Nuclear bodies are usual constituents in tissues of hibernating dormice. (1/1201)

In previous studies we demonstrated in several tissues of the hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius that during hibernation cell nuclei contain particular structural constituents absent in euthermia. In the present study we examine the same tissues in euthermic and hibernating individuals of the edible dormouse Glis glis in order to investigate possible modifications of nuclear structural constituents occurring during hibernation in this species. Edible dormice were captured in the wild and maintained in an external animal house. Samples of liver, pancreas, brown adipose tissue and adrenal cortex were taken from three hibernating and three euthermic animals and processed for resin embedding. Ultrastructural and immunocytochemical studies were carried out on cell nuclei of these tissues. The most evident feature of cell nuclei of hibernating dormice was the presence of several nuclear bodies, namely fibro-granular material, amorphous bodies, coiled bodies, perichromatin granule-like granules and nucleoplasmic fibrils, the distribution of which was peculiar to each tissue. No one of these constituents was detectable during euthermia. Immunocytochemical analyses revealed that they contain some splicing factors. Apart from some differences, maybe due to the different characteristics of lethargy, the nuclear bodies found in edible dormice were morphologically and immunocytochemically similar to those previously described in the same tissues of hazel dormice. They therefore seem to be strictly correlated to the hibernating state. If they represent storage and/or assembly sites of splicing factors to be rapidly used upon arousal, they could represent a usual structural feature in cells of hibernating species.  (+info)

Natural killer cell activity in the peripheral blood of patients with Cushing's syndrome. (2/1201)

BACKGROUND: Natural killer (NK) cells are CD3(-)CD16(+)CD56(+) bone-marrow-derived lymphocytes mediating first-line defence by direct cytotoxicity against various types of target cells without prior immunization. NK cell activity is positively regulated by immune interferon (IFN-gamma); among hormones, glucocorticoids are potent in vitro and in vivo inhibitors, whereas ACTH and beta-endorphin in many experimental circumstances enhance NK cytotoxicity. DESIGN: We measured NK cytotoxicity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained at 0800h and 2000h from 26 patients with Cushing's syndrome (12 pituitary-dependent, 12 adrenal-dependent and two dependent on ectopic ACTH secretion). In vitro responsiveness to IFN-gamma or cortisol was also tested. METHODS: NK activity was measured in a 4-h direct cytotoxicity assay using K562 cells as targets. Plasma ACTH, serum and urinary free cortisol were concomitantly measured with commercially available kits. RESULTS: Spontaneous activity and responsiveness to IFN-gamma or cortisol were significantly greater in 15 age- and sex-matched controls than in Cushing's patients at 0800h. In pituitary-dependent Cushing's patients, plasma ACTH correlated positively with mean levels of spontaneous NK activity (r=0.64, P<0.05) and negatively with cortisol-dependent percentage inhibition (r=-0.69, P<0.02). In adrenal-dependent Cushing's patients, a negative correlation was observed between levels of spontaneous NK activity and urinary free cortisol (r=-0.67, P<0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that excess endogenous glucocorticoids affect spontaneous NK cell activity and responsiveness to exogenous IFN-gamma or cortisol. The differential patterns observed between pituitary-dependent and adrenal-dependent groups are compatible with a positive immunomodulatory role of pituitary pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides that effectively counterbalance, at least partially, glucocorticoid immunosuppression.  (+info)

Lipid requirement of membrane-bound 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase. Studies on beef adrenocortical microsomes. (3/1201)

The role of phospholipid in the beef adrenal microsomal 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase (EC has been investigated with the use of phospholipase A to alter the microsomal phospholipids. The byproducts of phospholipase A digestion have been removed with a wash solution containing bovine serum albumin. Removal of 80-85% of the phospholipid leads to loss of 80-90% of the 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase activity. Reconstitution experiments have been performed by introduction of lipid aqueous dispersions in the enzymatic assay. Asolectin, a commercially available preparation of soy phosphatides, is able to stimulate the enzymatic activity but does not restore the 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase activity in phospholipase-A-treated membranes. In contrast, the introduction of aqueous dispersions of microsomal total lipid mixtures in the enzymatic assay brings about a complete restoration of the 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase activity in the lipid-depleted membranes. It is concluded that the bovine adrenal microsomal 3-oxosteroid delta4-delta5-isomerase requires phospholipid(s) to exhibit its full catalytic activity.  (+info)

Local renin-angiotensin system is involved in K+-induced aldosterone secretion from human adrenocortical NCI-H295 cells. (4/1201)

NCI-H295, a human adrenocarcinoma cell line, has been proposed as a model system to define the role of the renin-angiotensin system in the regulation of aldosterone production in humans. Because the precise cellular localization of the components of the renin-angiotensin system in human adrenal cortical cells remains unclear, we investigated their localization in this defined cell system. NCI-H295 cells expressed both angiotensinogen and renin as shown by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. Human angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) was not detectable by immunocytochemistry, ACE binding, or reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. However, 3.5 mmol/L K+ stimulated the formation of both angiotensin I and angiotensin II 1. 9- and 2.5-fold, respectively, and increased aldosterone release 3. 0-fold. The K+-induced stimulation of aldosterone release was decreased by captopril and enalaprilat (24% and 26%, respectively) and by the angiotensin type 1 (AT1)-receptor antagonist losartan (28%). Angiotensin II-induced stimulation of aldosterone release was abolished by losartan treatment. Specific [125I]Sar1-angiotensin II binding was detected by receptor autoradiography. The binding of [125I]Sar1-angiotensin II was completely displaced by the AT1 antagonist losartan but not by the AT2 receptor ligand PD 123319, confirming the expression of angiotensin II AT1 receptors in NCI-H295 cells. Our results demonstrate that NCI-H295 cells express most of the components of the renin-angiotensin system. Our failure to detect ACE, however, suggests that the production of angiotensin II in NCI-H295 cells may be ACE independent. NCI-H295 cells are able to produce angiotensin II, and K+ increases aldosterone secretion in part through an angiotensin-mediated pathway. The production of angiotensin II in NCI-H295 cells demonstrates that this human cell line can be useful to characterize the role of locally produced angiotensin II in the regulation of aldosterone release.  (+info)

Comparison of expression and regulation of the high-density lipoprotein receptor SR-BI and the low-density lipoprotein receptor in human adrenocortical carcinoma NCI-H295 cells. (5/1201)

In rodents, cholesterol for adrenal steroidogenesis is derived mainly from high-density lipoproteins (HDL) via the HDL receptor, scavenger receptor-BI (SR-BI). In humans cholesterol for steroidogenesis is considered to be derived from the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor pathway, and the contribution of SR-BI to that is unknown. In the present study SR-BI expression and regulation by steroidogenic stimuli was analysed in human adrenocortical cells and compared with LDL receptor expression. In addition, the functional contribution of both receptors for cholesteryl ester delivery to human adrenocortical cells was compared. Northern blot and reverse transcription-PCR amplification and sequence analysis demonstrated the presence of SR-BI mRNA in foetal and adult human adrenal cortex. Furthermore, SR-BI mRNA was expressed to similar levels in human primary adrenocortical and adrenocortical carcinoma NCI-H295 cells, indicating its presence in the steroid-producing cells. Treatment of NCI-H295 cells with 8Br-cAMP, a stimulator of glucocorticoid synthesis via the protein kinase A second messenger signal transduction pathway, resulted in an increase of both SR-BI and LDL receptor mRNA levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The induction of SR-BI and LDL receptor by cAMP was independent of ongoing protein synthesis and occurred at the transcriptional level. Ligand blot experiments indicated that a protein of similar size to SR-BI is the major HDL-binding protein in NCI-H295 cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated that cAMP treatment increased the levels of LDL receptor and, to a lesser extent, SR-BI protein in NCI-H295 cells. Binding and uptake of cholesterol was quantitatively smaller from HDL than from LDL, both in basal as well as in cAMP-stimulated cells. Scatchard analysis under basal conditions indicated that NCI-H295 cells express twice as many specific binding sites for LDL than for HDL. Dissociation constant values (Kd; in nm) were approximately five times higher for HDL than for LDL, indicating a lower affinity of HDL compared with LDL. The combined effects of these two parameters and the low cholesteryl ester content of HDL subfraction 3 (HDL3) contributes to a lower cholesteryl ester uptake from HDL than from LDL by the NCI-H295 cells. In conclusion, both the SR-BI and LDL receptor genes are expressed in the human adrenal cortex and coordinately regulated by activators of glucocorticoid synthesis. In contrast to rodents, in human adrenocortical cells the HDL pathway of cholesterol delivery appears to be of lesser importance than the LDL pathway. Nevertheless, the SR-BI pathway may become of major importance in conditions of functional defects in the LDL receptor pathway.  (+info)

The expression of inhibin/activin subunits in the human adrenal cortex and its tumours. (6/1201)

Inhibins and activins are dimeric proteins of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily which have been shown to be expressed in the adrenal cortex. Recent studies have suggested a role for these peptides in the pathogenesis and/or function of adrenal tumours. To investigate further their physiological and pathological roles, we have documented immunoreactivity for inhibin alpha, betaA and betaB subunits in normal adult and fetal human adrenals, in hyperplastic adrenals and in adrenal tumours. In the normal and hyperplastic adult gland, diffuse immunopositivity was demonstrated for beta subunits, suggesting that activins (beta beta dimers) can be expressed in all zones. Inhibin alpha was limited to the zona reticularis and the innermost zona fasciculata in the normal gland, extending centripetally into the zona fasciculata in hyperplasia, supporting a role for ACTH in the regulation of expression, and suggesting that expression of inhibins (alpha beta dimers) is restricted. Immunopositivity for all three subunits was seen in both fetal and definitive zones of the fetal cortex, indicating that both inhibins and activins could be expressed in both. Immunopositivity for all three subunits was seen in most adrenocortical tumours. Loss of immunopositivity for inhibin alpha in a subgroup of carcinomas might indicate a role in tumour progression. The greater intensity of staining for inhibin alpha in tumours associated with Cushing's syndrome again suggests a link with cortisol production.  (+info)

Influences of long-term administration of 24R, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, a vitamin D3 derivative, in rats. (7/1201)

In order to examine the influences by long-term feeding of 24R, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D3[24R, 25(OH)2D3], an active form of vitamin D, Wistar rats (14-week-old, male, 20 rats/group) were fed a powder diet containing 0 or 5 ppm 24R, 25(OH)2D3 for 57 weeks. Final body weights and total food consumption were comparable between the groups. Urinary calcium levels were significantly (p < 0.05 or 0.01) increased by the administration of 24R, 25(OH)2D3 at weeks 3, 22 and 56, although the levels of serum calcium did not differ between the groups at the termination of week 57. In the 24R, 25(OH)2D3 group, weights of the adrenals and femurs were significantly (p < 0.01) increased. Histopathologically, this was found due to thickening of cortical bone in the femurs, and medullary hyperplasia and pheochromocytoma of the adrenals. Immunohistochemically, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-labeling indices for intact adrenal medulla, medullary hyperplasia and pheochromocytoma in the 24R, 25(OH)2D3 group were respectively 1.82 +/- 1.21, 5.88 +/- 4.13 and 16, all higher than that for the adrenal medulla in the control group (0.87 +/- 0.67). These results indicate that 24R, 25(OH)2D3 at a dose with which serum calcium is not chronically increased causes thickening of the cortex of the femur, and development of adrenal proliferative lesions, suggesting that rats may be too sensitive for results to be relevant to human risk assessment.  (+info)

Calcium and reactive oxygen species as messengers in endotoxin action on adrenocortical cells. (8/1201)

The effect of Escherichia coli 0111:B4 endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) on the intracellular Ca2+ and reactive oxygen metabolite content of both rat isolated fasciculata-reticularis and glomerulosa cells was evaluated by flow cytometry to know the role of these mechanisms in the initiation of cell injury produced by LPS on adrenocortical cells during endotoxic shock. A rapid increase of intracellular calcium was induced by endotoxin in both cell types. In fasciculata-reticularis cells, this [Ca2+]i increase was mainly due to an important mobilization of intracellular stores. Dose-dependent increases in [Ca2+]i were also observed when both cell types were incubated with LPS for 20 min in the presence of extracellular calcium. This treatment abolished the increase in intracellular calcium induced by ACTH and angiotensin II. On the other hand, the endotoxin produced a fast and dose-dependent increase in reactive oxygen species in both cell types, higher in glomerulosa than in fasciculata-reticularis cells. LPS-pretreated cells showed more susceptibility to the oxidative stress induced by Fe2+. These results can be related to functional alterations previously described showing the involvement of calcium and reactive oxygen species as messengers in the endotoxin action on adrenocortical cells.  (+info)