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Free access

Junye Chen, Yi Lu, Mengyuan Tian and Qiren Huang

Forkhead box-O1 (FOXO1) is a downstream target of AKT and plays crucial roles in cell cycle control, apoptosis, metabolism and adipocyte differentiation. It is thought that FOXO1 affects adipocyte differentiation by regulating lipogenesis and cell cycle. With the deepening in the understanding of this field, it is currently believed that FOXO1 translocation between nuclei and cytoplasm is involved in the regulation of FOXO1 activity, thus affecting adipocyte differentiation. Translocation of FOXO1 depends on its post-translational modifications and interactions with 14-3-3. Based on these modifications and interactions, FOXO1 could regulate lipogenesis through PPARγ and the adipocyte cell cycle through p21 and p27. In this review, we aim to provide a comprehensive FOXO1 regulation network in adipocyte differentiation by linking together distinct functions mentioned above to explain their effects on adipocyte differentiation and to emphasize the regulatory role of FOXO1. In addition, we also focus on the novel findings such as the use of miRNAs in FOXO1 regulation and highlight the improvable issues, such as RNA modifications, for future research in the field.

Free access

L J Moran, P A Mundra, H J Teede and P J Meikle

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 18% of reproductive-aged women with reproductive and metabolic complications. While lipidomics can identify associations between lipid species and metabolic diseases, no research has examined the association of lipid species with the pathophysiological features of PCOS. The aim of this study was to examine the lipidomic profile in women with and without PCOS. This study was a cross-sectional study in 156 age-matched pre-menopausal women (18–45 years, BMI >20 kg/m2; n = 92 with PCOS, n = 64 without PCOS). Outcomes included the association between the plasma lipidomic profile (325 lipid species (24 classes) using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry) and PCOS, adiposity, homeostasis assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and free androgen index (FAI). There were no associations of the lipidomic profile with PCOS or testosterone. HOMA was positively associated with 2 classes (dihydroceramide and triacylglycerol), SHBG was inversely associated with 2 classes (diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol), FAI was positively associated with 8 classes (ceramide, phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol) and waist circumference was associated with 8 classes (4 positively (dihydroceramide, phosphatidylglycerol, diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol) and 4 inversely (trihexosylceramide, GM3 ganglioside, alkenylphosphatidylcholine and alkylphosphatidylethanolamine)). The lipidomic profile was primarily related to central adiposity and FAI in women with or without PCOS. This supports prior findings that adiposity is a key driver of dyslipidaemia in PCOS and highlights the need for weight management through lifestyle interventions.

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R Rizzoli, JP Bonjour and SL Ferrari

Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue. At a given age, bone mass results from the amount of bone acquired during growth, i.e. the peak bone mass (Bonjour et al., 1991, Theintz et al. 1992) minus the age-related bone loss which particularly accelerates after menopause. The rate and magnitude of bone mass gain during the pubertal years and of bone loss in later life may markedly differ from one skeletal site to another, as well as from one individual to another. Bone mass gain is mainly related to increases in bone size, that is in bone external dimensions, with minimal changes in bone microarchitecture. In contrast, postmenopausal and age-related decreases in bone mass result from thinning of both cortices and trabeculae, from perforation and eventually disappearance of the latter, leading to significant alterations of the bone microarchitecture (Fig. 1).

Free access

Nadia Bellofiore, Fiona Cousins, Peter Temple-Smith, Hayley Dickinson and Jemma Evans

We recently discovered the first known menstruating rodent. With the exception of four bats and the elephant shrew, the common spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) is the only species outside the primate order to exhibit menses. There are few widely accepted theories on why menstruation developed as the preferred reproductive strategy of these select mammals, all of which reference the evolution of spontaneous decidualisation prior to menstrual shedding. Though menstruating species share several reproductive traits, there has been no identifiable feature unique to menstruating species. Such a feature might suggest why spontaneous decidualisation, and thus menstruation, evolved in these species. We propose that a ≥3-fold increase in progesterone during the luteal phase of the reproductive cycle is a unique characteristic linking menstruating species. We discuss spontaneous decidualisation as a consequence of high progesterone, and the potential role of prolactin in screening for defective embryos in these species to aid in minimising implantation of abnormal embryos. We further explore the possible impact of nutrition in selecting species to undergo spontaneous decidualisation and subsequent menstruation. We summarise the current knowledge of menstruation, discuss current pre-clinical models of menstruation and how the spiny mouse may benefit advancing our understanding of this rare biological phenomenon.

Free access

T Ichikawa, K Horie-Inoue, K Ikeda, B Blumberg and S Inoue

Abstract

Vitamin K is known as a critical nutrient required for bone homeostasis and blood coagulation, and it is clinically used as a therapeutic agent for osteoporosis in Japan. Besides its enzymatic action as a cofactor of vitamin K-dependent γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), we have previously shown that vitamin K2 is a transcriptional regulator of bone marker genes and extracellular matrix-related genes, by activating the steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR). To explore a novel action of vitamin K in osteoblastic cells, we identified genes up-regulated by a vitamin K2 isoform menaquinone-4 (MK-4) using oligonucleotide microarray analysis. Among these up-regulated genes by MK-4, growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) and stanniocalcin 2 (STC2) were identified as novel MK-4 target genes independent of GGCX and SXR pathways in human and mouse osteoblastic cells. The induction of GDF15 and STC2 is likely specific to MK-4, as it was not exerted by another vitamin K2 isoform MK-7, vitamin K1, or the MK-4 side chain structure geranylgeraniol. Investigation of the involved signaling pathways revealed that MK-4 enhanced the phosphorylation of protein kinase A (PKA), and the MK-4-dependent induction of both GDF15 and STC2 genes was reduced by the treatment with a PKA inhibitor H89 or siRNA against PKA. These results suggest that vitamin K2 modulates its target gene expression in osteoblastic cells through the PKA-dependent mechanism, which may be distinct from the previously known vitamin K signaling pathways.

Free access

Charit Taneja, Sakshi Gera, Se-Min Kim, Jameel Iqbal, Tony Yuen and Mone Zaidi

FSH has a primary function in procreation, wherein it induces estrogen production in females and regulates spermatogenesis in males. However, in line with our discoveries over the past decade of non-unitary functions of pituitary hormones, we and others have described hitherto uncharacterized functions of FSH. Through high-affinity receptors, some of which are variants of the ovarian FSH receptor (FSHR), FSH regulates bone mass, adipose tissue function, energy metabolism, and cholesterol production in both sexes. These newly described actions of FSH may indeed be relevant to the pathogenesis of bone loss, dysregulated energy homeostasis, and disordered lipid metabolism that accompany the menopause in females and aging in both genders. We are therefore excited about the possibility of modulating circulating FSH levels toward a therapeutic benefit for a host of age-associated diseases, including osteoporosis, obesity and dyslipidemia, among other future possibilities.

Free access

Yeon Jean Cho, Seung Hyun Lee, Jung Woo Park, Myoungseok Han, Mi Jin Park and Sang Jun Han

Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. It affects approximately 5–10% of women of reproductive age. Endometriosis is associated with dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia and, often, severe pelvic pain. In addition to pain, women with endometriosis often experience infertility. Defining the molecular etiology of endometriosis is a significant challenge for improving the quality of women’s lives. Unfortunately, the pathophysiology of endometriosis is not well understood. Here, we summarize the potential causative factors of endometriosis in the following three categories: (1) dysregulation of immune cells in the peritoneal fluid and endometriotic lesions; (2) alteration of apoptotic signaling in retrograde menstrual tissue and cytotoxic T cells involved in endometriosis progression and (3) dysregulation of oxidative stress. Determining the molecular etiology of these dysregulated cellular signaling pathways should provide crucial clues for understanding initiation and progression of endometriosis. Moreover, improved understanding should suggest new molecular therapeutic targets that could improve the specificity of endometriosis treatments and reduce the side effects associated with current approaches.

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M Delhase, F Rajas, P Verdood, C Remy, P Chevallier, B Velkeniers, J Trouillas and E L Hooghe-Peters

ABSTRACT

We have combined different techniques to analyse passages of five different rat spontaneous pituitary tumours (SMtTW) that were transplanted under the kidney capsule. These tumours were secreting prolactin (PRL), GH or both hormones. RIA, immunocytochemistry (ICC) and Western blot analysis were applied to characterize the hormone(s) stored (ICC and Western blot) and secreted (RIA). mRNA content was analysed by PCR, Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization.

The data point not only to the reliability of the techniques used at both protein and RNA levels for each tumour studied but also to the complementarity of some techniques. For example, whereas Northern blot analysis demonstrates the presence and size of hormone mRNA, in situ hybridization indicates the percentage of cells expressing a given hormone mRNA and allows the presence of one population (or more) of cells in a given tumour to be identified.

Moreover, the tumours were compared with normal rat pituitary. Although the PRL and GH mRNAs were identical in size, the amount of mRNA was lower in the tumours. At the protein level, the PRL and GH variants exhibited a different pattern of expression in tumours compared with the normal rat pituitary.

The biological significance of these differences is discussed.

Free access

Norman G Nicolson, Reju Korah and Tobias Carling

Adrenocortical carcinomas are rare tumors with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Although widely used as in vitro models to test novel therapeutic strategies, the adrenocortical carcinoma-derived cell lines NCI-H295R and SW-13 have only partially been described genetically. Our aim was to characterize the mutational landscape of these cells to improve their experimental utility and map them to clinical subtypes of adrenocortical carcinoma. Genomic DNA from NCI-H295R and SW-13 cells was subjected to whole-exome sequencing. Variants were filtered for non-synonymous mutations and curated for validated adrenocortical and pan-cancer driver gene mutations. Genes mutated in the cell lines were mapped using gene ontology and protein pathway tools to determine signaling effects and compared to mutational and clinical characteristics of 92 adrenocortical carcinoma cases from The Cancer Genome Atlas. NCI-H295R and SW-13 cells carried 1325 and 1836 non-synonymous variants, respectively. Of these, 61 and 76 were known cancer driver genes, of which 32 were shared between cell lines. Variant interaction analyses demonstrated dominant TP53 dysregulation in both cell lines complemented by distinct WNT (NCI-H295R) and chromatin remodeling (SW-13) pathway perturbations. Both cell lines genetically resemble more aggressive adrenocortical carcinomas with worse prognosis, for which development of targeted therapies is most critical. Careful incorporation of the genetic landscapes outlined in this study will further the in vitro utility of these cell lines in testing for novel therapeutic approaches for adrenocortical malignancy.

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S. Marsigliante, V. A. Baker, J. Puddefoot, S. Barker and G. P. Vinson

ABSTRACT

The variability in the profile of oestrogen receptor (ER) isoforms in breast tumours has been studied.

Using low-resolution isoelectric focussing (IEF), two major ER isoforms with isoelectric point (pI) values of 6.1 and 6.6 could be identified, with corresponding sedimentation coefficients in sucrose density gradients of 8 S and 4 S respectively.

Using high-resolution IEF or immunoblotting, the pI 6.6 form (4S) was shown to be composed of three different species, with pI values of 6.3, 6.6 and 6.8, while the oligomeric pI 6.1 protein (8 S) did not show charge heterogeneity. Data were obtained on the soluble receptors from supernatants of 42 ER-positive primary breast tumour homogenates using high-resolution IEF to obtain ER isoform profiles. It was found that 54.7% of tumours contained the isoforms at pI 6.6 and 6.1, while only 11.9% contained the full complement of isoforms (pI 6.1, 6.3, 6.6 and 6.8). Of the tumours studied, 11.9% contained isoforms of pI 6.1, 6.6 and 6.8, with 14.3% containing isoforms with pI 6.1, 6.6 and 6.3. Very few tumours contained only one isoform, with 4.8% of tumours containing a single isoform at pI 6.1 and 2.4% of tumours containing only the isoform at pI 6.6.

All four ER isoforms were also shown to be present in some tumours by immunoblotting using antibody H222 and, in addition, high-resolution IEF indicated that all isoforms bind oestradiol, diethylstilboestrol and tamoxifen.

The variability in the ER isoform profile may have a bearing on the known variability of tumour response to endocrine therapy and prognosis.