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Excessive glucocorticoid exposure has been shown to be deleterious for pancreatic β-cell function and insulin release. However, glucocorticoids at physiological levels are essential for many homeostatic processes, including glycemic control. We show that corticosterone and cortisol and their less active precursors 11-dehydrocorticosterone (11-DHC) and cortisone suppress voltage-dependent Ca channel function and Ca fluxes in rodent as well as in human β-cells. However, insulin secretion, maximal ATP/ADP responses to glucose, and β-cell identity were all unaffected. Further examination revealed the upregulation of parallel amplifying cAMP signals and an increase in the number of membrane-docked insulin secretory granules. Effects of 11-DHC could be prevented by lipotoxicity and were associated with paracrine regulation of glucocorticoid activity because global deletion of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 normalized Ca and cAMP responses. Thus, we have identified an enzymatically amplified feedback loop whereby glucocorticoids boost cAMP to maintain insulin secretion in the face of perturbed ionic signals. Failure of this protective mechanism may contribute to diabetes in states of glucocorticoid excess, such as Cushing syndrome, which are associated with frank dyslipidemia.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.
Sexually mature zebrafish were housed as single male-female pairs with or without plastic vegetation for 1, 5, or 10 d for comparison of whole-body cortisol measured by radioimmunoassay. Individually housed male zebrafish were used as controls. In the fish that were pair-housed without vegetation (NVeg), one animal died in 5 of 24 pairs, and one animal was alive but wounded in an additional pair. No deaths or wounds occurred in the fish that were pair-housed with vegetation (Veg). Cortisol levels did not differ between the treatment groups on day 1. On day 5, cortisol values were higher in the Veg group than in the individually housed fish (P < 0.0005) and the NVeg fish (P = 0.004). On day 10, the relationships were inversed: cortisol levels had risen in the individually housed and NVeg groups and had fallen to baseline levels in the Veg group. Cortisol values on day 10 were lower in the Veg group than in the individually housed (P = 0.004) and NVeg (P = 0.05) groups. Cortisol levels in individually housed male zebrafish increased over time. Although this study did not demonstrate a reduction in cortisol levels associated with providing vegetation, this enrichment prevented injury and death from fighting. These findings show how commonly used housing situations may affect the wellbeing of laboratory zebrafish.
Although ovarian hormones are thought to have a potential role in the well-known sex difference in mood and anxiety disorders, the mechanisms through which ovarian hormone changes contribute to stress regulation are not well understood. One mechanism by which ovarian hormones might impact mood regulation is by mediating the effect of psychosocial stress, which often precedes depressive episodes and may have mood consequences that are particularly relevant in women. In the current study, brain activity and mood response to psychosocial stress was examined in healthy, normally cycling women at either the high or low estradiol phase of the menstrual cycle. Twenty eight women were exposed to the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST), with brain activity determined through functional magnetic resonance imaging, and behavioral response assessed with subjective mood and stress measures. Brain activity responses to psychosocial stress differed between women in the low versus high estrogen phase of the menstrual cycle: women with high estradiol levels showed significantly less deactivation in limbic regions during psychosocial stress compared to women with low estradiol levels. Additionally, women with higher estradiol levels also had less subjective distress in response to the MIST than women with lower estradiol levels. The results of this study suggest that, in normally cycling premenopausal women, high estradiol levels attenuate the brain activation changes and negative mood response to psychosocial stress. Normal ovarian hormone fluctuations may alter the impact of psychosocially stressful events by presenting periods of increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress during low estradiol phases of the menstrual cycle. This menstrual cycle-related fluctuation in stress vulnerability may be relevant to the greater risk for affective disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder in women.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is characterized by infection, inflammation, lung function decline, and intermittent pulmonary exacerbations. However, the link between pulmonary exacerbation and lung disease progression remains unclear. Global metabolomic profiling can provide novel mechanistic insight into a disease process in addition to putative biomarkers for future study. Our objective was to investigate how the plasma metabolomic profile changes between CF pulmonary exacerbation and a clinically well state.
METHODS - Plasma samples and lung function data were collected from 25 CF patients during hospitalization for a pulmonary exacerbation and during quarterly outpatient clinic visits. In collaboration with Metabolon, Inc., the metabolomic profiles of matched pair plasma samples, one during exacerbation and one at a clinic visit, were analyzed using gas and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Compounds were identified by comparison to a library of standards. Mixed effects models that controlled for nutritional status and lung function were used to test for differences and principal components analysis was performed.
RESULTS - Our population had a median age of 27 years (14-39) and had a median FEV1 % predicted of 65% (23-105%). 398 total metabolites were identified and after adjustment for confounders, five metabolites signifying perturbations in nucleotide (hypoxanthine), nucleoside (N4-acetylcytidine), amino acid (N-acetylmethionine), carbohydrate (mannose), and steroid (cortisol) metabolism were identified. Principal components analysis provided good separation between the two clinical phenotypes.
CONCLUSIONS - Our findings provide putative metabolite biomarkers for future study and allow for hypothesis generation about the pathophysiology of CF pulmonary exacerbation.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The aim of this study was to determine whether antecedent stimulation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptors with the benzodiazepine alprazolam can blunt physiologic responses during next-day moderate (90 min) exercise in healthy man. Thirty-one healthy individuals (16 male/15 female aged 28 ± 1 year, BMI 23 ± 3 kg/m(2)) were studied during separate, 2-day protocols. Day 1 consisted of morning and afternoon 2-h hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic or hypoglycemic clamps with or without 1 mg alprazolam given 30 min before a clamp. Day 2 consisted of 90-min euglycemic cycling exercise at 50% VO2max. Despite similar euglycemia (5.3 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and insulinemia (46 ± 6 pmol/L) during day 2 exercise studies, GABA A activation with alprazolam during day 1 euglycemia resulted in significant blunting of plasma epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormone responses. Lipolysis (glycerol, nonesterified fatty acids) and endogenous glucose production during exercise were also reduced, and glucose infusion rates were increased following prior euglycemia with alprazolam. Prior hypoglycemia with alprazolam resulted in further reduction of glucagon and cortisol responses during exercise. We conclude that prior activation of GABA A pathways can play a significant role in blunting key autonomous nervous system, neuroendocrine, and metabolic physiologic responses during next-day exercise in healthy man.
© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
Glucocorticoids signal through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and are administered clinically for a variety of situations, including inflammatory disorders, specific cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and organ/tissue transplantation. However, glucocorticoid therapy is also associated with additional complications, including steroid-induced diabetes. We hypothesized that modification of the steroid backbone is one strategy to enhance the therapeutic potential of GR activation. Toward this goal, two commercially unavailable, thiobenzothiazole-containing derivatives of hydrocortisone (termed MS4 and MS6) were examined using 832/13 rat insulinoma cells as well as rodent and human islets. We found that MS4 had transrepression properties but lacked transactivation ability, whereas MS6 retained both transactivation and transrepression activities. In addition, MS4 and MS6 both displayed anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, MS4 displayed reduced impact on islet β-cell function in both rodent and human islets. Similar to dexamethasone, MS6 promoted adipocyte development in vitro, whereas MS4 did not. Moreover, neither MS4 nor MS6 activated the Pck1 (Pepck) gene in primary rat hepatocytes. We conclude that modification of the functional groups attached to the D-ring of the hydrocortisone steroid molecule produces compounds with altered structure-function GR agonist activity with decreased impact on insulin secretion and reduced adipogenic potential but with preservation of anti-inflammatory activity.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
OBJECTIVE - To test the hypothesis that an impaired adrenal response to stress might play a role in the hypotension that follows patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) ligation.
STUDY DESIGN - We performed a multicenter study of infants born at <32 weeks' gestation who were about to undergo PDA ligation. Serum adrenal steroids were measured 3 times: before and after a cosyntropin (1.0 μg/kg) stimulation test (performed before the ligation), and at 10-12 hours after the ligation. A standardized approach for diagnosis and treatment of postoperative hypotension was followed at each site. A modified inotrope score (1 × dopamine [μg/kg/min] + 1 × dobutamine) was used to monitor the catecholamine support an infant received. Infants were considered to have catecholamine-resistant hypotension if their greatest inotrope score was >15.
RESULTS - Of 95 infants enrolled, 43 (45%) developed hypotension and 14 (15%) developed catecholamine-resistant hypotension. Low postoperative cortisol levels were not associated with the overall incidence of hypotension after ligation. However, low cortisol levels were associated with the refractoriness of the hypotension to catecholamine treatment. In a multivariate analysis: the OR for developing catecholamine-resistant hypotension was OR 36.6, 95% CI 2.8-476, P = .006. Low cortisol levels (in infants with catecholamine-resistant hypotension) were not attributable to adrenal immaturity or impairment; their cortisol precursor concentrations were either low or unchanged, and their response to cosyntropin was similar to infants without catecholamine-resistant hypotension.
CONCLUSION - Infants with low cortisol concentrations after PDA ligation are likely to develop postoperative catecholamine-resistant hypotension. We speculate that decreased adrenal stimulation, rather than an impaired adrenal response to stimulation, may account for the decreased production.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are impaired in social communication and interaction with peers, which may reflect diminished social motivation. Many children with ASD show enhanced stress when playing with other children. This study investigated social and stress profiles of children with ASD during play.
METHODS - We utilized a peer interaction paradigm in a natural playground setting with 66 unmedicated, prepubertal, children aged 8-12 years [38 with ASD, 28 with typical development (TD)]. Salivary cortisol was collected before and after a 20-min playground interaction that was divided into periods of free and solicited play facilitated by a confederate child. Statistical analyses included Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, mixed effects models, and Spearman correlations to assess the between-group differences in social and stress functioning, identify stress responders, and explore associations between variables, respectively.
RESULTS - There were no differences between the groups during unsolicited free play; however, during solicited play by the confederate, significant differences emerged such that children with ASD engaged in fewer verbal interactions and more self-play than the TD group. Regarding physiological arousal, children with ASD as a group showed relatively higher cortisol in response to social play; however, there was a broad range of responses. Moreover, those with the highest cortisol levels engaged in less social communication.
CONCLUSIONS - The social interaction of children with ASD can be facilitated by peer solicitation; however, it may be accompanied by increased stress. The children with ASD that have the highest level of cortisol show less social motivation; yet, it is unclear if it reflects an underlying state of heightened arousal or enhanced reactivity to social engagement, or both.
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2013 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Social Emotional NeuroScience Endocrinology Theatre is a novel intervention program aimed at improving reciprocal social interaction in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using behavioral strategies and theatrical techniques in a peer-mediated model. Previous research using a 3-month model showed improvement in face perception, social interaction, and reductions in stress. The current study assessed a 2-week summer camp model. Typically developing peers were trained and paired with ASD youth (8-17 years). Social perception and interaction skills were measured before and after treatment using neuropsychological and parental measures. Behavioral coding by reliable, independent raters was conducted within the treatment context (theatre) and outside the setting (playground). Salivary cortisol levels to assess physiological arousal were measured across contexts (home, theatre, and playground). A pretest-posttest design for within-group comparisons was used, and prespecified pairwise comparisons were achieved using a nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Significant differences were observed in face processing, social awareness, and social cognition (P < 0.05). Duration of interaction with familiar peers increased significantly over the course of treatment (P < 0.05), while engagement with novel peers outside the treatment setting remained stable. Cortisol levels rose on the first day of camp compared with home values yet declined by the end of treatment and further reduced during posttreatment play with peers. Results corroborate previous findings that the peer-mediated theatre program contributes to improvement in core social deficits in ASD using a short-term, summer camp treatment model. Future studies will explore treatment length and peer familiarity to optimize and generalize gains.
© 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND - There is a dearth of knowledge about the link between cortisol and pain sensitivity.
PURPOSE - We examined the association of salivary cortisol with indices of cold pain sensitivity in 198 female twins and explored the role of familial confounding.
METHODS - Three-day saliva samples were collected for cortisol levels and a cold pressor test was used to collect pain ratings and time to threshold and tolerance. Linear regression modeling with generalized estimating equations examined the overall and within-pair associations.
RESULTS - Lower diurnal variation of cortisol was associated with higher pain ratings at threshold (p = 0.02) and tolerance (p < 0.01). The relationship of diurnal variation with pain ratings at threshold and tolerance was minimally influenced by familial factors (i.e., genetics and common environment).
CONCLUSIONS - Understanding the genetic and non-genetic mechanisms underlying the link between HPA axis dysregulation and pain sensitivity may help to prevent chronic pain development and maintenance.