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S J Persaud and P M Jones

Introduction

With the development of the RIA (Yalow & Berson, 1960), endocrinologists entered the mainstream of biomedical research, and over the years they have maintained their position by adapting biochemical and electrophysiological techniques for use in their particular endocrine cell type. Now they have gone one step further and embraced the discipline of molecular biology. Thus, in recent years, endocrinologists have identified genes and mRNAs within their cells by Southern and Northern blotting, transfected cells with cDNAs encoding particular proteins to characterize protein function, and introduced mutant cDNAs into cells to identify sequences of a protein which are necessary for its function. Of particular interest is the antisense oligonucleotide strategy of selectively depleting cells of individual proteins, a technique which has been applied to many non-endocrine cell types (reviewed by Colman, 1990; Neckers & Whitesell, 1993). So far the antisense oligonucleotide approach has not been used widely in endocrine cells,

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A. M. Band, P. M. Jones, and S. L. Howell

ABSTRACT

There is growing evidence that arachidonic acid (AA) and/or its metabolites may be involved in the control of insulin secretion. We have now investigated the effect of AA on insulin secretion from rat islets, and the possible involvement of protein kinase C (PKC) in this process. Exogenous AA stimulated insulin secretion from intact islets at a substimulatory concentration of glucose (2 mm), but did not further enhance glucose-induced (20 mm) insulin secretion. AA-induced insulin secretion was temperature dependent. The secretory responses seen at 37°C were totally abolished by reducing the incubation temperature to ≤34°C. AA-induced insulin secretion was not dependent upon extracellular Ca2+ and was potentiated by omission of Ca2+ or bovine serum albumin from the media. PKC in rat islets can thus be stimulated by AA, but the stimulation of PKC is not required for AA-induced insulin secretion.

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T.H. Jones, B. L. Brown, and P. R. M. Dobson

ABSTRACT

Bradykinin stimulated prolactin secretion from monolayer cultures of rat anterior pituitary cells, the stimulation being greater from the cells of male rats. This stimulated secretion was accompanied by a rise in total inositol phosphate accumulation, suggesting that the action of bradykinin is mediated by phosphoinositide hydrolysis. The increase in inositol phosphate accumulation was biphasic; a further sharp rise occurred when the concentration of bradykinin exceeded 1 μmol/l. This may indicate that bradykinin acts on other cell types in the pituitary gland. Bradykinin had no effect on growth hormone secretion from cells of normal pituitary glands, or on prolactin secretion and phosphoinositide metabolism in GH3 rat pituitary tumour cells. Bradykinin receptor antagonists (both B1 and B2) had no effect on either bradykinin-stimulated inositol phosphate accumulation or prolactin secretion. Kallikreins, the enzymes responsible for the generation of kinins, are known to be present in the adenohypophysis. Therefore, the results presented here would suggest that kinins may have a role as paracrine agents in the pituitary gland.

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P. M. Jones, S. J. Persaud, and S. L. Howell

ABSTRACT

Protein kinase C (PKC) has been identified in islets of Langerhans and insulin-secreting tumour cells. Diacylglycerols (DAGs, the endogenous PKC activators) are generated in response to insulin secretagogues, although nutrient and non-nutrient secretagogues generate DAGs of different compositions and of different potencies as PKC activators. Exogenous activators of PKC stimulate insulin secretion from B cells, but attempts to define a physiological role for PKC by using inhibitors of this enzyme have produced ambiguous results. However, in studies using PKC-depleted B cells the loss of PKC activity does not inhibit glucose-induced insulin secretion, but markedly reduces responses to cholinergic agonists. These observations are supported by measurements of PKC activation which suggest that the enzyme is activated by cholinergic agonists, but not by nutrient secretagogues. Currently available experimental evidence therefore suggests that activation of PKC is not essential for nutrient-induced insulin secretion, but is required for the expression of a normal secretory response to cholinergic neurotransmitters.

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D. J. Slee, P. M. Jones, and S. L. Howell

ABSTRACT

Proinsulin conversion to insulin was studied using electrically permeabilized rat islets of Langerhans. Using high-performance liquid chromotography separation of radiolabelled islet proteins, we have demonstrated that conversion was dependent upon temperature, sensitive to pH and regulated by MgATP. Ammonium acetate was used to collapse the granular pH gradient, over a pH range of 3·5–7·4. Conversion was optimum at pH 4·5–5·5 and was reduced, but not abolished, at pH 7·4. Ca2+ (10 μm) and 4β-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (500 nm), which are insulin secretagogues in permeabilized islets, caused no significant stimulation of conversion.

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T. Bjaaland, P. M. Jones, and S. L. Howell

ABSTRACT

The roles of calcium, cyclic AMP (cAMP), activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and the effect of ATP on glucagon secretion were investigated in intact and permeabilized rat islets of Langerhans, Ca2+ (10 nm-10 μm) stimulated glucagon secretion from electrically permeabilized islets in a dose-dependent manner. Forskolin and cAMP stimulated secretion from intact and permeabilized islets respectively, the latter at both sub-stimulatory (50 nm) and stimulatory (10 μm) Ca2+ concentrations. The tumour-promoting phorbol ester phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) increased secretion from both intact and permeabilized islets. In the latter, PMA increased glucagon release at both Ca2+ concentrations, the effect being enhanced at the stimulatory Ca2+ concentration, over and above that caused by Ca alone. Reduction of ATP content by incubation with the metabolic inhibitor 2,4-dinitrophenol resulted in an increased basal release of glucagon from intact islets, whilst arginine-induced glucagon secretion was abolished in both intact and permeabilized islets. Ca2+-induced glucagon secretion required MgATP in the permeabilized islets of Langerhans. These results suggest that Ca2+ acts as an initiator of glucagon secretion, whilst cAMP and activation of PKC may exert their effect as modulators of secretion. ATP is required for glucagon secretion in electrically permeabilized islets and is necessary for arginine-induced glucagon secretion in both intact and permeabilized islets.

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P.R.M. Dobson, C.P. Plested, D.R. Jones, T. Barks, and B.L. Brown

ABSTRACT

The mechanism of action of the cytokine, interleukin-l (IL-1), has been investigated. Mouse thymoma (EL4 6.1) cells were preincubated with [3H]-glycerol and then incubated with recombinant IL-1β for varying periods. Interleukin-1 caused a rapid increase in diacylglycerol production (approx. 2 fold at 30 sees). This reproducible enhancement of diacylglycerol accumulation was abolished by pretreatment of the cells with pertussis toxin. Interestingly, a similar IL-1 induced increase in diacylglycerol was observed when the cells were preincubated with [3H]-myristic acid. These results appear to suggest a novel mode of action of interleukin-1 which involves a G-protein mediated breakdown of a membrane lipid resulting in the production of diacylglycerol. It is suggested that one possible candidate for this parent lipid may be a phosphatidylinositol glycan.

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D. L. Russell-Jones, M. Rattray, V. J. Wilson, R. H. Jones, P. H. Sönksen, and C. R. Thomas

ABSTRACT

There is evidence that the hormonal control of hepatic IGF-I production is mediated by GH and insulin. To elucidate the role of these hormones further we administered s.c. or i.p. insulin (at 2·5 and 5·0 IU/day) and/or GH (0·8 IU/day) to rats made diabetic with streptozotocin 16 days previously. Hepatic IGF-I production was then assessed by quantifying hepatic IGF-I mRNA levels by autoradiography of Northern blots. Diabetes resulted in a fivefold reduction in hepatic IGF-I mRNA levels (optical density (OD) of the 0·7–1·1 kb band: controls, 1·3±0·09; diabetics, 0·28±0·08; P<0·01), which was not significantly changed by treatment with s.c. insulin (OD: low dose, 0·55±0·05; high dose, 0·58±0·05) or low dose i.p. insulin (OD: 0·40±0·03). High dose i.p. insulin enhanced hepatic IGF-I mRNA levels (OD: 0·93±0·23) compared with diabetic rats (P<0·01) and those given high dose s.c. insulin (P<0·04), despite the blood glucose values being similar in the treated groups (i.p., 4·72±0·29 mmol/l; s.c., 3·32±0·03 mmol/l). Administration of GH alone partially restored the hepatic IGF-I mRNA level (OD: GH-treated, 1·00±0·05; diabetic, 0·28±0·08; P<0·01), whilst having no effect on blood glucose values (diabetic, 36·35±0·45 mmol/l; GH-treated, 38·65±2·39 mmol/l). Additional administration of s.c. insulin completely restored IGF-I mRNA levels to those of controls (OD: low dose, 1·35±0·14; high dose, 1·27 ± 0·18). These observations indicate that insulin and GH are required for full expression of hepatic IGF-I mRNA and that insulin given i.p. is more potent than that given s.c. at stimulating hepatic synthesis of IGF-I.

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T. Bjaaland, C. S. T. Hii, P. M. Jones, and S. L. Howell

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the effect of pretreatment with the phorbol ester phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) on arginine-induced glucagon secretion. Isolated islets of Langerhans were pretreated by culturing for 18–24 h in the presence of 200 nm of the tumour-promoting phorbol ester PMA or 200 nm of the non-tumour-promoting phorbol ester 4-phorbol didecanoate (PDD). Islets pretreated with PMA did not secrete glucagon in response to 0·1 or 1 μm PMA on subsequent incubation, in contrast to PDD-pretreated islets which responded significantly on subsequent incubation with PMA. Pretreatment with PMA led to impairment of arginine-induced glucagon secretion. PMA-pretreated islets permeabilized by high-voltage discharge retained their normal secretory responses to calcium and cyclic AMP, but had an impaired secretory response to PMA. These results suggest (1) that protein kinase C (PKC) is likely to be present in the A cell, (2) that short-term culture in tumour-promoting phorbol ester leads to down-regulation of PKC, (3) that the PKC pathway is involved in arginine-induced glucagon secretion and (4) that pretreatment does not effect the A cell response to other intracellular mediators.

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D L Russell-Jones, R M Leach, J P T Ward, and C R Thomas

ABSTRACT

Rats were maintained in chambers and breathed air (control, n=8) or an atmosphere containing 10% oxygen (hypoxic, n=10) for 35 days. On completion of the experiment the hypoxic animals weighed less than the controls (hypoxic, 290 ± 11.7g; control, 339 ± 19.2g; means ± S.E.M., p<0.05). No differences in the left ventricular weights were found between groups but the right ventricular weights were greater in the hypoxic rats (hypoxic, 0.39 ± 0.02g; control, 0.27 ± 0.08g; p<0.01). The amount of mRNA for IGF-I in the ventricles was quantified by Northern blot analysis. There was no difference between groups in IGF-I mRNA levels in the left ventricles (hypoxic, 1.07 ± 0.41 absorbance units (AU); control, 0.73 ± 0.33 AU). In the right ventricles, IGF-I mRNA was greater in hypoxic than in control rats (hypoxic, 2.37 ± 0.75 AU; control, 0.64 ± 0.11 AU; p<0.05). This study demonstrates that expression of IGF-I mRNA is increased in the hypertrophied right ventricle of hypoxic rats; IGF-I may play a central role in the initiation and maintenance of this process.