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1.  The Growth Hormone Receptor Gene-Disrupted (GHR-KO) Mouse Fails to Respond to an Intermittent Fasting (IF) Diet 
Aging cell  2009;8(6):756-760.
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.
PMCID: PMC2783987  PMID: 19747233
aging; longevity; caloric restriction; intermittent fasting; growth hormone; insulin sensitivity
2.  Mouse models of growth hormone action and aging: A proteomic perspective 
Proteomics  2012;13(0):674-685.
Growth hormone (GH) is a protein secreted by the anterior pituitary and circulates throughout the body to exert important actions on growth and metabolism. GH stimulates the secretion of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) which mediates some of the growth promoting actions of GH. The GH/IGF-I axis has recently been recognized as important in terms of longevity in organisms ranging from C. elegans to mice. For example, GH transgenic mice possess short lifespans while GH receptor null (GHR−/−) mice have extended longevity. Thus, the actions of GH (or IGF-I) or lack thereof impacts the aging process. In this review, we summarize the proteomic analyses of plasma and white adipose tissue in these two mouse models of GH action, i.e., GH transgenic and GHR−/− mice. At the protein level, we wanted to establish novel plasma biomarkers of GH action as a function of age and to determine differences in adipose tissue depots. We have shown that these proteomic approaches have not only confirmed several known physiological actions of GH, but also resulted in novel protein biomarkers and targets that may be indicative of the aging process and/or new functions of GH. These results may generate new directions for GH and/or aging research.
PMCID: PMC3756660  PMID: 23019135
3.  Age- and Sex-Associated Plasma Proteomic Changes in Growth Hormone Receptor Gene–Disrupted Mice 
Growth hormone receptor gene–disrupted (GHR−/−) mice are dwarf, insulin sensitive, and long lived despite being obese. In order to identify characteristics associated with their increased longevity, we studied age-related plasma proteomic changes in these mice. Male and female GHR−/− mice and their littermate controls were followed longitudinally at 8, 16, and 24 months of ages for plasma proteomic analysis. Relative to control littermates, GHR−/− mice had increased levels of apolipoprotein A-4 and retinol-binding protein-4 and decreased levels of apolipoprotein E, haptoglobin, and mannose-binding protein-C. Female GHR−/− mice showed decreased inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1β and monocyte chemotactic protein-1. Additionally, sex differences were found in specific isoforms of apolipoprotein E, RBP-4, haptoglobin, albumin, and hemoglobin subunit beta. In conclusion, we find plasma proteomic changes in GHR−/− mice that favor a longer life span as well as sex differences indicative of an improved health span in female mice.
PMCID: PMC3403865  PMID: 22156438
Growth hormone receptor; Plasma; Proteomics; Sex; Aging
4.  Acute Physiological Stress Down-Regulates mRNA Expressions of Growth-Related Genes in Coho Salmon 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71421.
Growth and development in fish are regulated to a major extent by growth-related factors, such as liver-derived insulin-like growth factor (IGF) -1 in response to pituitary-secreted growth hormone (GH) binding to the GH receptor (GHR). Here, we report on the changes in the expressions of gh, ghr, and igf1 genes and the circulating levels of GH and IGF-1 proteins in juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in response to handling as an acute physiological stressor. Plasma GH levels were not significantly different between stressed fish and prestressed control. Plasma IGF-1 concentrations in stressed fish 1.5 h post-stress were the same as in control fish, but levels in stressed fish decreased significantly 16 h post-stress. Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis showed that ghr mRNA levels in pituitary, liver, and muscle decreased gradually in response to the stressor. After exposure to stress, hepatic igf1 expression transiently increased, whereas levels decreased 16 h post-stress. On the other hand, the pituitary gh mRNA level did not change in response to the stressor. These observations indicate that expression of gh, ghr, and igf1 responded differently to stress. Our results show that acute physiological stress can mainly down-regulate the expressions of growth-related genes in coho salmon in vivo. This study also suggests that a relationship between the neuroendocrine stress response and growth-related factors exists in fish.
PMCID: PMC3747168  PMID: 23990952
5.  Reduced Incidence and Delayed Occurrence of Fatal Neoplastic Diseases in Growth Hormone Receptor/Binding Protein Knockout Mice 
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.
PMCID: PMC2667132  PMID: 19228785
Growth hormone receptor/binding protein; Knockout mouse; Neoplastic disease; Aging
6.  Upregulation of the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas Receptor Axis in the Heart and the Kidney of Growth Hormone Receptor knock-out Mice 
Growth hormone (GH) resistance leads to enhanced insulin sensitivity, decreased systolic blood pressure and increased lifespan. The aim of this study was to determine if there is a shift in the balance of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) towards the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas receptor axis in the heart and the kidney of a model of GH resistance and retarded aging, the GH receptor knockout (GHR−/−) mouse.
RAS components were evaluated in the heart and the kidney of GHR−/− and control mice by immunohistochemistry and western blotting (n=12 for both groups).
The immunostaining of Ang-(1-7) was increased in both the heart and the kidney of GHR−/− mice. These changes were concomitant with an increased immunostaining of the Mas receptor and ACE2 in both tissues. The immunostaining of AT1 receptor was reduced in heart and kidney of GHR−/− mice while that of AT2 receptor was increased in the heart and unaltered in the kidney. Ang II, ACE and angiotensinogen levels remained unaltered in the heart and the kidney of GH resistant mice. These results were confirmed by Western Blotting and correlated with a significant increase in the abundance of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase in both tissues.
The shift within the RAS towards an exacerbation of the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas receptor axis observed in GHR−/− mice could be related to a protective role in cardiac and renal function; and thus, possibly contribute to the decreased incidence of cardiovascular diseases displayed by this animal model of longevity.
PMCID: PMC3698955  PMID: 22947377
Angiotensin-(1-7); AT1 receptor; Mas receptor; Growth hormone; Renin-angiotensin system
7.  TNF-α downregulates murine hepatic growth hormone receptor expression by inhibiting Sp1 and Sp3 binding 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;107(11):1451-1458.
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.
PMCID: PMC209317  PMID: 11390427
8.  Two-Year Body Composition Analyses of Long-Lived GHR Null Mice 
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.
PMCID: PMC2796884  PMID: 19901018
Body composition; Growth hormone; Obesity; Adipose depots; Gender differences
9.  Identification and characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms in 12 chicken growth-correlated genes by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography 
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.
PMCID: PMC2697233  PMID: 15823239
chickens; genes; SNP; DHPLC
10.  Caloric Restriction and Growth Hormone Receptor Knockout: Effects on Expression of Genes Involved in Insulin Action in the Heart 
Experimental gerontology  2006;41(4):417-429.
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.
PMCID: PMC3082456  PMID: 16524678
Caloric restriction; aging; GHR-KO; insulin; fatty acid
11.  Deletion of growth hormone receptor gene but not visceral fat removal decreases expression of apoptosis-related genes in the kidney—potential mechanism of lifespan extension 
Age  2011;34(2):295-304.
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.
PMCID: PMC3312636  PMID: 21431351
Apoptosis; GHRKO mice; Kidney; Gene expression; Caspases; Visceral fat removal
12.  Serum IGF-1 is insufficient to restore skeletal size in the total absence of the growth hormone receptor 
States of growth hormone (GH) resistance, such those observed in Laron’s dwarf patients, are characterized by mutations in the GH receptor (GHR), decreased serum and tissue IGF-1 levels, impaired glucose tolerance, and impaired skeletal acquisition. IGF-1 replacement therapy in such patients increases growth velocity but does not normalize growth. Herein we combined the GH-resistant (GHR knockout, GHRKO) mouse model with mice expressing the hepatic Igf-1 transgene (HIT) to generate the GHRKO-HIT mouse model. In GHRKOHIT mice, serum IGF-1 levels were restored via transgenic expression of Igf-1 allowing us to study how endocrine IGF-1 affects growth, metabolic homeostasis, and skeletal integrity. We show that in a GH-resistant state, normalization of serum IGF-1 improved body adiposity and restored glucose tolerance but was insufficient to support normal skeletal growth, resulting in an osteopenic skeletal phenotype. The inability of serum IGF-1 to restore skeletal integrity in the total absence of GHR likely resulted from reduced skeletal Igf-1 gene expression, blunted GH-mediated effects on the skeleton that are independent of serum or tissue IGF-1, and from poor delivery of IGF-1 to the tissues. These findings are consistent with clinical data showing that IGF-I replacement therapy in patients with Laron’s syndrome does not achieve full skeletal growth.
PMCID: PMC3843230  PMID: 23456957
IGF-1; growth hormone receptor; bone; micro-computed tomography; betaislet; glucose tolerance
13.  Activation of the prolactin receptor but not the growth hormone receptor is important for induction of mammary tumors in transgenic mice. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;100(11):2744-2751.
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.
PMCID: PMC508478  PMID: 9389738
14.  In Vivo Analysis of Growth Hormone Receptor Signaling Domains and Their Associated Transcripts 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(1):66-77.
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.
PMCID: PMC538772  PMID: 15601831
15.  Metabolic characteristics of long-lived mice 
Frontiers in Genetics  2012;3:288.
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.
PMCID: PMC3521393  PMID: 23248643
growth hormone; aging; calorie restriction; dwarf mice; metabolism
16.  Do long-lived mutant and calorie-restricted mice share common anti-aging mechanisms?—a pathological point of view 
Age  2006;28(2):163-171.
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?
PMCID: PMC2464730  PMID: 19943137
aging; growth hormone receptor/binding protein; knockout mouse; neoplastic disease
The long-lived growth hormone (GH) receptor knockout (GHRKO; KO) mice are GH resistant due to targeted disruption of the GH receptor (Ghr) gene. Apoptosis is a physiological process in which cells play an active role in their own death and is a normal component of the development and health of multicellular organisms. Aging is associated with the progressive loss of strength of skeletal and heart muscles. Calorie restriction (CR) is a well known experimental model to delay aging and increase lifespan. The aim of the study was to examine the expression of the following apoptosis-related genes: caspase-3, caspase-9, caspase-8, bax, bcl-2, Smac/DIABLO, p53 and cytochrome c1 (cyc1) in the skeletal muscles and hearts of female normal and GHRKO mice, fed ad libitum or subjected to 40% CR for 6 months, starting at 2 months of age. Moreover, skeletal muscle caspase-3, caspase-9, caspase-8, bax, bcl-2, Smac/DIABLO, Apaf-1, bad, phospho-bad (pbad), phospho-p53 (pp53) and cytochrome c (cyc) protein expression levels were assessed.
Expression of caspase-3, caspase-9, bax and Smac/DIABLO genes and proteins was decreased in GHRKO’s skeletal muscles. The Apaf-1 protein expression also was diminished in this tissue. In contrast, bcl-2 and pbad protein levels were increased in skeletal muscles in knockouts. No changes were demonstrated for the examined genes expression in GHRKO’s hearts except for the increased level of cyc1 mRNA. CR did not alter the expression of the examined genes and proteins in skeletal muscles of knockouts vs. normal (N) mice. In heart homogenates, CR increased caspase-3 mRNA level as compared to ad libitum (AL) mice.
decreased expression of certain pro-apoptotic genes and/or proteins may constitute the potential mechanism of prolonged longevity in GHRKO mice, protecting these animals from aging; this potential beneficial mechanism is not affected by calorie restriction.
PMCID: PMC3703836  PMID: 21321312
18.  Bone homeostasis in growth hormone receptor–null mice is restored by IGF-I but independent of Stat5 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;106(9):1095-1103.
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.
PMCID: PMC301420  PMID: 11067862
19.  Polymorphisms in the Insulin-Like Growth Factor Axis Are Associated with Gastrointestinal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90916.
Numerous factors influence the development of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis plays a role in embryonic and postnatal growth and tissue repair. Elevated levels of IGFs, low levels of IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) and over-expression of IGF receptor (IGFR-I) were associated with several stages of cancer. Here, the prevalence of the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs6214 in the IGF type I (IGF-I) gene and rs6898743 in the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene in patients with GI cancer and controls was studied.
Materials & Methods
In this Dutch case-control study, DNA isolated from blood of 1,457 GI cancer patients; 438 patients with head and neck cancer (HNC), 475 with esophageal cancer (EC) and 544 with colorectal cancer (CRC) and 1,457 matched controls, was used to determine the rs6214 and rs6898743 genotypes by polymerase chain reaction. The association between these SNPs and GI cancer, HNC, esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma (ESCC) and proximal or distal CRC was studied. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated via unconditional logistic regression.
Overall for GI cancer, the ORs for SNPs rs6214 and rs6898743 were approximately 1.0 (p-value>0.05), using the most common genotypes GG as reference. An OR of 1.54 (95% CI, 1.05–2.27) was found for EC for genotype AA of rs6214. The ORs for EAC were 1.45 (95% CI, 1.04–2.01) and 1.71 (95% CI, 1.10–2.68), for genotypes GA and AA, respectively. Genotype GC of rs6898743 showed an OR of 0.47 (95% CI, 0.26–0.86) for ESCC.
The A allele of SNP rs6214 in the IGF-I gene was associated with EAC, and with HNC in women. The GC genotype of rs6898743 in the GHR gene was negatively associated with ESCC.
PMCID: PMC3946608  PMID: 24608110
20.  ERK, Akt, and STAT5 are Differentially Activated by the Two Growth Hormone Receptor Subtypes of a Teleost Fish (Oncorhynchus Mykiss) 
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.
PMCID: PMC3355939  PMID: 22649371
growth hormone; signal transduction; U0126; LY294002
21.  Morphology of ovaries in laron dwarf mice, with low circulating plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and in bovine GH-transgenic mice, with high circulating plasma levels of IGF-1 
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.
PMCID: PMC3583234  PMID: 22747742
Murine ovary; Laron dwarf mouse; Bovine growth hormone transgenic mouse; Growth hormone; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Aging
22.  Is Altered Expression of Hepatic Insulin-Related Genes in Growth Hormone Receptor Knockout Mice Due to GH Resistance or a Difference in Biological Life Spans? 
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.
PMCID: PMC2759569  PMID: 19706698
Aging; GHRKO; Insulin
23.  Distinct growth hormone receptor signaling modes regulate skeletal muscle development and insulin sensitivity in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(11):4007-4020.
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.
PMCID: PMC2964973  PMID: 20921627
24.  IGF-I, IGF-II, and Insulin Stimulate Different Gene Expression Responses through Binding to the IGF-I Receptor 
Insulin and the insulin-like growth factors (IGF)-I and -II are closely related peptides important for regulation of metabolism, growth, differentiation, and development. The IGFs exert their main effects through the IGF-I receptor. Although the insulin receptor is the main physiological receptor for insulin, this peptide hormone can also bind at higher concentrations to the IGF-I receptor and exert effects through it. We used microarray gene expression profiling to investigate the gene expression regulated by IGF-I, IGF-II, and insulin after stimulation of the IGF-I receptor. Fibroblasts from mice, knockout for IGF-II and the IGF-II/cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor, and expressing functional IGF-I but no insulin receptors, were stimulated for 4 h with equipotent saturating concentrations of insulin, IGF-I, and IGF-II. Each ligand specifically regulated a group of transcripts that was not regulated by the other two ligands. Many of the functions and pathways these regulated genes were involved in, were consistent with the known biological effects of these ligands. The differences in gene expression might therefore account for some of the different biological effects of insulin, IGF-I, and IGF-II. This work adds to the evidence that not only the affinity of a ligand determines its biological response, but also its nature, even through the same receptor.
PMCID: PMC3738877  PMID: 23950756
IGF-I receptor; microarray gene expression; insulin; IGF; differential signaling
25.  Decreased thyroid follicle size in dwarf mice may suggest the role of growth hormone signaling in thyroid growth regulation 
Thyroid Research  2012;5:7.
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.
PMCID: PMC3464137  PMID: 22897932
Ames dwarf mice; GHRKO mice; Thyroid follicle; Inner follicular surface area; Inner follicular perimeter; Follicular epithelium thickness

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