Sex steroid and prolactin profiles in male American black bears (Ursus americanus) during denning. (1/2003)

Serum sex steroid and prolactin profiles were examined in the male American black bear, Ursus americanus during denning. Sera collected in December and the following March from 8 denning male black bears in Minnesota, U.S.A. were assayed for testosterone, estradiol-17 beta and prolactin. Eight bears were confirmed to be the denning mode based on a serum urea to creatinine ratio less than 10. Serum testosterone concentrations tended to increase from December to the subsequent March whereas serum estradiol-17 beta concentrations tended to decrease during this period. There were few changes in serum prolactin concentrations between December and March. These findings suggest that spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis initiated during denning may be influenced by changes in serum sex steroid concentrations in the American black bear.  (+info)

Myometrial zonal differentiation and uterine junctional zone hyperplasia in the non-pregnant uterus. (2/2003)

Human non-gravid myometrium differentiates in response to ovarian sex steroids into a subendometrial layer or junctional zone and an outer myometrial layer. Compared to the outer myometrial layer, the junctional zone myocytes are characterized by higher cellular density and lower cytoplasmic-nuclear ratio. These structural differences allow in-vivo visualization of the myometrial zonal anatomy by T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The human myometrium is also functionally polarized. Video-vaginosonography studies have shown that propagated myometrial contractions in the non-pregnant uterus originate only from the junctional zone and that the frequency and orientation of these contraction waves are dependent on the phase of the menstrual cycle. The mechanisms underlying zonal myometrial differentiation are not known, but growing evidence suggests that ovarian hormone action may be mediated through cytokines and uterotonins locally released by the basal endometrial layer and endometrio-myometrial T-lymphocytes. Irregular thickening of the junctional zone due to inordinate proliferation of the inner myometrium, junctional zone hyperplasia, is a common MR finding in women suffering from menstrual dysfunction. Preliminary data suggest that junctional zone hyperplasia is further characterized by loss of normal inner myometrial function. Although irregular thickening of the junctional zone has been associated with diffuse uterine adenomyosis, the precise relationship between subendometrial smooth muscle proliferation and myometrial invasion by endometrial glands and stroma remains to be established.  (+info)

Semen quality and reproductive hormones before orchiectomy in men with testicular cancer. (3/2003)

PURPOSE: To obtain information about preorchiectomy gonadal function in patients with testicular germ cell cancer to improve the clinical management of fertility and other andrologic aspects in these men. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In group 1, a group of 83 consecutive patients with testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) investigated before orchiectomy, semen analysis was carried out in 63 patients and hormonal investigations, including measurement of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, estradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), inhibin B, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), in 71 patients. Hormone levels in patients with elevated hCG (n = 41) were analyzed separately. To discriminate between general cancer effects and specific effects associated with TGCC, the same analyses were carried out in a group of 45 consecutive male patients with malignant lymphoma (group 2). Group 3 comprised 141 men employed in a Danish company who served as controls in the comparison of semen parameters. As a control group in hormone investigations, 193 men were selected randomly from the Danish National Personal Register to make up group 4. RESULTS: We found significantly lower sperm concentration (median, 15 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 128 x 10(6)/mL) and total sperm count (median, 29 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 589 x 10(6)) in patients with testicular cancer than in patients with malignant lymphomas (sperm concentration: median, 48 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0.04 to 250 x 10(6)/mL; sperm count: median, 146 x 10(6); range, 0.05 to 418 x 10(6)) (P < .001 and P < .001) and healthy men (sperm concentration: median, 48 x 10(6)/mL; range, 0 to 402 x 10(6)/mL; sperm count: median, 162 x 10(6); range, 0 to 1253 x 10(6)) (P < .001 and P < .001). FSH levels were increased in men with testicular cancer (median, 5.7 IU/L; range, 2.0 to 27 IU/L) compared with both men with malignant lymphomas (median, 3.3 IU/L; range, 1.01 to 12.0 IU/L) and healthy controls (median, 4.1 IU/L; range, 1.04 to 21 IU/L)(P = .001 and P = .007, respectively). Surprisingly, we found significantly lower LH in the group of men with TGCC (median, 3.6 IU/L; range, 1.12 to 11.9 IU/L) than in healthy men (median, 4.7 IU/L; range, 1.3 to 11.9 IU/L) (P = .01). We could not detect any differences between men with testicular cancer and men with malignant lymphomas and healthy men with regard to serum levels of testosterone, SHBG, and estradiol. Men with testicular cancer who had increased hCG levels had significantly lower LH and significantly higher testosterone and estradiol than those without detectable hCG levels. CONCLUSION: Spermatogenesis is already impaired in men with testicular cancer before orchiectomy. Neither local suppression of spermatogenesis by tumor pressure nor a general cancer effect seems to fully explain this impairment. The most likely explanation is preexisting impairment of spermatogenesis in the contralateral testis in men with testicular cancer. The question of whether also a pre-existing Leydig cell dysfunction is present in men with testicular cancer could not be answered in this study because the tumor seems to have a direct effect on the Leydig cells. Men with testicular cancer had low LH values as compared with controls. We speculate that increased intratesticular level of hCG also in men without measurable serum hCG may play a role by exerting LH-like effects on the Leydig cells, causing increased testosterone and estrogen levels and low LH values in the blood.  (+info)

Suppression of the secretion of luteinizing hormone due to isolation/restraint stress in gonadectomised rams and ewes is influenced by sex steroids. (4/2003)

In this study we used an isolation/restraint stress to test the hypothesis that stress will affect the secretion of LH differently in gonadectomised rams and ewes treated with different combinations of sex steroids. Romney Marsh sheep were gonadectomised two weeks prior to these experiments. In the first experiment male and female sheep were treated with vehicle or different sex steroids for 7 days prior to the application of the isolation/restraint stress. Male sheep received either i.m. oil (control rams) or 6 mg testosterone propionate injections every 12 h. Female sheep were given empty s.c. implants (control ewes), or 2x1 cm s.c. implants containing oestradiol, or an intravaginal controlled internal drug release device containing 0.3 g progesterone, or the combination of oestradiol and progesterone. There were four animals in each group. On the day of application of the isolation/restraint stress, blood samples were collected every 10 min for 16 h for the subsequent measurement of plasma LH and cortisol concentrations. After 8 h the stress was applied for 4 h. Two weeks later, blood samples were collected for a further 16 h from the control rams and ewes, but on this day no stress was imposed. In the second experiment, separate control gonadectomised rams and ewes (n=4/group) were studied for 7 h on 3 consecutive days, when separate treatments were applied. On day 1, the animals received no treatment; on day 2, isolation/restraint stress was applied after 3 h; and on day 3, an i. v. injection of 2 microg/kg ACTH1-24 was given after 3 h. On each day, blood samples were collected every 10 min and the LH response to the i.v. injection of 500 ng GnRH administered after 5 h of sampling was measured. In Experiment 1, the secretion of LH was suppressed during isolation/restraint in all groups but the parameters of LH secretion (LH pulse frequency and amplitude) that were affected varied between groups. In control rams, LH pulse amplitude, and not frequency, was decreased during isolation/restraint whereas in rams treated with testosterone propionate the stressor reduced pulse frequency and not amplitude. In control ewes, isolation/restraint decreased LH pulse frequency but not amplitude. Isolation/restraint reduced both LH pulse frequency and amplitude in ewes treated with oestradiol, LH pulse frequency in ewes treated with progesterone and only LH pulse amplitude in ewes treated with both oestradiol and progesterone. There was no change in LH secretion during the day of no stress. Plasma concentrations of cortisol were higher during isolation/restraint than on the day of no stress. On the day of isolation/restraint maximal concentrations of cortisol were observed during the application of the stressor but there were no differences between groups in the magnitude of this response. In Experiment 2, isolation/restraint reduced the LH response to GnRH in rams but not ewes and ACTH reduced the LH response to GnRH both in rams and ewes. Our results show that the mechanism(s) by which isolation/restraint stress suppresses LH secretion in sheep is influenced by sex steroids. The predominance of particular sex steroids in the circulation may affect the extent to which stress inhibits the secretion of GnRH from the hypothalamus and/or the responsiveness of the pituitary gland to the actions of GnRH. There are also differences between the sexes in the effects of stress on LH secretion that are independent of the sex steroids.  (+info)

Flow cytometric method to isolate round spermatids from mouse testis. (5/2003)

The purpose of this study was to isolate pure populations of round spermatids from mouse testis by flow cytometry followed by cell sorting. Cell suspensions from mouse testis were enriched in germ cells by centrifugation on a discontinuous Percoll gradient, then analysed using a FACScalibur flow cytometer measuring the cell size and density. A large and well-delimited population of cells (R1) expected to contain round spermatids was observed on the dot plot diagram. Sorted R1 cells were very homogeneous in size (approximately 11 microns) and displayed the characteristic cytological aspect of round spermatids. Spermatid-specific gene expression was confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of R1 cells using primers for protamine 2 gene (PRM2) and SP-10. A positive signal for SP-10 was obtained with a single cell using nested primers. The 5.5 kb transcript of c-kit, which is not expressed in spermatids, was not detected by nested RT-PCR, excluding a contamination with spermatogonia. Our results clearly established that flow cytometry followed by cell sorting allows the isolation of a highly homogeneous population of round spermatids from the testis.  (+info)

Hormonal regulation of apolipoprotein AI. (6/2003)

Apolipoprotein AI (apo AI) is the major protein component of the serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. The antiatherogenic properties of apo AI alone or as part of HDL and their inverse correlation with the incidence of coronary heart disease underlie the clinical importance of the protein. A detailed understanding of the mechanisms by which apo AI is regulated will help us develop new and better ways to manipulate expression of the protein. Although there are many factors that influence apo AI expression, endogenous hormones are attractive because simple changes in abundance of these compounds will alter gene activity. Hormones belonging to the thyroid/steroid family that influence activity of the gene include thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, gender-specific steroids and retinoic acid. Whereas thyroid, glucocorticoid and estradiol enhance activity of the gene, retinoic acid and androgens decrease it. The mechanisms that mediate the effects of the hormones include direct effects of the ligand and nuclear receptor complex on gene activity. However, indirect means involving the participation of transcription factors other than the hormone receptors are also possible. In summary, members of the same hormone family may have different mechanisms that mediate their activities on apo AI gene activity.  (+info)

Involvement of gonadal steroid hormone disturbance in altered prolactin receptor gene expression in the liver of diabetic mice. (7/2003)

The levels of mRNA for long and three short forms of prolactin receptor (PRLR) were examined in the livers of normal (db+/db-) and insulin-resistant diabetic (db+/db+) mice to assess the role of gonadal steroid hormones in the regulation of PRLR gene expression in diabetes mellitus. In females, plasma levels of testosterone in diabetic mice were higher, and those of 17beta-estradiol were lower when compared with levels in normal mice. By contrast, diabetic male mice had lower plasma levels of testosterone than normal males and showed no significant difference in the low circulating level of 17beta-estradiol compared with normal males. The short 3 form of PRLR (PRLR3) mRNA was the most abundant in the liver of both normal and diabetic mice. In addition, the level of PRLR3 mRNA in normal females was 8-fold higher than in normal males. The level of PRLR3 mRNA in diabetic females was approximately a quarter lower than in normal females, whereas the level of PRLR3 mRNA in diabetic males was approximately 2-fold higher than in normal males. During postnatal development, the level of PRLR3 mRNA increased during puberty in normal females, while the level in diabetic females decreased to a nadir at 7 weeks of age followed by a progressive rise. On the other hand, the levels of PRLR3 mRNA in both normal and diabetic males decreased gradually during 5 to 14 weeks of age. Testosterone treatment of diabetic males and females resulted in a 49.1 and 49.8% decrease of PRLR3 mRNA respectively. 17beta-Estradiol treatment slightly (18%) increased levels of PRLR3 mRNA in diabetic males. These results suggest that the hepatic level of PRLR mRNA is regulated by the inhibitory effect of testosterone and the stimulatory effect of estrogen in both normal and diabetic mice.  (+info)

The Rho-related protein Rnd1 inhibits Ca2+ sensitization of rat smooth muscle. (8/2003)

1. The small GTP-binding Rho proteins are involved in the agonist-induced Ca2+ sensitization of smooth muscle. The action and the expression of Rnd1, a new member of the Rho protein family constitutively bound to GTP, has been studied in rat smooth muscle. 2. Recombinant prenylated Rnd1 (0.01-0.1 mg ml-1) dose dependently inhibited carbachol- and GTPgammaS-induced Ca2+ sensitization in beta-escin-permeabilized ileal smooth muscle strips but had no effect on the tension at submaximal [Ca2+] (pCa 6.3). Rnd1 inhibited GTPgammaS-induced tension without shifting the dose-response curves to GTPgammaS. 3. pCa-tension relationships were not modified by Rnd1 and the rise in tension induced through the inhibition of myosin light chain phosphatase by calyculin A was not affected by Rnd1. 4. The Ca2+ sensitization induced by recombinant RhoA was completely abolished when RhoA and Rnd1 were applied together. 5. Rnd1 was expressed at a low level in membrane fractions prepared from intestinal or arterial smooth muscles. The expression of Rnd1 was strongly increased in ileal and aortic smooth muscle from rats treated with progesterone or oestrogen. Progesterone-treated ileal muscle strips showed a decrease in agonist-induced Ca2+ sensitization. 6. The present study shows that (i) Rnd1 inhibits agonist- and GTPgammaS-induced Ca2+ sensitization of smooth muscle by specifically interfering with a RhoA-dependent mechanism and (ii) an increase in Rnd1 expression may account, at least in part, for the steroid-induced decrease in agonist-induced Ca2+ sensitization.  (+info)