Long-lived mutant mice, both Ames dwarf and growth hormone receptor gene disrupted or knockout (GHRKO) strains, exhibit heightened cognitive robustness and altered IGF1 signaling in the brain. Here we report, in both these long-lived mice, that three up-regulated lead microRNAs, miR-470, −669b, and −681, are involved in post-transcriptional regulation of genes pertinent to growth hormone (GH)/IGF1 signaling. All three are most prominently localized in the hippocampus, and correspond to reduced expression of key IGF1 signaling genes: IGF1, IGF1R, and PI3 kinase. The decline in these genes’ expression translates into decreased phosphorylation of downstream molecules AKT and FoxO3a. Cultures transfected with either miR-470, −669b, or −681 show repressed endogenous expression of all three genes of the IGF1 signaling axis, most significantly IGF1R, while other similarly up-regulated microRNAs, including let-7g and miR-509, do not induce the same levels of repression. Transduction study in IGF1-responsive cell cultures shows significantly reduced IGF1R expression, and AKT to some extent, most notably by miR-681. This is accompanied by decreased levels of downstream phosphorylated forms of AKT and FoxO3a upon IGF1 stimulation. Suppression of IGF1R by the three microRNAs is further validated by IGF1R 3′UTR reporter assays. Taken together, our results suggest that miR-470, miR-669b, and miR-681 are all functionally able to suppress IGF1R and AKT, two upstream genes controlling FoxO3a phosphorylation status. Their up-regulation in GH signaling-deficient mutant mouse brain suggests reduced IGF1 signaling at the post-transcriptional level, for numerous gains of neuronal function in these long-lived mice.
microRNA; aging; IGF1; IGF1R; growth hormone; Ames dwarf mice and GHRKO mice; miR-470; miR-669b; miR-681; cognitive robustness and longevity
The detection of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is difficult due to its short half-life; therefore, novel and robust biomarkers of rhGH abuse are needed. In this study, serum samples derived from subjects treated with rhGH in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled crossover study were analyzed by 2-DE coupled with MS. Eight healthy male subjects aged 23.2 ± 0.6 yr were injected with rhGH (2 mg/day) or saline for 7 days with serum samples drawn at days 0, 3, and 8. Protein intensities were quantified and analyzed for differences between rhGH versus placebo treatments. Protein that showed significant changes were identified and confirmed by Western blotting. These included specific isoforms of alpha-1 antitrypsin and transthyretin that increased; and inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H4, apolipoprotein A-1 and hemoglobin beta chain that decreased. These proteins represent novel biomarkers of short-term rhGH exposure and may lead to a new method for detecting rhGH doping.
2-DE; biomarker; doping; growth hormone
Mice with targeted deletion of the growth hormone receptor (GHRKO mice) are GH resistant, small, obese, hypoinsulinemic, highly insulin sensitive and remarkably long-lived. To elucidate the unexpected coexistence of adiposity with improved insulin sensitivity and extended longevity, we examined effects of surgical removal of visceral (epididymal and perinephric) fat on metabolic traits related to insulin signaling and longevity. Comparison of results obtained in GHRKO mice and in normal animals from the same strain revealed disparate effects of visceral fat removal (VFR) on insulin and glucose tolerance, adiponectin levels, accumulation of ectopic fat, phosphorylation of insulin signaling intermediates, body temperature and respiratory quotient (RQ). Overall, VFR produced the expected improvements in insulin sensitivity and reduced body temperature and RQ in normal mice and had opposite effects in GHRKO mice. Some of the examined parameters were altered by VFR in opposite directions in GHRKO and normal mice, others were affected in only one genotype or exhibited significant genotype × treatment interactions. Functional differences between visceral fat of GHRKO and normal mice were confirmed by measurements of adipokine secretion, lipolysis and expression of genes related to fat metabolism. We conclude that in the absence of GH signaling the secretory activity of visceral fat is profoundly altered and unexpectedly promotes enhanced insulin sensitivity. The apparent beneficial effects of visceral fat in GHRKO mice may also explain why reducing adiposity by calorie restriction fails to improve insulin signaling or further extend longevity in these animals.
GHRKO; insulin; adipose tissue
Attenuation of the growth hormone (GH)/ insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis results in extended lifespan in many organisms including mice. Conversely, GH transgenic mice have excess GH action and die prematurely. We have studied bovine (b) GH transgenic mice (n = 9) and their wild type (WT) littermates (n = 8) longitudinally and have determined several age-related changes. Compared to WT mice, bGH mice lost fat mass, became hypoglycemic and had lower insulin levels at older ages despite being hyperinsulinemic when young. To examine plasma protein differences in bGH mice relative to controls, samples at 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16 months of age were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by identification using mass spectrometry. We found several differences in plasma proteins of bGH mice compared to controls, including increased apolipoprotein E (five isoforms), haptoglobin (four isoforms) and mannose-binding protein-C (one out of three isoforms), and decreased transthyretin (six isoforms). In addition, clusterin (two out of six isoforms) and haptoglobin (four isoforms) were up-regulated in bGH mice as a function of age. Finally, alpha-2 macroglobulin (seven isoforms) was altered in an isoform-specific manner with two isoforms increased and two decreased in bGH mouse plasma compared to controls. In conclusion, identification of these proteins suggests that bGH mice exhibit an increased inflammatory state with an adverse lipid profile, possibly contributing to their diminished life expectancy. Also, these newly discovered plasma proteins may be indicative or ‘biomarkers’ of a shortened lifespan.
Proteomics; Growth hormone; Plasma; Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis; Aging; Inflammation
The development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is strongly associated with obesity. In humans, T2D increases the risk for end organ complications. Among these, heart disease has been ranked as the leading cause of death. We used a proteomic methodology to test the hypothesis that a pre-diabetic state generated by high-fat diet leads to changes in proteins related to heart function and structure. Over 300 proteins spots were resolved by 2-DE. Fifteen protein spots were found to be altered (7 decreased and 8 increased) in pre-diabetic hearts. The protein spots were then identified by mass spectrometry and immunoblots. Among the decreased proteins, 3 are involved in heart structure (one isoform of desmin, troponin T2 and α-cardiac actin), 3 are involved in energy metabolism (mitochondrial ATP synthase β subunit, adenylate kinase and creatine kinase) and one is a component of the citric acid cycle (isocitrate dehydrogenase 3). In contrast, proteins involved in fatty acid oxidation (two isoforms of peroxisomal enoyl-CoA hydratase) and the citric acid cycle (three isoforms of malate dehydrogenase) were increased in pre-diabetic hearts. The results suggest that changes in the levels of several heart proteins may have implications in the development of the cardiac phenotype associated to T2D.
Type 2 diabetes; obesity; murine models of obesity-type 2 diabetes; heart proteome; heart dysfunction
Normal aging is accompanied by a series of physiological changes such as gray hair, cataracts, reduced immunity, and increased susceptibility to disease. To identify novel biomarkers of normal aging, we analyzed plasma proteins of male mice longitudinally from 2 to 19 months of age. Plasma proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and identified using mass spectrometry (MS), MS/MS and liquid chromatography MS/MS. We found that many plasma proteins exist as multiple isoforms with different masses and/or charges. Thirty-nine protein spots (corresponding to six distinct proteins) have been identified, 13 of which exhibited significant changes with age. For example, several proteins increased significantly during aging including one isoform of transthyretin, two isoforms of haptoglobin, and three isoforms of immunoglobulin kappa chain. Conversely, several proteins decreased significantly during aging including peroxiredoxin-2, serum amyloid protein A-1, and five isoforms of albumin. Identification of these proteins provides new biomarkers of normal aging in mice. If validated in humans, these biomarkers may facilitate therapeutic interventions to identify premature aging, delay aging, and/or improve healthspan of the elderly.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9179-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Mouse aging; Biomarkers; Proteomics; Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis; Plasma
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
The last two decades have seen resurgence in the interest in, and research on, adipose tissue. In part, the increased interest stems from an alarming increase in obesity rates worldwide. However, an understanding that this once simple tissue is significantly more intricate and interactive than previously realized has fostered additional attention. While few would argue that growth hormone (GH) radically alters adipose tissue, a better appreciation of the newer complexities requires that GH's influence on this tissue be reexamined. Therefore, the objective of this review is to describe the more recent understanding of adipose tissue and how GH may influence and contribute to these newer complexities with special focus on the available data from mice with altered GH action.
growth hormone; body composition; obesity; aging; adipose tissue; gender and age differences
Blockade of growth hormone (GH), decreased insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) action and increased insulin sensitivity are associated with life extension and an apparent slowing of the aging process. We examined expression of genes involved in insulin action, IR, IRS1, IRS2, IGF1, IGF1R, GLUT4, PPARs and RXRs in the hearts of normal and GHR−/− (KO) mice fed ad libitum or subjected to 30% caloric restriction (CR). CR increased the cardiac expression of IR, IRS1, IGF1, IGF1R and GLUT4 in normal mice and IRS1, GLUT4, PPARα and PPARβ/δ in GHR-KO animals. Expression of IR, IRS1, IRS2, IGF1, GLUT4, PPARγ and PPARα did not differ between GHR-KO and normal mice. These unexpected results suggest that CR may lead to major modifications of insulin action in the heart, but high insulin sensitivity of GHR-KO mice is not associated with alterations in the levels of most of the examined molecules related to intracellular insulin signaling.
Caloric restriction; aging; GHR-KO; insulin; fatty acid
Growth hormone receptor gene–disrupted (GHR−/−) mice exhibit increased life span and adipose tissue mass. Although this obese phenotype has been reported extensively for young adult male GHR−/− mice, data for females and for other ages in either gender are lacking. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate body composition longitudinally in both male and female GHR−/− mice. Results show that GHR−/− mice have a greater percent fat mass with no significant difference in absolute fat mass throughout life. Lean mass shows an opposite trend with percent lean mass not significantly different between genotypes but absolute mass reduced in GHR−/− mice. Differences in body composition are more pronounced in male than in female mice, and both genders of GHR−/− mice show specific enlargement of the subcutaneous adipose depot. Along with previously published data, these results suggest a consistent and intriguing protective effect of excess fat mass in the subcutaneous region.
Body composition; Growth hormone; Obesity; Adipose depots; Gender differences
To identify biomarkers of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) action in human serum.
The search for new markers of GH activity has received extensive attention given that the current biomarkers (IGF-1, IGFBP-3 and collagen peptides) show substantial variability in the population, and are not reliably predictive of either the physiologic effects of GH therapy or the detection of GH abuse by athletes. GH releasing hormone (GHRH) is a polypeptide synthesized in the hypothalamus that binds to receptors on pituitary somatotropes to promote the synthesis and release of GH. Serum GH and IGF-1 levels have been shown to increase with administration of GHRH or CJC-1295, a long acting GHRH analog.
Sera from 11 healthy young adult men before and one week after CJC-1295 injection were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis for proteomic changes. Serum proteins displaying significant changes before and after treatment were subsequently identified using mass spectrometry. In addition, correlations between these proteins and GH or IGF-1 levels were evaluated.
Two protein spots that displayed decreased intensities after treatment were identified as an apolipoprotein A1 isoform and a transthyretin isoform. Three protein spots upregulated by CJC-1295 treatment included beta-hemoglobin, a C-terminal fragment of albumin, and a mix of an immunoglobulin fragment and another C-terminal albumin fragment. A linear relationship was found between the spot containing immunoglobulin and albumin fragments and IGF-1 levels.
Although the molecular mechanisms linking the identified proteins to GH and IGF-1 biological activity remain to be clarified, the results suggest that they represent potential biomarkers of GH and/or IGF-1 action.
serum proteomics; biomarkers; growth hormone; IGF-1; GHRH analog; apolipoprotein A1; transthyretin; albumin; hemoglobin
Several serum biomarkers for recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) have been established, however, none alone or in combination have generate a specific, sensitive, and reproducible ‘kit’ for the detection of rhGH abuse. Thus, the search for additional GH specific biomarkers continues. In this review, we focus on the use of proteomics in general and 2-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) in particular for the discovery of new GH induced serum biomarkers. Also, we review some of the protocols involved in 2DE. Finally, the possibility of tissues other than blood for biomarker discovery is discussed.
proteomics; two-dimensional gel electrophoresis; growth hormone; doping; biomarker; blood; urine; skin
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) maintain proteostasis and may protect against age-associated pathology caused by protein malfolding. In C. elegans, the lifespan extension and thermotolerance in mutants with impaired insulin/IGF signals depends partly on HSP elevation. Less is known about the role of HSPs in the increased lifespan of mice with defects in GH/IGF-I pathways. We measured HSP mRNAs in liver, kidney, heart, lung, muscle and cerebral cortex from long-lived Pit1(dw/dw) Snell dwarf mice. We found many significant differences in HSP mRNA levels between dwarf and control mice, but these effects were complex and organ-specific. We noted 15 instances where HSP mRNAs were lower in Pit1(dw/dw) liver, kidney, or heart tissues, and 14/15 of these were also seen in Ghr(-/-) mice, which lack GH receptor. In contrast, of 12 examples where HSP mRNAs were higher in Snell liver, kidney, or heart, none were altered in Ghr(-/-) mice. Four liver mRNAs were depressed in both Pit1(dw/dw) and Ghr(-/-) mice, and each of these was elevated by GH injection in Ames (Prop1(df/df)) dwarf mice, consistent with the hypothesis that these declines depended on GH and/or IGF-I. Contributions of chaperones to longevity in mice may be more complex than those inferred from C. elegans.
Although studies of Ames and Snell dwarf mice have suggested possible important roles of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis in aging and age-related diseases, the results cannot rule out the possibility of other hormonal changes playing an important role in the life extension exhibited by these dwarf mice. Therefore, growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR/BP) knockout (KO) mice would be valuable animals to directly assess the roles of somatotropic axis in aging and age-related diseases because the primary hormonal change is due to GH/IGF-1 deficiency. Our pathological findings showed GHR/BP KO mice to have a lower incidence and delayed occurrence of fatal neoplastic lesions compared with their wild-type littermates. These changes of fatal neoplasms are similar to the effects observed with calorie restriction and therefore could possibly be a major contributing factor to the extended life span observed in the GHR/BP KO mice.
Growth hormone receptor/binding protein; Knockout mouse; Neoplastic disease; Aging
Animal models are fundamentally important in our quest to understand the genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors that contribute to human aging. In comparison to humans, relatively short-lived mammals are useful models as they allow for rapid assessment of both genetic manipulation and environmental intervention as related to longevity. These models also allow for the study of clinically relevant pathologies as a function of aging. Data associated with more distant species offers additional insight and critical consideration of the basic physiological processes and molecular mechanisms that influence lifespan. Consistently, two interventions, caloric restriction and repression of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin like growth factor-1/insulin axis, have been shown to increase lifespan in both invertebrates and vertebrate animal model systems. Caloric restriction (CR) is a nutrition intervention that robustly extends lifespan whether it is started early or later in life. Likewise, genes involved in the GH/IGF-1 signaling pathways can lengthen lifespan in vertebrates and invertebrates, implying evolutionary conservation of the molecular mechanisms. Specifically, insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)-like signaling and its downstream intracellular signaling molecules have been shown to be associated with lifespan in fruit flies and nematodes. More recently, mammalian models with reduced growth hormone (GH) and/or IGF-1 signaling have also been shown to have extended lifespans as compared to control siblings. Importantly, this research has also shown that these genetic alterations can keep the animals healthy and disease-free for longer periods and can alleviate specific age-related pathologies similar to what is observed for CR individuals. Thus, these mutations may not only extend lifespan but may also improve healthspan, the general health and quality of life of an organism as it ages. In this review, we will provide an overview of how the manipulation of the GH/IGF-axis influences lifespan, highlight the invertebrate and vertebrate animal models with altered lifespan due to modifications to the GH/IGF-1 signaling cascade or homologous pathways, and discuss the basic phenotypic characteristics and healthspan of these models.
Erythropoietin receptors have been identified in human skeletal muscle tissue, but downstream signal transduction has not been investigated. We therefore studied in vivo effects of systemic erythropoietin exposure in human skeletal muscle.
The protocols involved 1) acute effects of a single bolus injection of erythropoietin followed by consecutive muscle biopsies for 1–10 hours, and 2) a separate study with prolonged administration for 16 days with biopsies obtained before and after. The presence of erythropoietin receptors in muscle tissue as well as activation of Epo signalling pathways (STAT5, MAPK, Akt, IKK) were analysed by western blotting. Changes in muscle protein profiles after prolonged erythropoietin treatment were evaluated by 2D gel-electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. The presence of the erythropoietin receptor in skeletal muscle was confirmed, by the M20 but not the C20 antibody. However, no significant changes in phosphorylation of the Epo-R, STAT5, MAPK, Akt, Lyn, IKK, and p70S6K after erythropoietin administration were detected. The level of 8 protein spots were significantly altered after 16 days of rHuEpo treatment; one isoform of myosin light chain 3 and one of desmin/actin were decreased, while three isoforms of creatine kinase and two of glyceraldehyd-3-phosphate dehydrogenase were increased.
Acute exposure to recombinant human erythropoietin is not associated by detectable activation of the Epo-R or downstream signalling targets in human skeletal muscle in the resting situation, whereas more prolonged exposure induces significant changes in the skeletal muscle proteome. The absence of functional Epo receptor activity in human skeletal muscle indicates that the long-term effects are indirect and probably related to an increased oxidative capacity in this tissue.
Liver IGF-1–deficient (LID) mice have a 75% reduction in circulating IGF-1 levels and, as a result, a fourfold increase in growth hormone (GH) secretion. To block GH action, LID mice were crossed with GH antagonist (GHa) transgenic mice. Inactivation of GH action in the resulting LID + GHa mice led to decreased blood glucose and insulin levels and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies showed that LID mice exhibit severe insulin resistance. In contrast, expression of the GH antagonist transgene in LID + GHa mice led to enhanced insulin sensitivity and increased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in muscle and white adipose tissue. Interestingly, LID + GHa mice exhibit a twofold increase in white adipose tissue mass, as well as increased levels of serum-free fatty acids and triglycerides, but no increase in the triglyceride content of liver and muscle. In conclusion, these results show that despite low levels of circulating IGF-1, insulin sensitivity in LID mice could be improved by inactivating GH action, suggesting that chronic elevation of GH levels plays a major role in insulin resistance. These results suggest that IGF-1 plays a role in maintaining a fine balance between GH and insulin to promote normal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Early detection, assessment of disease progression, and application of an appropriate therapeutic intervention are all important for the care of patients with type 2 diabetes. Currently, however, there is no simple test for early detection of type 2 diabetes. Established diagnostic tests for the disease including oral glucose tolerance, fasting blood glucose, and hemoglobin A1c are relatively late markers where the disease has already progressed. Since blood is in direct contact with many tissues, we hypothesized that pathological tissue changes are likely to be reflected in proteomic profiles of plasma.
Mice were reared either on regular chow or a high-fat diet at weaning and several physiological responses (i.e., weight, fasting plasma glucose and insulin, and glucose tolerance) were monitored at regular time intervals. Plasma was collected at regular intervals for proteomic analysis by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and subsequent mass spectrometry.
Onset of hyperinsulinemia with corresponding glucose intolerance was observed in 2 weeks and fasting blood glucose levels rose significantly after 4 weeks on the high-fat diet. Many proteins were found to exist in multiple forms (isoforms). Levels of some isoforms including plasma retinol binding protein, transthyretin, Apolipoprotein A1, and kininogen showed significant changes as early as 4 weeks which coincided with the very early development of glucose intolerance.
These results show that a proteomic approach to study the development of type 2 diabetes may uncover unknown early post-translationally modified diagnostic and/or therapeutic protein targets.
Diabetes; Biomarkers; Mice; Protein isoforms; Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis; Plasma
Most mutations that delay aging and prolong lifespan in the mouse are related to somatotropic and/or insulin signaling. Calorie restriction (CR) is the only intervention that reliably increases mouse longevity. There is considerable phenotypic overlap between long-lived mutant mice and normal mice on chronic CR. Therefore, we investigated the interactive effects of CR and targeted disruption or knock out of the growth hormone receptor (GHRKO) in mice on longevity and the insulin signaling cascade. Every other day feeding corresponds to a mild (i.e. 15%) CR which increased median lifespan in normal mice but not in GHRKO mice corroborating our previous findings on the effects of moderate (30%) CR on the longevity of these animals. To determine why insulin sensitivity improves in normal but not GHRKO mice in response to 30% CR, we conducted insulin stimulation experiments after one year of CR. In normal mice, CR increased the insulin stimulated activation of the insulin signaling cascade (IR/IRS/PI3K/AKT) in liver and muscle. Livers of GHRKO mice responded to insulin by increased activation of the early steps of insulin signaling, which was dissipated by altered PI3K subunit abundance which putatively inhibited AKT activation. In the muscle of GHRKO mice, there was elevated downstream activation of the insulin signaling cascade (IRS/PI3K/AKT) in the absence of elevated IR activation. Further, we found a major reduction of inhibitory Ser phosphorylation of IRS-1 seen exclusively in GHRKO muscle which may underpin their elevated insulin sensitivity. Chronic CR failed to further modify the alterations in insulin signaling in GHRKO mice as compared to normal mice, likely explaining or contributing to the absence of CR effects on insulin sensitivity and longevity in these long-lived mice.
Increased levels of circulating fatty acids caused by insulin resistance and increased adipocyte lipolysis can accumulate within the liver resulting in steatosis. This steatosis sensitizes the liver to inflammation and further injury which can lead to liver dysfunction. We performed microarray analysis on normal mouse liver tissue at different ages and type 2 diabetic liver exhibiting steatosis to identify differentially expressed genes involved in lipid accumulation and liver dysfunction.
Microarray analysis identified CIDE-A as the most differentially expressed gene as a function of age. Mice fed a high fat diet developed hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia and liver steatosis, all features of the human metabolic syndrome. Increased CIDE-A expression was observed in type 2 diabetic liver and the elevated CIDE-A expression could be reversed by weight loss and normalization of plasma insulin. Also, CIDE-A expression was found to be correlated with hepatic lipid accumulation.
The corresponding increase in CIDE-A expression with hyperinsulinemia and liver steatosis suggests a novel pathway for lipid accumulation in the liver.