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R M Señarís, M D Lewis, F Lago, F Domínguez, M F Scanlon, and C Diéguez


The effects of free fatty acids on somatostatin secretion, content and mRNA levels in fetal rat hypothalamic and cortical cell cultures were investigated. Somatostatin secretion and content were quantified by radioimmunoassay. Somatostatin mRNA levels were measured by Northern blot hybridization using a cRNA probe. Treatment with either caprylic acid (5×10-3 m) or oleic acid (5× 10-5 m) for 90 min inhibited basal somatostatin secretion in both hypothalamic and cortical cell cultures. In addition, the increase in somatostatin secretion induced by incubation with veratridine (10-4 m) or carbachol (10-4 m) for 90 min was significantly reduced by the addition of caprylic acid, but somatostatin release stimulated by 5·6×10-2 m KCl was not affected. Furthermore, treatment with these free fatty acids for 90 min markedly decreased somatostatin mRNA levels in both types of neurone culture. These inhibitory effects were transient, being observed after 90 min, but not after 5 h. These results support the probability that there is a role for free fatty acids in the regulation of somatostatin mRNA levels and somatostatin secretion in both hypothalamic and cortical cell cultures.

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C V Alvarez, J B Zalvide, E Cancio, C Dieguez, B J Regueiro, F V Vega, and F Dominguez


Using flow cytometry we observed the effects that different hormonal treatments had on the progression of rat thyroid (FRTL-5) cells through the cell cycle. The absence of hormones or the addition of TSH (6 mU/ml) did not induce DNA synthesis; however, the addition of IGF-I (30 ng/ml) promoted cell proliferation. The number of cells recruited by IGF-I was lower than when IGF-I and TSH were used. We therefore concluded that we had a model with three different types of cells: (1) quiescent cells, cells cultured in the absence of hormones, considered to be G0-arrested cells, (2) competent cells, TSH-treated cells that did not proliferate (being arrested in a cycle phase different from G0) and (3) actively proliferating cells, cells treated with TSH plus IGF-I.

Prothymosin α (PTA) mRNA levels were almost undetectable in cells cultured without hormones at all times studied, i.e. 8, 14 and 24 h. On the contrary, TSH and/or IGF-I greatly increased PTA mRNA. These data indicate that G0-arrested quiescent cells do not express PTA mRNA and that PTA mRNA is induced when FRTL-5 cells are committed to proliferate by the addition of TSH, in spite of being arrested by the lack of IGF-I. We therefore conclude that PTA mRNA expression may be an event that is necessary for cells to proliferate, but that it is not sufficient for the promotion of cell progression through the cell cycle.