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1.  Testosterone Increases Circulating Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels in the Male Rhesus Macaque 
The adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEAS) are two of the most abundant hormones in the human circulation. Furthermore, they are released in a circadian pattern and show a marked age-associated decline. Adult levels of DHEA and DHEAS are significantly higher in males than in females, but the reason for this sexual dimorphism is unclear. In the present study, we administered supplementary androgens [DHEA, testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)] to aged male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). While this paradigm increased circulating DHEAS immediately after DHEA administration, an increase was also observed following either testosterone or DHT administration, resulting in hormonal profiles resembling levels observed in young males in terms of both amplitude and circadian pattern. This stimulatory effect was limited to DHEAS, as an increase in circulating cortisol was not observed. Taken together, these data demonstrate an influence of the hypothalamo-pituitary–testicular axis on adrenal function in males, possibly by sensitizing the zona reticularis to the stimulating action of adrenocorticopic hormone. This represents a plausible mechanism to explain sex differences in circulating DHEA and DHEAS levels, and may have important implications in the development of hormone therapies designed for elderly men and women.
doi:10.3389/fendo.2014.00101
PMCID: PMC4070064  PMID: 25009533
adrenal gland; aging; androgen; dehydroepiandrosterone; non-human primate; testosterone
2.  Role of Circadian Neuroendocrine Rhythms in the Control of Behavior and Physiology 
Neuroendocrinology  2011;93(4):211-222.
Hormones play a major role in regulating behavior and physiology, and their efficacy is often dependent on the temporal pattern in which they are secreted. Significant insights into the mechanisms underlying rhythmic hormone secretion have been gained from transgenic rodent models, suggesting that many of the body's rhythmic functions are regulated by a coordinated network of central and peripheral circadian pacemakers. Some neuroendocrine rhythms are driven by transcriptional-posttranslational feedback circuits comprising ‘core clock genes’, while others represent a cyclic cascade of neuroendocrine events. This review focuses on recent data from the rhesus macaque, a non-human primate model with high clinical translation potential. With primary emphasis on adrenal and gonadal steroids, it illustrates the rhythmic nature of hormone secretion, and discusses the impact that fluctuating hormone levels have on the accuracy of clinical diagnoses and on the design of effective hormone replacement therapies in the elderly. In addition, this minireview raises awareness of the rhythmic expression patterns shown by many genes, and discusses how this could impact interpretation of data obtained from gene profiling studies, especially from nocturnal rodents.
doi:10.1159/000327399
PMCID: PMC3128131  PMID: 21508622
Cortisol; Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; Leptin; Luteinizing hormone; Testosterone
3.  Effect of age and caloric restriction on circadian adrenal steroid rhythms in rhesus macaques 
Neurobiology of aging  2007;29(9):1412-1422.
Dietary caloric restriction (CR) slows aging, extends lifespan, and reduces the occurrence of age-related diseases in short-lived species. However, it is unclear whether CR can exert similar beneficial effects in long-lived species, like primates. Our objective was to determine if CR could attenuate purported age-related changes in the 24-h release of adrenal steroids. To this end, we examined 24-hour plasma profiles of cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in young and old, male and female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subjected to either ad libitum (AL)-feeding or CR (70% of AL) for 2–4 years. Hormone profiles from young monkeys showed pronounced 24-h rhythms. Cortisol concentrations were higher in old males but not females, whereas DHEAS rhythms were dampened with age in both sexes. The cortisol rhythms of old CR males resembled that of young control males. However, CR failed to prevent age-related declines in DHEAS and further dampened DHEAS rhythms in both sexes. Apart from the partial attenuation of the age-related cortisol elevation in the old males, 24-h adrenal steroid rhythms did not benefit from late-onset CR.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.03.011
PMCID: PMC2585543  PMID: 17420071
Adrenal steroids; Aging; Caloric restriction; Circadian; Cortisol; DHEAS; Endocrine rhythms; Primate
4.  Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) as an endocrine marker of aging in calorie restriction studies 
Experimental gerontology  2013;48(10):1136-1139.
The adrenal steroid, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), is generally regarded as being a reliable endocrine marker of aging, because in humans and nonhuman primates its circulating concentrations are very high during young adulthood, and the concentrations then decline markedly during aging. Despite promising results from early studies, we were recently surprised to find that caloric restriction (CR) did little to prevent or delay the decline of DHEAS concentrations in old rhesus macaques. Here we summarize the use of circulating DHEAS concentrations as a biomarker of aging in CR studies and suggest reasons for its limited value. Although DHEAS can reliably predict aging in animals maintained on a standard diet, dietary manipulations may affect liver enzymes involved in the metabolism of steroid hormones. Consequently, in CR studies the reliability of using DHEAS as a biomarker of aging may be compromised.
doi:10.1016/j.exger.2013.01.001
PMCID: PMC3641169  PMID: 23318475
Adrenal gland; Biomarker; Cortisol; DHEAS; Rhesus macaque
5.  Intrahepatic lipid, not visceral or muscle fat, is correlated with insulin resistance in older, female Rhesus macaques 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(10):2021-2028.
Objective
Little is known of the effect of body composition on glucose metabolism in the aging female non-human primate. We studied these variables in older female Rhesus macaques.
Design and Methods
Female Rhesus macaques (Macacamulatta, n = 19, age range 23–30 yrs) underwent magnetic resonance imaging and 1H spectroscopy to quantify total abdominal fat, visceral fat (VF), subcutaneous fat (SF) area, extramyocellular lipid (EMCL), intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) and intrahepatic lipid (IHL) content, and DEXA scan for whole body composition. A subgroup (n=12) underwent a fasting blood draw and intravenous glucose tolerance test.
Results
SF correlated with homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMAIR) and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), but not after adjustment for fat mass. IHL demonstrated the strongest correlation with HOMAIR, QUICKI and calculated insulin sensitivity index (CSI), and remained significant after adjustment for fat mass. VF, IMCL, and EMCL did not correlate with any of our measures of insulin sensitivity.
Conclusions
Despite a greater amount of VF compared to SF, VF was not associated with markers of insulin resistance (IR) in the older female monkey. Instead, IHL is a marker for IR in the fasting and post-prandial state in these animals.
doi:10.1002/oby.20339
PMCID: PMC3661746  PMID: 23408675
Body Composition; Insulin Resistance; Magnetic Resonance; Fat Distribution; Obesity
6.  Changes in spontaneous activity assessed by accelerometry correlate with extent of cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in the nonhuman primate 
Translational stroke research  2012;3(4):442-451.
The use of accelerometry to monitor activity in human stroke patients has revealed strong correlations between objective activity measurements and subjective neurological findings. The goal of our study was to assess the applicability of accelerometry-based measurements in experimental animals undergoing surgically-induced cerebral ischemia. Using a nonhuman primate cortical stroke model, we demonstrate for the first time that monitoring locomotor activity prior to and following cerebrovascular ischemic injury using an accelerometer is feasible in adult male rhesus macaques and that the measured activity outcomes significantly correlate with severity of brain injury. The use of accelerometry as an unobtrusive, objective preclinical efficacy determinant could complement standard practices involving subjective neurological scoring and magnetic resonance imaging in nonhuman primates. Similar activity monitoring devices to those employed in this study are currently in use in human clinical studies, underscoring the feasibility of this approach for assessing the clinical potential of novel treatments for cerebral ischemia.
doi:10.1007/s12975-012-0191-8
PMCID: PMC3619447  PMID: 23580904
accelerometer; actigraphy; ischemia; nonhuman primate; rhesus macaque; stroke
7.  Age-related changes in neuroendocrine rhythmic function in the rhesus macaque 
Age  2011;34(5):1111-1121.
Many environmental conditions show rhythmic changes across the 24-h day; these include changes in light intensity, ambient temperature, food availability, and presence or absence of predators. Consequently, many organisms have developed corresponding adaptations, which ensure that specific physiological and behavioral events occur at an appropriate time of the day. In mammals, the underlying mechanism responsible for synchronizing internal biochemical processes with circadian environmental cues has been well studied and is thought to comprise three major components: (1) photoreception by the retina and transmission of neural signals along the retinohypothalamic tract, (2) integration of photoperiodic information with an internal reference circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and (3) dissemination of circadian information to target organs, via the autonomic nervous system and through humoral pathways. Given the importance that neuroendocrine rhythms play in coordinating normal circadian physiology and behavior, it is plausible that their perturbation during aging contributes to the etiology of age-related pathologies. This mini-review highlights some of the most dramatic rhythmic neuroendocrine changes that occur in primates during aging, focusing primarily on data from the male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition to the age-associated attenuation of hormone levels and reduction of humoral circadian signaling, there are also significant age-related changes in intracrine processing enzymes and hormone receptors which may further affect the functional efficacy of these hormones. Rhesus macaques, like humans, are large diurnal primates and show many of the same physiological and behavioral circadian changes during aging. Consequently, they represent an ideal translational animal model in which to study the causes and consequences of age-associated internal circadian disruption and in which to evaluate novel therapies.
doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9352-z
PMCID: PMC3448984  PMID: 22198672
Adrenal gland; Circadian rhythms; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
8.  High levels of the extracellular matrix proteoglycan decorin are associated with inhibition of testicular function 
Decorin (DCN), a component of the extracellular matrix of the peritubular wall and the interstitial areas of the human testis, can interact with growth factor (GF) signaling, thereby blocking downstream actions of GFs. In the present study the expression and regulation of DCN using both human testes and two experimental animal models, namely the rhesus monkey and mouse, were examined. DCN protein was present in peritubular and interstitial areas of adult human and monkey testes, while it was almost undetectable in adult wild-type mice. Interestingly, the levels and sites of testicular DCN expression in the monkeys were inversely correlated with testicular maturation markers. A strong DCN expression associated with the abundant connective tissue of the interstitial areas in the postnatal through prepubertal phases was observed. In adult and old monkeys the DCN pattern was similar to the one in normal human testes, presenting strong expression at the peritubular region. In the testes of both infertile men and in a mouse model of inflammation associated infertility (aromatase-overexpressing transgenic mice), the fibrotic changes and increased numbers of Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-producing immune cells were shown to be associated with increased production of DCN. Furthermore, studies with human testicular peritubular cells isolated from fibrotic testis indicated that TNF-α significantly increased DCN production. The data, thus, show that an increased DCN level is associated with impaired testicular function, supporting our hypothesis that DCN interferes with paracrine signaling of the testis in health and disease.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01225.x
PMCID: PMC3376671  PMID: 22413766
9.  Perimenopausal regulation of steroidogenesis in the nonhuman primate 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(7):1487.e1-1487.e13.
Human aging is characterized by a marked decrease in circulating levels of dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), hormonal changes associated with cognitive decline. Despite beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation in rodents, studies in elderly humans have generally failed to show cognitive improvement after treatment. In the present study we evaluate the effects of age and estradiol supplementation on expression of genes involved in the de novo synthesis of DHEA and its conversion to estradiol in the rhesus macaque hippocampus. Using RT-PCR we demonstrate the expression of genes associated with this synthesis in several areas of the rhesus brain. Furthermore, real-time PCR reveals an age-related attenuation of hippocampal expression level of the genes CYP17A1, STS, and 3BHSD1/2. Additionally, short-term administration of estradiol is associated with decreased expression of CYP17A1, STS, SULT2B1, and AROMATASE, consistent with a downregulation not only of estrogen synthesis from circulating DHEA, but also of de novo DHEA synthesis within the hippocampus. These findings suggest a decline in neurosteroidogenesis may account for the inefficacy of DHEA supplementation in elderly humans, and that central steroidogenesis may be a function of circulating hormones and menopausal status.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.05.004
PMCID: PMC3196783  PMID: 21683476
Aging; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Hormone replacement; Menopause; Neurosteroidogenesis
10.  Association of microtubule associated protein-2, synaptophysin, and apolipoprotein E mRNA and protein levels with cognition and anxiety levels in aged female Rhesus macaques 
Behavioural Brain Research  2012;232(1):1-6.
The dendritic protein microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP-2), the presynaptic marker synaptophysin (SYN), and apolipoprotein E (apoE), a protein which plays a role in lipid transport and metabolism and affects synaptic activity show changes with age. We analyzed post-mortem tissue from aged female Rhesus macaques cognitively tested in a spatial maze and classified as good spatial performers (GSP) or poor spatial performers (PSP) and behaviorally tested in a playroom and classified as bold or reserved animals. MAP2, SYN, and APOE mRNA and protein levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus, and amygdala, were assessed using qRT-PCR and western blot. In the amygdala, bold monkeys had higher levels of MAP2 and SYN mRNA than reserved monkeys. MAP2 mRNA correlated positively with amygdala size on the right, left, and combined left and right sides, while SYN mRNA levels correlated positively with the size of the right amygdala. In the hippocampus, SYN and apoE protein levels were higher in GSP than PSP animals. Thus, in aged nonhuman primates, classification of measures of anxiety is associated with differences in selected mRNA, but not protein, levels. In contrast, classification of cognitive performance is associated with differences in selected protein, but not mRNA, levels.
doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.03.032
PMCID: PMC3361595  PMID: 22475553
MAP-2; SYN; APOE; cognitive function
11.  Measures of Anxiety, Amygdala Volumes, and Hippocampal Scopolamine phMRI Response in Elderly Female Rhesus Macaques 
Neuropharmacology  2011;62(1):385-390.
In nonhuman primates, anxiety levels are typically assessed by observing social hierarchies or behavior in an intruder task. As measures of anxiety might influence performance on a particular cognitive task, it is important to analyze these measures in the same room as used for the cognitive task. As we use a playroom for the spatial maze test, we classified elderly female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) monkeys, as bold or reserved monkeys based on the time spent in specific areas of this room. Based on their exploratory behavior in the playroom, bold monkeys were defined as animals that spent 20% more time in the unprotected areas of the room than in the protected areas, whereas reserved monkeys spent a comparable amount of time in both areas. MRI analyses showed that reserved monkeys had a smaller amygdala compared to bold monkeys but there were no group differences in hippocampal volumes. In addition, the amount of time spent in the corners of the room was negatively correlated with the right and total amygdala size. Finally, reserved monkeys showed a lower phMRI response to the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine compared to the bold monkeys. Thus, in elderly female nonhuman primates measures of anxiety are associated with structural amygdala differences and hippocampal muscarinic receptor function.
doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.08.014
PMCID: PMC3195963  PMID: 21867720
anxiety; nonhuman primate; amygdala; hippocampus; scopolamine; phMRI
12.  Hippocampal M1 receptor function associated with spatial learning and memory in aged female rhesus macaques 
Age  2010;33(3):309-320.
Of the acetylcholine muscarinic receptors, the type 1 (M1) and type 2 (M2) receptors are expressed at the highest levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus, brain regions important for cognition. As equivocal findings of age-related changes of M1 and M2 in the nonhuman primate brain have been reported, we first assessed age-related changes in M1 and M2 in the PFC and hippocampus using saturation binding assays. Maximum M1 receptor binding, but not affinity of M1 receptor binding, decreased with age. In contrast, the affinity of M2 receptor binding, but not maximum M2 receptor binding, increased with age. To determine if in the elderly cognitive performance is associated with M1 or M2 function, we assessed muscarinic function in elderly female rhesus macaques in vivo using a scopolamine challenge pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging and in vitro using saturation binding assays. Based on their performance in a spatial maze, the animals were classified as good spatial performers (GSP) or poor spatial performers (PSP). In the hippocampus, but not PFC, the GSP group showed a greater change in T2*-weighted signal intensity after scopolamine challenge than the PSP group. The maximum M1 receptor binding and receptor binding affinity was greater in the GSP than the PSP group, but no group difference was found in M2 receptor binding. Parameters of circadian activity positively correlated with the difference in T2*-weighted signal intensity before and after the challenge, the maximum M1 receptor binding, and the M1 receptor binding affinity. Thus, while in rhesus macaques, there are age-related decreases in M1 and M2 receptor binding, in aged females, hippocampal M1, but not M2, receptor function is associated with spatial learning and memory and circadian activity.
doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9184-2
PMCID: PMC3168603  PMID: 20890730
M1 receptor; Scopolamine phMRI; Spatial maze
13.  Spatial Memory Performance Associated with Measures of Immune Function in Elderly Female Rhesus Macaques 
European geriatric medicine  2011;2(2):117-121.
We recently reported that in aged female rhesus macaques, spatial learning and memory correlates with circadian sleep-wake measures and hippocampal muscarinic type 1 (M1) receptor binding. To investigate if spatial memory also correlates with measures of immune function, we now assessed the magnitude of the adaptive immune response to vaccination in the same old female rhesus macaques. Cognitively characterized animals were classified as good spatial performers (GSP) or poor spatial performers (PSP) based on performance in the Spatial Foodport maze. The GSP group had higher frequency of CD8, but not CD4, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) producing cells following vaccination compared to the PSP group, suggesting a stronger CD8 T cell response in the GSP group. In addition, the number of CD-8 IFN-γ positive cells correlated with measures of sleep quality. Interestingly, the PSP group had a significantly higher antibody titer compared to the GSP group, and antibody titer negatively correlated with day-time activity. Thus, in aged female rhesus macaques, superior cognitive performance is correlated with a more robust CD8 T cell response but a reduced antibody response to vaccination.
doi:10.1016/j.eurger.2011.01.002
PMCID: PMC3097089  PMID: 21603071
spatial learning and memory; immune senescence; circadian activity
14.  Projections of the suprachiasmatic nucleus and ventral subparaventricular zone in the Nile grass rat (Arvicanthis niloticus) 
Brain research  2010;1367:146-161.
The phases of many circadian rhythms differ between diurnal and nocturnal species. However, rhythms within the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which contains the central circadian pacemaker, are very similar, suggesting that the mechanisms underlying phase preference lie downstream of the SCN. Rhythms in Fos expression in the ventral subparaventricular zone (vSPVZ), a major target of the SCN, differ substantially between diurnal Nile grass rats and nocturnal lab rats, raising the possibility that the vSPVZ modulates the effects of SCN signals at its targets. To understand better how and where the SCN and vSPVZ communicate circadian signals within the grass rat brain, we mapped their projections using the anterograde tracer biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). Adult female grass rats received unilateral BDA injections directed at the SCN or vSPVZ and their brains were perfusion-fixed several days later. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the distribution patterns of SCN and vSPVZ efferents were very similar. Labeled fibers originating in each region were heavily concentrated in the medial preoptic area, paraventricular thalamic nucleus, the subparaventricular zone, and the hypothalamic paraventricular and dorsomedial nuclei. BDA-labeled fibers from the SCN and vSPVZ formed appositions with orexin neurons and gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons, two cell populations whose rhythms in Fos expression track temporally reversed patterns of locomotor and reproductive behavior, respectively, in diurnal and nocturnal rodents. These data demonstrate that projections of the SCN and vSPVZ are highly conserved in diurnal and nocturnal rodents, and the vSPVZ projections may enable it to modulate the responsiveness of target cells to signals from the SCN.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.10.058
PMCID: PMC3004992  PMID: 20971082
circadian rhythm; diurnality; suprachiasmatic nucleus; ventral subparaventricular zone; orexin; gonadotropin-releasing hormone
16.  Effects of Moderate Calorie Restriction on Testosterone Production and Semen Characteristics in Young Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)1 
Biology of Reproduction  2010;83(4):635-640.
We have previously reported a modest influence of moderate calorie restriction (CR) on testicular gene expression in young adult rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta); however, it is unclear if these modifications correspond to subsequent changes in testicular function or sperm physiology. This study extends our earlier findings to examine potential physiological differences due to this differential gene expression. Animals were subjected to 30% CR (CR, n = 5) or were fed a standard control diet (CON, n = 5) starting during their peripubertal period. Circulating testosterone (T) levels were measured across a 24-h period after 7 yr of dietary treatment and were found to be similar in CR and CON males; however, maintenance of daily minimum T levels was significantly higher in the CR animals. Semen collection was performed on the same cohort of animals three times per male (CR, n = 4; CON, n = 4) after 8 yr of treatment, and samples were assessed by a variety of measures. Parameters, including semen quality and sperm cell viability and function, showed less variability in semen samples taken from CR males, but overall testicular function and sperm quality were comparable regardless of diet. There is mounting evidence that CR may promote health and longevity in a wide range of organisms, including nonhuman primates. Importantly, our data suggest that moderate CR has no obvious lasting detrimental effect on testicular function and sperm parameters in young adult primates and may in fact help maintain higher levels of circulating T.
Moderate calorie restriction does not impact sperm parameters or semen characteristics in young adult rhesus macaques.
doi:10.1095/biolreprod.110.084186
PMCID: PMC2957152  PMID: 20610809
calorie restriction; rhesus macaque; semen collection; sperm; testis; testosterone
17.  Age-related decreases in SYN levels associated with increases in MAP-2, apoE, and GFAP levels in the rhesus macaque prefrontal cortex and hippocampus 
Age  2010;32(3):283-296.
Loss of synaptic integrity in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) may play an integral role in age-related cognitive decline. Previously, we showed age-related increases in the dendritic marker microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP-2) and the synaptic marker synaptophysin (SYN) in mice. Similarly, apolipoprotein E (apoE), involved in lipid transport and metabolism, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a glia specific marker, increase with age in rodents. In this study, we assessed whether these four proteins show similar age-related changes in a nonhuman primate, the rhesus macaque. Free-floating sections from the PFC and hippocampus from adult, middle-aged, and aged rhesus macaques were immunohistochemically labeled for MAP-2, SYN, apoE, and GFAP. Protein levels were measured as area occupied by fluorescence using confocal microscopy as well as by Western blot. In the PFC and hippocampus of adult and middle-aged animals, the levels of SYN, apoE, and GFAP immunoreactivity were comparable but there was a trend towards higher MAP-2 levels in middle-aged than adult animals. There was significantly less SYN and more MAP-2, apoE, and GFAP immunoreactivity in the PFC and hippocampus of aged animals compared to adult or middle-aged animals. Thus, the age-related changes in MAP-2, apoE, and GFAP levels were similar to those previously observed in rodents. On the other hand, the age-related changes in SYN levels were not, but were similar to those previously observed in the aging human brain. Taken together, these data emphasize the value of the rhesus macaque as a pragmatic translational model for human brain aging.
doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9137-9
PMCID: PMC2926858  PMID: 20640549
Aging; Nonhuman primate; MAP-2; Synaptophysin; apoE
18.  Effects of age on clock gene expression in the rhesus macaque pituitary gland 
Neurobiology of aging  2008;31(4):696-705.
Recent studies have shown that circadian clock genes are expressed in various peripheral tissues, raising the possibility that multiple clocks regulate circadian physiology. To study clock gene expression in the rhesus macaque pituitary gland we used gene microarray data and found that the pituitary glands of young and old adult males express several components of the circadian clock (Per1, Per2, Cry1, Bmal1, Clock, Rev-erbα and Csnk1ε). Semi-quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (sqRT-PCR) confirmed the presence of these core-clock genes and detected significant age-related differences in expression of Per2. sqRT-PCR also showed differential expression of core-clock genes at two opposing time-points over the 24 hour day, with greater expression of Per2 and Bmal1 (P<0.05) at 1300 h as compared to 0100 h. Immunohistochemistry revealed rhythmic expression of REV-ERBα in the pituitary glands of female macaques. These data provide evidence that the rhesus macaque pituitary gland expresses core-clock genes and their associated protein products in a 24-hour rhythmic pattern, and that their expression is moderately impacted by aging processes.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2008.05.024
PMCID: PMC2823945  PMID: 18614257
circadian; age; pituitary; rhesus macaque
19.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9113-4
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
20.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands)  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9113-4
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
21.  Influence of 17β-estradiol and progesterone on GABAergic gene expression in the arcuate nucleus, amygdala and hippocampus of the rhesus macaque 
Brain research  2009;1307:28-42.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and the responsiveness of neurons to GABA can be modulated by sex steroids. To better understand how ovarian steroids influence GABAergic system in the primate brain, we evaluated the expression of genes encoding GABA receptor subunits, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and a GABA transporter in the brains of female rhesus macaques. Ovariectomized adults were subjected to a hormone replacement paradigm involving either 17β-estradiol (E), or E plus progesterone (E+P). Untreated animals served as controls. Using GeneChip® microarray analysis and real-time RT-PCR (qPCR), we examined gene expression differences within and between the amygdala (AMD), hippocampus (HPC) and arcuate nuclei of the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). The results from PCR corresponded with results from representative GeneChip® probesets, and showed similar effects of sex steroids on GABA receptor subunit gene expression in the AMD and HPC, and a more pronounced expression than in the MBH. Exposure to E+P attenuated GAD1, GAD2 and SLC32A1 gene expression in the AMD and HPC, but not in the MBH. GABA receptor subunit gene expression was generally higher in the AMD and HPC than in the MBH, with the exception of receptor subunits ε and γ2. Taken together, the data demonstrate differential regulation of GABA receptor subunits and GABAergic system components in the MBH compared to the AMD and HPC of rhesus macaques. Elevated ε and reduced δ subunit expression in the MBH supports the hypothesis that the hypothalamic GABAergic system is resistant to the modulatory effects of sex steroids.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.10.011
PMCID: PMC2787920  PMID: 19833106
gamma-aminobutyric acid; GABA receptor; Macaca mulatta; microarray
22.  Impact of Moderate Calorie Restriction on the Reproductive Neuroendocrine Axis of Male Rhesus Macaques 
Open Longevity Science  2010;3(10):38-47.
The impact of moderate calorie restriction on reproductive neuroendocrine function was investigated in young adult male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). The animals were subjected to either 30% calorie restriction (CR; n=5), or were fed a standard control diet (CON; n=5), starting during their peripubertal period. Plasma LH and testosterone concentrations were examined after 7 years of differential dietary treatment, and were found to be similar in both groups, both during the day and during the night. Microarray profiling of pituitary gland and testicular gene expression was performed after 8 years of treatment, using GeneChip® Rhesus Macaque Genome Arrays (Affymetrix), and showed very little effect of caloric restriction. Using a 1.5-fold difference threshold, our microarray analysis revealed differential expression of only 145 probesets in the pituitary gland and 260 in the testes, out of a total of >54,000. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR performed on pituitary gland mRNA corroborated the microarray findings for selected modulated genes, including TSH receptor (TSHR) and sperm-specific antigen 2 (SSFA2). Most notably, significantly lower expression of TSH receptor mRNA was observed in the pituitary of CR compared to CON animals. Also, significantly lower expression of the glycoprotein hormone alpha subunit (CGA) was observed in CR animals, and this finding was further corroborated using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. No significant diet-induced changes were detected in the testis for genes associated with reproduction, circadian clocks, or oxidative stress. There is mounting evidence that CR may promote health and longevity in a wide range of organisms, including nonhuman primates. Importantly, our data suggest that moderate CR has no obvious lasting detrimental effect on the reproductive neuroendocrine axis of long-lived primates, and has only a modest influence on pituitary and testicular gene expression.
doi:10.2174/1876326X00903010038
PMCID: PMC2929798  PMID: 20814446
calorie restriction; gene expression; HPG; LH; macaque; reproduction; testosterone
23.  Gene expression profiling in the rhesus macaque: experimental design considerations 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2009;49(1):26-31.
The development of species-specific gene microarrays has greatly facilitated gene expression profiling in nonhuman primates. However, to obtain accurate and physiologically meaningful data from these microarrays, one needs to consider several factors when designing the studies. This article focuses on effective experimental design while the companion article focuses on methodology and data analysis. Biological cycles have a major influence on gene expression, and at least 10% of the expressed genes are likely to show a 24-hour expression pattern. Consequently, the time of day when RNA samples are collected can influence detection of significant changes in gene expression levels. Similarly, when photoperiodic species such as the rhesus macaque are housed outdoors, some of their genes show differential expression according to the time of year. In addition, the sex-steroid environment of humans and many nonhuman primates changes markedly across the menstrual cycle, and so phase of the cycle needs to be considered when studying gene expression in adult females.
doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.05.009
PMCID: PMC2734384  PMID: 19467336
Circadian rhythms; Macaca Mulatta; Menstrual cycle; Microarray; Sex steroids; Rhesus Macaque Genome Array
24.  Gene expression profiling in the rhesus macaque: methodology, annotation and data interpretation 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2009;49(1):42-49.
Gene microarray analyses represent potentially effective means for high-throughput gene expression profiling in nonhuman primates. In the companion article we emphasize effective experimental design based on the in vivo physiology of the rhesus macaque, whereas this article emphasizes considerations for gene annotation and data interpretation using gene microarray platforms from Affymetrix®. Initial annotation of the rhesus genome array was based on Affymetrix® human GeneChips®. However, annotation revisions improve the precision with which rhesus transcripts are identified. Annotation of the rhesus GeneChip® is under continuous revision with large percentages of probesets under multiple annotation systems having undergone multiple reassignments between March 2007 and November 2008. It is also important to consider that quantitation and comparison of gene expression levels across multiple chips requires appropriate normalization. External corroboration of microarray results using PCR-based methodology also requires validation of appropriate internal reference genes for normalization of expression values. Many tools are now freely available to aid investigators with microarray normalization and selection of internal reference genes to be used for independent corroboration of microarray results.
doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.05.008
PMCID: PMC2739830  PMID: 19467334
Macaca Mulatta; Microarray; GeneChip® Rhesus Macaque Genome Array
25.  Microarray analysis of relative gene expression stability for selection of internal reference genes in the rhesus macaque brain 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:47.
Background
Normalization of gene expression data refers to the comparison of expression values using reference standards that are consistent across all conditions of an experiment. In PCR studies, genes designated as "housekeeping genes" have been used as internal reference genes under the assumption that their expression is stable and independent of experimental conditions. However, verification of this assumption is rarely performed. Here we assess the use of gene microarray analysis to facilitate selection of internal reference sequences with higher expression stability across experimental conditions than can be expected using traditional selection methods.
We recently demonstrated that relative gene expression from qRT-PCR data normalized using GAPDH, ALG9 and RPL13A expression values mirrored relative expression using quantile normalization in Robust Multichip Analysis (RMA) on the Affymetrix® GeneChip® rhesus Macaque Genome Array.
Having shown that qRT-PCR and Affymetrix® GeneChip® data from the same hormone replacement therapy (HRT) study yielded concordant results, we used quantile-normalized gene microarray data to identify the most stably expressed among probe sets for prospective internal reference genes across three brain regions from the HRT study and an additional study of normally menstruating rhesus macaques (cycle study). Gene selection was limited to 575 previously published human "housekeeping" genes. Twelve animals were used per study, and three brain regions were analyzed from each animal. Gene expression stabilities were determined using geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper software packages.
Results
Sequences co-annotated for ribosomal protein S27a (RPS27A), and ubiquitin were among the most stably expressed under all conditions and selection criteria used for both studies. Higher annotation quality on the human GeneChip® facilitated more targeted analysis than could be accomplished using the rhesus GeneChip®. In the cycle study, multiple probe sets annotated for actin, gamma 1 (ACTG1) showed high signal intensity and were among the most stably expressed.
Conclusions
Using gene microarray analysis, we identified genes showing high expression stability under various sex-steroid environments in different regions of the rhesus macaque brain. Use of quantile-normalized microarray gene expression values represents an improvement over traditional methods of selecting internal reference genes for PCR analysis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-11-47
PMCID: PMC2914640  PMID: 20565976

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