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B Gallwitz, M Witt, U R Fölsch, W Creutzfeldt and W E Schmidt

ABSTRACT

Glucagon-like peptide-1(7–36)amide (GLP-1(7–36) amide) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), peptides of the glucagon family, stimulate insulin secretion in vitro and in vivo. They possess high N-terminal sequence homology. Binding studies with 125I-labelled GIP and 125I-labelled GLP-1(7– 36)amide were performed in RINm5F insulinoma cells to investigate receptor specificity and to compare both receptors directly. Both binding sites were highly ligand-specific: GIP did not bind to the GLP-1(7–36)amide receptor and vice versa. Both peptides increased intracellular cyclic AMP levels; GLP-1(7– 36)amide was 100-fold more potent in stimulating cyclic AMP production when compared with GIP. At ranges of 1–10 nmol GLP-1(7–36)amide/1 and 0·1–10 GIP/1, corresponding to submaximal binding concentrations, the hormones showed an additive effect on cyclic AMP production. The N-terminal portion of GIP was important for binding, as GIP(1–30) showed almost full binding and biological activity. GIP(17–42) bound in a concentration-dependent manner with approximately 500-fold lower potency than GIP. At concentrations of up to 10 μmol GIP(17–42)/1 no stimulation of cyclic AMP was observed.

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G. Schettini, E. Landolfi, O. Meucci, T. Florio, M. Grimaldi, C. Ventra and A. Marino

ABSTRACT

The effect of adenosine and its analogue ( − )-N6-R-phenylisopropyladenosine (PIA) on both anterior pituitary adenylate cyclase activity and prolactin secretion was examined in the rat. Adenosine inhibited basal adenylate cyclase activity in a dose-dependent manner and also reduced the stimulation of the enzyme by vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). Likewise, in primary cultures of anterior pituitary cells, adenosine decreased prolactin secretion in both basal and VIP-stimulated conditions. In perifusion experiments, adenosine also inhibited prolactin release in both basal and TRH-stimulated conditions. PIA produced a biphasic pattern of response of basal adenylate cyclase activity, being inhibitory at low and stimulatory at high concentrations. In VIP-stimulated conditions, low concentrations of PIA inhibited both adenylate cyclase activity and prolactin release from primary cultures of pituitary cells, while no additive stimulatory effect was seen at high concentrations. Similarly, low concentrations of PIA reduced both basal and TRH-stimulated prolactin release from perifused pituitaries, while increasing PIA concentrations restored prolactin release. These data show that adenosine affects basal and stimulated prolactin secretion from anterior pituitary cells. Adenosine receptors seem to be coupled to the adenylate cyclase system in the anterior pituitary gland, suggesting a possible relationship between the effect of adenosine on adenylate cyclase activity and prolactin secretion.

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Luc J Martin and Jacques J Tremblay

The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein plays an essential role in steroid biosynthesis in steroidogenic cells. It is involved in the transport of cholesterol through the mitochondrial membrane where the first step of steroidogenesis occurs. Star gene expression in testicular Leydig cells is regulated by the pituitary LH through the cAMP signaling pathway. So far, several transcription factors have been implicated in the regulation of Star promoter activity in these cells. These include the nuclear receptors NUR77 and SF1, AP-1 family members (particularly c-JUN), GATA4, C/EBPβ, DLX5/6, and CREB. Some of these factors were also shown to act in a cooperative manner to further enhance Star promoter activity. Here, we report that NUR77 and c-JUN have additive effects on the Star promoter. These effects were abolished only when both elements, NUR77 at −95 bp and AP-1 at −78 bp, were mutated. Consistent with this, in vitro co-immunoprecipitation revealed that NUR77 and c-JUN interact and that this interaction is mediated through part of the ligand binding domain of NUR77. Furthermore, we found that SF1 could cooperate with c-JUN on the mouse Star promoter but this cooperation involved different regulatory elements. Collectively, our data not only provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms that control mouse Star transcription in Leydig cells but also reveal a novel mechanism for the regulation of NR4A1-dependent genes in tissues where NUR77 and c-JUN factors are co-expressed.

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L Badinga, S Song, RC Simmen, JB Clarke, DR Clemmons and FA Simmen

The coexpression of IGF (-I and -II) peptides, corresponding receptors, and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) in uterine endometrium suggests that a significant component of IGF action in this tissue is via autocrine or paracrine pathways, or both. The present study examined whether IGF-II and a major uterine-expressed IGF-II binding protein, IGFBP-2, modulate endometrial epithelial cell mitogenesis. Serum-deprived porcine endometrial glandular epithelial (GE) cells of early pregnancy were treated with various concentrations of IGFs, recombinant porcine (rp) IGFBP-2, or both, and examined for changes in cellular mitogenesis by incorporation of [(3)H]thymidine into DNA. Recombinant human (rh) IGF-II stimulated DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. Human [Leu(27)]-IGF-II, an analog with selective affinity for the IGF-II (type II) receptor, increased thymidine uptake by twofold compared with untreated GE cells. When added in combination with an equimolar concentration of rhIGF-I, [Leu(27)]-IGF-II or rhIGF-II stimulated thymidine incorporation to a greater extent than did rhIGF-I alone. Ligand blot analysis of GE cell conditioned medium revealed the presence of four IGFBPs with molecular masses of 48, 31, 23, and 15 kDa. Physiological concentrations of rpIGFBP-2 (nM range) increased both basal and IGF-induced DNA synthesis in GE cells. At equimolar concentrations, Des(1-6)IGF-II (an IGF-II analog with much reduced affinity for IGFBPs) and rpIGFBP-2 had additive effects on GE cell mitogenesis, suggesting that the IGFBP-2 modulation of uterine cell growth may involve both IGF-dependent and IGF-independent pathways. Our results demonstrate the complex interplay of IGF system components in uterine endometrial epithelial growth regulation in vitro, identify IGF-II and IGFBP-2 as locally coexpressed uterine epithelial cell mitogens, and suggest the presence of a functional signaling pathway by which IGF-II stimulates epithelial cell proliferation via the type II receptor.

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J.-G. Lehoux and A. Lefebvre

ABSTRACT

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor mRNA was found in both rat and hamster adrenals. Within 30 min after ACTH administration a significant increase in the levels of both LDL receptor and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) mRNAs was observed in rat adrenals; these levels remained increased for up to 240 min. The increase in the levels of LDL receptor and HMG-CoA reductase mRNAs produced by ACTH was reduced by co-administration of aminoglutethimide while, at the same time, the adrenal cholesterol content of rats treated with both aminoglutethimide and ACTH was significantly increased compared with that in groups treated with ACTH alone. Cycloheximide also induced increased levels of rat adrenal mRNAs for LDL receptor and HMG-CoA reductase, but this effect was not additive with that of ACTH. These results suggest that, in the rat, the short-term effect of ACTH on the levels of mRNAs for the LDL receptor and HMG-CoA reductase is similarly controlled and might be mediated through changes in the adrenal cholesterol content. In the hamster adrenal, however, no significant fluctuations were found in the level of LDL receptor mRNA, although a marked increase was found in the level of HMG-CoA reductase mRNA, 2 h after ACTH administration. This indicates that an important effect of ACTH on cholesterol metabolism in the hamster adrenal is at the level of HMG-CoA reductase. In the hamster, therefore, where the main source of cholesterol for the adrenal gland is de-novo synthesis, it seems that a complex mechanism is involved in the control of LDL receptor gene expression.

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Svenja Nölting, Edwin Garcia, Ghassan Alusi, Alessio Giubellino, Karel Pacak, Márta Korbonits and Ashley B Grossman

Currently, there is no completely effective therapy available for metastatic phaeochromocytomas (PCCs) and paragangliomas. In this study, we explore new molecular targeted therapies for these tumours, using one more benign (mouse phaeochromocytoma cell (MPC)) and one more malignant (mouse tumour tissue (MTT)) mouse PCC cell line – both generated from heterozygous neurofibromin 1 knockout mice. Several PCC-promoting gene mutations have been associated with aberrant activation of PI3K/AKT, mTORC1 and RAS/RAF/ERK signalling. We therefore investigated different agents that interfere specifically with these pathways, including antagonism of the IGF1 receptor by NVP-AEW541. We found that NVP-AEW541 significantly reduced MPC and MTT cell viability at relatively high doses but led to a compensatory up-regulation of ERK and mTORC1 signalling at suboptimal doses while PI3K/AKT inhibition remained stable. We subsequently investigated the effect of the dual PI3K/mTORC1/2 inhibitor NVP-BEZ235, which led to a significant decrease of MPC and MTT cell viability at doses down to 50 nM but again increased ERK signalling. Accordingly, we next examined the combination of NVP-BEZ235 with the established agent lovastatin, as this has been described to inhibit ERK signalling. Lovastatin alone significantly reduced MPC and MTT cell viability at therapeutically relevant doses and inhibited both ERK and AKT signalling, but increased mTORC1/p70S6K signalling. Combination treatment with NVP-BEZ235 and lovastatin showed a significant additive effect in MPC and MTT cells and resulted in inhibition of both AKT and mTORC1/p70S6K signalling without ERK up-regulation. Simultaneous inhibition of PI3K/AKT, mTORC1/2 and ERK signalling suggests a novel therapeutic approach for malignant PCCs.

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Z Ma, D F J Ketelhuth, T Wirström, T Ohki, M J Forteza, H Wang, V Grill, C B Wollheim and A Björklund

Modified lipoproteins can negatively affect beta cell function and survival. However, the mechanisms behind interactions of modified lipoproteins with beta cells – and in particular, relationships to increased uptake – are only partly clarified. By over-expressing the scavenger receptor CD36 (Tet-on), we increased the uptake of fluorescent low-density modified lipoprotein (oxLDL) into insulin-secreting INS-1 cells. The magnitude of uptake followed the degree of CD36 over-expression. CD36 over-expression increased concomitant efflux of 3H-cholesterol in proportion to the cellular contents of 3H-cholesterol. Exposure to concentrations of oxLDL from 20 to 100 µg/mL dose-dependently increased toxicity (evaluated by MTT) as well as apoptosis. However, the increased uptake of oxLDL due to CD36 over-expression did not exert additive effects on oxLDL toxicity – neither on viability, nor on glucose-induced insulin release and cellular content. Reciprocally, blocking CD36 receptors by Sulfo-N-Succinimidyl Oleate decreased the uptake of oxLDL but did not diminish the toxicity. Pancreatic islets of CD36−/− mice displayed reduced uptake of 3H-cholesterol-labeled oxLDL vs wild type but similar toxicity to oxLDL. OxLDL was found to increase the expression of CD36 in islets and INS-1 cells. In summary, given the experimental conditions, our results indicate that (1) increased uptake of oxLDL is not responsible for toxicity of oxLDL, (2) increased efflux of the cholesterol moiety of oxLDL counterbalances, at least in part, increased uptake and (3) oxLDL participates in the regulation of CD36 in pancreatic islets and in INS-1 cells.

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Angela M Davis, Jiude Mao, Bushra Naz, Jessica A Kohl and Cheryl S Rosenfeld

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are potentially useful in treating various endometrial disorders, including endometrial cancer, as they block some of the detrimental effects of estrogen. It remains unclear whether each SERM regulates a unique subset of genes and, if so, whether the combination of a SERM and 17β-estradiol has an additive or synergistic effect on gene expression. We performed microarray analysis with Affymetrix Mouse Genome 430 2.0 short oligomer arrays to determine gene expression changes in uteri of ovariectomized mice treated with estradiol (low and high dose), methyl-piperidino-pyrazole (MPP), ICI 182 780, raloxifene, and combinations of high dose of estradiol with one of the SERM and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) vehicle control. The nine treatments clustered into two groups, with MPP, raloxifene, and high dose of estradiol in one, and low dose of estradiol, ICI + estradiol, ICI, MPP + estradiol, and raloxifene + estradiol in the second group. Surprisingly, combining a high dose of estradiol with a SERM markedly increased (P<0.02) the number of regulated genes compared with each individual treatment. Analysis of expression for selected genes in uteri of estradiol and SERM-treated mice by quantitative (Q)RT-PCR generally supported the microarray results. For some cancer-associated genes, including Klk1, Ihh, Cdc45l, and Cdca8, administration of MPP or raloxifene with estradiol resulted in greater expression than estradiol alone (P<0.05). By contrast, ICI 182 780 suppressed more genes governing DNA replication compared with MPP and raloxifene treatments. Therefore, ICI 182 780 might be superior to MPP and raloxifene to treat estrogen-induced endometrial cancer in women.

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Shambhunath Bose, M Abul Farah, Ho-Chul Jung, Jeong-Heon Lee and Yangsun Kim

The organovanadium compound bis(maltolato)oxovanadium(IV) (BMOV) enhanced the tyr-phosphorylation of major upstream insulin signaling proteins including the vital site-specific phosphorylation of insulin receptor β (IRβ) in IM9 and 3T3-L1 cells in dose- and time-dependent manners more efficiently than insulin. Nevertheless, insulin in general had a synergistic impact on those phosphorylations in both cell lines, while its presence was obligatory to induce Tyr972-phosphorylation of IRβ in IM9 cells at 18-h treatment with BMOV. However, prolonged exposure of cells to BMOV caused depletion in IR level and using IM9 cells we found that this event was counteracted by insulin, where monensin, a monocarboxylic acid ionophore made an additive impact, suggesting that a novel mechanism is being involved in the recycling of internalized IR in BMOV-treated cells. On the other hand, dexamethasone elevated the IR level in both cell lines. However, no correlation was found between the cellular content and the degree of phosphorylation of IRβ in cells receiving combined treatment of BMOV, and dexamethasone with short insulin post-exposure. BMOV also induced the phosphorylation of Thr308 and Ser473 of Akt in both cell lines receiving insulin post-treatment, while dexamethasone decreased those phosphorylations. However, this activation/deactivation of Akt did not correlate with the phosphorylation status of Ser9 and Ser259 of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β and Raf respectively. Taken together, it is conceivable that BMOV and/or dexamethasone modulate insulin signaling by acting differentially on the components of the insulin signaling network. We also consider that the observed dexamethasone-mediated modulation of insulin receptor kinase in BMOV-treated 3T3-L1 cells probably occurs through the activation/deactivation of some mechanism which needs further studies for proper characterization.

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G Medri, I Sergi, M-J Papandréou, P Beck-Peccoz, B Verrier and C Ronin

ABSTRACT

Alkaline (pI 8·6–7·5) and neutral (pI 7·0–6·0) isoforms of human TSH have been isolated from a highly purified intrapituitary preparation by isoelectric focusing and compared for their respective actions on thyroid cell proliferation. Both TSH isoforms displayed the same ability to bind to porcine thyroid membranes as the original hormone preparation, indicating a similar recognition at the receptor sites. Alkaline forms showed a higher potency in inducing either cyclic AMP (cAMP) production or [3H]thymidine incorporation in FRTL-5 cells (half-maximal effective doses (ED50 values)=0·25 and 0·29 nm respectively) compared with their neutral counterparts (ED50 values=0·66 and 0·70 nm respectively). Increasing the concentration of alkaline forms in the presence of a half-maximal concentration of neutral TSH resulted in a profound inhibition of cell growth without a significant change in cAMP. Conversely, increasing the amount of neutral forms in the presence of a half-maximal dose of alkaline TSH resulted in an additive response for cAMP production but not in cell proliferation.

To assess whether glycosylation might be responsible for the variation in hormone action, both alkaline and neutral TSH isoforms were tested for recognition of their carbohydrate chains by concanavalin A (Con A) and ricin. No major difference was found in binding to Con A, indicating that the contribution of carbohydrates to changes in hormone pI was not related to core branching. Very few galactose residues were accessible in either hormone fraction since little binding to ricin was observed. Isoelectric focusing of TSH forms before and after neuraminidase treatment revealed that neutral forms had a higher sialic acid content than alkaline TSH.

In conclusion, the current findings show that TSH isoforms differentially affect cAMP production and cell growth. TSH fractions with a high sialic acid content and a low mitogenic activity behave as antagonists to the more active forms for cell proliferation. It is suggested that physiological control of TSH action at the thyroid gland may reside in the respective amounts of various TSH forms which, once bound to their receptor, can induce variable activation of post-receptor events while controlling cell proliferation.