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S. Kasayama, M. Yoshimura, and T. Oka


The expression of hepatic epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor gene was studied in genetically diabetic (C57BL/KsJ db/db) mice and streptozotocininduced diabetic mice. The binding of 125I-labelled EGF to hepatic membrane preparations of genetically diabetic mice was only 35% of that of non-diabetic mice. Levels of EGF receptor messenger RNAs (10 and 6 kb) in the liver of the diabetic animals were also reduced by about 75%. In streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, levels of hepatic EGF binding and messenger RNAs for EGF receptor were decreased to 27 and 30% of control levels respectively, at 5 weeks after injection of the drug. There were, however, no significant differences in levels of messenger RNAs for the structural protein β-actin in the liver. In addition, levels of EGF receptor messenger RNAs in the kidney were similar between control and the two kinds of diabetic mice. Daily administration of insulin to the streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice increased the hepatic levels of EGF receptor messenger RNAs to almost normal levels. These results indicate that EGF binding to its receptor decreases in the liver of diabetic mice, involving alterations in the level of EGF receptor messenger RNAs, and that insulin is important for the regulation of EGF receptor gene expression in the liver but not in the kidney.

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C Austin, M Oka, K A Nandha, S Legon, N Khandan-Nia, G Lo, and S R Bloom


This study has quantified, for the first time, the relative levels of neuromedin U (NmU) mRNA in the rat gastrointestinal tract using Northern blot analysis. NmU message was detected in all regions of the gastrointestinal tract from the oesophagus to the rectum. The greatest levels were found in the duodenum and jejunum, the principal sites for absorption, which were 2·5- and 3-fold respectively above ileal levels.

Quantification of NmU mRNA and peptide contents in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum during postnatal development of the rat showed message and peptide levels to be greater in the maturing rat than in neonates. Message levels in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum showed 14-, 7- and 4-fold increases respectively between 1 and 56 days after birth, whilst the corresponding peptide levels in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum showed 33-, 14- and 25-fold increases respectively.

Food deprivation caused a small, but significant, decrease in message levels in the jejunum and colon, but there was no change in the duodenum or ileum. This shows that the presence of food has little effect on NmU mRNA levels in the gut.