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(1/4238) Relaxin is a potent renal vasodilator in conscious rats.

The kidneys and other nonreproductive organs vasodilate during early gestation; however, the "pregnancy hormones" responsible for the profound vasodilation of the renal circulation during pregnancy are unknown. We hypothesized that the ovarian hormone relaxin (RLX) contributes. Therefore, we tested whether the administration of RLX elicits renal vasodilation and hyperfiltration in conscious adult, intact female rats. After several days of treatment with either purified porcine RLX or recombinant human RLX 2 (rhRLX), effective renal plasma flow (ERPF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) increased by 20%-40%. Comparable renal vasodilation and hyperfiltration was also observed in ovariectomized rats, suggesting that estrogen and progesterone are unnecessary for the renal response to rhRLX. The nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester completely abrogated the increase in ERPF and GFR elicited by chronic administration of purified porcine RLX. In contrast, the renal vasoconstrictory response to angiotensin II was attenuated by the RLX treatment. Short-term infusion of purified porcine RLX to conscious rats over several hours failed to increase ERPF and GFR. Plasma osmolality was consistently reduced by the chronic administration of both RLX preparations. In conclusion, the renal and osmoregulatory effects of chronic RLX administration to conscious rats resemble the physiological changes of pregnancy in several respects: (a) marked increases in ERPF and GFR with a mediatory role for nitric oxide; (b) attenuation of the renal circulatory response to angiotensin II; and (c) reduction in plasma osmolality.  (+info)

(2/4238) Steroid regulation of retinol-binding protein in the ovine oviduct.

Two studies were conducted to identify retinol-binding protein (RBP) expression in the ovine oviduct and to determine the role of ovarian steroids in its regulation. Ewes were salpingectomized on Days 1, 5, or 10 of their respective estrous cycles, and oviducts were homogenized for RNA analysis, fixed for immunocytochemistry (ICC), or cultured for 24 h for protein analysis. ICC localized RBP to the epithelium of all oviducts. RBP synthesis was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation of radiolabeled RBP from the medium of oviductal explant cultures. Explant culture medium from oviducts harvested on Day 1 contained significantly more RBP than medium from oviducts collected on Days 5 or 10. Slot-blot analysis demonstrated that steady-state RBP mRNA levels were significantly higher on Day 1 than Day 5 or 10. In the second experiment, ovariectomized ewes were treated with estradiol-17beta (E2), progesterone (P4), E2+P4 (E2+P4), or vehicle control, and oviducts were analyzed as above. P4 alone or in combination with E2 significantly reduced steady-state RBP mRNA levels compared to those in E2-treated animals. Oviductal explants from E2- and E2+P4-treated animals released 3- to 5-fold more RBP into the medium than control and P4 treatments as determined by ELISA. RBP synthesis of metabolically labeled RBP was increased by E2 and E2+P4 treatments. This study demonstrates that P4 applied on an estradiol background negatively regulates RBP gene expression in the oviduct whereas estradiol appears to stimulate RBP synthesis and secretion.  (+info)

(3/4238) Effect of shellfish calcium on the apparent absorption of calcium and bone metabolism in ovariectomized rats.

Fossil shellfish powder (FS) and Ezo giant scallop shell powder (EG) were rendered soluble with lactate and citrate under decompression (FSEx and EGEx, respectively) and we examined the effects of lactate-citrate solubilization of FS and EG on mineral absorption, tissue mineral contents, serum biochemical indices and bone mineral density (BMD) in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. The apparent absorption ratios of minerals tended to be high in the rats fed with the solubilized mineral sources, those in the FSEx group being significantly higher than in the FS group. There was no significant difference in the tibia mineral content among the OVX groups. BMD at the distal femoral diaphysis was significantly increased by FSEx and EGEx feeding. It is suggested that solubilization with lactate and citrate under decompression increased the solubility and bioavailability of calcium from such natural sources of shellfish calcium as FS and EG.  (+info)

(4/4238) Expression of calcium binding protein D-9k messenger RNA in the mouse uterine endometrium during implantation.

To investigate the molecular mechanisms of implantation, we constructed a cDNA library of mouse uteri enriched with pregnancy-induced genes by subtractive hybridization and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One of the isolated clones was the cDNA for the calcium binding protein D-9k (Cabp9k), which is considered to regulate intracytoplasmic concentration and transport of free calcium ions. Northern blot and in-situ hybridization analyses demonstrated that the Cabp9k mRNA was expressed in the endometrial epithelia, both luminal and glandular, in the uterus at the time of implantation. On pregnancy day 5 it was detected in the luminal, but not in the glandular, epithelia. In the oophorectomized adult mice, progesterone enhanced Cabp9k mRNA expression in the uterus, whereas oestrogen did not. Consistent with this, a nucleotide change was identified in the first intron of mouse Cabp9k gene corresponding to the oestrogen responsive element in the rat Cabp9k gene. Transfer of embryos into the uterine cavity of pseudopregnant mice reduced the expression of Cabp9k mRNA in the glandular epithelium, suggesting that Cabp9k mRNA expression is also regulated by embryonal signal(s). These findings demonstrated that Cabp9k mRNA is expressed in the endometrial epithelia during the implantation period under the control of progesterone and the presence of embryo, and suggest that CaBP9k plays a role in implantation by regulating the local calcium concentrations.  (+info)

(5/4238) Estrogen provides neuroprotection in transient forebrain ischemia through perfusion-independent mechanisms in rats.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Estrogen-related neuroprotection in association with animal models of transient forebrain and focal ischemia has been documented in several recent reports. Some of those studies indicated that part of that benefit was a function of improved intraischemic vasodilating capacity. In the present study we examined whether chronic estrogen depletion and repletion affected ischemic neuropathology through perfusion-independent mechanisms. METHODS: Normal, ovariectomized (OVX), and OVX female rats treated with 17beta-estradiol (E2) were subjected to 30 minutes of transient forebrain ischemia (right common carotid occlusion plus hemorrhagic hypotension) and reperfusion. Neurological function and brain histopathology were assessed over the 72-hour recovery period. In all rats, preischemic and intraischemic cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF) levels were monitored with laser-Doppler flowmetry. In additional rats, CBF changes in the striatum and hippocampus were also monitored with laser-Doppler flowmetry probes and radiolabeled microspheres. In each experiment, the level of ischemia was targeted to a 75% to 80% reduction in cortical CBF. RESULTS: The similarity in ischemic severity among groups was supported by measurements of comparable patterns of electroencephalographic power changes during the ischemic period. Compared with normal females, OVX rats showed diminished neurological outcomes and more severe histopathology in the hippocampus and striatum. Two-week treatment of OVX rats with E2 was accompanied by postischemic neuropathological changes similar to those seen in normal females. Intraischemic CBF reductions in the hippocampus and striatum were similar in all groups (to 35% to 50% of the preischemic value) but significantly less than the cortical CBF reductions. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that estrogen provides ischemic neuroprotection through mechanisms unrelated to improvement of intraischemic cerebral perfusion.  (+info)

(6/4238) Androgen influence on lacrimal gland apoptosis, necrosis, and lymphocytic infiltration.

PURPOSE: Previous studies have shown that ovariectomy and hypophysectomy cause regression of the lacrimal gland and have implicated androgens as trophic hormones that support the gland. The purposes of this study were to test the hypothesis that glandular regression after ovariectomy is due to apoptosis, to identify the cell type or types that undergo apoptosis, to survey the time course of the apoptosis, and to determine whether ovariectomy-induced apoptosis could be prevented by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treatment. METHODS: Groups of sexually mature female New Zealand White rabbits were ovariectomized and killed at various time periods up to 9 days. Additional groups of ovariectomized rabbits were treated with 4 mg/kg DHT per day. At each time period, sham-operated rabbits were used as controls. Lacrimal glands were removed and processed for analysis of apoptosis as assessed by DNA fragmentation and for morphologic examination. DNA fragmentation was determined using the TdT-dUTP terminal nick-end labeling assay and by agarose gel electrophoresis. Labeled nuclei were quantified by automated densitometry. Sections were also stained for RTLA (rabbit thymic lymphocyte antigen), rabbit CD18, and La antigen. Morphology was evaluated by both light and electron microscopy. RESULTS: The time course of apoptosis exhibited two phases, a rapid and transient phase and a second prolonged phase. A transient phase peaked at approximately 4 to 6 hours after ovariectomy. The values for degraded DNA as a percentage of total nuclear area were 4.29%+/-0.79% and 4.26%+/-0.54%, respectively. The values for sham-operated controls examined at the same time periods were 1.77%+/-0.08% and 0.82%+/-0.21%, respectively. The percentage of degraded DNA at 24 hours after ovariectomy was not different from controls examined at the same interval after sham operation. The percentage of degraded DNA 6 days after ovariectomy was significantly increased (8.5%+/-2.4%), compared with sham-operated animals at the same time period (0.68%+/-0.03%). DNA laddering was more pronounced after ovariectomy. Dihydrotestosterone treatment in ovariectomized rabbits suppressed the increase in DNA degradation. Morphologic examination of lacrimal gland sections indicated that ovariectomy caused apoptosis of interstitial cells rather than acinar or ductal epithelial cells. Tissue taken 4 hours and 6 days after ovariectomy showed nuclear chromatin condensation principally in plasma cells. Increased numbers of macrophages were also evident. Significant levels of cell degeneration and cell debris, characteristic of necrosis, were observed in acinar regions 6 days after ovariectomy. Dihydrotestosterone prevented this necrosis. Increased numbers of RTLA+, CD18+, and La+ interstitial cells were also evident 6 days after ovariectomy. In addition, ovariectomy increased La expression in ductal cells. Dihydrotestosterone treatment prevented the increase in numbers of lymphoid cells and La expression. Dihydrotestosterone also promoted the appearance of mitotic figures in acinar cells and increased the sizes of acini by 43% (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Glandular atrophy observed after ovariectomy is likely to proceed by necrosis of acinar cells rather than apoptosis. This process begins with an apparent time lag after a rapid phase of interstitial cell apoptosis. These processes are accompanied by increased lymphocytic infiltration. These results suggest that a critical level of androgen is necessary to maintain lacrimal gland structure and function and that a decrease in available androgen below this level could trigger lacrimal gland apoptosis and necrosis, and an autoimmune response. Because apoptotic and necrotic cell fragments may be sources of autoantigens that can be processed and presented to initiate an autoimmune reaction, we surmise that cell death triggered by androgen withdrawal may trigger an autoimmune response such as that encountered in Sjogren's syndrome. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)  (+info)

(7/4238) Effect of long-term food restriction on pituitary sensitivity to cLHRH-I in broiler breeder females.

The effect of long-term food restriction on the sensitivity of the pituitary to exogenously administered chicken luteinizing hormone releasing hormone I (cLHRH-I) was investigated in three groups of broiler breeder females fed ad libitum, fed a restricted quantity of food or fed a restricted quantity of food to obtain an intermediate body weight between those of the first two groups. At 16 weeks of age, basal FSH release was higher in ad libitum fed birds, culminating in ovarian development and subsequent oestradiol production by the small follicles. At this age, LH secretion was independent of ovarian feedback factors. In all groups, cLHRH-I was most active in releasing LH in intact and ovariectomized animals and, to a lesser extent, in releasing FSH in ovariectomized birds. At 39 weeks of age, basal FSH concentrations were similar among intact animals of all groups, whereas LH concentrations differed among groups, with higher values in the restricted birds. This food effect was enhanced in ovariectomized birds. Furthermore, the high response to cLHRH-I in the ovariectomized, restricted birds compared with the ad libitum, ovariectomized group suggests an improved sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. In conclusion, birds fed ad libitum showed the highest responsiveness to ovarian factors and to cLHRH-I in releasing FSH in the period before sexual maturity. No effect of amount of feeding could be observed for LH. However, during the egg laying period, LH release by cLHRH-I was highly dependent on amount of feeding and on ovarian feedback regulation. This finding indicates that the amount of feeding can modify the sensitivity of the pituitary to cLHRH-I, and possibly to gonadal hormones, during the laying period.  (+info)

(8/4238) Suppression of the secretion of luteinizing hormone due to isolation/restraint stress in gonadectomised rams and ewes is influenced by sex steroids.

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)