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Free access

V Vuaroqueaux, A Dutour, N Bourhim, L Ouafik, G Monges, N Briard, N Sauze, C Oliver and M Grino

Numerous studies have suggested that the antiproliferative potency of somatostatin (SS) analogues may be an efficient tool to improve the prognosis of colorectal cancer. In order to facilitate current efforts to design potent antitumour SS analogues, we studied the distribution of human SS receptors (hsst1-5) mRNAs in a large set of tumoural and normal colonic tissues. Localisation of hsst1-5 mRNAs in normal and tumoural tissues was performed by in situ hybridisation using radioactive antisense or sense riboprobes. Semi-quantitative analysis of hsst5 mRNA was performed using a computerised image analysis system. Hsst binding sites were characterised by studying the relative potency of SS14, SS28 or SS analogues in displacing [(125)I]Tyr degrees -d-Trp(8)-SS14 bound to HT29-D4 cells. Hsst5 mRNA was by far the most expressed subtype in both normal and transformed epithelial cells as well as in the HT29-D4 cell line. An increased expression of hsst5 mRNA was found in tumours. Hsst1 mRNA was expressed preferentially as clusters in immune cells in lamina propria and in stroma close to the tumour. A low expression of hsst4, hsst3 and hsst2 was seen in normal and tumoural tissue. In HT29-D4, binding experiments with SS14 demonstrated the existence of one SS binding class (K(d)=524 nM, B(max)=1fmol/10(6 )cells). In competition binding studies, SS28 and BIM23268 (an analogue that shows preferential specificity towards hsst5) effectively inhibited binding of [(125)I]Tyr degrees -d-Trp(8)-SS14 (IC(50)=15 and 157 nM respectively), while BIM23197 (an analogue that shows preferential affinity for hsst2) was ineffective. Our results show a high expression of hsst5 mRNA in human tumoural colonic tissue, while hsst5 protein is the predominant hsst protein subtype in a tumoural colonic cell line.

Free access

Nils Wierup, Frank Sundler and R Scott Heller

The islets of Langerhans are key regulators of glucose homeostasis and have been known as a structure for almost one and a half centuries. During the twentieth century several different cell types were described in the islets of different species and at different developmental stages. Six cell types with identified hormonal product have been described so far by the use of histochemical staining methods, transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. Thus, glucagon-producing α-cells, insulin-producing β-cells, somatostatin-producing δ-cells, pancreatic polypeptide-producing PP-cells, serotonin-producing enterochromaffin-cells, and gastrin-producing G-cells have all been found in the mammalian pancreas at least at some developmental stage. Species differences are at hand and age-related differences are also to be considered. Eleven years ago a novel cell type, the ghrelin cell, was discovered in the human islets. Subsequent studies have shown the presence of islet ghrelin cells in several animals, including mouse, rat, gerbils, and fish. The developmental regulation of ghrelin cells in the islets of mice has gained a lot of interest and several studies have added important pieces to the puzzle of molecular mechanisms and the genetic regulation that lead to differentiation into mature ghrelin cells. A body of evidence has shown that ghrelin is an insulinostatic hormone, and the potential for blockade of ghrelin signalling as a therapeutic avenue for type 2 diabetes is intriguing. Furthermore, ghrelin-expressing pancreatic tumours have been reported and ghrelin needs to be taken into account when diagnosing pancreatic tumours. In this review article, we summarise the knowledge about islet ghrelin cells obtained so far.

Free access

HL Waldum, IM Kvetnoi, R Sylte, B Schulze, TC Martinsen and AK Sandvik

The peroxisome proliferator ciprofibrate induces hypergastrinemia without inhibiting acid secretion. The present study was carried out to assess the effect of ciprofibrate on serum gastrin and gastrin (G) cells in different strains of rats and to compare the effect of ciprofibrate with other lipid-reducing agents (lovastatin and simvastatin) which have a different mechanism of action. Serum gastrin was determined by a radioimmunoassay method, G cell density by histomorphometry after immunostaining for G cells, and gastrin, somatostatin and histidine decarboxylase (HDC) mRNA abundance by Northern blot analysis. Ciprofibrate (100 mg/kg/day for three weeks) induced a marked hypergastrinemia (P < 0.01) in male and female Fischer rats as well as in female Wistar rats. Simvastatin and lovastatin did not affect serum gastrin. Antral G cell density increased significantly in female Wistar rats (P < 0.05) and non-significantly in the other rats after ciprofibrate. Both gastrin and somatostatin mRNA abundance in antral mucosa increased markedly and significantly (P < 0.01) after ciprofibrate treatment. The present study shows that the peroxisome proliferator ciprofibrate induces hypergastrinemia secondary to an increased storage and synthesis of antral gastrin. Since somatostatin mRNA abundance also increased, the present study suggests that ciprofibrate and possibly other peroxisome proliferators in sufficient concentrations have a stimulatory effect on endocrine cells.

Free access

Shirlene X Ong, Keefe Chng, Michael J Meaney and Jan P Buschdorf

During pregnancy, glucocorticoids transfer environmental signals to the growing brain and its associated neuroendocrine system to modulate their maturation and function during adolescence and adulthood. Increased in utero exposure to glucocorticoids is associated with impaired fetal growth resulting in low birth weight (LBW) and compromised neural development. The underlying molecular changes affecting brain development, however, are largely unknown. Here, we compared the relative mRNA expression of genes directly involved in glucocorticoid signaling in the hippocampus, amygdala, and cortex of female non-human primate neonates (Macaca fascicularis) of naturally occurring normal birth weight and LBW. We focused on the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) genes as well as that for 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) and found a significantly decreased MR:GR mRNA ratio in the hippocampus and lower expression of 11β-HSD1 in the amygdala associated with LBW. The MR:GR mRNA ratio in the amygdala and cortex was not associated with birth weight, reflecting tissue-specific effects. Protein quantification in the hippocampus confirmed our finding of a decreased hippocampal MR:GR ratio. Our data suggest that the MR:GR ratio in the hippocampus and the expression of 11β-HSD1 in the amygdala are associated with intrauterine growth restriction in non-human primates during early perinatal development.

Free access

RM Luque, S Park, XD Peng, E Delgado, F Gracia-Navarro, RD Kineman, MM Malagon and JP Castano

Somatostatin (SRIF) is commonly regarded as an inhibitor of GH release in rodents and humans. However, in pigs, SRIF can stimulate the release of GH at low (picomolar) doses, while inhibiting GHRH-stimulated GH release at high (nanomolar) doses in primary pituitary cell cultures. One possible mechanism by which pig cells respond differently to the actions of SRIF is by differential expression and regulation of SRIF receptor subtypes. As no information is available on the homologous regulation of SRIF receptors in pigs, we examined the acute (4 h) in vitro effects of SRIF on mRNA levels of SRIF receptors sst1, sst2 and sst5 by multiplex RT-PCR. These particular sst subtypes were selected because all three have been implicated in the inhibitory effects of SRIF on GH release in both rodents and humans. At a high dose (10(-7) M), SRIF stimulated the expression of sst1, sst2 and sst5 in pig pituitary cell cultures. At a low dose (10(-13) M), SRIF markedly increased sst1, without affecting sst2 or sst5. Given that our laboratory has shown SRIF at high and low doses stimulates cAMP production in a subpopulation of pig somatotropes, we sought to determine if this signaling pathway may be responsible for the stimulatory effect of SRIF on its own receptor expression. The receptor-independent cAMP activator forskolin elevated sst1 and sst2 mRNA levels but did not affect sst5 expression, suggesting the stimulatory actions of high- and low-dose SRIF on sst1 and high-dose SRIF on sst2 mRNA levels can be mediated by activation of cAMP, whereas the stimulatory effect of high-dose SRIF on sst5 mRNA is elicited by a cAMP-independent pathway. Interestingly, both GHRH (10(-8) M) and ghrelin (10(-6) M), which release GH in pig pituitary cell cultures via cAMP-dependent mechanisms, decreased sst5 without altering sst1 or sst2 mRNA levels. Since the actions of GHRH and ghrelin on sst expression markedly contrasted with that observed for SRIF and forskolin these results clearly indicate GHRH and ghrelin are regulating sst5 mRNA levels by a cAMP-independent signaling pathway. Taken together, our results demonstrate that expression of pig SRIF receptors is under a complex, receptor subtype-selective regulation, wherein the concerted actions of key regulators of somatotrope function would play divergent and dose-dependent effects.

Free access

Rosa Chung and Cory J Xian

Injuries to the growth plate cartilage often lead to bony repair, resulting in bone growth defects such as limb length discrepancy and angulation deformity in children. Currently utilised corrective surgeries are highly invasive and limited in their effectiveness, and there are no known biological therapies to induce cartilage regeneration and prevent the undesirable bony repair. In the last 2 decades, studies have investigated the cellular and molecular events that lead to bony repair at the injured growth plate including the identification of the four phases of injury repair responses (inflammatory, fibrogenic, osteogenic and remodelling), the important role of inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha in regulating downstream repair responses, the role of chemotactic and mitogenic platelet-derived growth factor in the fibrogenic response, the involvement and roles of bone morphogenic protein and Wnt/B-catenin signalling pathways, as well as vascular endothelial growth factor-based angiogenesis during the osteogenic response. These new findings could potentially lead to identification of new targets for developing a future biological therapy. In addition, recent advances in cartilage tissue engineering highlight the promising potential for utilising multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for inducing regeneration of injured growth plate cartilage. This review aims to summarise current understanding of the mechanisms for growth plate injury repair and discuss some progress, potential and challenges of MSC-based therapies to induce growth plate cartilage regeneration in combination with chemotactic and chondrogenic growth factors and supporting scaffolds.

Open access

Elizabeth M Pritchett, Susan J Lamont and Carl J Schmidt

The pituitary gland is a neuroendocrine organ that works closely with the hypothalamus to affect multiple processes within the body including the stress response, metabolism, growth and immune function. Relative tissue expression (rEx) is a transcriptome analysis method that compares the genes expressed in a particular tissue to the genes expressed in all other tissues with available data. Using rEx, the aim of this study was to identify genes that are uniquely or more abundantly expressed in the pituitary when compared to all other collected chicken tissues. We applied rEx to define genes enriched in the chicken pituitaries at days 21, 22 and 42 post-hatch. rEx analysis identified 25 genes shared between all time points, 295 genes shared between days 21 and 22 and 407 genes unique to day 42. The 25 genes shared by all time points are involved in morphogenesis and general nervous tissue development. The 295 shared genes between days 21 and 22 are involved in neurogenesis and nervous system development and differentiation. The 407 unique day 42 genes are involved in pituitary development, endocrine system development and other hormonally related gene ontology terms. Overall, rEx analysis indicates a focus on nervous system/tissue development at days 21 and 22. By day 42, in addition to nervous tissue development, there is expression of genes involved in the endocrine system, possibly for maturation and preparation for reproduction. This study defines the transcriptome of the chicken pituitary gland and aids in understanding the expressed genes critical to its function and maturation.

Free access

Elena Ivanova and Gavin Kelsey

Genomic imprinting is an important and enigmatic form of gene regulation in mammals in which one copy of a gene is silenced in a manner determined by its parental history. Imprinted genes range from those with constitutive monoallelic silencing to those, typically more remote from imprinting control regions, that display developmentally regulated, tissue-specific or partial monoallelic expression. This diversity may make these genes, and the processes they control, more or less sensitive to factors that modify or disrupt epigenetic marks. Imprinted genes have important functions in development and physiology, including major endocrine/neuroendocrine axes. Owing to is central role in coordinating growth, metabolism and reproduction, as well as evidence from genetic and knockout studies, the hypothalamus may be a focus for imprinted gene action. Are there unifying principles that explain why a gene should be imprinted? Conflict between parental genomes over limiting maternal resources, but also co-adaptation between mothers and offspring, have been invoked to explain the evolution of imprinting. Recent reports suggest there may be many more genes imprinted in the hypothalamus than hitherto expected, and it will be important for these new candidates to be validated and to determine whether they conform to current notions of how imprinting is regulated. In fully evaluating the role of imprinted genes in the hypothalamus, much work needs to be done to identify the specific neuronal populations in which particular genes are expressed, establish whether there are pathways in common and whether imprinted genes are involved in long-term programming of hypothalamic functions.

Free access

Jennifer A Chalmers, Shuo-Yen J Lin, Tami A Martino, Sara Arab, Peter Liu, Mansoor Husain, Michael J Sole and Denise D Belsham

Neuroendocrine peptides express biologic activity relevant to the cardiovascular system, including regulating heart rate and blood pressure, though little is known about the mechanisms involved. Here, we investigated neuroendocrine gene expression underlying diurnal physiology of the heart. We first used microarray and RT-PCR analysis and demonstrate the simultaneous expression of neuroendocrine genes in normal murine heart, including POMC, GnRH, neuropeptide Y, leptin receptor, GH-releasing hormone, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, proglucagon, and galanin. We examined diurnal gene expression profiles, with cosinar bioinformatics to evaluate statistically significant rhythms. The POMC gene exhibits a day/night, circadian or diurnal, pattern of expression in heart, and we postulated that this may be important to cardiac growth and renewal. POMC diurnal gene rhythmicity is altered in pressure-overload cardiac hypertrophy, when compared with control heart, and levels increased at the dark-to-light transition times. These findings are also consistent with the proposal that neuropeptides mediate adverse remodeling processes, such as occur in pathologic hypertrophy. To investigate cellular responses, we screened three cell lines representing fibroblasts, cardiac myocytes, and vascular smooth muscle cells (NIH3T3, heart line 1, and mouse vascular smooth muscle cell line 1 (Movas-1) respectively). POMC mRNA expression is the most notable in Movas-1 cells and, furthermore, exhibits rhythmicity with culture synchronization. Taken together, these results highlight the diverse neuroendocrine mRNA expression profiles in cardiovasculature, and provide a novel model vascular culture system to research the role these neuropeptides play in organ health, integrity, and disease.

Free access

Zsolt Csaba, Stéphane Peineau and Pascal Dournaud

The neuropeptide somatostatin (SRIF) is an important modulator of neurotransmission in the central nervous system and acts as a potent inhibitor of hormone and exocrine secretion. In addition, SRIF regulates cell proliferation in normal and tumorous tissues. The six somatostatin receptor subtypes (sst1, sst2A, sst2B, sst3, sst4, and sst5), which belong to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family, share a common molecular topology: a hydrophobic core of seven transmembrane-spanning α-helices, three intracellular loops, three extracellular loops, an amino-terminus outside the cell, and a carboxyl-terminus inside the cell. For most of the GPCRs, intracytosolic sequences, and more particularly the C-terminus, are believed to interact with proteins that are mandatory for either exporting neosynthesized receptor, anchoring receptor at the plasma membrane, internalization, recycling, or degradation after ligand binding. Accordingly, most of the SRIF receptors can traffic not only in vitro within different cell types but also in vivo. A picture of the pathways and proteins involved in these processes is beginning to emerge.