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1.  Semiquantitative RT-PCR measurement of gene expression in rat tissues including a correction for varying cell size and number 
Background
Current methodology of gene expression analysis limits the possibilities of comparison between cells/tissues of organs in which cell size and/or number changes as a consequence of the study (e.g. starvation). A method relating the abundance of specific mRNA copies per cell may allow direct comparison or different organs and/or changing physiological conditions.
Methods
With a number of selected genes, we analysed the relationship of the number of bases and the fluorescence recorded at a present level using cDNA standards. A lineal relationship was found between the final number of bases and the length of the transcript. The constants of this equation and those of the relationship between fluorescence and number of bases in cDNA were determined and a general equation linking the length of the transcript and the initial number of copies of mRNA was deduced for a given pre-established fluorescence setting. This allowed the calculation of the concentration of the corresponding mRNAs per g of tissue. The inclusion of tissue RNA and the DNA content per cell, allowed the calculation of the mRNA copies per cell.
Results
The application of this procedure to six genes: Arbp, cyclophilin, ChREBP, T4 deiodinase 2, acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 and IRS-1, in liver and retroperitoneal adipose tissue of food-restricted rats allowed precise measures of their changes irrespective of the shrinking of the tissue, the loss of cells or changes in cell size, factors that deeply complicate the comparison between changing tissue conditions. The percentage results obtained with the present methods were essentially the same obtained with the delta-delta procedure and with individual cDNA standard curve quantitative RT-PCR estimation.
Conclusion
The method presented allows the comparison (i.e. as copies of mRNA per cell) between different genes and tissues, establishing the degree of abundance of the different molecular species tested.
doi:10.1186/1743-7075-4-26
PMCID: PMC2217546  PMID: 18039356
2.  Modulation in Wistar Rats of Blood Corticosterone Compartmentation by Sex and a Cafeteria Diet 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57342.
In the metabolic syndrome, glucocorticoid activity is increased, but circulating levels show little change. Most of blood glucocorticoids are bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), which liver expression and circulating levels are higher in females than in males. Since blood hormones are also bound to blood cells, and the size of this compartment is considerable for androgens and estrogens, we analyzed whether sex or eating a cafeteria diet altered the compartmentation of corticosterone in rat blood. The main corticosterone compartment in rat blood is that specifically bound to plasma proteins, with smaller compartments bound to blood cells or free. Cafeteria diet increased the expression of liver CBG gene, binding plasma capacity and the proportion of blood cell-bound corticosterone. There were marked sex differences in blood corticosterone compartmentation in rats, which were unrelated to testosterone. The use of a monoclonal antibody ELISA and a polyclonal Western blot for plasma CBG compared with both specific plasma binding of corticosterone and CBG gene expression suggested the existence of different forms of CBG, with varying affinities for corticosterone in males and females, since ELISA data showed higher plasma CBG for males, but binding and Western blot analyses (plus liver gene expression) and higher physiological effectiveness for females. Good cross- reactivity to the antigen for polyclonal CBG antibody suggests that in all cases we were measuring CBG.The different immunoreactivity and binding affinity may help explain the marked sex-related differences in plasma hormone binding as sex-linked different proportions of CBG forms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057342
PMCID: PMC3579843  PMID: 23451210
3.  In rats, oral oleoyl-DHEA is rapidly hydrolysed and converted to DHEA-sulphate 
BMC Pharmacology  2007;7:4.
Background
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) released by adrenal glands may be converted to androgens and estrogens mainly in the gonadal, adipose, mammary, hepatic and nervous tissue. DHEA is also a key neurosteroid and has antiglucocorticoid activity. DHEA has been used for the treatment of a number of diseases, including obesity; its pharmacological effects depend on large oral doses, which effect rapidly wanes in part because of its short half-life in plasma. Since steroid hormone esters circulate for longer periods, we have studied here whether the administration of DHEA oleoyl ester may extend its pharmacologic availability by keeping high circulating levels.
Results
Tritium-labelled oleoyl-DHEA was given to Wistar male and female rats by gastric tube. The kinetics of appearance of the label in plasma was unrelated to sex; the pattern being largely coincident with the levels of DHEA-sulfate only in females, and after 2 h undistinguishable from the results obtained using labelled DHEA gavages; in the short term, practically no lipophilic DHEA label was found in plasma. After 24 h only a small fraction of the label remained in the rat organs, with a different sex-related distribution pattern coincident for oleoyl- and free- DHEA gavages. The rapid conversion of oleoyl-DHEA into circulating DHEA-sulfate was investigated using stomach, liver and intestine homogenates; which hydrolysed oleoyl-DHEA optimally near pH 8. Duodenum and ileum contained the highest esterase activities. Pure hog pancreas cholesterol-esterase broke down oleoyl-DHEA at rates similar to those of oleoyl-cholesterol. The intestinal and liver esterases were differently activated by taurocholate and showed different pH-activity patterns than cholesterol esterase, suggesting that oleoyl-DHEA can be hydrolysed by a number of esterases in the lumen (e.g. cholesterol-esterase), in the intestinal wall and the liver.
Conclusion
The esterase activities found may condition the pharmacological availability (and depot effect) of orally administered steroid hormone fatty acid esters such as oleoyl-DHEA. The oral administration of oleoyl-DHEA in order to extend DHEA plasma availability has not been proved effective, since the ester is rapidly hydrolysed, probably in the intestine itself, and mainly converted to DHEA-sulfate at least in females.
doi:10.1186/1471-2210-7-4
PMCID: PMC1831771  PMID: 17346356

Results 1-3 (3)