(1/51) Haploinsufficiency of steroidogenic factor-1 in mice disrupts adrenal development leading to an impaired stress response.

Adrenal steroids are essential for homeostasis and survival during severe physiological stress. Analysis of a patient heterozygous for the steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) gene suggested that reduced expression of this nuclear receptor leads to adrenal failure. We therefore examined SF-1 heterozygous (+/-) mice as a potential model for delineating mechanisms underlying this disease. Here we show that SF-1 +/- mice exhibit adrenal insufficiency resulting from profound defects in adrenal development and organization. However, compensatory mechanisms, such as cellular hypertrophy and increased expression of the rate-limiting steroidogenic protein StAR, help to maintain adrenal function at near normal capacity under basal conditions. In contrast, adrenal deficits in SF-1 heterozygotes are revealed under stressful conditions, demonstrating that normal gene dosage of SF-1 is required for mounting an adequate stress response. Our findings predict that natural variations leading to reduced SF-1 function may underlie some forms of subclinical adrenal insufficiency, which become life threatening during traumatic stress.  (+info)

(2/51) Failed export of the adrenocorticotrophin receptor from the endoplasmic reticulum in non-adrenal cells: evidence in support of a requirement for a specific adrenal accessory factor.

Difficulty in expressing the adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) receptor (melanocortin 2 receptor; MC2R) after transfection of various MC2R expression vectors has been experienced by many researchers. Reproducible evidence for expression has been obtained only in the Y6/OS3 corticoadrenal cell lines or in cells expressing endogenous melanocortin receptors. In order to determine the cause of this failure of expression we have undertaken the following studies. An MC2R expression plasmid was constructed in which the green fluorescent protein (GFP) coding region had been added to the C-terminus of the mature protein. Transfection of this plasmid into Y6 cells with a cAMP-responsive reporter plasmid demonstrated normal function of this receptor. Imaging of CHO cells expressing MC2R-GFP revealed perinuclear expression, although a cholecystokinin receptor (CCKR)-GFP construct was efficiently expressed at the cell surface. Y6 cells, in contrast, showed cell surface fluorescence after transfection with MC2R-GFP. Several other cell types showed a similar pattern of GFP distribution characteristic of retention in the endoplasmic reticulum. Counterstaining with an anti-KDEL antibody confirmed this location. Co-expression of the MC2R and the CCKR-GFP did not impair CCKR trafficking to the cell surface, implying a receptor-specific impairment to trafficking in the CHO cell which was absent in the Y6 cell.  (+info)

(3/51) Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-alpha stimulated NFkappaB/p65 in human keratinocytes by alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone peptides.

Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) has pigmentary, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and general immunomodulatory roles. It can oppose several cytokines including tumor necrosis factor-alpha in a number of tissues, including skin. We have previously shown that alpha-MSH can inhibit tumor necrosis factor-alpha stimulated intercellular adhesion molecule 1 upregulation and nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB) transcription factor activation in melanocyte and melanoma cells. It is thought, however, that this MSH biology may also extend to other cells of the skin and in this study we extend our work to keratinocytes. We have investigated in detail the ability of three alpha-MSH peptides to inhibit tumor necrosis factor alpha stimulated NFkappaB activation in nonpigmentary HaCaT keratinocytes (alpha-MSH, L-Lys-L-Pro-L-Val, and L-Lys-L-Pro-D-Val) and two adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) peptides (1-17 and 1-39), reported to be present in skin tissue. NFkappaB/p65 activation was analyzed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and immunofluorescent microscopy. alpha-MSH, L-Lys-L-Pro-L-Val, and L-Lys-L-Pro-D-Val all significantly inhibited tumor necrosis factor alpha stimulated NFkappaB activation, whereas ACTH 1-17 and 1-39 did not, in the HaCaT keratinocytes. MSH peptides and ACTH 1-39 were effective, however, at inhibiting NFkappaB activation in normal human keratinocytes. Immunolabeling of inhibitor kappaBalpha of NFkappaB (IkappaBalpha) revealed an abnormal localization to the nucleus of HaCaT cells, which was unaffected by MSH/ACTH peptides. In contrast, normal human keratinocytes showed a normal IkappaBalpha distribution that responded to MSH/ACTH with nuclear translocation. Our data support previous work on the role of MSH/ACTH peptides as immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory regulators, and extend this work to keratinocytes identifying a novel IkappaBalpha mechanism and extends findings to ACTH peptides, identifying an abnormal IkappaBalpha mechanism in the immortal HaCaT versus normal keratinocyte.  (+info)

(4/51) Agouti expression in human adipose tissue: functional consequences and increased expression in type 2 diabetes.

It is well recognized that the agouti/melanocortin system is an important regulator of body weight homeostasis. Given that agouti is expressed in human adipose tissue and that the ectopic expression of agouti in adipose tissue results in moderately obese mice, the link between agouti expression in human adipose tissue and obesity/type 2 diabetes was investigated. Although there was no apparent relationship between agouti mRNA levels and BMI, agouti mRNA levels were significantly elevated in subjects with type 2 diabetes. The regulation of agouti in cultured human adipocytes revealed that insulin did not regulate agouti mRNA, whereas dexamethasone treatment potently increased the levels of agouti mRNA. Experiments with cultured human preadipocytes and with cells obtained from transgenic mice that overexpress agouti demonstrated that melanocortin receptor (MCR) signaling in adipose tissue can regulate both preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation. Taken together, these results reveal that agouti can regulate adipogenesis at several levels and suggest that there are functional consequences of elevated agouti levels in human adipose tissue. The influence of MCR signaling on adipogenesis combined with the well-established role of MCR signaling in the hypothalamus suggest that adipogenesis is coordinately regulated with food intake and energy expenditure.  (+info)

(5/51) ACTH stimulates insulin secretion from MIN6 cells and primary mouse and human islets of Langerhans.

It has previously been suggested that ACTH and ACTH-related peptides may act as paracrine modulators of insulin secretion in the islets of Langerhans. We have, therefore, examined the expression and function of the ACTH receptor (the melanocortin 2 receptor, MC2-R) in human and mouse primary islet tIssue and in the MIN6 mouse insulinoma cell line. Mouse MC2-R mRNA was detected in both MIN6 cells and mouse islet tIssue by PCR amplification of cDNA. In perifusion experiments with MIN6 pseudo-islets, a small, transient increase in insulin secretion was obtained when ACTH(1-24) (1 nM) was added to medium containing 2 mM glucose (control) but not when the medium glucose content was increased to 8 mM. Further investigations were performed using static incubations of MIN6 cell monolayers; ACTH(1-24) (1 pM-10 nM) provoked a concentration-dependent increase in insulin secretion from MIN6 monolayer cells that achieved statistical significance at concentrations of 1 and 10 nM (150 +/- 13.6% basal secretion; 187 +/- 14.9% basal secretion, P<0.01). Similar responses were obtained with ACTH(1-39). The phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX (100 microM) potentiated the responses to sub-maximal doses of ACTH(1-24). Two inhibitors of the protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway, Rp-cAMPS (500 microM) and H-89 (10 microM), abolished the insulin secretory response to ACTH(1-24) (0.5-10 nM). Treatment with 1 nM ACTH(1-24) caused a small, statistically significant increase in intracellular cAMP levels. Secretory responses of MIN6 cells to ACTH(1-24) were also influenced by changes in extracellular Ca2+ levels. Incubation in Ca2+-free buffer supplemented with 0.1 mM EGTA blocked the MIN6 cells' secretory response to 1 and 10 nM ACTH(1-24). Similar results were obtained when a Ca2+ channel blocker (nitrendipine, 10 microM) was added to the Ca2+-containing buffer. ACTH(1-24) also evoked an insulin secretory response from primary tIssues. The addition of ACTH(1-24) (0.5 nM) to perifusions of mouse islets induced a transient increase in insulin secretion at 8 mM glucose. Perifused human primary islets also showed a secretory response to ACTH(1-24) at basal glucose concentration (2 mM) with a rapid initial spike in insulin secretion followed by a decline to basal levels. Overall the results demonstrate that the MC2-R is expressed in beta-cells and suggest that activation of the receptor by ACTH initiates insulin secretion through the activation of PKA in association with Ca2+ influx into beta-cells.  (+info)

(6/51) A peroxisome proliferator-response element in the murine mc2-r promoter regulates its transcriptional activation during differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone can stimulate lipolysis and suppress leptin expression in murine adipocytes. These effects are mediated via the melanocortin 2 receptor (MC2-R), which is expressed when 3T3-L1 cells are induced to undergo adipogenesis. In this study, we have characterized the mc2-r promoter in the murine adipocyte, one of the few extra-adrenal sites of expression and a cell type that lacks steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), a transcription factor that is required for mc2-r expression in adrenal cells. Transcriptional regulation of the mc2-r in the absence of SF-1 was investigated by 5' deletion analysis of the murine mc2-r promoter in both undifferentiated and differentiated 3T3-L1 cells. The results revealed the presence of a 59-base pair regulatory region within the promoter containing an adipocyte-specific enhancer. The ability of this region to confer enhanced activity in the adipocyte was mapped to a peroxisome proliferator-response element (PPRE)-like sequence that bound to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) and its heterodimeric partner retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRalpha) in adipocyte nuclear extracts. Co-transfection of PPARgamma2/RXRalpha with the pMC2-R(-112/+105)GL3 reporter resulted in transcriptional activation in preadipocytes, and this response required an intact PPRE. Mutation of the PPRE to prevent PPARgamma/RXRalpha binding resulted in a complete abrogation of the pMC2-R(-112/+105)GL3 reporter activity in day 3 differentiated 3T3-L1 cells, demonstrating a key role played by this site in regulating MC2-R expression in the murine adipocyte. These data highlight a novel mechanism for mc2-r transcription, which may have significance in both adrenal and extra-adrenal sites of expression.  (+info)

(7/51) An E-box-containing region is involved in the tissue-specific expression of the human MC2R gene.

Expression of the melanocortin receptor (MC2R) gene is limited to adrenocortical cells and the aim of this study was to determine the factors responsible for this tissue specificity. We used different fragments of the human (h) MC2R gene promoter, inserted in a vector upstream of the luciferase reporter gene, to transiently transfect either bovine adrenocortical (BAC) cells or granulosa cells from bovine ovaries (B-Gran). Similar promoter activities were obtained in both cell types using constructs containing fragments up to 1017 bp of the hMC2R gene promoter. On the contrary, a 2-fold decrease was obtained after transfection of the B-Gran cells with vectors containing 1069 bp and more of the promoter. Results obtained here using BAC cells confirmed our previous data on human cells showing that steroidogenic factor 1 is the major transactivating factor involved in the basal expression of the hMC2R gene in adrenal cells. However, we showed that this factor did not permit, by itself, the expression of the hMC2R gene in B-Gran cells despite its expression in these cells. This study demonstrated for the first time that an E-box (located at -1020 bp) is involved in the repression of hMC2R gene expression in granulosa cells through interactions with several factors, such as activator protein 4, as suggested by electrophoretic mobility shift assay analyses.  (+info)

(8/51) Differential actions of metyrapone on the fetal pituitary-adrenal axis in the sheep fetus in late gestation.

It is not clear if an increase in intra-adrenal cortisol is required to mediate the actions of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) on adrenal growth and steroidogenesis during the prepartum stimulation of the fetal pituitary-adrenal axis. We infused metyrapone, a competitive inhibitor of cortisol biosynthesis, into fetal sheep between 125 and 140 days of gestation (term = 147 +/- 3 days) and measured fetal plasma cortisol, 11-desoxycortisol, and ACTH; pituitary pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA and adrenal expression of ACTH receptor (melanocortin type 2 receptor), steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11betaHSD2), cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage (CYP11A1), cytochrome P450 17-hydroxylase (CYP17), 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and cytochrome P450 21-hydroxylase mRNA; and StAR protein in the fetal adrenal gland. Plasma ACTH and 11-desoxycortisol concentrations were higher (P < 0.05), whereas plasma cortisol concentrations were not significantly different in metyrapone- compared with vehicle-infused fetuses. The ratio of plasma cortisol to ACTH concentrations was higher (P < 0.0001) between 136 and 140 days than between 120 and 135 days of gestation in both metyrapone- and vehicle-infused fetuses. The combined adrenal weight and adrenocortical thickness were greater (P < 0.001), and cell density was lower (P < 0.01), in the zona fasciculata of adrenals from the metyrapone-infused group. Adrenal StAR mRNA expression was lower (P < 0.05), whereas the levels of mature StAR protein (30 kDa) were higher (P < 0.05), in the metyrapone-infused fetuses. In addition, adrenal mRNA expression of 11betaHSD2, CYP11A1, and CYP17 were higher (P < 0.05) in the metyrapone-infused fetuses. Thus, metyrapone administration may represent a unique model that allows the investigation of dissociation of the relative actions of ACTH and cortisol on fetal adrenal steroidogenesis and growth during late gestation.  (+info)