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AIMS - Ghrelin is a gastric-derived hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion and has a multi-faceted role in the regulation of energy homeostasis, including glucose metabolism. Circulating ghrelin concentrations are modulated in response to nutritional status, but responses to ghrelin in altered metabolic states are poorly understood. We investigated the metabolic effects of ghrelin in obesity and early after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We assessed central and peripheral metabolic responses to acyl ghrelin infusion (1 pmol kg min ) in healthy, lean subjects (n = 9) and non-diabetic, obese subjects (n = 9) before and 2 weeks after RYGB. Central responses were assessed by GH and pancreatic polypeptide (surrogate for vagal activity) secretion. Peripheral responses were assessed by hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity during a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp.
RESULTS - Ghrelin-stimulated GH secretion was attenuated in obese subjects, but was restored by RYGB to a response similar to that of lean subjects. The heightened pancreatic polypeptide response to ghrelin infusion in the obese was attenuated after RYGB. Hepatic glucose production and hepatic insulin sensitivity were not altered by ghrelin infusion in RYGB subjects. Skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity was impaired to a similar degree in lean, obese and post-RYGB individuals in response to ghrelin infusion.
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that obesity is characterized by abnormal central, but not peripheral, responsiveness to ghrelin that can be restored early after RYGB before significant weight loss. Further work is necessary to fully elucidate the role of ghrelin in the metabolic changes that occur in obesity and following RYGB.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Splicing mutations in the human GH (hGH) gene (GH-1) that cause skipping of exon 3 result in a form of GH deficiency termed isolated GH deficiency type II (IGHD II). The GH-1 gene contains five exons; constitutive splicing produces the wild-type 22-kDa hormone, whereas skipping of exon 3 results in transcripts encoding a 17.5-kDa isoform that acts as a dominant-negative to block secretion of the wild-type hormone. Common characteristics of IGHD II include short stature due to impaired bone elongation, growth, and, in severe cases, anterior pituitary hypoplasia. Typically, IGHD II is treated by sc delivery of hGH, which can rescue stature but, unfortunately, does not inhibit pituitary hypoplasia. Direct destruction of transcripts encoding the dominant-negative 17.5-kDa isoform should both rescue stature and prevent hypoplasia. Here, we have used delivery of short hairpin RNAs to rescue a murine model of IGHD II by specifically targeting transcripts encoding the 17.5-kDa isoform using RNA interference. To our knowledge, this is the first example where a short hairpin RNA has been expressed to specifically degrade an incorrectly spliced transcript and rescue a dominant-negative disease phenotype in vivo.
The Cre-loxP strategy provides an approach to disrupt genes in specific tissues and/or cell types, circumventing lethality associated with global knockouts or secondary effects due to gene inactivation at other sites. A critical component is the development of transgenes that target Cre expression to specific cell types. Here, we describe the use of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenesis to target Cre expression to tissues that express steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, officially designated Nr5a1). Consistent with the SF-1 expression pattern, the SF-1 BAC directed Cre expression to the somatic cells of the gonads, the adrenal cortex, the anterior pituitary, the spleen, and the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. This transgene provides a powerful tool to inactivate genes of interest in these tissues.
The Cres (cystatin-related epididymal spermatogenic) gene encodes the defining member of a new subgroup within the family 2 cystatins of cysteine protease inhibitors. Cres expression is highly tissue- and cell-specific, with messenger RNA (mRNA) present in the testicular round/elongating spermatids, proximal caput epididymal epithelium, gonadotroph cells in the anterior pituitary gland, and corpus luteum of the ovary. To begin to elucidate the molecular mechanisms controlling the tissue- and cell-specific expression of the Cres gene, transgenic mice were generated containing 1.6 kilobases (kb) of the mouse Cres promoter linked to the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene. A CAT enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detected CAT protein in the testis, epididymis, isolated cauda epididymal spermatozoa, and anterior pituitary gland from mice heterozygous and homozygous for the transgene. However, reverse transcription (RT)-PCR did not detect CAT mRNA in any regions of the epididymis, suggesting that the CAT protein detected in the epididymis was from spermatozoa. RT-PCR also did not detect CAT mRNA in the ovary. RT-PCR analysis of the testes from mice of different postnatal ages showed CAT mRNA first detected at day 22, which correlated with the first appearance of Cres mRNA and with the presence of round spermatids. These studies demonstrate that 1.6 kb of Cres promoter contains the DNA elements necessary for germ cell and pituitary gland-specific expression but lacks critical sequences necessary for expression in the epididymis and ovary.
We null mutated the mouse angiotensin type 1B (AT1B) receptor gene (Agtr1b) by gene targeting. To identify the specific cell types carrying high Agtr1b gene transcriptional activities, the AT1B coding exon was replaced with a reporter gene, lacZ. In 6- to 8-wk-old Agtr1b -/- mice, high AT1B transcriptional activity was observed in adrenal zona glomerulosa cells and the testis, including mature and immature spermatic cells, whereas low activity was detected homogeneously in anterior pituitary cells and choroidal plexus vessel walls. A similar pattern was observed in Agtr1b +/- mice with less intensity. Microscopically, the anterior pituitary, heart, adrenal, zona glomerulosa, kidney, and the testis of Agtr1b -/- mice were intact and were indistinguishable from those of Agtr1b +/+ mice. Systemic blood pressure was comparable in Agtr1b -/- and Agtr1b +/+ mice. Moreover, plasma aldosterone level was comparable between the two mouse groups. No compensatory enhancement of AT1A mRNA was found in the kidney and adrenal gland of Agtr1b -/- mice. The observed absence of the abnormal phenotypes in Agtr1b -/- mice, which have been described for homozygous angiotensinogen null mutant mice, indicates that 1) AT1A receptors can take over the role of AT1B receptors in Agtr1b -/- mice or 2) functionally significant non-AT1, non-AT2 receptor(s) may exist for the action of angiotensin.
Calcitonin (CT) inhibits secretion of PRL when administered intravenously in rats and humans. It also inhibits PRL release from cultured rat anterior pituitary (AP) cells. Recent evidence suggests that CT-like immunoreactive peptide is synthesized and released from the AP gland. However, its physiological role in the regulation of PRL secretion has not been understood. Present studies tested the role of endogenous pituitary CT (pit-CT) in the regulation of PRL secretion in vivo by passive immunization. In the first group of experiments, ovariectomized (ovx) adult female rats were administered either preimmune or anti-salmon CT (sCT) serum, and their serum PRL levels were analyzed at various time points up to 3 h. A second group of experiments examined the effects of anti-sCT serum and dopamine on PRL release from cultured rate AP cells. In the next group of experiments, the regional distribution of pit-CT secretion was examined in different sections of the AP gland. In the last set, CT-like activity of AP extract was tested in neonatal rat kidney cells, which respond to CT with an increase in cAMP accumulation. These experiments also tested whether anti-sCT serum reduces AP extract-induced increase in cAMP accumulation. The results suggest that anti-sCT serum dramatically increased serum PRL levels (by 5-fold) of ovx rats within 30 min of administration. The serum PRL levels declined gradually after the peak. However, a significant increase in serum PRL levels was maintained by the anti-sCT serum for the duration of the experiment. The anti-serum also induced a significant increase in PRL release from cultured AP cells when added to the presence or absence of dopamine. The distribution profile of pit-CT within the AP gland suggests that the release of pit-CT immunoreactivity was significantly greater in the inner sections, and anti-sCT serum also caused greater increase in PRL release in these sections. Finally, AP extract and sCT stimulated cAMP accumulation in neonatal rat kidney cells, and anti-sCT serum significantly reduced AP extract-induced cAMP accumulation. These results demonstrate that pit-CT is an important regulator of tonic PRL secretion in female rats and can potently inhibit PRL secretion even in the presence of dopamine.
We report the fortuitous isolation of cDNA clones encoding a novel zinc finger DNA-binding protein termed BZP. The protein encoded is 114 kDa and contains eight zinc finger motifs, seven of which are present in two clusters at opposite ends of the molecule. Both finger clusters bound to the 9-bp sequence AAAGGTGCA with apparent Kds of approximately 2.5 nM. Two of the finger motifs within the amino- and carboxy-terminal finger clusters share 63% amino acid identity. BZP inhibited transcription of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter when copies of the 9-bp target motif were linked in cis, suggesting that it functions as a transcriptional repressor. BZP mRNA and immunoreactivity were detected in several established cell lines but were most abundant in hamster insulinoma (HIT) cells, the parental source of the cDNAs. In mouse tissues, BZP mRNA and immunoreactivity were identified in cells of the endocrine pancreas, anterior pituitary, and central nervous system. Interestingly, in HIT cells proliferating in culture, BZP immunoreactivity was predominately nuclear in location, whereas it was usually located in the cytoplasm in most neural and neuroendocrine tissues. Serum deprivation of HIT cells caused BZP immunoreactivity to become predominantly cytoplasmic in location and attenuated its inhibitory effect on transcription, thereby suggesting that the both the subcellular location and the function of this protein are modulated by factors in serum.