Previous studies have shown that dermal fibroblast cell lines derived from young adult mice of the long-lived Snell dwarf (dw/dw), Ames dwarf (df/df) and growth hormone receptor knockout (GHR-KO) mouse stocks are resistant, in vitro, to the cytotoxic effects of hydrogen peroxide, cadmium, ultraviolet light, paraquat, and heat. Here we show that, in contrast, fibroblasts from mice on low-calorie (CR) or low methionine (Meth-R) diets are not stress resistant in culture, despite the longevity induced by both dietary regimes. A second approach, involving induction of liver cell death in live animals using acetaminophen (APAP), documented hepatotoxin resistance in the CR and Meth-R mice, but dw/dw and GHR-KO mutant mice were not resistant to this agent, and were in fact more susceptible than littermate controls to the toxic effects of APAP. These data thus suggest that while resistance to stress is a common characteristic of experimental life span extension in mice, the cell types showing resistance may differ among the various models of delayed or decelerated aging.
Stress resistance; Caloric restriction; Methionine restriction; Snell dwarf; Growth hormone receptor knockout
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.
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.
Growth hormone receptor; Plasma; Proteomics; Sex; Aging
Pediatric Cushing disease (CD) often presents with short stature but we have observed significant inter-individual variability in the growth delay caused by endogenous hypercortisolism. Glucocorticoids cause growth retardation by affecting the growth hormone (GH) – insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF 1) somatotropic axis, but also other, GH-independent sites. Recently, the GH receptor (GHR) gene was found to have a common polymorphism (P) that leads to a deletion (d3) or retention of exon 3. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the GH receptor polymorphism (GHR-P) maybe one of the significant variants that determine the degree of growth delay among patients with CD.
Design and methods
GHR genotyping was performed on 56 children with newly diagnosed CD (24 females, 32 males, mean age of 12.9±3.3 years) who were followed at our institution between the years 1997–2007. Correlation analysis included genotype, measures of growth and the somatotropic axis, and anthropometrics.
Within the group, 31 (12 girls, 19 boys) expressed the full length GHR allele, 10 (4 girls, 6 boys) were d3-GHR homozygotes and 15 (7 girls, 8 boys) were d3-GHR heterozygotes. No significant differences were found between the GHR genotypes and patient’s height and or growth velocity, or any other measures that we evaluated.
The presence of a well-studied and common GHR polymorphism does not appear to be responsible for the variability of growth delay observed in patients with Cushing disease.
Cushing syndrome; cortisol; pituitary gland; growth hormone receptor; genetics
Fibroblasts from long-lived pituitary dwarf mutants, including Snell dwarf, Ames dwarf and the growth hormone receptor knockout (GHRKO) mice, are resistant in culture to multiple forms of lethal stress. We found that fibroblasts from Snell dwarf and GHRKO mice are more susceptible than control cells to autophagy induced by amino acid withdrawal or by oxidative stress. We also found evidence for lower MTOR function in dwarf cells under conditions that induce autophagy, consistent with the evidence that increased autophagy requires lower TOR activity. Our results provide new hints about the connections between autophagy and aging in long-lived mutants with alterations in GH-IGF1 levels, and suggest a role for hyperactive autophagy in the resistance of cells from these mice to lethal stresses.
GHRKO; aging; amino acid deprivation; autophagy; dwarf; fibroblast; oxidative stress
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
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
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
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
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.
A positive relationship between stress resistance and longevity has been reported in a multitude of studies in organisms ranging from yeast to mice. Several mouse lines have been discovered or developed that exhibit extended longevities when compared with normal, wild-type mice of the same genetic background. These long-living lines include the Ames dwarf, Snell dwarf, growth hormone receptor knockout (Laron dwarf), IGF-1 receptor heterozygote, Little, α-MUPA knockout, p66shc knockout, FIRKO, mClk-1 heterozygote, thioredoxin transgenic, and most recently the Klotho transgenic mouse. These mice are described in terms of the reported extended lifespans and studies involving resistance to stress. In addition, caloric restriction (CR) and stress resistance are briefly addressed for comparison with genetically altered mice. Although many of the long-living mice have GH/IGF-1/insulin signaling-related alterations and enhanced stress resistance, there are some that exhibit life extension without an obvious link to this hormone pathway. Resistance to oxidative stress is by far the most common system studied in long-living mice, but there is evidence of enhancement of resistance in other systems as well. The differences in stress resistance between long-living mutant and normal mice result from complex interrelationships among pathways that appear to coordinate signals of growth and metabolism, and subsequently result in differences in lifespan.
mutant mice; lifespan; oxidative stress; hormesis
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
Snell dwarf mice have multiple hormonal deficits, but the way in which these deficits postpone aging are still uncertain. In this study, Snell dwarf mice received 11 weeks of growth hormone and thyroxine injections that increased their weight by approximately 45%, although they remained much smaller than controls. The hormone treatment also restored fertility to male dwarf mice. Despite these effects on growth and maturation, the hormone treatments did not diminish life span or lower the resistance of dwarf mice to cataracts and kidney disease. Administration of thyroxine in food throughout adult life did diminish longevity of Snell dwarf mice, although these mice remain longer lived than control animals. These results show that a 45% increase in body size does not impair longevity or disease resistance for dwarf mice of either sex, and that the exceptional longevity of Snell dwarf mice does not, at least for males, depend on prepubertal immaturity.
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
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
Food restriction (FR) augments the behavioral and reinforcing effects of psychomotor stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamine; effects that may be related to the capacity of FR to increase plasma levels of ghrelin (GHR), a 28-amino acid orexigenenic peptide linked to activation of brain dopamine systems. The present study used wild-type (WT) mice or mutant mice sustaining knockout of either GHR (GHR(-/-)) or of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R(-/-)) and subjected to FR or not to evaluate the role of GHR and GHS-R in cocaine-stimulated locomotion. WT, GHR(-/-), and GHS-R(-/-) mice were either restricted to 60% of baseline caloric intake or allowed to free-feed (FF). Mice were treated with 0, 1.25, 2.5 and 5.0 mg/kg cocaine on separate test days (in random dose order) and forward locomotion was recorded on each drug day for 45 min after drug dosing. Food (and water) was available immediately after (but not during) each activity test. For FF mice, there was no interaction between cocaine and GHR status on locomotion. FR-WT mice treated with saline exhibited significant increases in anticipatory locomotion (relative to FF-WT mice), whereas FR-GHS-R(-/-) mice did not. Cocaine significantly increased locomotion in FR-GHR(-/-) and FR-GHS-R(-/-) mice to the levels noted in FR-WT mice. These results suggest that GHS-R activity, but not GHR activity, is required for FR to augment food-associated anticipatory locomotion, but do not support the contention that GHR pathways are required for the capacity of FR to augment the acute effect of cocaine on locomotion.
Food intake; Ghrelin; Psychostimulants
In humans, growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and low circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) significantly increase the risk for cerebrovascular disease. Genetic growth hormone (GH)/IGF-1 deficiency in Lewis dwarf rats significantly increases the incidence of late-life strokes, similar to the effects of GHD in elderly humans. Peripubertal treatment of Lewis dwarf rats with GH delays the occurrence of late-life stroke, which results in a significant extension of life span. The present study was designed to characterize the vascular effects of life span-extending peripubertal GH replacement in Lewis dwarf rats. Here, we report, based on measurements of dihydroethidium fluorescence, tissue isoprostane, GSH, and ascorbate content, that peripubertal GH/IGF-1 deficiency in Lewis dwarf rats increases vascular oxidative stress, which is prevented by GH replacement. Peripubertal GHD did not alter superoxide dismutase or catalase activities in the aorta nor the expression of Cu-Zn-SOD, Mn-SOD, and catalase in the cerebral arteries of dwarf rats. In contrast, cerebrovascular expression of glutathione peroxidase 1 was significantly decreased in dwarf vessels, and this effect was reversed by GH treatment. Peripubertal GHD significantly decreases expression of the Nrf2 target genes NQO1 and GCLC in the cerebral arteries, whereas it does not affect expression and activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and vascular expression of IGF-1, IGF-binding proteins, and inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interluekin-6, interluekin-1β, inducible nitric oxide synthase, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1). In conclusion, peripubertal GH/IGF-1 deficiency confers pro-oxidative cellular effects, which likely promote an adverse functional and structural phenotype in the vasculature, and results in accelerated vascular impairments later in life.
Oxidative stress; GH deficiency; GH replacement; Vasoprotection; IGF-1 deficiency
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
We have recently reported that progeroid Zmpste24−/− mice, which exhibit multiple defects that phenocopy Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, show a profound dysregulation of somatotropic axis, mainly characterized by the occurrence of very high circulating levels of growth hormone (GH) and a drastic reduction in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). We have also shown that restoration of the proper GH/IGF-1 balance in Zmpste24−/− mice by treatment with recombinant IGF-1 delays the onset of many progeroid features in these animals and significantly extends their lifespan. Here, we summarize these observations and discuss the importance of GH/IGF-1 balance in longevity as well as its modulation as a putative therapeutic strategy for the treatment of human progeroid syndromes.
progeria; cancer; growth hormone; insulin-like growth factor; longevity
To investigate the influence of hormones on the process of cellular differentiation the growth and differentiation of a transplantable tumour, induced by inoculation of pluripotent mouse embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells have been studied in athymic nude mice and, normal and hypopituitary Snell dwarf mice. All athymic nude mice developed tumours independent of the numbers of cells inoculated. In contrast, the tumour percentage in normal Snell mice was lower, showing a dose-dependent increase of takes. In dwarfs tumour percentage was comparable with that observed in normal Snell mice. The morphological differentiation of teratocarcinomas grown in athymic nude mice, normal and dwarfed Snell mice shows derivatives of all three germ layers next to undifferentiated embryonal carcinoma cells. This suggests that the pituitary hormonal deficiencies of the dwarfs (growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone and prolactin) did not influence the tumour induction nor the development of the different tissues present in this type of tumour.