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M Saleh, S Garcia, J E Mercer, and J K Findlay


Seven bovine follistatin (FS) cDNA clones were isolated from a bovine ovarian follicle cDNA library. The predicted amino acid sequences revealed that six of the cDNA clones represented an FS precursor of 344 amino acids which corresponded to a mature FS of 315 amino acids (FS 315), with one cDNA clone containing the entire coding sequence including 180 nucleotides of 5′ untranslated sequence. The predicted amino acid sequence of the seventh cDNA clone, which differed in the 3′ coding sequence, represented a precursor protein of 317 amino acids, corresponding to a mature FS of 288 amino acids (FS 288). This clone encoded an identical amino acid sequence to the other six cDNA clones except that the C terminal of FS 315 was truncated by 27 amino acids. The sequence of bovine FS was found to contain 36 cysteine residues and 2 potential N-linked glycosylation sites. The predicted amino acid sequence of bovine FS has overall sequence homologies of 98% with ovine FS and 97% with human FS.

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M Rodríguez-Sanz, N García-Giralt, D Prieto-Alhambra, S Servitja, S Balcells, R Pecorelli, A Díez-Pérez, D Grinberg, I Tusquets, and X Nogués

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) used as adjuvant therapy in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cause diverse musculoskeletal side effects that include bone loss and its associated fracture. About half of the 391 patients treated with AIs in the Barcelona–Aromatase induced bone loss in early breast cancer cohort suffered a significant bone loss at lumbar spine (LS) and/or femoral neck (FN) after 2 years on AI-treatment. In contrast, up to one-third (19.6% LS, 38.6% FN) showed no decline or even increased bone density. The present study aimed to determine the genetic basis for this variability. SNPs in candidate genes involved in vitamin D and estrogen hormone-response pathways (CYP11A1, CYP17A1, HSD3B2, HSD17B3, CYP19A1, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, ESR1, DHCR7, GC, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, VDR and CYP24A1) were genotyped for association analysis with AI-related bone loss (AIBL). After multiple testing correction, 3 tag-SNPs (rs4077581, s11632698 and rs900798) located in the CYP11A1 gene were significantly associated (P<0.005) with FN AIBL at 2 years of treatment. Next, CYP11A1 expression in human fresh bone tissue and primary osteoblasts was demonstrated by RT-PCR. Both common isoforms of human cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (encoded by CYP11A1 gene) were detected in osteoblasts by western blot. In conclusion, the genetic association of CYP11A1 gene with AIBL and its expression in bone tissue reveals a potential local function of this enzyme in bone metabolism regulation, offering a new vision of the steroidogenic ability of this tissue and new understanding of AI-induced bone loss.

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S Sookoian, S I García, P I Porto, G Dieuzeide, C D González, and C J Pirola

Our objective was to search for differences in genotypes of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) (Pro12 Ala) and its coactivator PGC-1α (Gly482 Ser) in adolescents harboring features of metabolic syndrome. In a population-based study, we determined medical history, anthropometric variables, biochemical measurements and arterial blood pressures of 934 high-school students of Caucasian origin. We selected 220 adolescents who had systolic or diastolic blood pressures more than the 80th or less than the 20th percentiles based on the previous single set of measurements. One hundred and seventy-five adolescents completed the study and underwent two additional blood pressure measurements on different days, as well as biochemical analysis and genotyping. We found no association between insulin resistance, body mass index (BMI) and leptin levels and PPARγ and PGC-1α genotypes. The 12 Ala PPARγ allele was associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and carriers seemed to have higher diastolic blood pressure and lower pulse pressure than non-carriers, particularly in the hypertensive and overweight group. Although Ser482 Ser PGC-1α homozygotes had lower WHRs than other PGC-1α genotypes, they were more frequent in the hypertensive group than in the normotensive (44.4 vs 24.5%, P<0.03), so the 482 Ser PGC-1 allele was in our population a risk factor for hypertension independently of WHR, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, BMI and Pro12 Ala PPARγ variant (odds ratio=4.0, 95% confidence interval 1.5–10.6, P<0.01). Multiple regression analysis showed that age- and sex-adjusted systolic blood pressure correlated with the 482 Ser PGC-1 allele regardless of those covariates. In conclusion, the Gly482 Ser variant of the PGC-1α gene may be an independent genetic risk factor for young-onset hypertension.

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Clara V Alvarez, Montserrat Garcia-Lavandeira, Maria E R Garcia-Rendueles, Esther Diaz-Rodriguez, Angela R Garcia-Rendueles, Sihara Perez-Romero, Tania Vila Vila, Joana S Rodrigues, Pamela V Lear, and Susana B Bravo

Embryonic, adult, artificially reprogrammed, and cancer…– there are various types of cells associated with stemness. Do they have something fundamental in common? Are we applying a common name to very different entities? In this review, we will revisit the characteristics that define ‘pluripotency’, the main property of stem cells (SCs). For each main type of physiological (embryonic and adult) or synthetic (induced pluripotent) SCs, markers and functional behavior in vitro and in vivo will be described. We will review the pioneering work that has led to obtaining human SC lines, together with the problems that have arisen, both in a biological context (DNA alterations, heterogeneity, tumors, and immunogenicity) and with regard to ethical concerns. Such problems have led to proposals for new operative procedures for growing human SCs of sufficiently high quality for use as models of disease and in human therapy. Finally, we will review the data from the first clinical trials to use various types of SCs.