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Weiming Zheng, Jingying Yang, Qiaorong Jiang, Zhibin He and Lisa M Halvorson

Over the past decade, substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the transcription factors which regulate gene expression in gonadotropes. One of the most important of these factors, steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1; NR5A1) is critical for gonadotropin and GnRH-receptor expression. Interestingly, a closely related nuclear hormone receptor, liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1; NR5A2) has recently been detected in the anterior pituitary gland; however, its functional significance in this tissue has not been investigated. For the experiments reported here, we hypothesized that LRH-1 plays a previously unrecognized role in gonadotrope physiology. Towards this end, we first demonstrate LRH-1 mRNA and protein expression in both primary pituitary cells and gonadotrope-derived cell lines. We next show that LRH-1 stimulates promoter activity of the GnRH-receptor and gonadotropin subunit genes. Within the LHβ gene, this response appears to be mediated by DNA-binding and transactivation through previously characterized SF-1 cis-elements. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating a functional role for LRH-1 in the gonadotrope population of the anterior pituitary gland.

Free access

Yang Mi, Na Guo, Tongqiang He, Jing Ji, Zhibin Li and Pu Huang

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition commonly encountered during mid to late pregnancy with pathologic manifestations including hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and fetal mal-development. The deficit and dysfunction of insulin secreting β-cells are signature symptoms for GDM. Pancreatic progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were shown to be able to effectively treat diabetes in mice. In this study, we first identified that microRNA-410 (miR-410) directly targets lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), a gene selectively repressed in normal insulin secreting β-cells. hESCs that can be induced to express miR-410 hence keeping LDHA levels in check were then differentiated in vitro into pancreatic endoderm, followed by transplantation into db/ + mouse model of GDM. The transplant greatly improved glucose metabolism and reproductive outcome of the pregnant females suffering from GDM. Our findings describe for the first time the method of combining miRNA with hESCs, providing proof of concept by employing genetically modified stem cell therapy for treating GDM.

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Qianqian Lu, Yuying Yang, Sheng Jia, Shaoqiang Zhao, Bin Gu, Peng Lu, Yang He, Ruixin Liu, Jiqiu Wang, Guang Ning and Qinyun Ma

Appetite is tightly controlled by neural and hormonal signals in animals. In general, steroid receptor coactivator 1 (SRC1) enhances steroid hormone signalling in energy balance and serves as a common coactivator of several steroid receptors, such as oestrogen and glucocorticoid receptors. However, the key roles of SRC1 in energy balance remain largely unknown. We first confirmed that SRC1 is abundantly expressed in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), which is a critical centre for regulating feeding and energy balance; it is further co-localised with agouti-related protein and proopiomelanocortin neurons in the arcuate nucleus. Interestingly, local SRC1 expression changes with the transition between sufficiency and deficiency of food supply. To identify its direct role in appetite regulation, we repressed SRC1 expression in the hypothalamic ARC using lentivirus shRNA and found that SRC1 deficiency significantly promoted food intake and body weight gain, particularly in mice fed with a high-fat diet. We also found the activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signalling pathway due to SRC1 deficiency. Thus, our results suggest that SRC1 in the ARC regulates appetite and body weight and that AMPK signalling is involved in this process. We believe that our study results have important implications for recognising the overlapping and integrating effects of several steroid hormones/receptors on accurate appetite regulation in future studies.

Free access

He Jiang, Xiao-Ping Ye, Zhong-Yin Yang, Ming Zhan, Hai-Ning Wang, Huang-Min Cao, Hui-Jun Xie, Chun-Ming Pan, Huai-Dong Song and Shuang-Xia Zhao

There is a high incidence of metabolic syndrome among patients with primary aldosteronism (PA), which has recently been associated with an unfavorable cardiometabolic profile. However, the underlying mechanisms have not been clarified in detail. Characterizing aldosterone (Ald) target genes in adipocytes will help us to elucidate the deleterious effects associated with excess Ald. Apelin, a novel adipokine, exerts beneficial effects on obesity-associated disorders and cardiovascular homeostasis. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of high Ald levels on apelin expression and secretion and the underlying mechanisms involved in adipocytes. In vivo, a single-dose Ald injection acutely decreased apelin serum levels and adipose tissue apelin production, which demonstrates a clear inverse relationship between the levels of plasma Ald and plasma apelin. Experiments using 3T3-L1 adipocytes showed that Ald decreased apelin expression and secretion in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This effect was reversed by glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonists or GR (NR3C1) knockdown; furthermore, putative HREs were identified in the apelin promoter. Subsequently, we verified that both glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids regulated apelin expression through GR activation, although no synergistic effect was observed. Additionally, detailed potential mechanisms involved a p38 MAPK signaling pathway. In conclusion, our findings strengthen the fact that there is a direct interaction between Ald and apelin in adipocytes, which has important implications for hyperaldosteronism or PA-associated cardiometabolic syndrome and hoists apelin on the list of potent therapeutic targets for PA.

Open access

Kamran Ullah, Tanzil Ur Rahman, Hai-Tao Pan, Meng-Xi Guo, Xin-Yan Dong, Juan Liu, Lu-Yang Jin, Yi Cheng, Zhang-Hong Ke, Jun Ren, Xian-Hua Lin, Xiao-Xiao Qiu, Ting-Ting Wang, He-Feng Huang and Jian-Zhong Sheng

Previous studies have shown that increasing estradiol concentrations had a toxic effect on the embryo and were deleterious to embryo adhesion. In this study, we evaluated the physiological impact of estradiol concentrations on endometrial cells to reveal that serum estradiol levels probably targeted the endometrium in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) protocols. An attachment model of human choriocarcinoma (JAr) cell spheroids to receptive-phase endometrial epithelial cells and Ishikawa cells treated with different estradiol (10−9 M or 10−7 M) concentrations was developed. Differentially expressed protein profiling of the Ishikawa cells was performed by proteomic analysis. Estradiol at 10−7 M demonstrated a high attachment rate of JAr spheroids to the endometrial cell monolayers. Using iTRAQ coupled with LC–MS/MS, we identified 45 differentially expressed proteins containing 43 significantly upregulated and 2 downregulated proteins in Ishikawa cells treated with 10−7 M estradiol. Differential expression of C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 by Western blot confirmed the proteomic results. C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 localization in human receptive endometrial luminal epithelium highlighted the key proteins as possible targets for endometrial receptivity and interception. Ingenuity pathway analysis of differentially expressed proteins exhibited a variety of signaling pathways, including LXR/RXR activation pathway and acute-phase response signaling and upstream regulators (TNF, IL6, Hmgn3 and miR-140-3p) associated with endometrial receptivity. The observed estrogenic effect on differential proteome dynamics in Ishikawa cells indicates that the human endometrium is the probable target for serum estradiol levels in COH cycles. The findings are also important for future functional studies with the identified proteins that may influence embryo implantation.