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1.  Ablation of the Glucagon Receptor Gene Increases Fetal Lethality and Produces Alterations in Islet Development and Maturation 
Endocrinology  2006;147(9):3995-4006.
Although glucagon (GLU) plays a pivotal role in glucose homeostasis, its role in the regulation of fetal growth and maturation is poorly understood. These issues were examined in a line of mice with a global deletion of the GLU receptor (Gcgr−/−), which are characterized by lower blood glucose levels and by α- and δ-cell hyperplasia in adults. Ablation of Gcgr was deleterious to fetal survival; it delayed β-cell differentiation and perturbed the proportion of β- to α-cells in embryonic islets. In adults, the mutation inhibited the progression of α-cells to maturity, affected the expression of several β-cell-specific genes, and resulted in an augmentation of the α-, β-, and δ-cell mass. This increase was due to an augmentation in both islet number and in the rate of proliferation of cells expressing GLU or insulin. These findings suggest that GLU participates in a feedback loop that regulates the proportion of the different endocrine cell types in islets, the number of islets per pancreas, and development of the mature α-cell phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4287247  PMID: 16627579
2.  Differential Uterine Expression of Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors Correlates with Uterine Preparation for Implantation and Decidualization in the Mouse* 
Endocrinology  1999;140(11):5310-5321.
The present investigation examined the spatiotemporal expression of estrogen receptors (ER-α and ER-β) and progesterone receptor (PR) in the periimplantation mouse uterus (days 1–8). ER-α messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected at much higher levels in the periimplantation uterus compared with that of ER-β mRNA, the levels of which were very low in all uterine cells during this period. Results of in situ hybridization demonstrated expression of ER-α mRNA primarily in the luminal and glandular epithelia on days 1 and 2 of pregnancy. On days 3 and 4, the accumulation was localized primarily in stromal cells in addition to its presence in the epithelium. Following implantation on day 5, the accumulation of this mRNA was more condensed in the luminal and glandular epithelia, but declined in the subluminal epithelial stroma at the sites of implanting embryos. On days 6–8, the accumulation of ER-α mRNA was primarily localized in the secondary decidual zone (SDZ) with more intense localization in the subepithelial cells at the mesometrial pole. In contrast, signals were very low to undetectable in the primary decidual zone (PDZ), and no signals were detected in implanting embryos. The undifferentiated stroma underneath the myometrium also showed positive signals. The immunolocalization of ER-α protein correlated with the mRNA localization. Western blot analysis showed down-regulation of ER-α in day 8 decidual cell extracts consistent with the down-regulation of ER-α mRNA in decidual cells immediately surrounding the embryo on this day. The expression pattern of PR was also dynamic in the periimplantation uterus. On day 1, the accumulation of PR mRNA was very low to undetectable, whereas only a modest level of accumulation in the epithelium was noted on day 2. On days 3 and 4, the accumulation of this mRNA was detected in both the epithelium and stroma. In contrast, the expression was restricted only to the stroma with increased signals at the sites of implantation on day 5. On days 6–8, PR mRNA accumulation increased dramatically throughout the deciduum. The localization of immunoreactive PR correlated with the mRNA distribution in the periimplantation uterus. Taken together, the results demonstrate that the expression of ER-α, ER-β, and PR is differentially regulated in the periimplantation mouse uterus. This compartmentalized expression of ER and PR provides information regarding the sites of coordinated effects of estrogen and progesterone in the preparation of the uterus for implantation and decidualization during early pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4280800  PMID: 10537162
3.  Differential Spatiotemporal Regulation of Lactoferrin and Progesterone Receptor Genes in the Mouse Uterus by Primary Estrogen, Catechol Estrogen, and Xenoestrogen* 
Endocrinology  1998;139(6):2905-2915.
Many xenobiotics are considered reproductive toxins because of their ability to interact with the nuclear estrogen receptors (ERα and ERβ). However, there is evidence that these xenobiotics can regulate gene expression in the reproductive targets by mechanisms that do not involve these ERs. To examine this further, we compared the effects of estrogenic (o,p′-DDT [1-(o-chlorophenyl)-1-(p-chlorophenyl)2,2,2-trichloroethane] and Kepone, chlordecone) and nonestrogenic (p,p′-DDD [1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane], a metabolite of p,p′-DDT) xenobiotics with those of 17β-estradiol (E2) and 4-hydroxyestradiol-17β (4-OH-E2), a catechol metabolite of E2, on uterine expression of lactoferrin (LF) and progesterone receptor (PR). These genes are estrogen responsive in the mouse uterus. Normally, LF is expressed in the uterine epithelium, whereas PR is expressed in both the epithelium and stroma in response to estrogenic stimulation. Ovariectomized mice were injected with xenobiotics (7.5 mg/kg), E2 (10 μg/kg), 4-OH-E2 (10 μg/kg), or the vehicle (oil, 0.1 ml/mouse), and uterine tissues were processed for Northern blot and in situ hybridization. The pure antiestrogen ICI-182780 (ICI; 1 or 20 mg/kg) was used to interfere with estrogenic responses that were associated with the ERs. The results of Northern and in situ hybridization demonstrated increased uterine levels of PR and LF messenger RNAs (mRNAs) by all of these xenobiotics, but quantitatively the responses were much lower than those induced by E2 or 4-OH-E2. The results further showed that the E2-inducible epithelial LF mRNA accumulation was markedly abrogated by pretreatment with ICI (20 mg/kg). In contrast, this treatment retained the epithelial expression of PR mRNA, but down-regulated the stromal expression. In contrast, ICI had negligible effects on LF and PR mRNA responses to 4-OH-E2, indicating that this catechol estrogen exerted its effects primarily via a mechanism(s) other than the ERs. The heightened accumulation of LF mRNA in the epithelium in response to Kepone and o,p′-DDT was also severely compromised by pretreatment with ICI, but this antiestrogen had little effect on responses to p,p′-DDD. Similar to E2, Kepone increased the expression of PR mRNA in both uterine epithelium and stroma. However, pretreatment with ICI decreased stromal cell expression, whereas epithelial cell expression remained unaltered or increased. These responses were not noted in mice treated with o,p′-DDT or p,p′-DDD. Collectively, the results demonstrate that catechol estrogens or xenobiotics can alter uterine expression of estrogen-responsive genes by mechanisms that are not totally mediated by the classical nuclear ERs, and these alterations are cell type specific. We conclude that an interaction of a compound with the nuclear ERα and/or ERβ is not an absolute requirement for producing specific estrogen-like effects in the reproductive target tissues.
PMCID: PMC4277118  PMID: 9607801
4.  Cyclin G1 and Cyclin G2 Are Expressed in the Periimplantation Mouse Uterus in a Cell-Specific and Progesterone-Dependent Manner: Evidence for Aberrant Regulation with Hoxa-10 Deficiency 
Endocrinology  2005;146(5):2424-2433.
Because uterine cell-specific proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are differentially regulated during the periimplantation period, we speculated that negative cell cycle regulators are also operative in the uterus during this period. This prompted us to examine the roles of two negative growth-regulatory genes, cyclin G1 and cyclin G2, in the periimplantation mouse uterus. We show that cyclin G1 and cyclin G2 genes are differentially regulated in the uterus during this period (d 1–8 of pregnancy) in a spatiotemporal manner. The results suggest that cyclin G1 is primarily associated with epithelial cell differentiation before implantation and stromal cell proliferation and differentiation during decidualization, whereas cyclin G2 is associated with terminal differentiation and apoptosis of the luminal epithelial and stromal cells at the site of blastocyst after implantation. Pharmacological and genetic studies provide evidence that the expression of cyclin G1, not cyclin G2, is regulated by progesterone via its nuclear receptor. Furthermore, the expression of these genes is aberrantly up-regulated in homeo box A-10 mutant uteri, suggesting that cyclin G1 and cyclin G2 genes act as downstream targets of homeobox A-10 and negatively impact uterine cell proliferation. Collectively, our present and previous studies suggest that negative cell cycle regulators collaborate with growth-promoting regulators in regulating uterine cell-specific proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis relevant to implantation and decidualization.
PMCID: PMC4274954  PMID: 15661853
5.  Uterine Decidual Response Occurs in Estrogen Receptor-α-Deficient Mice* 
Endocrinology  1999;140(6):2704-2710.
Embryo-uterine interactions leading to the attachment reaction is followed by stromal cell proliferation and differentiation into decidual cells (decidualization) at the sites of blastocyst apposition. In rodents, decidualization is also induced by application of an artificial stimulus (intraluminal oil infusion) in a pseudopregnant uterus, or to one that has been appropriately prepared by exogenous progesterone (P4) and estrogen. The process of decidualization is under the control of these steroids in the presence of blastocysts or deciduogenic stimuli. Although it is well known that estrogen is required for the induction of progesterone receptors in the uterus, the functional importance of estrogen in the process of decidualization is poorly understood. To better understand the role of estrogenic actions in decidualization, we used wild-type and estrogen receptor-α knock-out (ERKO) mice for induction of decidualization employing a defined steroid hormonal treatment schedule. Our results demonstrate that P4 alone induces decidualization in ovariectomized wild-type or ERKO mice in response to intraluminal oil infusion in the absence of estrogen. A combined treatment of either estradiol-17β (E2) or its catecholmetabolite 4-hydroxyestradiol-17β (4-OH-E2) with P4 does not potentiate the decidual response produced by P4 treatment alone in either ovariectomized wild-type or ERKO mice. The induction of decidual response was associated with up-regulation of decidual cell marker genes, such as progesterone receptor, metallothionein-1, and cyclooxygenase-2. The results suggest that the stromal cell sensitivity to decidualization is critically dependent on P4-regulated events, and estrogenic induction of progesterone receptor via classical nuclear ER-α is not critical for this process.
PMCID: PMC4273314  PMID: 10342861
6.  Increased level of cellular Bip critically determines estrogenic potency for a xenoestrogen kepone in the mouse uterus 
Endocrinology  2007;148(10):4774-4785.
Xenoestrogen mimics estrogen-like activities primarily based on alterations of gene expression and interactions with estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ. However, requirement for large concentrations to induce estrogenic phenotypes and low affinity for ERs have challenged the notion that prevailing xenoestrogens are significant health hazards. Here, in this study we show that under certain conditions, exposure of xenoestrogen could be potentially harmful in respect of enhanced uterine estrogenicity. Previously, we have demonstrated that estradiol-17β (E2) upregulates uterine Bip, a stress-related endoplasmic reticulum protein, via ER-independent mechanism in mice. Moreover, this protein essentially involves in E2-mediated uterine growth response and ERα-dependent gene transcription. Here, we demonstrate that among three tested xenoestrogens, only kepone (>15-30 mg/kg) exerts sustained inductive response for uterine Bip expression. Interestingly, this kepone-induced Bip strongly correlates with ERα-dependent growth and gene expressional responses in the mouse uterus. Furthermore, these effects were strongly suppressed after knock-down of uterine Bip, via adenovirus approach. While, kepone at 7.5 mg/kg was not effective, but was strongly stimulatory by adenovirus-driven forced expression of uterine Bip. In contrast, the control GFP virus was not effective in above responses. Furthermore, the induction of uterine Bip by stress-related signals also revealed the onset of uterine growth in mice, when exposed to sub-lethal dose of kepone. Collectively, studies provide novel molecular evidence that Bip acts as a critical regulator to amplify estrogenic potency for a weak xenoestrogen kepone.
PMCID: PMC4261232  PMID: 17640991
7.  A Microarray Analysis of the Temporal Response of Liver to Methylprednisolone: A Comparative Analysis of Two Dosing Regimens 
Endocrinology  2007;148(5):2209-2225.
Microarray analyses were performed on livers from adrenalectomized male Wistar rats chronically infused with methylprednisolone (MPL) (0.3 mg/kg·h) using Alzet mini-osmotic pumps for periods ranging from 6 h to 7 d. Four control and 40 drug-treated animals were killed at 10 different times during drug infusion. Total RNA preparations from the livers of these animals were hybridized to 44 individual Affymetrix REA230A gene chips, generating data for 15,967 different probe sets for each chip. A series of three filters were applied sequentially. These filters were designed to eliminate probe sets that were not expressed in the tissue, were not regulated by the drug, or did not meet defined quality control standards. These filters eliminated 13,978 probe sets (87.5%) leaving a remainder of 1989 probe sets for further consideration. We previously described a similar dataset obtained from animals after administration of a single dose of MPL (50 mg/kg given iv). That study involved 16 time points over a 72-h period. A similar filtering schema applied to the single-bolus-dose data-set identified 1519 probe sets as being regulated by MPL. A comparison of datasets from the two different dosing regimens identified 358 genes that were regulated by MPL in response to both dosing regimens. Regulated genes were grouped into 13 categories, mainly on gene product function. The temporal profiles of these common genes were subjected to detailed scrutiny. Examination of temporal profiles demonstrates that current perspectives on the mechanism of glucocorticoid action cannot entirely explain the temporal profiles of these regulated genes.
PMCID: PMC4183266  PMID: 17303664
8.  Analysis of the Biochemical Mechanisms for the Endocrine Actions of Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 
Endocrinology  2005;146(11):4647-4656.
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-23 has emerged as an endocrine regulator of phosphate and of vitamin D metabolism. It is produced in bone and, unlike other FGFs, circulates in the bloodstream to ultimately regulate phosphate handling and vitamin D production in the kidney. Presently, it is unknown which of the seven principal FGF receptors (FGFRs) transmits FGF23 biological activity. Furthermore, the molecular basis for the endocrine mode of FGF23 action is unclear. Herein, we performed surface plasmon resonance and mitogenesis experiments to comprehensively characterize receptor binding specificity. Our data demonstrate that FGF23 binds and activates the c splice isoforms of FGFR1-3, as well as FGFR4, but not the b splice isoforms of FGFR1-3. Interestingly, highly sulfated and longer glycosaminoglycan (GAG) species were capable of promoting FGF23 mitogenic activity. We also show that FGF23 induces tyrosine phosphorylation and inhibits sodium-phosphate cotransporter Npt2a mRNA expression using opossum kidney cells, a model kidney proximal tubule cell line. Removal of cell surface GAGs abolishes the effects of FGF23, and exogenous highly sulfated GAG is capable of restoring FGF23 activity, suggesting that proximal tubule cells naturally express GAGs that are permissive for FGF23 action. We propose that FGF23 signals through multiple FGFRs and that the unique endocrine actions of FGF23 involve escape from FGF23-producing cells and circulation to the kidney, where highly sulfated GAGs most likely act as cofactors for FGF23 activity. Our biochemical findings provide important insights into the molecular mechanisms by which dysregulated FGF23 signaling leads to disorders of hyper- and hypophosphatemia.
PMCID: PMC4140631  PMID: 16081635
9.  Thiazolidinediones are Partial Agonists for the Glucocorticoid Receptor 
Endocrinology  2008;150(1):75-86.
Although thiazolidinediones were designed as specific PPARγ-ligands there is evidence for some off-target effects mediated by a non-PPARγ mechanism. Previously we have shown that Rosiglitazone has anti-inflammatory actions not explicable by activation of PPARγ, but possibly by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR).
Rosiglitazone induces nuclear translocation both of GR-GFP, and endogenous GR in HeLa and U20S cells but with slower kinetics than Dexamethasone. Rosiglitazone also induces GR phosphorylation (Ser211), a GR ligand-binding specific effect.
Rosiglitazone drives luciferase expression from a simple GRE containing reporter gene in a GR-dependent manner (EC50 4μM), with a similar amplitude response to the partial GR agonist RU486. Rosiglitazone also inhibits Dexamethasone driven reporter gene activity (IC50 2.9μM) in a similar fashion to RU486, suggesting partial agonist activity. Importantly we demonstrate a similar effect in PPARγ-null cells suggesting both GR-dependence and PPARγ-independence.
Rosiglitazone also activates a GAL4-GR chimera, driving a UAS promoter, demonstrating DNA template sequence independence, and furthermore enhanced SRC1-GR interaction, measured by a mammalian two-hybrid assay.
Both Ciglitazone and Pioglitazone, structurally related to Rosiglitazone, show similar effects on the GR.
The antiproliferative effect of Rosiglitazone is increased in U20S cells that overexpress GR, suggesting a biologically important GR-dependent component of Rosiglitazone action.
Rosiglitazone is a partial GR agonist, affecting GR activation and trafficking to influence engagement of target genes and affect cell function. This novel mode of action may explain some off-target effects observed in vivo. Additionally, antagonism of glucocorticoid action may contribute to the anti-diabetic actions of Rosiglitazone.
PMCID: PMC4110506  PMID: 18801908
Rosiglitazone; Glucocorticoids; Glucocorticoid Receptor; PPARγ; Diabetes
10.  Muscle-Bound? A Tissue-Selective Nonsteroidal Androgen Receptor Modulator 
Endocrinology  2007;148(1):1-3.
PMCID: PMC4075012  PMID: 17179140
11.  Contribution of endogenous glucocorticoids and their intra-vascular metabolism by 11β-HSDs to post-angioplasty neointimal proliferation in mice 
Endocrinology  2012;153(12):5896-5905.
Exogenous glucocorticoids inhibit neointimal proliferation in animals. We aime to test the hypothesis that endogenous glucocorticoids influence neointimal proliferation; this may be mediated by effects on systemic risk factors or locally in vessels, and modulated either by adrenal secretion or by enzymes expressed in vessels which mediate local inactivation (11β-HSD2 in endothelium) or regeneration (11β-HSD1 in smooth muscle) of glucocorticoids. Femoral artery wire-angioplasty was conducted in C57Bl/6J, Apo-E−/−, 11β-HSD1−/−, Apo-E, 11β-HSD1−/− (double knockout) and 11β-HSD2−/− mice following glucocorticoid administration, adrenalectomy, glucocorticoid or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism, or selective 11β-HSD1 inhibition. In C57Bl/6J mice, neointimal proliferation was reduced by systemic or local glucocorticoid administration, unaffected by adrenalectomy, reduced by the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist eplerenone, and increased by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU38486. 11β-HSD2 deletion had no effect on neointimal proliferation, with or without eplerenone. 11β-HSD1 inhibition or deletion had no effect in chow-fed C57Bl/6J mice, but reduced neointimal proliferation in Apo-E−/− mice on Western diet. Reductions in neointimal size were accompanied by reduced macrophage and increased collagen content. We conclude that pharmacological administration of glucocorticoid receptor agonists or of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists may be useful in reducing neointimal proliferation. Endogenous corticosteroids induce beneficial glucocorticoid receptor activation and adverse mineralocorticoid receptor activation. However, manipulation of glucocorticoid metabolism has beneficial effects only in mice with exaggerated systemic risk factors, suggesting effects mediated primarily in liver and adipose rather than intra-vascular glucocorticoid signalling. Reducing glucocorticoid action with 11β-HSD1 inhibitors that are being developed for type 2 diabetes appears not to risk enhanced neointimal proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3977041  PMID: 23125311
Glucocorticoids; mineralocorticoids; Angioplasty; Neointimal proliferation; 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11β-HSDs)
12.  11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 deficiency accelerates atherogenesis and causes pro-inflammatory changes in the endothelium in Apoe−/− mice 
Endocrinology  2010;152(1):236-246.
Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation is pro inflammatory and pro atherogenic. Antagonism of MR improves survival in humans with congestive heart failure caused by atherosclerotic disease. In animal models, activation of MR exacerbates atherosclerosis. The enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11β-HSD2) prevents inappropriate activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) from inappropriate activation by glucocorticoids by inactivating glucocorticoids in mineralocorticoid-target tissues. To determine whether glucocorticoid-mediated activation of MR increases atheromatous plaque formation we generated Apoe−/−/11β-HSD2−/− double-knockout (E/b2) mice. On chow diet, E/b2 mice developed atherosclerotic lesions by 3 months of age, while Apoe−/− mice remained lesion-free. Brachiocephalic plaques in 3 month-old E/b2 mice showed increased macrophage and lipid content and reduced collagen content compared to similar sized brachiocephalic plaques in 6 month old Apoe−/− mice. Crucially, treatment of E/b2 mice with eplerenone, an MR antagonist, reduced plaque development and macrophage infiltration while increasing collagen and smooth muscle cell content without any effect on systolic blood pressure (SBP). In contrast, reduction of SBP in E/b2 mice using the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blocker amiloride produced a less profound atheroprotective effect. Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) expression was increased in the endothelium of E/b2 mice compared to Apoe−/− mice. Similarly, aldosterone increased VCAM-1 expression in mouse aortic endothelial cells, an effect mimicked by corticosterone only in the presence of an 11β-HSD2 inhibitor. Thus, loss of 11β-HSD2 leads to striking atherogenesis associated with activation of MR stimulating pro-inflammatory processes in the endothelium of E/b2 mice.
PMCID: PMC3977042  PMID: 21106873
atherosclerosis; mineralocorticoid receptor; 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
Endocrinology  2009;151(1):195-202.
Regeneration of active glucocorticoids within liver and adipose tissue by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) may be of pathophysiological importance in obesity and Metabolic Syndrome and is a therapeutic target in type 2 diabetes. Polymorphisms in HSD11B1, the gene encoding 11β-HSD1, have been associated with metabolic phenotype in humans, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Here we have tested the functional consequences of 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms located in contexts that potentially affect tissue levels of 11β-HSD1. We report no effect of allelic variation at rs846910, a polymorphism within the 5′-flanking region of the gene on HSD11B1 promoter activity in vitro. However, compared to the common G allele, the A allele of rs13306421, a polymorphism located 2 nucleotides 5′ to the translation initiation site, gave higher 11β-HSD1 expression and activity in vitro and was translated at higher levels in in vitro translation reactions, possibly associated with a lower frequency of “leaky scanning”. These data suggest that this polymorphism may have direct functional consequences on levels of 11β-HSD1 enzyme activity in vivo. However, the rs13306421 A sequence variant originally reported in other ethnic groups may be of low prevalence as it was not detected in a population of 600 European caucasian women.
PMCID: PMC3971150  PMID: 19934376
steroid metabolism; glucocorticoid; obesity; SNP; translation; regulation
14.  Rapid decreases in preoptic aromatase activity and brain monoamine concentrations after engaging in male sexual behavior 
Endocrinology  2005;146(9):3809-3820.
In Japanese quail as in rats, the expression of male sexual behavior over relatively long time periods (days to weeks) is dependent on the local production of estradiol in the preoptic area via the aromatization of testosterone. On a short-term basis (minutes to hours), central actions of dopamine as well as locally produced estrogens modulate behavioral expression. In rats, a view of and sexual interaction with a female increases dopamine release in the preoptic area. In quail, in vitro brain aromatase activity is rapidly modulated by calcium-dependent phosphorylations that are likely to occur in vivo as a result of changes in neurotransmitter activity. Furthermore, an acute estradiol injection rapidly stimulates copulation in quail, while a single injection of the aromatase inhibitor Vorozole™ rapidly inhibits this behavior. We hypothesized that brain aromatase and dopaminergic activities are regulated in quail in association with the expression of male sexual behavior. Visual access as well as sexual interactions with a female produced a significant decrease in brain aromatase activity that was maximal after 5 min. This expression of sexual behavior also resulted in a significant decrease in dopaminergic as well as serotonergic activity after 1 min, which returned to basal levels after 5 min. These results demonstrate for the first time that aromatase activity is rapidly modulated in vivo in parallel with changes in dopamine activity. Sexual interactions with the female decreased aromatase and dopamine activity. These data challenges established views about the causal relationships among dopamine, estrogen action and male sexual behavior.
PMCID: PMC3909742  PMID: 15932925
male copulatory behavior; aromatization; non-genomic effects; quail; dopamine; serotonin
15.  Leptin-Independent Programming of Adult Body Weight and Adiposity in Mice 
Endocrinology  2011;152(2):10.1210/en.2010-0911.
Low birth weight and rapid postnatal weight gain are independent and additive risk factors for the subsequent development of metabolic disease. Despite an abundance of evidence for these associations, mechanistic data are lacking. The hormone leptin has received significant interest as a potential programming factor, because differences in the profile of leptin in early life have been associated with altered susceptibility to obesity. Whether leptin alone is a critical factor for programming obesity has, until now, remained unclear. Using the leptin-deficient ob/ob mouse, we show that low birth weight followed by rapid catch-up growth during lactation (recuperated offspring) leads to a persistent increase in body weight in adult life, both in wild-type and ob/ob animals. Furthermore, recuperated offspring are hyperphagic and epididymal fat pad weights are significantly increased, reflecting greater adiposity. These results show definitively that factors other than leptin are crucial in the programming of energy homeostasis in this model and are powerful enough to alter adiposity in a genetically obese strain.
PMCID: PMC3884597  PMID: 21209019
16.  The inflammatory response in acyl-CoA oxidase 1 deficiency (pseudoneonatal adrenoleukodystrophy) 
Endocrinology  2012;153(6):2568-2575.
Among several peroxisomal neurodegenerative disorders, the pseudoneonatal adrenoleukodys-trophy (P-NALD) is characterized by the acyl-coenzyme A oxidase 1 (ACOX1) deficiency, which leads to the accumulation of very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA) and inflammatory demyelination. However, the components of this inflammatory process in P-NALD remain elusive. In this study, we used transcriptomic profiling and PCR array analyses to explore inflammatory gene expression in patient fibroblasts. Our results show the activation of IL-1 inflammatory pathway accompanied by the increased secretion of two IL-1 target genes, IL-6 and IL-8 cytokines. Human fibroblasts exposed to very-long-chain fatty acids exhibited increased mRNA expression of IL-1α and IL-1β cytokines. Furthermore, expression of IL-6 and IL-8 cytokines in patient fibroblasts was down-regulated by MAPK, p38MAPK, and Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitors. Thus, the absence of acyl-coenzyme A oxidase 1 activity in P-NALD fibroblasts triggers an inflammatory process, in which the IL-1 pathway seems to be central. The use of specific kinase inhibitors may permit the modulation of the enhanced inflammatory status.
PMCID: PMC3791418  PMID: 22508517
Acyl-CoA Oxidase; deficiency; genetics; metabolism; Cells, Cultured; Fatty Acids; pharmacology; Fibroblasts; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; Gene Expression Regulation; drug effects; Humans; Immunohistochemistry; Inflammation; genetics; metabolism; Inflammation Mediators; metabolism; Interleukin-1; genetics; metabolism; Interleukin-6; genetics; metabolism; Interleukin-8; genetics; metabolism; Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis; Osteopontin; genetics; metabolism; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; Transcriptome
17.  Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Mediates the Response to Cold Stress in the Neonatal Rat without Compensatory Enhancement of the Peptide’s Gene Expression* 
Endocrinology  1994;135(6):2364-2368.
A variety of stressors activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, with secretion and compensatory enhanced synthesis of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Whether CRH is a major effector in the stress response of the neonatal rat and whether the peptide's gene expression is subsequently up-regulated are not fully understood. We studied the effect of cold-separation stress on plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels and CRH messenger RNA (CRH-mRNA) abundance in the paraventricular nucleus. Rats (4–16 days old) were subjected to maximal tolerated cold-separation. CORT and CRH-mRNA abundance were measured before and at several time points after stress. Cold-separation stress resulted in a significant plasma CORT increase in all age groups studied. This was abolished by the administration of an antiserum to CRH on both postnatal days 6 and 9. CRH-mRNA increased in rats aged 9 days or older, but not in 6-day-old rats, by 4 h after stress. These results suggest the presence of robust CRH-mediated adrenal responses to cold-separation stress in neonatal rats. Before postnatal day 9, however, the compensatory increase in CRH-mRNA abundance is minimal.
PMCID: PMC3783019  PMID: 7988418
18.  Quantitative Trait Loci Associated with Elevated Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in the Wistar-Kyoto Rat 
Endocrinology  2004;146(2):870-878.
Thyroid hormones are essential for the regulation of developmental and physiological processes. The genetic factors underlying naturally occurring variability in mammalian thyroid function are, however, only partially understood. Genetic control of thyroid function can be studied with animal models such as the inbred Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat strain. Previous studies established that WKY rats have elevated TSH, slightly elevated total T3, and normal total T4 levels compared with Wistar controls. The present study confirmed a persistent 24-h elevation of TSH in WKY rats compared with the Fisher 344 (F344) rat, another inbred strain. Acute T3 challenge (25 g/ 100 g body weight ip) suppressed serum TSH and T4 levels in both strains. Quantitative trait locus analysis of elevated TSH in a reciprocally bred WKY × F344 F2 population identified one highly significant locus on chromosome 6 (LOD = 11.7, TSH-1) and one suggestive locus on chromosome 5 (LOD = 2.3, TSH-2). The confidence interval of TSH-1 contains the TSH receptor and type 2 deiodinase genes, and TSH-2 contains the type 1 deiodinase gene. The WKY alleles of each gene contain sequence alterations, but additional studies are indicated to identify the specific gene or genes responsible for altered regulation of the thyroid axis. These findings suggest that one or more genetic alterations within the TSH-1 locus significantly contribute to the altered thyroid function tests of the WKY rat.
PMCID: PMC3764449  PMID: 15514085
19.  Rapid Inhibition of Neurons in the Dorsal Motor Nucleus of the Vagus by Leptin 
Endocrinology  2006;148(4):1868-1881.
The peptide leptin conveys the availability of adipose energy stores to the brain. Increasing evidence implicates a significant role for extrahypothalamic sites of leptin action, including the dorsal vagal complex, a region critical for regulating visceral parasympathetic function. The hypothesis that leptin suppresses cellular activity in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve (DMV) was tested using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in brainstem slices. Leptin caused a rapid membrane hyperpolarization in 50% of rat DMV neurons. Leptin also hyperpolarized a subset of gastric-related neurons (62%), identified after gastric inoculation with a transneuronal retrograde viral tracer. The hyperpolarization was associated with a decrease in input resistance and cellular responsiveness and displayed characteristics consistent with an increased K+ conductance. Perfusion of tolbutamide (200 μM) reversed the leptin-induced hyperpolarization, and tolbutamide or wortmannin (10–100 nM) prevented the hyperpolarization, indicating that leptin activated an ATP-sensitive K+ channel via a phosphoinositide-3-kinase-dependent mechanism. Leptin reduced the frequency of spontaneous and miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs), whereas inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were largely unaffected. Electrical stimulation of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) resulted in constant-latency EPSCs, which were decreased in amplitude by leptin. The paired-pulse ratio was increased, suggesting leptin effects involved activation of receptors presynaptic to the recorded neuron. A leptin-induced suppression of EPSCs, but not IPSCs, evoked by focal photolytic uncaging of glutamate within the NTS was also observed, supportive of leptin effects on the glutamatergic NTS projection to the DMV. Therefore, leptin directly hyperpolarized and indirectly suppressed excitatory synaptic activity to DMV neurons involved in visceral regulation, including gastric-related neurons.
PMCID: PMC3761087  PMID: 17194747
20.  A Rapid Release of Corticosteroid-Binding Globulin from the Liver Restrains the Glucocorticoid Hormone Response to Acute Stress 
Endocrinology  2011;152(10):3738-3748.
A strict control of glucocorticoid hormone responses to stress is essential for health. In blood, glucocorticoid hormones are for the largest part bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), and just a minor fraction of hormone is free. Only free glucocorticoid hormone is able to exert biological effects, but little is known about its regulation during stress. We found, using a dual-probe in vivo microdialysis method, that in rats, the forced-swim stress-induced rise in free corticosterone (its major glucocorticoid hormone) is strikingly similar in the blood and in target compartments such as the subcutaneous tissue and the brain. However, in all compartments, the free corticosterone response was delayed by 20–30 min as compared with the total corticosterone response in the blood. We discovered that CBG is the key player in this delay. Swim stress evoked a fast (within 5 min) and profound rise in CBG protein and binding capacity in the blood through a release of the protein from the liver. Thus, the increase in circulating CBG levels after stress restrains the rise in free corticosterone concentrations for approximately 20 min in the face of mounting total hormone levels in the circulation. The stress-induced increase in CBG seems to be specific for moderate and strong stressors. Both restraint stress and forced swimming caused an increase in circulating CBG, whereas its levels were not affected by mild novelty stress. Our data uncover a new, highly dynamic role for CBG in the regulation of glucocorticoid hormone physiology after acute stress.
PMCID: PMC3722548  PMID: 21828178
21.  The Melanocortinergic Pathway Is Rapidly Recruited by Emotional Stress and Contributes to Stress-Induced Anorexia and Anxiety-Like Behavior 
Endocrinology  2007;148(11):5531-5540.
Neurons producing melanocortin receptor agonist, α-MSH derived from proopiomelanocortin, and antagonist, agouti-related protein, are known to be sensitive to metabolic stress such as food deprivation and glucoprivation. However, how these neurons respond to emotional/psychological stress remained to be elucidated. We report here that acute emotional stressors, i.e. restraint and forced swim, evoked mRNA expression of c-fos, a neuronal activation marker, in a high percentage of proopiomelanocortin neurons (up to 53% for restraint stress and 62% for forced swim), with marked variations along the rostro-caudal axis of the arcuate nucleus. In contrast, only a small population of agouti-related protein neurons in this brain region was activated. These neuronal activation patterns were correlated with behavioral reactions. Both stressors suppressed feeding and induced anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus-maze test, as reflected by a reduction in the percentage of entries and time spent in the open arms. Central pretreatment with SHU9119, a melanocortin receptor antagonist, dose dependently attenuated the anorectic and anxiogenic effects elicited by acute restraint or forced swim. These results indicate that the melancortinergic pathway can be rapidly recruited by acute emotional stress, and that activation of melanocortin signaling is involved in mediating stress-induced anorexia and anxiety.
PMCID: PMC3708592  PMID: 17673512
22.  [No title available] 
PMCID: PMC3639543  PMID: 22234470
23.  Disruption of the Murine Glp2r Impairs Paneth Cell Function and Increases Susceptibility to Small Bowel Enteritis 
Endocrinology  2012;153(3):1141-1151.
Exogenous glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor (GLP-2R) activation elicits proliferative and cytoprotective responses in the gastrointestinal mucosa and ameliorates experimental small and large bowel gut injury. Nevertheless, the essential physiological role(s) of the endogenous GLP-2R remain poorly understood. We studied the importance of the GLP-2R for gut growth, epithelial cell lineage allocation, the response to mucosal injury, and host-bacterial interactions in Glp2r−/− and littermate control Glp2r+/+ mice. Glp2r−/− mice exhibit normal somatic growth and preserved small and large bowel responses to IGF-I and keratinocyte growth factor. However, Glp2r−/− mice failed to up-regulate intestinal epithelial c-fos expression in response to acute GLP-2 administration and do not exhibit changes in small bowel conductance or small or large bowel growth after administration of GLP-2R agonists. The crypt and villus compartment and the numbers and localization of Paneth, enteroendocrine, and goblet cells were comparable in Glp2r+/+ vs. Glp2r−/− mice. Although the severity and extent of colonic mucosal injury in response to 3% oral dextran sulfate was similar across Glp2r genotypes, Glp2r−/− mice exhibited significantly increased morbidity and mortality and increased bacterial translocation after induction of enteritis with indomethacin and enhanced mucosal injury in response to irinotecan. Moreover, bacterial colonization of the small bowel was significantly increased, expression of Paneth cell antimicrobial gene products was reduced, and mucosal bactericidal activity was impaired in Glp2r−/− mice. Although the Glp2r is dispensable for gut development and the response to colonic injury, Glp2r−/− mice exhibit enhanced sensitivity to small bowel injury, and abnormal host-bacterial interactions in the small bowel.
PMCID: PMC3606134  PMID: 22253424 CAMSID: cams2742
24.  Phosphorylation of Human Insulin Receptor Substrate-1 at Serine 629 Plays a Positive Role in Insulin Signaling 
Endocrinology  2007;148(10):4895-4905.
The function of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) is regulated by both tyrosine and serine/threonine phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of some serine/threonine residues in IRS-1 dampens insulin signaling, whereas phosphorylation of other serine/threonine residues enhances insulin signaling. Phosphorylation of human IRS-1 at Ser629 was increased by insulin in Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing the insulin receptor (1.26 ± 0.09-fold; P < 0.05) and L6 cells (1.35 ± 0.29-fold; P < 0.05) expressing human IRS-1. Sequence analysis surrounding Ser629 revealed conformity to the consensus phosphorylation sequence recognized by Akt. Phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser629 in cells was decreased upon treatment with either an Akt inhibitor or by coexpression with kinase dead Akt, whereas Ser629 phosphorylation was increased by coexpression with constitutively active Akt. In addition, Ser629 of IRS-1 is directly phosphorylated by Akt in vitro. In cells, preventing phosphorylation of Ser629 by a Ser629Ala mutation resulted in increased phosphorylation of Ser636, a known negative regulator of IRS-1, without affecting phosphorylation of Tyr632 or Ser616. Cells expressing the Ser629Ala mutation, along with increased Ser636 phosphorylation, had decreased insulin-stimulated association of the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase with IRS-1 and decreased phosphorylation of Akt at Ser473. Finally, in vitro phosphorylation of a Ser629-containing IRS-1 fragment with Akt reduces the subsequent ability of ERK to phosphorylate Ser636/639. These results suggest that a feed-forward mechanism may exist whereby insulin activation of Akt leads to phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser629, resulting in decreased phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser636 and enhanced downstream signaling. Understanding the complex phosphorylation patterns of IRS-1 is crucial to elucidating the factors contributing to insulin resistance and, ultimately, the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3581341  PMID: 17640984
25.  Sex-Dependent Effects of Neonatal Inflammation on Adult Inflammatory Markers and Behavior 
Endocrinology  2010;151(6):2689-2699.
Inflammatory molecules, such as cyclooxygenase (COX), a prostaglandin synthetic enzyme, have been identified as a marker of depressive symptomology. Previously, we have observed elevated basal COX-2 expression in the hypothalamus of adult male rats treated neonatally with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which might suggest a phenotype for disrupted hedonic behavior, a symptom of depression. However, COX-2 and its contribution to the expression of anhedonic behavior has not been investigated in these males or in female rats across the estrous cycle, which is the purpose of the current work. Here, we examine the effects of a neonatal LPS challenge or saline on the sucrose preference test as a measure of anhedonia, and hypothalamic COX-2 expression, in adult male and freely cycling female rats. Our data indicate a sex difference in that neonatal LPS at postnatal d 14 causes elevated basal expression of hypothalamic COX-2 in male, but not in female, rats. Additionally, baseline sucrose preference in male and female rats was unaltered as a function of neonatal LPS treatment or estrous cycle stage. In both male and female animals, 50 μg/kg LPS in adulthood caused elevated plasma IL-6 and hypothalamic COX-2 expression in neonatally saline-treated rats but significantly less so in neonatally LPS-treated rats of both sexes; this neonatal programming was not evident for sucrose preference or for total fluid intake (even after much higher doses of LPS). Our data are suggestive of a dissociation between inflammation and anhedonic behavior and a differential effect of neonatal inflammation in males and females.
PMCID: PMC3524265  PMID: 20392837 CAMSID: cams2587

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