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1.  Dehydroepiandrosterone-induces miR-21 transcription in HepG2 cells through estrogen receptor β and androgen receptor 
Although oncomiR miR-21 is highly expressed in liver and overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), its regulation is uncharacterized. We examined the effect of physiologically relevant nanomolar concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S) on miR-21 expression in HepG2 human hepatoma cells. 10 nM DHEA and DHEA-S increase pri-miR-21 transcription in HepG2 cells. Dietary DHEA increased miR-21 in vivo in mouse liver. siRNA and inhibitor studies suggest that DHEA-S requires desulfation for activity and that DHEA-induced pri-miR-21 transcription involves metabolism to androgen and estrogen receptor (AR and ER) ligands. Activation of ERβ and AR by DHEA metabolites androst-5-ene-3,17-dione (ADIONE), androst-5-ene-3β,17β-diol (ADIOL), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and 5α-androstane-3β,17β-diol (3β-Adiol) increased miR-21 transcription. DHEA-induced miR-21 increased cell proliferation and decreased Pdcd4 protein, a bona fide miR-21. Estradiol (E2) inhibited miR-21 expression via ERα. DHEA increased ERβ and AR recruitment to the miR-21 promoter within the VMP1/TMEM49 gene, with possible significance in hepatocellular carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4074919  PMID: 24845419
microRNA; DHEA; HepG2 cells; estrogen receptor; androgen receptor
2.  Protein Kinase C and Src Family Kinases Mediate Angiotensin II-Induced Protein Kinase D Activation and Acute Aldosterone Production 
Recent evidence has shown a role for the serine/threonine protein kinase D (PKD) in the regulation of acute aldosterone secretion upon angiotensin II (AngII) stimulation. However, the mechanism by which AngII activates PKD remains unclear. In this study, using both pharmacological and molecular approaches, we demonstrate that AngII-induced PKD activation is mediated by protein kinase C (PKC) and Src family kinases in primary bovine adrenal glomerulosa cells and leads to increased aldosterone production. The pan PKC inhibitor Ro 31-8220 and the Src family kinase inhibitors PP2 and Src-1 inhibited both PKD activation and acute aldosterone production. Additionally, like the dominant-negative serine-738/742-to-alanine PKD mutant that cannot be phosphorylated by PKC, the dominant-negative tyrosine-463-tophenylalanine PKD mutant, which is not phosphorylatable by the Src/Abl pathway, inhibited acute AngII-induced aldosterone production. Taken together, our results demonstrate that AngII activates PKD via a mechanism involving Src family kinases and PKC, to underlie increased aldosterone production.
PMCID: PMC4120960  PMID: 24859649
adrenal glomerulosa; aldosterone; protein kinase D (PKD); angiotensin II (AngII); protein kinase C (PKC); Src family kinases
3.  A negative allosteric modulator demonstrates biased antagonism of the follicle stimulating hormone receptor 
High quality gamete production in males and females requires the pituitary gonadotropin follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). In this report a novel chemical class of small molecule inhibitors of FSH receptor (FSHR) is described. ADX61623, a negative allosteric modulator (NAM), increased the affinity of interaction between 125I-hFSH and human FSHR (hFSHR) five fold. This form of FSHR occupied simultaneously by FSH and ADX61623 was inactive for cAMP and progesterone production in primary cultures of rat granulosa cells. In contrast, ADX61623 did not block estrogen production. This demonstrates for the first time, biased antagonism at the FSHR. To determine if ADX61623 blocked FSH induction of follicle development in vivo, a bioassay to measure follicular development and oocyte production in immature female rats was validated. ADX61623 was not completely effective in blocking FSH induced follicular development in vivo at doses up to 100 mg/kg as oocyte production and ovarian weight gain were only moderately reduced. These data illustrate that FSHR couples to multiple signaling pathways in vivo. Suppression of one pool of FSHR uncouples Gαs and cAMP production, and decreases progesterone production. Occupancy of another pool of FSHR sensitizes granulosa cells to FSH induced estradiol production. Therefore, ADX61623 is a useful tool to investigate further the mechanism of the FSHR signaling dichotomy. This may lead to a greater understanding of the signaling infrastructure which enables estrogen biosynthesis and may prove useful in treating estrogen dependent disease.
PMCID: PMC4491433  PMID: 21184806
Follicle stimulating hormone; Receptor; Small molecule
4.  Distinct Roles of HIF1A in Endothelial Adaptations to Physiological and Ambient Oxygen1 
Fetoplacental endothelial cells reside under physiological normoxic conditions (~2–8% O2) in vivo. Under such conditions, cells are believed to sense O2 changes primarily via hypoxia inducible factor 1 α(HIF1A). However, little is known regarding the role of HIF1A in fetoplacental endothelial function under physiological normoxia. We recently reported that physiological chronic normoxia (PCN; 20–25 day, 3% O2) enhanced FGF2- and VEGFA-stimulated proliferation and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) via the MEK/ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT1 pathways compared to standard cell culture normoxia (SCN; ambient O2: ~ 21% O2). Here, we investigated the action of HIF1A in regulating these cellular responses in HUVECs. HIF1A adenovirus infection in SCN-cells increased HIF1A protein expression, enhanced FGF2- and VEGFA-stimulated cell proliferation by 2.4 and 2.0 fold respectively, and promoted VEGFA-stimulated cell migration by 1.4 fold. HIF1A adenovirus infection in SCN-cells did not affect either basal or FGF2- and VEGFA-induced ERK1/2 activation, but it decreased basal AKT1 phosphorylation. Interestingly, HIF1A knockdown in PCN-cells via specific HIF1A siRNA transfection did not alter FGF2- and VEGFA-stimulated cell proliferation and migration, or ERK1/2 activation; however, it inhibited FGF2-induced AKT1 activation by ~ 50%. These data indicate that HIF1A differentially regulates cell proliferation and migration, and ERK1/2 and AKT1 activation in PCN- and SCN-HUVECs. These data also suggest that HIF1A critically regulates cell proliferation and migration in SCN-, but not in PCN-HUVECs.
PMCID: PMC4079002  PMID: 24796659
Endothelial cells; hypoxia; HIF1A; growth factors; protein kinases
5.  Aquaporin-11 Control of Testicular Fertility Markers in Syrian Hamsters 
The present study sought novel changes to the hamster testicular transcriptome during modulation of fertility by well-characterized photoperiodic stimuli. Transition from long days (LD, 14 h light/day) to short days (SD, 10 h light/day) triggered testicular regression (61% reduction of testis weight, relative to LD) in SD-sensitive (SD-S) hamsters within 16 weeks. After 22 weeks of SD exposure, a third cohort of hamsters became SD-refractory (SD-R), and exhibited testicular recrudescence (137% testis weight gain, relative to SD-S). Partial interrogation of the testicular transcriptome by annealing-control-primer-modified differential display PCR provided several candidates for regulation of testicular functions. Multiple linear regression modeling indicated the best correlation for aquaporin 11 (Aqp11) with changes in testis weight. Correlations were also strongest for Aqp11 with expression levels of reference cDNAs that control spermatogenesis (Hspa2 and Tnp2), steroidogenesis (Cox2, 3βHsd, and Srebp2), sperm motility (Catsper1, Pgk2, and Tnp2), inflammation (Cox2), and apoptosis (Bax and Bcl2). Moreover, siRNA-mediated knockdown of testicular Aqp11 mRNA and protein reduced Hspa2 and Tnp2 mRNA levels, and it increased 3βHsd mRNA levels. It also reduced mRNA levels for Sept12, which is a testis-specific inducer of spermatogenesis. These results suggest a central role for testicular Aqp11 signaling in the coordinate regulation of crucial components of fertility.
PMCID: PMC4368057  PMID: 24791736
photoperiod; RNA interference; short interfering RNA; differential display PCR; mathematical modeling
6.  Premature Menopause and Risk of Neurological Disease: Basic Mechanisms and Clinical Implications 
Since basic scientific studies in the 1990's revealed dramatic gender differences in neurological damage from cerebral ischemia, significant evidence has accumulated for a neuroprotective role of ovarian-derived 17β-estradiol (E2). Intriguingly, observational studies have further suggested that early and prolonged loss of ovarian E2 (premature menopause) leads to a doubled lifetime risk for dementia and a five-fold increased risk of mortality from neurological disorders, but some controversy remains. Here, we briefly summarize and analyze clinical cohort studies assessing the detrimental neurological outcomes of premature menopause. Furthermore, we discuss current basic science studies elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the enhanced risk of neurological disease in prematurely menopausal women and the “window of opportunity” for estrogen benefit. Finally, we highlight four critical issues in the field that require collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians for successful resolution, with the ultimate goal of maintaining optimal neurological health in prematurely menopausal women.
PMCID: PMC4040297  PMID: 24462786
Estradiol; Estrogen; Dementia; Menopause; Neurological Disease
7.  Oophorectomy, estrogen, and dementia: A 2014 update 
Current evidence suggests that estrogen may have beneficial, neutral, or detrimental effects on the brain depending on age, type of menopause (natural versus induced), or stage of menopause (early versus late), consistent with the timing hypothesis. Three studies have now compared women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before menopause with referent women and consistently showed an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. These studies suggest a sizeable neuroprotective effect of estrogen naturally produced by the ovaries before age 50 years. In this article, we focus on neuroprotection as related to cognitive decline and dementia. Several case-control studies and cohort studies also showed neuroprotective effects in women who received estrogen treatment (ET) in the early postmenopausal stage (most commonly at ages 50–60 years). The majority of women in those observational studies had undergone natural menopause and were treated for the relief of menopausal symptoms. However, the clinical trials by the Women’s Health Initiative showed that women who initiated ET alone or in combination with a progestin in the late postmenopausal stage (ages 65–79 years) experienced an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline regardless of the type of menopause. Three observational studies have now formally tested the timing hypothesis, and showed that the neuroprotective or harmful effects of estrogen depend on age at the time of initiation of treatment and on stage of menopause. Therefore, women who undergo bilateral oophorectomy before the onset of menopause or women who experience premature or early natural menopause should be considered for hormonal treatment until the average age of natural menopause (around age 50 years). Recommendations for the use of ET by women who experience natural menopause at typical ages remain less certain, and more research is needed.
PMCID: PMC4040304  PMID: 24508665
Oophorectomy; Menopause; Estrogen; Dementia; Cognitive impairment; Timing hypothesis
8.  Astrocyte-derived growth factors and estrogen neuroprotection: Role of transforming growth factor-α in estrogen-induced upregulation of glutamate transporters in astrocytes 
Extensive studies from the past decade have completely revolutionized our understanding about the role of astrocytes in the brain from merely supportive cells to an active role in various physiological functions including synaptic transmission via cross-talk with neurons and neuroprotection via releasing neurotrophic factors. Particularly, numerous studies have reported that astrocytes mediate the neuroprotective effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) in various clinical and experimental models of neuronal injury. Astrocytes contain two main glutamate transporters, glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) and glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1), that play a key role in preventing excitotoxic neuronal death, a process associated with most neurodegenerative diseases. E2 has shown to increase expression of both GLAST and GLT-1 mRNA and protein and glutamate uptake in astrocytes. Growth factors such as transforming growth factor α (TGF-α) appear to mediate E2-induced enhancement of these transporters. These findings suggest that E2 exerts neuroprotection against excitotoxic neuronal injuries, at least in part, by enhancing astrocytic glutamate transporter levels and function. Therefore, the present review will discuss proposed mechanisms involved in astrocyte-mediated E2 neuroprotection, with a focus on glutamate transporters.
PMCID: PMC4040305  PMID: 24447465
Astrocytes; Neuroprotection; Estrogen; Growth factors; TGF-α; GLT-1; GLAST; Glutamate transporters
9.  Estrogen Biology: New Insights into GPER Function and Clinical Opportunities 
Estrogens play an important role in the regulation of normal physiology, aging and many disease states. Although the nuclear estrogen receptors have classically been described to function as ligand-activated transcription factors mediating genomic effects in hormonally regulated tissues, more recent studies reveal that estrogens also mediate rapid signaling events traditionally associated with G protein-coupled receptors. The G protein-coupled estrogen receptor GPER (formerly GPR30) has now become recognized as a major mediator of estrogen’s rapid cellular effects throughout the body. With the discovery of selective synthetic ligands for GPER, both agonists and antagonists, as well as the use of GPER knockout mice, significant advances have been made in our understanding of GPER function at the cellular, tissue and organismal levels. In many instances, the protective/beneficial effects of estrogen are mimicked by selective GPER agonism and are absent or reduced in GPER knockout mice, suggesting an essential or at least parallel role for GPER in the actions of estrogen. In this review, we will discuss recent advances and our current understanding of the role of GPER and certain drugs such as SERMs and SERDs in physiology and disease. We will also highlight novel opportunities for clinical development towards GPER-targeted therapeutics, for molecular imaging, as well as for theranostic approaches and personalized medicine.
PMCID: PMC4040308  PMID: 24530924
17 -estradiol; Cardioprotection; Cardiovascular; Endothelium; endoplasmic reticulum, Endothelin, eNOS; Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase, epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFR, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, ERK; Endothelium; endothelial cells; ER; ER; ER; ERE; Estradiol; Estrogen; Estrogen Receptor; Genomic Signaling; GPCR; GPER; GPR30; MAPK; Non-Genomic Signaling; Personalized Medicine; Phosphatidylinositol-3-OH Kinase; PI3K; Plasma Membrane; Raloxifene; SERM; SERD; Tamoxifen; Theranostics; Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell
10.  Brain-Derived Estrogen Exerts Anti-inflammatory and Neuroprotective Actions in the Rat Hippocampus 
17β-estradiol (E2) has been implicated to play a critical role in neuroprotection, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive function. Classically, the role of gonadal-derived E2 in these events is well established, but the role of brain-derived E2 is less clear. To address this issue, we investigated the expression, localization, and modulation of aromatase and local E2 levels in the hippocampus following global cerebral ischemia (GCI) in adult ovariectomized rats. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) revealed that the hippocampal regions CA1, CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) exhibited high levels of immunoreactive aromatase staining, with aromatase being co-localized primarily in neurons in non-ischemic animals. Following GCI, aromatase became highly expressed in GFAP-positive astrocytes in the hippocampal CA1 region at 2–3 days post GCI reperfusion. An ELISA for E2 and IHC for E2 confirmed the GCI-induced elevation of local E2 in the CA1 region and that the increase in local E2 occurred in astrocytes. Furthermore, central administration of aromatase antisense (AS) oligonucleotides, but not missense (MS) oligonucleotides, blocked the increase in aromatase and local E2 in astrocytes after GCI, and resulted in a significant increase in GCI-induced hippocampal CA1 region neuronal cell death and neuroinflammation. As a whole, these results suggest that brain-derived E2 exerts important neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory actions in the hippocampal CA1 region following GCI.
PMCID: PMC4040313  PMID: 24508637
11.  Brain Sex Matters: estrogen in cognition and Alzheimer’s disease 
Estrogens are the primary female sex hormones and play important roles in both reproductive and non-reproductive systems. Estrogens can be synthesized in non-reproductive tissues such as liver, heart, muscle, bone and the brain. During the past decade, increasing evidence suggests that brain estrogen can not only be synthesized by neurons, but also by astrocytes. Brain estrogen also works locally at the site of synthesis in paracrine and/or intracrine fashion to maintain important tissue-specific functions. Here, we will focus on the biology of brain estrogen and its impact on cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease. This comprehensive review provides new insights into brain estrogens by presenting a better understanding of the tissue-specific estrogen effects and their roles in healthy ageing and cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC4040318  PMID: 24418360
brain estrogen; cognition; Alzheimer’s disease
12.  Non-Feminizing Estrogens: A Novel Neuroprotective Therapy 
While the conflict between basic science evidence for estrogen neurproprotection and the lack of effectiveness in clinical trials is only now being resolved, it is clear that strategies for estrogen neuroprotection that avoid activation of ERs have the potential for clinical application. Herein we review the evidence from both in vitro and in vivo studies that describe high potency neuroprotection with non-feminizing estrogens. We have characterized many of the essential chemical features of non-feminizing estrogens that eliminate or reduce ER binding while maintaining or enhancing neuroprotection. Additionally, we provide evidence that these non-feminizing estrogens have efficacy in protecting the brain from AD neuropathology and traumatic brain injury. In conclusion, it appears that the non-feminizing estrogen strategy for neuroprotection is a viable option to achieve the beneficial neuroprotective effects of estrogens while eliminating the toxic off-target effects of chronic estrogen administration.
PMCID: PMC4040321  PMID: 24424441
Estrogens; estradiol; estrogen receptors; non-feminizing estrogens; neuroprotection; Alzheimer’s disease; traumatic brain injury
13.  Endothelial Estrogen Receptor Isoforms and Cardiovascular Disease 
Rapid, nongenomic vascular cell and tissue responses to estrogen have been demonstrated for more than a decade. Although the pendulum continues to swing, accumulating evidence, both clinical and pre-clinical, support favorable effects of ovarian steroid hormones in the vascular system. These effects are mediated both by classical steroid hormone receptor-mediated transcriptional modulation, and largely by endothelial plasma membrane-associated estrogen receptor (ER) α, which when engaged triggers a signaling cascade resulting in release of cardioprotective nitric oxide (NO). In addition to full-length ERα (ER66), an N-terminus truncated ERαisoform, ER46, plays a key role in these rapid endothelial responses to 17β-estradiol (E2). We have recently determined that ER46 can be a Type I integral transmembrane molecule. In this review, we discuss ER isoforms, rapid E2-stimulated signaling in the endothelium, the importance of the ER46 transmembrane orientation, and the clinical context of this rapid endothelial signaling.
PMCID: PMC4040324  PMID: 24530925
Estrogen; ER46; eNOS; Endothelium
14.  Structural and Functional Analysis of Domains of the Progesterone Receptor 
Steroid hormone receptors are multi-domain proteins composed of conserved well-structured regions, such as ligand (LBD) and DNA binding domains (DBD), plus other naturally unstructured regions including the amino-terminal domain (NTD) and the hinge region between the LBD and DBD. The hinge is more than just a flexible region between the DBD and LBD and is capable of binding co-regulatory proteins and the minor groove of DNA flanking hormone response elements. Because the hinge can directly participate in DNA binding it has also been termed the carboxyl terminal extension (CTE) of the DNA binding domain. The CTE and NTD are dynamic regions of the receptor that can adopt multiple conformations depending on the environment of interacting proteins and DNA. Both regions have important regulatory roles for multiple receptor functions that are related to the ability of the CTE and NTD to form multiple active conformations. This review focuses on studies of the CTE and NTD of progesterone receptor (PR), as well as related work with other steroid/nuclear receptors.
PMCID: PMC4437577  PMID: 21803119
Progesterone receptor; DNA binding; carboxyl terminal extension (CTE); amino terminal domain (NTD); protein folding; intrinsic disorder; high mobility group B (HMGB) protein; jun dimerization protein 2 (JDP-2)
15.  Thyroid hormone induction of human cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1) in vitro 
Thyroid hormone (TH) modulates serum cholesterol by acting on TH receptor β1 (TRβ1) in liver to regulate metabolic gene sets. In rodents, one important TH regulated step involves induction of Cyp7a1, an enzyme in the cytochrome P450 family, which enhances cholesterol to bile acid conversion and plays a crucial role in regulation of serum cholesterol levels. Current models suggest, however, that Cyp7a1 has lost the capacity to respond to THs in humans. We were prompted to re-examine TH effects on cholesterol metabolic genes in human liver cells by a recent study of a synthetic TH mimetic which showed that serum cholesterol reductions were accompanied by increases in a marker for bile acid synthesis in humans. Here, we show that TH effects upon cholesterol metabolic genes are almost identical in mouse liver, mouse and human liver primary cells and human hepatocyte cell lines. Moreover, Cyp7a1 is a direct TR target gene that responds to physiologic TR levels through a set of distinct response elements in its promoter. These findings suggest that THs regulate cholesterol to bile acid conversion in similar ways in humans and rodent experimental models and that manipulation of hormone signaling pathways could provide a strategy to enhance Cyp7a1 activity in human patients.
PMCID: PMC4180720  PMID: 24582860
TH; TH receptor; Cholesterol; Bile acids; Cyp7a1
16.  TGFβ2 regulates hypothalamic Trh expression through the TGFβ inducible early gene-1 (TIEG1) during fetal development 
The hypothalamus regulates the homeostasis of the organism by controlling hormone secretion from the pituitary. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of the hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) phenotype are poorly understood. We have previously shown that Klf10 or TGFβ inducible early gene-1 (TIEG1) is enriched in fetal hypothalamic TRH neurons. Here, we show that expression of TGFβ isoforms (1–3) and both TGFβ receptors (TβRI and II) occurs in the hypothalamus concomitantly with the establishment of TRH neurons during late embryonic development. TGFβ2 induces Trh expression via a TIEG1 dependent mechanism. TIEG1 regulates Trh expression through an evolutionary conserved GC rich sequence on the Trh promoter. Finally, in mice deficient in TIEG1, Trh expression is lower than in wild type animals at embryonic day 17. These results indicate that TGFβ signaling, through the upregulation of TIEG1, plays an important role in the establishment of Trh expression in the embryonic hypothalamus.
PMCID: PMC4415168  PMID: 25448845
Cell differentiation; Hypothalamus; TIEG1; Klf10; TGFβ; Trh
17.  Development of Adrenal Cortical Zonation and Expression of Key Elements of Adrenal Androgen Production in the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) from Birth to Adulthood 
The basis for the pattern of adrenal androgen production in the chimpanzee, which resembles that of humans, is poorly defined. We characterized the developmental zonation and expression of elements of the androgen biosynthetic pathway in the chimpanzee adrenal. The newborn adrenal contained a broad fetal zone (FZ) expressing CYP17, SULT2A1, and Cytochrome b5 (CB5) but not HSD3B; the outer cortex expressed HSD3B but not SULT2A1 or CB5. During infancy, the FZ involuted and the HSD3B-expressing outer cortex broadened. By 3 years of age, a thin layer of cells that expressed CB5, SULT2A1, and CYP17 adjoined the medulla and likely represented the zona reticularis; the outer cortex consisted of distinct zonae fasiculata and glomerulosa. Thereafter, the zona reticularis broadened as also occurs in the human. The adult chimpanzee adrenal displayed other human-like characteristics: intramedullary clusters of reticularis-like cells and also a cortical cuff of zona fasiculata-like cells adjoining the central vein.
PMCID: PMC4016767  PMID: 24576611
Adrenal Gland; Adrenal Androgens; Chimpanzee; Adrenal Zonation; Adrenarche; Adrenal Development
18.  GPR30 Mediates Estrogen Rapid Signaling and Neuroprotection 
G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor-30 (GPR30), also known as G-protein estrogen receptor-1 (GPER1), is a putative extranuclear estrogen receptor whose precise functions in the brain are poorly understood. Studies using exogenous administration of the GPR30 agonist, G1 suggests that GPR30 may have a neuroprotective role in cerebral ischemia. However, the physiological role of GPR30 in mediating estrogen (E2)-induced neuroprotection in cerebral ischemia remains unclear. Also unclear is whether GPR30 has a role in mediating rapid signaling by E2 after cerebral ischemia, which is thought to underlie its neuroprotective actions. To address these deficits in our knowledge, the current study examined the effect of antisense oligonucleotide (AS) knockdown of GPR30 in the hippocampal CA1 region upon E2-BSA-induced neuroprotection and rapid kinase signaling in a rat model of global cerebral ischemia (GCI). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that GPR30 is strongly expressed in the hippocampal CA1 region and dentate gyrus, with less expression in the CA3 region. E2-BSA exerted robust neuroprotection of hippocampal CA1 neurons against GCI, an effect abrogated by AS knockdown of GPR30. Missense control oligonucleotides had no effect upon E2-BSA-induced neuroprotection, indicating specificity of the effect. The GPR30 agonist, G1 also exerted significant neuroprotection against GCI. E2-BSA and G1 also rapidly enhanced activation of the prosurvival kinases, Akt and ERK, while decreasing proapototic JNK activation. Importantly, AS knockdown of GPR30 markedly attenuated these rapid kinase signaling effects of E2-BSA. As a whole, the studies provide evidence of an important role of GPR30 in mediating the rapid signaling and neuroprotective actions of E2 in the hippocampus.
PMCID: PMC4019970  PMID: 24594140
Estrogen; Estradiol; GPR30; GPER1; hippocampus; neuroprotection; extranuclear; ischemia
19.  D-chiro-inositol glycan stimulates insulin secretion in pancreatic b cells 
Insulin has been shown to act on pancreatic β cells to regulate its own secretion. Currently the mechanism underlying this effect is unclear. INS-2, a novel inositol glycan pseudo-disaccharide containing D-chiro-inositol and galactosamine, has been shown to function as an insulin mimetic and a putative insulin mediator. In the present study we found that INS-2 stimulates insulin secretion in MIN6 β cells and potentiates glucose stimulated insulin secretion in isolated mouse islets. Importantly, INS-2 failed to potentiate insulin secretion induced by tolbutamide, which stimulates insulin release by closing ATP sensitive potassium channels (KATP). Electrophysiological studies showed that INS-2 inhibited sulfonylurea-sensitive KATP conductance. The effect of INS-2 on inhibiting KATP channel is mediated by protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C), as knocking down PP2C expression in MIN6 cells by PP2C small hairpin RNA completely abolished the effect of INS-2 on KATP and consequently attenuated INS-2 induced insulin secretion. In conclusion, the present study identifies a novel mechanism involving PP2C in regulating KATP channel activity and consequently insulin secretion.
PMCID: PMC4366192  PMID: 24530497
INS-2; insulin secretion; KATP; PP2C; islet; MIN6
20.  Endocrine Function In Naturally Long-Living Small Mammals 
The complex, highly integrative endocrine system regulates all aspects of somatic maintenance and reproduction and has been widely implicated as an important determinant of longevity in short-lived traditional model organisms of aging research. Genetic or experimental manipulation of hormone profiles in mice has been proven to definitively alter longevity. These hormonally induced lifespan extension mechanisms may not necessarily be relevant to humans and other long-lived organisms that naturally show successful slow aging. Long-lived species may have evolved novel anti-aging defenses germane to naturally retarding the aging process. Here we examine the available endocrine data associated with the vitamin D, insulin, grlucocorticoid and thyroid endocrine systems of naturally long-living small mammals. Generally, long-living rodents and bats maintain tightly regulated lower basal levels of these key pleiotropic hormones than shorter-lived rodents. Similarities with genetically manipulated suggest that evolutionarily wellconserved hormonal mechanisms are integrally involved in lifespan determination.
PMCID: PMC4399555  PMID: 18674586
lifespan; rodents; bats; naked mole-rat; endocrinology; insulin; vitamin D; thyroid; slow aging
21.  Hormonal control of aging in rodents: The somatotropic axis 
There is a growing body of literature focusing on the somatotropic axis and regulation of aging and longevity. Many of these reports derive data from multiple endocrine mutants, those that exhibit both elevated growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) or deficiencies in one or both of these hormones. In general, both spontaneous and genetically engineered GH and IGF-1 deficiencies have lead to small body size, delayed development of sexual maturation and age-related pathology, and life span extension. In contrast, characteristics of high circulating GH included larger body sizes, early puberty and reproductive senescence, increased cancer incidence and reduced life span when compared to wild-type animals with normal plasma hormone concentrations. This information, along with that found in multiple other species, implicates this anabolic pathway as the major regulator of longevity in animals.
PMCID: PMC4390024  PMID: 18674587
Growth hormone; IGF-1; Stress resistance; Aging
22.  Genetics and epigenetics of sporadic thyroid cancer 
Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignancy, and although the disease generally has an excellent prognosis, therapeutic options are limited for patients not cured by surgery and radioiodine. Thyroid carcinomas commonly contain one of a small number of recurrent genetic mutations. The identification and study of these mutations has led to a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease and is providing new approaches to diagnosis and therapy. Papillary thyroid carcinomas usually contain an activating mutation in the RAS cascade, most commonly in BRAF and less commonly in RAS itself or through gene fusions that activate RET. A chromosomal translocation that results in production of a PAX8-PPARG fusion protein is found in follicular carcinomas. Anaplastic carcinomas may contain some of the above changes as well as additional mutations. Therapies that are targeted to these mutations are being used in patient care and clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3867574  PMID: 23933154
AKT; anaplastic; BRAF; follicular; NTRK1; papillary; PAX8-PPARG; PTEN; RAS; RET; thyroid carcinoma
23.  Familial Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas 
Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are neural crest cell tumors of the adrenal medulla and parasympathetic/sympathetic ganglia, respectively, that are often associated with catecholamine production. Genetic research over the years has led to our current understanding of the association 13 susceptibility genes with the development of these tumors. Most of the susceptibility genes are now associated with specific clinical presentations, biochemical makeup, tumor location, and associated neoplasms. Recent scientific advances have highlighted the role of somatic mutations in the development of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma as well as the usefulness of immunohistochemistry in triaging genetic testing. We can now approach genetic testing in pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma patients in a very organized scientific way allowing for the reduction of both the financial and emotional burden on the patient. The discovery of genetic predispositions to the development of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma not only facilitates better understanding of these tumors but will also lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3917973  PMID: 23933153
pheochromocytoma; paraganglioma; VHL; MEN2; NF1; SDHA; SDHB; SDHC; SDHD; SDHAF2; TMEM127; MAX; HIF2A; HRAS
24.  Genetic and epigenetic mutations of tumor suppressive genes in sporadic pituitary adenoma 
Human pituitary adenomas are the most common intracranial neoplasms. Approximately 5% of them are familial adenomas. Patients with familial tumors carry germline mutations in predisposition genes, including AIP, MEN1 and PRKAR1A. These mutations are extremely rare in sporadic pituitary adenomas, which therefore are caused by different mechanisms. Multiple tumor suppressive genes linked to sporadic tumors have been identified. Their inactivation is caused by epigenetic mechanisms, mainly promoter hypermethylation, and can be placed into two groups based on their functional interaction with tumor suppressors RB or p53. The RB group includes CDKN2A, CDKN2B, CDKN2C, RB1, BMP4, CDH1, CDH13, GADD45B and GADD45G; AIP and MEN1 genes also belong to this group. The p53 group includes MEG3, MGMT, PLAGL1, RASSF1, RASSF3 and SOCS1. We propose that the tumor suppression function of these genes is mainly mediated by the RB and p53 pathways. We also discuss possible tumor suppression mechanisms for individual genes.
PMCID: PMC3943596  PMID: 24035864
Sporadic pituitary adenoma; Tumor suppression; Genetic mutation; Epigenetic; RB; p53
25.  Carney Complex and McCune Albright Syndrome: An overview of clinical manifestations and human molecular genetics 
Endocrine neoplasia syndromes feature a wide spectrum of benign and malignant tumors of endocrine and non-endocrine organs associated with other clinical manifestations. This study outlines the main clinical features, genetic basis, and molecular mechanisms behind two multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes that share quite a bit of similarities, but one can be inherited whereas the other is always sporadic, Carney complex (CNC) and McCune-Albright (MAS), respectively. Spotty skin pigmentation, cardiac and other myxomas, and different types of endocrine tumors and other characterize Carney complex, which is caused largely by inactivating Protein Kinase A, Regulatory subunit, type I, Alpha (PRKAR1A) gene mutations. The main features of McCune-Albright are fibrous dysplasia of bone (FD), café-au-lait macules and precocious puberty; the disease is caused by activating mutations in the Guanine Nucleotide-binding protein, Alpha-stimulating activity polypeptide (GNAS) gene which are always somatic. We review the clinical manifestations of the two syndromes and provide an update on their molecular genetics
PMCID: PMC3943598  PMID: 24012779
Carney Complex; PRKAR1A; McCune-Albright; GNAS; endocrine neoplasia

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