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S-M Luoh, F Di Marco, N Levin, M Armanini, M-H Xie, C Nelson, G L Bennett, M Williams, S A Spencer, A Gurney, and F J de Sauvage


Leptin, the product of the ob gene, is a hormone secreted by fat cells which is primarily involved in the regulation of body weight. We have generated a leptin immunoadhesin (leptin-IgG) which was more potent than leptin alone at reducing body weight and food intake when injected into ob/ob mice. This molecule was used to identify high affinity binding sites on human embryonic 293 kidney cells and subsequently to isolate a cDNA encoding the leptin receptor from this cell line by expression cloning. This receptor corresponds to the short form of the recently isolated leptin receptor. Analysis of the expression pattern of the two forms of receptor by Northern blot, in situ hybridization and quantitative PCR showed that the receptor is expressed in most tissues but that the long form is prevalent in the hypothalamus.

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M Zhang, Y Tao, B Zhou, H Xie, F Wang, L Lei, L Huo, Q Sun, and G Xia

Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) as well as its receptors is found in mammalian ovary and follicular cells and its function in oocyte meiotic maturation has also been reported in Xenopus, hamster and rat. But the results are controversial and the physiological mechanism of ANP on oocyte maturation is not clear, especially the relationship between gonadotrophin and ANP as well as the signal transduction, and these need further study. The present study conducted experiments to examine these questions by using drug treatment and Western blot analysis and focused on pig oocyte meiotic maturation and cumulus expansion in vitro. The results revealed that ANP could inhibited FSH-induced pig oocyte maturation and cumulus expansion and prevent the full phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase in both oocytes and cumulus cells, and that these inhibitory effects could be mimicked by 8-Br-cyclic guanosine 5′-monophosphate (8-Br-cGMP), but blocked by a protein kinase G (PKG) inhibitor KT5823. Zaprinast, a cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor, could enhance the inhibitory effect of ANP on oocyte maturation. A specific analogue of ANP, C-ANP-(4–23), which binds to the natriuretic peptide receptor-C (NPRC), had no effect in either FSH-induced or spontaneous oocyte maturation. Treatment with forskolin, a stimulator of adenylate cyclase, had a biphasic effect; 44 h treatment induced cumulus expansion but inhibited oocyte maturation while 2 h treatment induced maturation of cumulus-enclosed oocytes (CEOs). Both ANP and C-ANP-(4–23) could inhibit the effect of forskolin on CEO maturation, and these inhibitory effects of ANP/C-ANP-(4–23) could be blocked by preincubation with pertussis toxin (PT), consistent with mediation by a Gi protein(s) in the cumulus cells. All these results suggest that ANP is a multifunctional regulator of FSH and forskolin on pig CEO maturation by two signalling mechanisms: one is via a cGMP/PKG pathway, the other is via NPRC receptors in cumulus cells and the activation of the PT-sensitive Gi protein(s).