu Sasano, Hiroshi Okamoto, Sadayoshi Ito, and Akira Sugawara
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) is a nuclear receptor for the antidiabetic agent thiazolidinedione, which exerts various physiological activities, independent of lowering blood glucose. However, the role of PPARγ in aldosterone production has not been clarified. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of PPARγ on aldosterone synthase gene (CYP11B2) expression and aldosterone production. Localization of PPARγ expression in normal adrenal cortex was determined by immunohistochemistry. Aldosterone production and CYP11B2 expression levels were determined using human adrenocortical carcinoma H295R cells. Pioglitazone suppressed angiotensin II-induced aldosterone secretion and CYP11B2 expression. PPARγ was expressed in zona glomerulosa in human normal adrenal gland. PPARγ overexpression enhanced pioglitazone-mediated CYP11B2 transrepression. The pioglitazone-mediated suppression of aldosterone secretion and CYP11B2 expression were canceled by PPARγ L466A/E469A mutant. Pioglitazone also suppressed potassium-mediated CYP11B2 induction, but not N6-2′-O-dibutyladenosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate stimulation. Rosiglitazone and GW1929 also suppressed CYP11B2 transactivation. Mutation analysis revealed that the Ad1/CRE element in CYP11B2 5′-flanking region was responsible for the pioglitazone-mediated transrepression. Pioglitazone suppressed ionomycin and a truncated constitutively active form Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase I (CaMKI)-mediated CYP11B2 transcriptional activation. A CaMK inhibitor KN-93 attenuated pioglitazone-mediated CYP11B2 transrepression. PPARγ suppresses CYP11B2 expression and aldosterone secretion.
Edson F Nogueira, Claudia A Vargas, Mélissa Otis, Nicole Gallo-Payet, Wendy B Bollag, and William E Rainey
Angiotensin-II (Ang-II) regulates adrenal steroid production and gene transcription through several signaling pathways. Changes in gene transcription occur within minutes after Ang-II stimulation, causing an increase in aldosterone production and subsequent increase in the overall capacity to produce aldosterone. Our goal was to compare the Ang-II regulation of early gene expression and confirm the up-regulation of selected genes using quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) across three species, such as, human, bovine, and rat. Microarray analyses were performed using samples from control and Ang-II (10 nM)-treated (1 h) cells from human adrenocortical tumor cell line H295R, and primary adrenal glomerulosa cells from bovine and rat, applied respectively to human, bovine, and rat chips. qPCR was performed to confirm up-regulation of selected genes using mRNA. The microarray comparison revealed 18% similarity among the top 50 up-regulated genes, with human/rat, 20%; human/bovine, 36%; and rat/bovine, 26% similarity. The gene list generated by this comparison included: activating transcription factor 3, B-cell translocation gene (BTG2), Nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 1 (NR4A1), NR4A2, NR4A3, early growth response 1, v-fos FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog (c-FOS), FOSB, and Jun family member B (JUNB). Pretreatment of H295R cells with cycloheximide had no effect on Ang-II induction of these genes, suggesting that they are direct targets of Ang-II signaling. The Ang-II gene targets have been defined in three different adrenocortical model systems. Several of the listed genes have previously been described as being key regulators of adrenocortical function. The presence of adrenal cell common genes in such distinct cell models strengthens the hypothesis that these genes are regulators of aldosterone production.
L G Perez-Rivas, Y Rhayem, S Sabrautzki, C Hantel, B Rathkolb, M Hrabě de Angelis, M Reincke, F Beuschlein, and A Spyroglou
In an attempt to define novel genetic loci involved in the pathophysiology of primary aldosteronism, a mutagenesis screen after treatment with the alkylating agent N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea was established for the parameter aldosterone. One of the generated mouse lines with hyperaldosteronism was phenotypically and genetically characterized. This mouse line had high aldosterone levels but normal creatinine and urea values. The steroidogenic enzyme expression levels in the adrenal gland did not differ significantly among phenotypically affected and unaffected mice. Upon exome sequencing, point mutations were identified in seven candidate genes (Sspo, Dguok, Hoxaas2, Clstn3, Atm, Tipin and Mapk6). Subsequently, animals were stratified into wild-type and mutated groups according to their genotype for each of these candidate genes. A correlation of their genotypes with the respective aldosterone, aldosterone-to-renin ratio (ARR), urea and creatinine values as well as steroidogenic enzyme expression levels was performed. Aldosterone values were significantly higher in animals carrying mutations in four different genes (Sspo, Dguok, Hoxaas2 and Clstn3) and associated statistically significant adrenal Cyp11b2 overexpression as well as increased ARR was present only in mice with Sspo mutation. In contrast, mutations of the remaining candidate genes (Atm, Tipin and Mapk6) were associated with lower aldosterone values and lower Hsd3b6 expression levels. In summary, these data demonstrate association between the genes Sspo, Dguok, Hoxaas2 and Clstn3 and hyperaldosteronism. Final proofs for the causative nature of the mutations have to come from knock-out and knock-in experiments.
I. M. Bird, M. Nicol, B. C. Williams, and S. W. Walker
Cells isolated from the zona fasciculata/reticularis (ZFR) of the bovine adrenal cortex and maintained in culture were found to secrete cortisol in response to vasopressin stimulation. The increased cortisol secretion was dose dependent, with a threshold response at 1 nm and a maximal response (1·68-fold over basal) at 0·1 μm. In cells cultured in the presence of [3H]inositol (to prelabel the membrane phosphoinositide pool), stimulation with vasopressin in the presence of LiCl (10 mm) resulted in a similar dose-dependent increase in labelling of the phosphoinositol fraction, with a maximal response (1·45-fold over basal) at 10 nm. The increased labelling of the phosphoinositol fraction was independent of extracellular Ca2+ as it was not abolished in medium with [Ca2+ ] buffered to intracellular resting levels. This suggests that vasopressin stimulation results in the activation of a phosphoinositidase C. It is probable that cortisol secretion by bovine ZFR cells in response to vasopressin is dependent upon activation of this Ca2+-independent phosphoinositidase C. However, the small magnitude of the cortisol secretory response makes it unlikely that vasopressin is a primary regulator of cortisol secretion in vivo.