Hard fallow deer antler: a living bone till antler casting?
Deer antlers are the only mammalian bone structures which regenerate completely every year. Once developed, antlers are cleaned of the velvet-like skin. Presently it is believed that due to velvet shedding the blood supply is interrupted in the solidifying antler bone. Histological examinations were made on different parts of fallow deer antlers investigated from the time of velvet shedding till the antler casting. The present study on hard (polished) antlers revealed living bone with regions presenting living osteocytes, active osteoblasts, osteoid seams and even early stages of trabecular microcallus formation, thus indicating to a continuous bone remodeling. A well developed vascular system was found despite the presence of hard antler bone. The pedicle bone exhibits a rich supply of capillaries and vessels connected to the spongy core of the main branch and the compact bone as well. There is evidence that hard fallow deer antlers possess a functioning vascular system that "keeps the antler moist" resulting in a high impact resistance when fights are most frequent. As late as 3 weeks prior to antler casting a large number of living cells were discovered within the antler core. As we have no doubt that parts of the polished fallow deer antler represent a living bone, we have concluded that a sufficient blood supply of the antler core is maintained almost till the time of antler casting by vessels passing through the antler base. (+info)
Androgen regulation of glycosidase secretion in epithelial cell cultures from human epididymis.
The human epididymis and its secretions actively promote sperm fertilizing capacity and provide protection for spermatozoa against harmful influences. Among epididymal secretions, glycosidases have been recently studied and associated with molecular changes on the sperm surface. In the present work, we studied the influence of different concentrations of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and cyproterone acetate on the secretion of alpha-glucosidase, N-acetyl-glucosaminidase, beta-glucuronidase and alpha-mannosidase by isolated and cultured epithelial cells from human caput, corpus and cauda epididymides. Cell cultures were obtained from aggregates of isolated tubule fragments plated on extracellular matrix-covered multi-well plates. Activities of the glycosidases were measured in conditioned culture media and were higher in the distal regions of the epididymis. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone significantly increase the enzyme secretion in a concentration-dependent manner. This increase was higher in corpus and/or cauda than in caput epididymis. Cyproterone acetate caused a dose-dependent decrease in glycosidase secretion in cultures from all epididymal regions. It is concluded that the secretion of epididymal glycosidases is regulated by androgen, being stimulated by dihydrotestosterone and testosterone and inhibited by the androgen antagonist cyproterone acetate. (+info)
Chemoprevention of rat prostate carcinogenesis by early and delayed administration of dehydroepiandrosterone.
Two in vivo bioassays were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) as an inhibitor of prostate carcinogenesis in rats. Prostate adenocarcinomas were induced in male Wistar-Unilever rats by a sequential regimen of cyproterone acetate and testosterone propionate, followed by a single i.v. injection of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) and chronic androgen stimulation. In the first experiment, DHEA (1000 or 2000 mg/kg diet) was administered continuously to rats beginning 1 week before MNU exposure. In the second experiment, continuous administration of DHEA (2000 mg/kg diet) was begun either 1 week before, 20 weeks after, or 40 weeks after MNU exposure. Controls received basal diet without added DHEA. Studies were terminated at 13 months after MNU administration, and prostate cancer incidence was determined by histopathological evaluation of step sections of accessory sex glands. In the first study, continuous dietary administration of DHEA beginning 1 week before MNU resulted in a dose-related inhibition of prostate cancer induction. In the second experiment, comparable reductions in prostate cancer incidence were observed in groups exposed to DHEA beginning 1 week before, 20 weeks after, and 40 weeks after carcinogen exposure. These data demonstrate that nontoxic doses of DHEA confer significant protection against prostate carcinogenesis in rats. The efficacy of delayed administration of DHEA suggests that the compound confers protection against later stages of prostate cancer induction and can suppress the progression of existing preneoplastic lesions to invasive disease. (+info)
Characterization of the progestin receptors in the human TE85 and murine MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cell lines.
Progestins are believed to exert positive effects on bone density through receptors located in osteoblasts. In the present studies, the binding characteristics and regulation of the progestin receptors in two osteoblast-like cell lines were compared with those in human breast lines. Human TE85 and murine MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells contain a single, high-affinity progestin binding site whose affinity and concentration are lower than in human breast cells. The osteoblastic progestin binding sites showed the expected steroid specificity and associated with the cell nuclei when occupied by ligand. The progestin receptors in osteoblastic cells also had sedimentation coefficients similar to those receptors in breast cells. The regulation of the progestin receptor in the osteoblast-like cells was explored by treating them with estradiol. In contrast to the large, rapid change seen in the breast cells, the progestin receptor levels in the MC3T3-E1 cells showed only a small, delayed up-regulation with estradiol treatment. The progestin receptor number in the TE85 cells was unaffected by estradiol. Down-regulation of the progestin receptors was explored by treating the cells with the progestin, norethindrone (NET). NET administration produced a rapid drop in progestin binding sites in the breast cells and a smaller, more gradual decline in MC3T3-E1 progestin binding. While the maximal decrease in receptor number occurred within 24 h in the breast cells, the receptor number was still continuing to fall after 72 h in the MC3T3-E1 cells. The data presented here demonstrate that both human and murine osteoblast-like cells contain a functional progestin receptor whose binding characteristics and regulation are similar, but not identical, to those receptors in other progestin target tissues such as the breast. (+info)
Sex-specific induction of apoptosis by cyproterone acetate in primary rat hepatocytes.
The synthetic steroid cyproterone acetate (CPA) has been reported to be hepatogenotoxic in female rats depending on sex-specific expression of a hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase (HST) which is involved in the bioactivation of CPA to reactive metabolites. In the present study the ability of CPA to initiate apoptosis in rat hepatocytes in vitro was investigated with respect to sex-specific effects and dependency on HST activity. Incubation of primary hepatocytes of female rats with CPA (0.1-30 microM) caused a strong increase in percent of cells undergoing apoptosis. The lowest concentration leading to apoptosis was 0.3 microM. In contrast, hepatocytes isolated from male rats showed a very weak response at high exposure to CPA (30 microM) only. Treatment with transforming growth factor-beta1 induced high levels of apoptotis in hepatocytes of both genders. Megestrol acetate and chlormadinone acetate, two structural analogues of CPA with a much lower genotoxic potency, did not induce apoptosis. Pre-addition of 10 or 50 microM dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a known inhibitor of hepatic HST, almost completely inhibited CPA-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes of female rats. Using similar test concentrations, DHEA also reduced CPA-induced DNA excision repair as measured in the unscheduled DNA synthesis test. The results suggest that apoptosis induction is directly related to DNA damage induced by HST-dependent CPA metabolites. (+info)
Initiated rat hepatocytes in primary culture: a novel tool to study alterations in growth control during the first stage of carcinogenesis.
To study growth regulation in the beginning of carcinogenesis, we established a novel ex vivo model for co-cultivation of normal and putatively initiated hepatocytes. Rats received the genotoxic hepatocarcinogen N-nitrosomorpholine (NNM). This led to the appearance of hepatocytes expressing placental glutathione S-transferase (G(+) cells). These cells exhibited elevated rates of cell replication and apoptosis, as known from further advanced preneoplasia; G(+) cells were considered initiated. At days 20-22 post-NNM treatment their frequency was maximal (1-2%); approximately 40% were still single and 60% were arranged in mini foci. At this time-point liver cells were isolated by collagenase perfusion and cultivated. G(+) cells, identified by immunostaining of the culture-plates, were present at the same percentage as in vivo, excluding selective loss, enrichment or spontaneous expression of the G(+) phenotype. In untreated cultures G(+) hepatocytes showed significantly higher rates of replicative DNA synthesis than normal G(-) cells. Application of the hepatomitogen cyproterone acetate (CPA) elevated DNA replication preferentially in G(+) cells. Transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) suppressed replicative DNA synthesis which was more pronounced in G(+) than in G(-) hepatocytes. Combined treatment with CPA and TGF-beta1 had no effect on G- cells, but considerably inhibited DNA replication in G(+) cells. This suggests that the effects of TGF-beta1 predominated in G(+) hepatocytes. We conclude that putatively initiated G(+) hepatocytes, both in vivo and in culture, exhibit higher basal rates of DNA replication than normal G(-) hepatocytes and an over-response to mitogens and growth inhibitors. Therefore, G(+) cells show (i) nearly identical behaviour in intact liver and in primary culture and (ii) inherent defects in growth control that are principally similar although somewhat less pronounced than in later stages of carcinogenesis. The present ex vivo system thus provides a novel and useful tool to elucidate biological and molecular changes during initiation of carcinogenesis. (+info)
We studied the role of androgens in antler growth. In particular, we investigated whether the onset of antler regrowth is triggered by a short-term pulse of testosterone and if low levels of androgens are required for antler growth. The study was conducted on 12 surgically castrated fallow deer bucks (Dama dama) aged approximately 27 months. Six animals (CA group) were given the antiandrogen, cyproterone acetate (CA, 1000 mg/treatment); the others were given vehicle solution only (control). Before each CA treatment, blood was sampled and analysed for testosterone, androstenedione, IGF-1, cortisol, FSH, and LH. CA treatment and blood sampling were performed 2 days before castration, on the day of castration and afterwards at 2-day intervals until day 22. Subsequently, CA treatment and blood sampling continued at weekly intervals until day 270. All animals cast their antlers, followed by antler regrowth in all control bucks, but in only four of the six CA-treated castrates. Plasma testosterone concentrations were low in all animals (between 0.01 and 0.20 ng/ml), but were significantly (P<0001) greater in the controls. In both groups, a temporary increase in testosterone values was recorded around the time of antler regrowth, the peak being significantly (P<0.01) higher in the controls. Androstenedione showed a similar pattern as testosterone. Plasma IGF-1 concentrations increased sharply during the antler growth spurt and did not differ significantly between the two groups throughout the study period. Cortisol concentrations were greater in controls than in the CA group. However, no link with the antler cycle was apparent. FSH and LH concentrations were higher in the controls for most of the study. Antlers produced by the control bucks were significantly larger than those in the CA group (P<0.03). For antler length, testosterone, androstenedione and IGF-1, areas under the curve (AUC) were calculated over the period of antler growth. For the pooled deer (n=12) significant correlations existed between AUCs of antler length and testosterone, but not for antler length and IGF-1. Also, a trend for a positive correlation between AUCs of antler length and androstenedione was noted. It is concluded that a plasma androgen concentration at least above a minimal threshold level is a necessary prerequisite for normal antler regrowth in fallow deer, and that this androgen effect is not mediated via circulating IGF-1. The biological role of low levels of androgens may be to sensitize antler cells to the stimulating effect of IGF. (+info)
Specific recognition of androgens by their nuclear receptor. A structure-function study.
Androgens, like progestins, are 3-ketosteroids with structural differences restricted to the 17beta substituent in the steroid D-ring. To better understand the specific recognition of ligands by the human androgen receptor (hAR), a homology model of the ligand-binding domain (LBD) was constructed based on the progesterone receptor LBD crystal structure. Several mutants of residues potentially involved in the specific recognition of ligands in the hAR were constructed and tested for their ability to bind agonists. Their transactivation capacity in response to agonist (R1881) and antagonists (cyproterone acetate, hydroxyflutamide, and ICI 176344) was also measured. Substitution of His(874) by alanine, only marginally impairs the ligand-binding and transactivation capacity of the hAR receptor. In contrast, mutations of Thr(877) and, to a greater extent, Asn(705) perturb ligand recognition, alter transactivation efficiency, and broaden receptor specificity. Interestingly, the N705A mutant acquires progesterone receptor (PR) properties for agonist ligands but, unlike wild type AR and PR, loses the capacity to repress transactivation with nonsteroidal antagonists. Models of the hAR.LBD complexes with several ligands are presented, which suggests new directions for drug design. (+info)