The interaction of longevity-conferring genes with longevity-conferring diets is poorly understood. The growth hormone receptor gene-disrupted (GHR-KO) mouse is long-lived; and this longevity is not responsive to 30% caloric restriction (CR), in contrast to wild-type animals from the same strain. To determine whether this may have been limited to a particular level of dietary restriction (DR), we subjected GHR-KO mice to a different dietary restriction regimen, an intermittent fasting (IF) diet.
The IF diet increased the survivorship and improved insulin sensitivity of normal males, but failed to affect either parameter in GHR-KO mice.
From the results of two paradigms of dietary restriction we postulate that GHR-KO mice would be resistant to any manner of DR; potentially due to their inability to further enhance insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity may be a mechanism and/or a marker of the lifespan-extending potential of an intervention.
aging; longevity; caloric restriction; intermittent fasting; growth hormone; insulin sensitivity
Although studies of Ames and Snell dwarf mice have suggested possible important roles of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis in aging and age-related diseases, the results cannot rule out the possibility of other hormonal changes playing an important role in the life extension exhibited by these dwarf mice. Therefore, growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR/BP) knockout (KO) mice would be valuable animals to directly assess the roles of somatotropic axis in aging and age-related diseases because the primary hormonal change is due to GH/IGF-1 deficiency. Our pathological findings showed GHR/BP KO mice to have a lower incidence and delayed occurrence of fatal neoplastic lesions compared with their wild-type littermates. These changes of fatal neoplasms are similar to the effects observed with calorie restriction and therefore could possibly be a major contributing factor to the extended life span observed in the GHR/BP KO mice.
Growth hormone receptor/binding protein; Knockout mouse; Neoplastic disease; Aging
Children with chronic inflammatory diseases experience growth failure and wasting. This may be due to growth hormone resistance caused by cytokine-induced suppression of growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene expression. However, the factors governing inflammatory regulation of GHR are not known. We have reported that Sp1 and Sp3 regulate hepatic GHR expression. We hypothesized that TNF-α suppresses GHR expression by inhibiting Sp1/Sp3 transactivators. LPS administration significantly reduced murine hepatic GHR expression, as well as Sp1 and Sp3 binding to GHR promoter cis elements. TNF-α was integral to this response, as LPS did not affect hepatic Sp1/Sp3 binding or GHR expression in TNF receptor 1–deficient mice. TNF-α treatment of BNL CL.2 mouse liver cells reduced Sp1 and Sp3 binding to a GHR promoter cis element and downregulated activity of a GHR promoter-driven luciferase reporter. Combined mutations within adjacent Sp elements eliminated GHR promoter suppression by TNF-α without affecting overall nuclear levels of Sp1 or Sp3 proteins. These studies demonstrate that murine GHR transcription is downregulated by LPS, primarily via TNF-α–dependent signaling. Evidence suggests that inhibition of Sp transactivator binding is involved. Further investigation of these mechanisms may identify novel strategies for preventing inflammatory suppression of growth.
Growth hormone receptor gene–disrupted (GHR−/−) mice exhibit increased life span and adipose tissue mass. Although this obese phenotype has been reported extensively for young adult male GHR−/− mice, data for females and for other ages in either gender are lacking. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate body composition longitudinally in both male and female GHR−/− mice. Results show that GHR−/− mice have a greater percent fat mass with no significant difference in absolute fat mass throughout life. Lean mass shows an opposite trend with percent lean mass not significantly different between genotypes but absolute mass reduced in GHR−/− mice. Differences in body composition are more pronounced in male than in female mice, and both genders of GHR−/− mice show specific enlargement of the subcutaneous adipose depot. Along with previously published data, these results suggest a consistent and intriguing protective effect of excess fat mass in the subcutaneous region.
Body composition; Growth hormone; Obesity; Adipose depots; Gender differences
Blockade of growth hormone (GH), decreased insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) action and increased insulin sensitivity are associated with life extension and an apparent slowing of the aging process. We examined expression of genes involved in insulin action, IR, IRS1, IRS2, IGF1, IGF1R, GLUT4, PPARs and RXRs in the hearts of normal and GHR−/− (KO) mice fed ad libitum or subjected to 30% caloric restriction (CR). CR increased the cardiac expression of IR, IRS1, IGF1, IGF1R and GLUT4 in normal mice and IRS1, GLUT4, PPARα and PPARβ/δ in GHR-KO animals. Expression of IR, IRS1, IRS2, IGF1, GLUT4, PPARγ and PPARα did not differ between GHR-KO and normal mice. These unexpected results suggest that CR may lead to major modifications of insulin action in the heart, but high insulin sensitivity of GHR-KO mice is not associated with alterations in the levels of most of the examined molecules related to intracellular insulin signaling.
Caloric restriction; aging; GHR-KO; insulin; fatty acid
The genes that are part of the somatotropic axis play a crucial role in the regulation of growth and development of chickens. The identification of genetic polymorphisms in these genes will enable the scientist to evaluate the biological relevance of such polymorphisms and to gain a better understanding of quantitative traits like growth. In the present study, 75 pairs of primers were designed and four chicken breeds, significantly differing in growth and reproduction characteristics, were used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) using the denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) technology. A total of 283 SNP were discovered in 31 897 base pairs (bp) from 12 genes of the growth hormone (GH), growth hormone receptor (GHR), ghrelin, growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), insulin-like growth factor I and II (IGF-I and -II), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), insulin, leptin receptor (LEPR), pituitary-specific transcription factor-1 (PIT-1), somatostatin (SS), thyroid-stimulating hormone beta subunit (TSH-β). The observed average distances in bp between the SNP in the 5'UTR, coding regions (non- and synonymous), introns and 3'UTR were 172, 151 (473 and 222), 89 and 141 respectively. Fifteen non-synonymous SNP altered the translated precursors or mature proteins of GH, GHR, ghrelin, IGFBP-2, PIT-1 and SS. Fifteen indels of no less than 2 bps and 2 poly (A) polymorphisms were also observed in 9 genes. Fifty-nine PCR-RFLP markers were found in 11 genes. The SNP discovered in this study provided suitable markers for association studies of candidate genes for growth related traits in chickens.
chickens; genes; SNP; DHPLC
Mice homozygous for the targeted disruption of the growth hormone (GH) receptor (Ghr) gene (GH receptor knockout; GHRKO; KO) are hypoinsulinemic, highly insulin sensitive, normoglycemic, and long-lived. Visceral fat removal (VFR) is a surgical intervention which improves insulin signaling in normal (N) mice and rats and extends longevity in rats. We have previously demonstrated decreased expression level of certain pro-apoptotic genes in skeletal muscles and suggested that this may contribute to the regulation of longevity in GHRKO mice. Alterations in apoptosis-related genes expression in the kidneys also may potentially lead to lifespan extension. In this context, we decided to examine the renal expression of the following genes: caspase-3, caspase-9, caspase-8, bax, bad, bcl-2, Smac/DIABLO, Apaf-1, p53, and cytochrome c1 (cyc1) in male GHRKO and N mice subjected to VFR or sham surgery, at approximately 6 months of age. The kidneys were collected 2 months after VFR. As a result, caspase-3, caspase-9, and bax expressions were decreased in KO mice as compared to N animals. Expressions of Smac/DIABLO, caspase-8, bcl-2, bad, and p53 did not differ between KOs and N mice. VFR did not change the expression of the examined genes in KO or N mice. In conclusion, endocrine abnormalities in GHRKO mice result in decreased expression of pro-apoptotic genes and VFR did not alter the examined genes expression in N and KO mice. These data are consistent with a model in which alterations of GH signaling and/or insulin sensitivity lead to increased lifespan mediated by decreased renal expression of pro-apoptotic genes.
Apoptosis; GHRKO mice; Kidney; Gene expression; Caspases; Visceral fat removal
Transgenic mice overexpressing the human growth hormone gene develop mammary carcinomas. Since human growth hormone gene can activate both the growth hormone receptor (GHR) and the prolactin (PRL) receptor (PRLR), it is not clear which receptor system is responsible for the malignant transformation. To clarify the receptor specificity, we created transgenic mice with two different genes: (a) transgenic mice overexpressing the bovine growth hormone (bGH) gene having high levels of bGH only activating the GHR and also high serum levels of IGF-I; and (b) transgenic mice overexpressing the rat PRL (rPRL) gene that have elevated levels of PRL (one line 150 ng/ml and one line 13 ng/ml) only binding to the PRLR and with normal IGF-I levels. When analyzed histologically, all of the PRL transgenic female mice developed mammary carcinomas at 11-15 mo of age. Only normal mammary tissue was observed among the bGH transgenic animals and the controls. Cell lines established from a tumor produced rPRL and expressed PRLR. In organ culture experiments, an auto/paracrine effect of rPRL was demonstrated. In conclusion, activation of the PRLR is sufficient for induction of mammary carcinomas in mice, while activation of the GHR is not sufficient for mammary tumor formation.
The growth hormone receptor (GHR) is a critical regulator of postnatal growth and metabolism. However, the GHR signaling domains and pathways that regulate these processes in vivo are not defined. We report the first knock-in mouse models with deletions of specific domains of the receptor that are required for its in vivo actions. Mice expressing truncations at residue m569 (plus Y539/545-F) and at residue m391 displayed a progressive impairment of postnatal growth with receptor truncation. Moreover, after 4 months of age, marked male obesity was observed in both mutant 569 and mutant 391 and was associated with hyperglycemia. Both mutants activated hepatic JAK2 and ERK2, whereas STAT5 phosphorylation was substantially decreased for mutant 569 and absent from mutant 391, correlating with loss of IGF-1 expression and reduction in growth. Microarray analysis of these and GHR−/− mice demonstrated that particular signaling domains are responsible for the regulation of different target genes and revealed novel actions of growth hormone. These mice represent the first step in delineating the domains of the GHR regulating body growth and composition and the transcripts associated with these domains.
Genetic suppression of insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS) can extend longevity in worms, insects, and mammals. In laboratory mice, mutations with the greatest, most consistent, and best documented positive impact on lifespan are those that disrupt growth hormone (GH) release or actions. These mutations lead to major alterations in IIS but also have a variety of effects that are not directly related to the actions of insulin or insulin-like growth factor I. Long-lived GH-resistant GHR-KO mice with targeted disruption of the GH receptor gene, as well as Ames dwarf (Prop1df) and Snell dwarf (Pit1dw) mice lacking GH (along with prolactin and TSH), are diminutive in size and have major alterations in body composition and metabolic parameters including increased subcutaneous adiposity, increased relative brain weight, small liver, hypoinsulinemia, mild hypoglycemia, increased adiponectin levels and insulin sensitivity, and reduced serum lipids. Body temperature is reduced in Ames, Snell, and female GHR-KO mice. Indirect calorimetry revealed that both Ames dwarf and GHR-KO mice utilize more oxygen per gram (g) of body weight than sex- and age-matched normal animals from the same strain. They also have reduced respiratory quotient, implying greater reliance on fats, as opposed to carbohydrates, as an energy source. Differences in oxygen consumption (VO2) were seen in animals fed or fasted during the measurements as well as in animals that had been exposed to 30% calorie restriction or every-other-day feeding. However, at the thermoneutral temperature of 30°C, VO2 did not differ between GHR-KO and normal mice. Thus, the increased metabolic rate of the GHR-KO mice, at a standard animal room temperature of 23°C, is apparently related to increased energy demands for thermoregulation in these diminutive animals. We suspect that increased oxidative metabolism combined with enhanced fatty acid oxidation contribute to the extended longevity of GHR-KO mice.
growth hormone; aging; calorie restriction; dwarf mice; metabolism
Growth hormone (GH) regulates both bone growth and remodeling, but it is unclear whether these actions are mediated directly by the GH receptor (GHR) and/or IGF-I signaling. The actions of GH are transduced by the Jak/Stat signaling pathway via Stat5, which is thought to regulate IGF-I expression. To determine the respective roles of GHR and IGF-I in bone growth and remodeling, we examined bones of wild-type, GHR knockout (GHR–/–), Stat5ab–/–, and GHR–/– mice treated with IGF-I. Reduced bone growth in GHR–/– mice, due to a premature reduction in chondrocyte proliferation and cortical bone growth, was detected after 2 weeks of age. Additionally, although trabecular bone volume was unchanged, bone turnover was significantly reduced in GHR–/– mice, indicating GH involvement in the high bone-turnover level during growth. IGF-I treatment almost completely rescued all effects of the GHR–/– on both bone growth and remodeling, supporting a direct effect of IGF-I on both osteoblasts and chondrocytes. Whereas bone length was reduced in Stat5ab–/– mice, there was no reduction in trabecular bone remodeling or growth-plate width as observed in GHR–/– mice, indicating that the effects of GH in bone may not involve Stat5 activation.
Rodent models are an invaluable resource for studying the mechanism of mammalian aging. In recent years, the availability of transgenic and knockout mouse models has facilitated the study of potential mechanisms of aging. Since 1996, aging studies with several long-lived mutant mice have been conducted. Studies with the long-lived mutant mice, Ames and Snell dwarf, and growth hormone receptor/binding protein knockout mice, are currently providing important clues regarding the role of the growth hormone/insulin like growth factor-1 axis in the aging process. Interestingly, these studies demonstrate that these long-lived mutant mice have physiological characteristics that are similar to the effects of calorie restriction, which has been the most effective experimental manipulation capable of extending lifespan in various species. However, a question remains to be answered: do these long-lived mutant and calorie-restricted mice extend their lifespan through a common underlying mechanism?
aging; growth hormone receptor/binding protein; knockout mouse; neoplastic disease
Previously, we found that the teleost fish, rainbow trout, possesses two growth hormone receptor (GHR) subtypes that display distinct ligand-binding and agonist-induced regulation features. In this study, we used Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells stably transfected individually with the two trout GHR subtypes, GHR1 and GHR2, to elucidate receptor–effector pathway linkages. Growth hormone (GH) stimulated rapid (5–10 min) phosphorylation of ERK, Akt, JAk2, and STAT5 in both GHR1- and GHR2-expressing cells; however; STAT5 was activated to a greater extent through GHR1 than through GHR2, whereas ERK and Akt were activated to a greater through GHR2 than through GHR1. Although blockade of the ERK pathway had no effect on the activation of Akt, inhibition of PI3K–Akt partially prevented activation of ERK, suggesting cross-talk between the ERK and PI3K–Akt pathways. JAK2 inhibition completely blocked activation of ERK, Akt, and STAT5, suggesting that all of these pathways link to GHR1 and GHR2 via JAK2. These findings establish important receptor–effector pathway linkages and suggest that the GHR subtypes of teleost fish may be functionally distinct.
growth hormone; signal transduction; U0126; LY294002
It is well known that somatotrophic/insulin signaling affects lifespan in experimental animals, and one of the signs of aging is progressive gonadal dysfunction.
To study the effects of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) plasma level on ovaries, we analyzed ovaries isolated from 2-year-old growth hormone receptor knockout (GHR-KO) Laron dwarf mice, with low circulating plasma levels of IGF-1, and 6-month-old bovine growth hormone transgenic (bGHTg) mice, with high circulating plasma levels of IGF-1. The ages of the Laron dwarf mutants employed in our studies were selected based on their overall survival (up to ~ 4 years for Laron dwarf mice and ~ 1 year for bGHTg mice).
Morphological analysis of the ovaries of mice that reached ~50% of their maximal life span revealed a lower biological age for the ovaries isolated from 2-year-old Laron dwarf mice than their normal-lifespan wild type littermates. By contrast, the ovarian morphology of increased in size 6 month old bGHTg mice was generally normal.
Ovaries isolated from 2-year-old Laron dwarf mice exhibit a lower biological age compared with ovaries from normal WT littermates at the same age. At the same time, no morphological features of accelerated aging were found in 0.5-year-old bGHTg mice compared with ovaries from normal the same age-matched WT littermates.
Murine ovary; Laron dwarf mouse; Bovine growth hormone transgenic mouse; Growth hormone; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Aging
Growth hormone receptor knockout (GHRKO) mice live about 40%–55% longer than their normal (N) littermates. Previous studies of 21-month-old GHRKO and N mice showed major alterations of the hepatic expression of genes involved in insulin signaling. Differences detected at this age may have been caused by the knockout of the growth hormone receptor (GHR) or by differences in biological age between GHRKO and N mice. To address this question, we compared GHRKO and N mice at ages corresponding to the same percentage of median life span to see if the differences of gene expression persisted. Comparison of GHRKO and N mice at ∼50% of biological life span showed significant differences in hepatic expression of all 14 analyzed genes. We conclude that these changes are due to disruption of GHR gene and the consequent suppression of growth hormone signaling rather than to differences in “biological age” between mutant and normal animals sampled at the same chronological age.
Aging; GHRKO; Insulin
Skeletal muscle development, nutrient uptake, and nutrient utilization is largely coordinated by growth hormone (GH) and its downstream effectors, in particular, IGF-1. However, it is not clear which effects of GH on skeletal muscle are direct and which are secondary to GH-induced IGF-1 expression. Thus, we generated mice lacking either GH receptor (GHR) or IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) specifically in skeletal muscle. Both exhibited impaired skeletal muscle development characterized by reductions in myofiber number and area as well as accompanying deficiencies in functional performance. Defective skeletal muscle development, in both GHR and IGF-1R mutants, was attributable to diminished myoblast fusion and associated with compromised nuclear factor of activated T cells import and activity. Strikingly, mice lacking GHR developed metabolic features that were not observed in the IGF-1R mutants, including marked peripheral adiposity, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance. Insulin resistance in GHR-deficient myotubes derived from reduced IR protein abundance and increased inhibitory phosphorylation of IRS-1 on Ser 1101. These results identify distinct signaling pathways through which GHR regulates skeletal muscle development and modulates nutrient metabolism.
The purpose of this brief review is to highlight some of the more important advances in endocrinology of aging research over the past year. Four advances were chosen and briefly described. First, exploration of the early steps in the generation of the internal steroidal hormonal signal involved in lifespan extension via the insulin/IGF-like signaling pathway in the nematode by two research groups revealed that the product of cholestanoic acid derivatives metabolized by a cytochrome P-450-like protein activates a protein with homology to the mammalian nuclear receptor superfamily, a process strikingly similar to the steroid hormone signaling pathway documented in mammalian systems. Second is the discovery that sirtuins, proteins that regulate lifespan in model organisms, enhance pancreatic insulin secretion in mice following a glucose challenge, suggesting the potential to regulate mammalian lifespan through regulation of the insulin signaling pathway. Third, the newly discovered hormone klotho, which also plays a role in regulating lifespan, in this case in mice, is reported to not only negatively affect insulin sensitivity but, perhaps more importantly, significantly affects calcium and phosphate metabolism as a required co-factor of Fgf-23 signaling. Finally the gonadotropin FSH is shown to directly affect bone density in mice separate from any direct effect of estrogen, suggesting that reproductive hormones other than estrogen can directly impact menopause-associated pathophysiology in non-reproductive tissues.
endocrinology of aging; steroidal signaling; cholestanoic acid; sirtuins; insulin secretion; insulin signaling; klotho; gonadotropins; FSH; bone cells; bone density; model organisms
Mutant animals characterized by extended longevity provide valuable tools to study the mechanisms of aging. Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) constitute one of the well-established pathways involved in the regulation of aging and lifespan. Ames and Snell dwarf mice characterized by GH deficiency as well as growth hormone receptor/growth hormone binding protein knockout (GHRKO) mice characterized by GH resistance live significantly longer than genetically normal animals. During normal aging of rodents and humans there is increased insulin resistance, disruption of metabolic activities and decline of the function of the immune system. All of these age related processes promote inflammatory activity, causing long term tissue damage and systemic chronic inflammation. However, studies of long living mutants and calorie restricted animals show decreased pro-inflammatory activity with increased levels of anti-inflammatory adipokines such as adiponectin. At the same time, these animals have improved insulin signaling and carbohydrate homeostasis that relate to alterations in the secretory profile of adipose tissue including increased production and release of anti-inflammatory adipokines. This suggests that reduced inflammation promoting healthy metabolism may represent one of the major mechanisms of extended longevity in long-lived mutant mice and likely also in the human.
Ghowth hormone; obesity; inflammation; calorie restriction; aging
Life span extending mutations in growth signaling pathways protect against age-dependent DNA damage in yeast and decrease insulin resistance and cancer in mice. To test their effect in humans, we monitored for 22 years Ecuadorian subjects with mutations in the growth hormone receptor gene leading to severe growth hormone receptor (GHR) and IGF-I deficiencies and combined this information with surveys to identify the cause and age of death for subjects who died before this period. The individuals with GHR deficiency (GHRD) exhibited only one non-lethal malignancy and no cases of diabetes, in contrast to 17% cancer and 5% diabetes prevalence in the controls. A possible explanation for the very low incidence of cancer may be revealed by in vitro studies: serum from GHRD subjects reduced DNA breaks but increased apoptosis in human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) treated with hydrogen peroxide. We also observed reduced insulin concentrations (1.4 μU/ml vs. 4.4μU/ml in unaffected relatives) and a very low homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index (0.34 vs. 0.96 in unaffected relatives) in GHRD individuals, indicating increased insulin sensitivity, which could explain the absence of diabetes in these subjects. Incubation of HMECs with GHRD serum also resulted in reduced expression of RAS, PKA and TOR, and up-regulation of SOD2, changes that promote cellular protection and life span extension in model organisms. These results provide evidence for a role of evolutionarily conserved pathways in promoting aging and diseases in humans and identify a candidate drug target for healthy life span extension.
Altered somatotrophic signaling is among the most important potential mechanisms of extended longevity. Ames dwarf (df/df) mice are homozygous for mutation at the Prop-1 gene, leading to a lack of growth hormone (GH), prolactin and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Mice homozygous for targeted disruption of the growth hormone receptor/growth hormone binding protein gene are known as GH receptor knockout (GHRKO) mice or “Laron dwarf”. Both, df/df and GHRKO mice, are characterized by reduced body size, low plasma insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), remarkably extended longevity, and severe (in df/df mice) or mild (in GHRKO mice) thyroid hypofunction. Recently, by crossing df/df and GHRKO mice, double-mutant Ames dwarf/GHRKO (df/KO) mice were created. Interestingly, these mice are smaller than Ames dwarfs or GHRKOs, and also have reduced insulin and IGF-I levels. The aim of the study was to investigate if and to what extent certain thyroid morphological parameters, such as inner follicular surface area, inner follicular perimeter, as well as the follicular epithelium thickness are changed in the examined dwarf mice.
This quantification was performed in thyroids collected from df/df, GHRKO and df/KO female mice, at approximately 5–6 months of age. We used a computerized plotting programme that combines a live microscopic image of the slide with an operator-generated overlay.
Inner follicular surface area and inner follicular perimeter were decreased in all examined kinds of dwarf mice as compared to normal animals. Furthermore, decreases in these two parameters were more pronounced in df/df and df/KO than in GHRKO mice. Concerning the follicular epithelium thickness, only a tendency towards decrease of this parameter was found in all three kinds of dwarf mice.
Parameters characterizing thyroid follicle size are decreased in all three examined models of dwarf mice, which may explain decreased thyroid hormone levels in both basal mutants (Ames dwarfs and GHRKOs). df/df mutation seems to predominate over GHRKO genetic intervention concerning their effects on thyroid growth. Beside TSH, also GH signaling seems to constitute a crucial element in the regulation of thyroid growth and, possibly, function.
Ames dwarf mice; GHRKO mice; Thyroid follicle; Inner follicular surface area; Inner follicular perimeter; Follicular epithelium thickness
The insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) pathway drives an evolutionarily conserved network that regulates lifespan and longevity. Individuals with Laron syndrome who carry mutations in the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene that lead to severe congenital IGF-1 deficiency with decreased insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) exhibit reduced prevalence rates of acne, diabetes and cancer. Western diet with high intake of hyperglycemic carbohydrates and insulinotropic dairy over-stimulates IIS. The reduction of IIS in Laron subjects unmasks the potential role of persistent hyperactive IIS mediated by Western diet in the development of diseases of civilization and offers a rational perspective for dietary adjustments with less insulinotropic diets like the Paleolithic diet.
Insulin/insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) pathways are recognized as critical signaling pathways involved in the control of lifespans in lower organisms to mammals. Caloric restriction (CR) reduces plasma concentration of insulin, growth hormone (GH), and IGF-I. CR retards various age-dependent disorders such as nuerodegenerative diseases and extends lifespan in laboratory rodents. These beneficial effects of CR are partly mimicked in spontaneous or genetically engineered rodent models of reduced insulin and GH/IGF-I axis. Most of these long-living rodents show increased insulin sensitivity; however, recent study has revealed that some other rodents show normal or reduced insulin sensitivity. Thus, increased insulin sensitivity might be not prerequisite for lifespan extension in insulin/GH/IGF-I altered longevity rodent models. These results highlighted that, for lifespan extension, the intracellular signaling molecules of insulin/GH/IGF-I pathways might be more important than actual peripheral or systemic insulin action.
Insulin; GH; IGF-I; calorie restriction.
Mutations that decrease insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and growth hormone signaling limit body size and prolong lifespan in mice. In vertebrates, these somatotropic hormones are controlled by the neuroendocrine brain. Hormone-like regulations discovered in nematodes and flies suggest that IGF signals in the nervous system can determine lifespan, but it is unknown whether this applies to higher organisms. Using conditional mutagenesis in the mouse, we show that brain IGF receptors (IGF-1R) efficiently regulate somatotropic development. Partial inactivation of IGF-1R in the embryonic brain selectively inhibited GH and IGF-I pathways after birth. This caused growth retardation, smaller adult size, and metabolic alterations, and led to delayed mortality and longer mean lifespan. Thus, early changes in neuroendocrine development can durably modify the life trajectory in mammals. The underlying mechanism appears to be an adaptive plasticity of somatotropic functions allowing individuals to decelerate growth and preserve resources, and thereby improve fitness in challenging environments. Our results also suggest that tonic somatotropic signaling entails the risk of shortened lifespan.
Using a mouse model relevant for humans, we showed that lifespan can be significantly extended by reducing the signaling selectively of a protein called IGF-I in the central nervous system. This effect occurred through changes in specific neuroendocrine pathways. Dissecting the pathophysiological mechanism, we discovered that IGF receptors in the mammalian brain efficiently steered the development of the somatotropic axis, which in turn affected the individual growth trajectory and lifespan. Our work confirms experimentally that continuously low IGF-I and low growth hormone levels favor extended lifespan and postpone age-related mortality. Together with other recent reports, our results further challenge the view that administration of GH can prevent, or even counteract human aging. This knowledge is important since growth hormone is often prescribed to elderly people in an attempt to compensate the unwanted effects of aging. Growth hormone and IGF-I are also substances frequently used for doping in sports.
Inactivating IGF receptors in the brain decreased growth hormone and IGF-I, and increased lifespan in healthy mice. Such neuroendocrine longevity could be a physiological response to environment.
Growth hormone (GH) exerts diverse tissue-specific metabolic effects that are not revealed by global alteration of GH action. To study the direct metabolic effects of GH in the muscle, we specifically inactivated the growth hormone receptor (ghr) gene in postnatal mouse skeletal muscle using the Cre/loxP system (mGHRKO model). The metabolic state of the mGHRKO mice was characterized under lean and obese states. High-fat diet feeding in the mGHRKO mice was associated with reduced adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, lower systemic inflammation, decreased muscle and hepatic triglyceride content, and greater energy expenditure compared with control mice. The obese mGHRKO mice also had an increased respiratory exchange ratio, suggesting increased carbohydrate utilization. GH-regulated suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (socs2) expression was decreased in obese mGHRKO mice. Interestingly, muscles of both lean and obese mGHRKO mice demonstrated a higher interleukin-15 and lower myostatin expression relative to controls, indicating a possible mechanism whereby GHR signaling in muscle could affect liver and adipose tissue function. Thus, our study implicates skeletal muscle GHR signaling in mediating insulin resistance in obesity and, more importantly, reveals a novel role of muscle GHR signaling in facilitating cross-talk between muscle and other metabolic tissues.
Understanding insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) biology is of particular importance because, apart from its role in mediating growth, it plays key roles in cellular transformation, organ regeneration, immune function, development of the musculoskeletal system and aging. IGF1 bioactivity is modulated by its binding to IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and the acid labile subunit (ALS), which are present in serum and tissues. To determine whether IGF1 binding to IGFBPs is necessary to facilitate normal growth and development, we used a gene-targeting approach and generated two novel knock-in mouse models of mutated IGF1, in which the native Igf1 gene was replaced by Des-Igf1 (KID mice) or R3-Igf1 (KIR mice). The KID and KIR mutant proteins have reduced affinity for the IGFBPs, and therefore present as unbound IGF1, or ‘free IGF1’. We found that both KID and KIR mice have reduced serum IGF1 levels and a concomitant increase in serum growth hormone levels. Ternary complex formation of IGF1 with the IGFBPs and the ALS was markedly reduced in sera from KID and KIR mice compared with wild type. Both mutant mice showed increased body weight, body and bone lengths, and relative lean mass. We found selective organomegaly of the spleen, kidneys and uterus, enhanced mammary gland complexity, and increased skeletal acquisition. The KID and KIR models show unequivocally that IGF1-complex formation with the IGFBPs is fundamental for establishing normal body and organ size, and that uncontrolled IGF bioactivity could lead to pathological conditions.