J M Burrin

William Harvey Research Institute, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (208)850.06 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cortisol-based therapy is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory treatments available for skin conditions including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Previous studies have investigated the steroidogenic capabilities of keratinocytes, though none have demonstrated that these skin cells, which form up to 90% of the epidermis are able to synthesise cortisol. Here we demonstrate that primary human keratinocytes (PHK) express all the elements required for cortisol steroidogenesis and metabolise pregnenolone through each intermediate steroid to cortisol. We show that normal epidermis and cultured PHK express each of the enzymes (CYP11A1, CYP17A1, 3βHSD1, CYP21 and CYP11B1) that are required for cortisol synthesis. These enzymes were shown to be metabolically active for cortisol synthesis since radiometric conversion assays traced the metabolism of [7-(3)H]-pregnenolone through each steroid intermediate to [7-(3)H]-cortisol in cultured PHK. Trilostane (a 3βHSD1 inhibitor) and ketoconazole (a CYP17A1 inhibitor) blocked the metabolism of both pregnenolone and progesterone. Finally, we show that normal skin expresses two cholesterol transporters, steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), regarded as the rate-determining protein for steroid synthesis, and metastatic lymph node 64 (MLN64) whose function has been linked to cholesterol transport in steroidogenesis. The expression of StAR and MLN64 was aberrant in two skin disorders, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, that are commonly treated with cortisol, suggesting dysregulation of epidermal steroid synthesis in these patients. Collectively these data show that PHK are capable of extra-adrenal cortisol synthesis, which could be a fundamental pathway in skin biology with implications in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2011; 404(1):62-7. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the pituitary, C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) has been implicated as a gonadotroph-specific factor, yet expression of the CNP gene (Nppc) and CNP activity in gonadotrophs is poorly defined. Here, we examine the molecular expression and putative function of a local gonadotroph natriuretic peptide system. Nppc, along with all three natriuretic peptide receptors (Npr1, Npr2 and Npr3), was expressed in both alphaT3-1 and LbetaT2 cells and primary mouse pituitary tissue, yet the genes for atrial-(ANP) and B-type natriuretic peptides (Nppa and Nppb) were much less abundant. Putative processing enzymes of CNP were also expressed in alphaT3-1 cells and primary mouse pituitaries. Transcriptional analyses revealed that the proximal 50 bp of the murine Nppc promoter were sufficient for GNRH responsiveness, in an apparent protein kinase C and calcium-dependent manner. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed Sp1/Sp3 proteins form major complexes within this region of the Nppc promoter. CNP protein was detectable in rat anterior pituitaries, and electron microscopy detected CNP immunoreactivity in secretory granules of gonadotroph cells. Pharmacological analyses of natriuretic peptide receptor activity clearly showed ANP and CNP are potent activators of cGMP production. However, functional studies failed to reveal a role for CNP in regulating cell proliferation or LH secretion. Surprisingly, CNP potently stimulated the human glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit promoter in LbetaT2 cells but not in alphaT3-1 cells. Collectively, these findings support a role for CNP as the major natriuretic peptide of the anterior pituitary, and for gonadotroph cells as the major source of CNP expression and site of action.
    Journal of Endocrinology 09/2009; 203(2):215-29. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To define the test characteristics of an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for plasma-free metanephrines (metanephrine and normetanephrine) in the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Prospective observational design from a single University Hospital. Twenty-four hour urine for catecholamines and plasma for free metanephrines were collected from patients with a clinical suspicion of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma. Patient records were reviewed for clinical data, follow-up, imaging and laboratory results to establish or exclude the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. Out of 178 consecutive patients, 10 had a paraganglioma and 12 had a pheochromocytoma: 156 were finally judged not to harbour active tumors and were therefore considered as controls. The main outcome measure was the diagnosis or exclusion of paraganglioma or pheochromocytoma and test characteristics of plasma-free metanephrines measured by EIA. Urinary epinephrine had a sensitivity of 45.5% and norepinephrine a sensitivity of 75% (98.8% specificity) for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. Plasma-free metanephrine and normetanephrine both had a sensitivity of 66.7% and a specificity of 100%, but when combined (either positive) they demonstrated a 91.7% sensitivity with a preserved specificity of 100%. For the diagnosis of paraganglioma, urinary norepinephrine gave slightly better results than plasma-free metanephrines, but combined testing was of no additional value. Plasma-free metanephrines measured by EIA have better diagnostic test characteristics than urinary catecholamines in the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. The EIA offers a simple and effective measurement of plasma-free metanephrines.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 05/2009; 161(1):131-40. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in succinate dehydrogense-B (SDHB) and the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) genes result in an increased risk of developing chromaffin tumours via a common aetiological pathway. The aim of the present retrospective study was to compare the clinical phenotypes of disease in subjects developing chromaffin tumours as a result of SDHB mutations or VHL disease. Thirty-one subjects with chromaffin tumours were assessed; 16 subjects had SDHB gene mutations and 15 subjects had a diagnosis of VHL. VHL-related tumours were predominantly adrenal phaeochromocytomas (22/26; 84.6%), while SDHB-related tumours were predominantly extra-adrenal paragangliomas (19/25; 76%). Median age at onset of the first chromaffin tumour was similar in the two cohorts. Tumour size was significantly larger in the SDHB cohort in comparison with the VHL cohort (P=0.002). Multifocal disease was present in 9/15 (60%) of the VHL cohort (bilateral phaeochromocytomas) and only 3/16 (19%) of the SDHB cohort, while metastatic disease was found in 5/16 (31%) of the SDHB cohort but not in the VHL cohort to date. The frequency of symptoms, hypertension and the magnitude of catecholamine secretion appeared to be greater in the SDHB cohort. Renal cell carcinomas were a feature in 5/15 (33%) of the VHL cohort and 1/16 (6%) of the SDHB cohort. These data indicate that SDHB-related tumours are predominantly extra-adrenal in location and associated with higher catecholamine secretion and more malignant disease, in subjects who appear more symptomatic. VHL-related tumours tend to be adrenal phaeochromocytomas, frequently bilateral and associated with a milder phenotype.
    Endocrine Related Cancer 03/2009; 16(2):515-25. · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas are familial in up to 25% of cases and can result from succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) gene mutations. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical manifestations of subjects with SDH-B gene mutations. Retrospective case-series. Thirty-two subjects with SDH-B gene mutations followed up between 1975 and 2007. Mean follow-up of 5.8 years (SD 7.4, range 0-31). Patients seen at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London and other UK centres. Features of clinical presentation, genetic mutations, tumour location, catecholamine secretion, clinical course and management. Sixteen of 32 subjects (50%) were affected by disease. Two previously undescribed mutations in the SDH-B gene were noted. A family history of disease was apparent in only 18% of index subjects. Mean age at diagnosis was 34 years (SD 15.4, range 10-62). 50% of affected subjects had disease by the age of 26 years. 69% (11 of 16) were hypertensive and 80% (12 of 15) had elevated secretions of catecholamines/metabolites. 24% (6 of 25) of tumours were located in the adrenal and 76% (19 of 25) were extra-adrenal. 19% (3 of 16) had multifocal disease. Metastatic paragangliomas developed in 31% (5 of 16). One subject developed a metastatic type II papillary renal cell carcinoma. The cohort malignancy rate was 19% (6 of 32). Macrovascular disease was noted in two subjects without hypertension. SDH-B mutation carriers develop disease early and predominantly in extra-adrenal locations. Disease penetrance is incomplete. Metastatic disease is prominent but levels are less than previously reported. Clinical manifestations may include papillary renal cell carcinoma and macrovascular disease.
    Clinical Endocrinology 05/2008; 69(4):587-96. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to examine whether triiodo-l-thyronine (T(3)) or l-thyroxine (T(4)) rapidly activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) intracellular signalling cascade in osteoblast-like cells and investigate whether this activation was initiated at the integrin alpha(V)beta(3) cell surface receptor. Using PCR and western blotting, the expression of integrin alpha(V)beta(3) mRNA and protein was demonstrated in the human osteoblast-like cell lines MG-63 and SaOS-2. The treatment of MG-63 cells with T(3) (10 nM) or T(4) (100 nM) for 10 min stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase activity (ERK, a component of the MAPK pathway) as determined by fluorescent immunocytochemistry and an immunocomplex activity assay (T(3) by 10.7-fold, P<0.01 and T(4) by 10.4-fold, P<0.01 compared with control). T(3) (10 nM) and T(4) (100 nM) also significantly stimulated thymidine incorporation into MG-63 cells by 2.3+/-0.7-fold (P<0.01) and 2.1+/-0.1-fold (P<0.05) respectively. To establish whether transient ERK activation via the integrin alpha(V)beta(3) cell surface receptor mediated these effects, MG-63 cells were pretreated for 30 min with the specific MAPK kinase inhibitor, U0126 (1 microM), or an anti-integrin alpha(V)beta(3)-blocking antibody. Both pretreatments significantly inhibited T(3)- and T(4)-stimulated ERK activation and abolished T(3)-stimulated thymidine incorporation (P<0.01). T(4)-stimulated incorporation was significantly inhibited from 2.1- to 1.3-fold above control (P<0.05). Thus, our results suggest that T(3) and T(4) rapidly stimulate ERK activation in MG-63 cells via integrin alpha(V)beta(3) and that one functional effect of this ERK activation is increased DNA synthesis.
    Journal of Endocrinology 03/2008; 196(3):509-17. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Steroid-induced osteoporosis is a common side effect of long-term treatment with glucocorticoid (GC) drugs. GCs have multiple systemic effects that may influence bone metabolism but also directly affect osteoblasts by decreasing proliferation. This may be beneficial at low concentrations, enhancing differentiation. However, high-dose treatment produces a severe deficit in the proliferative osteoblastic compartment. We provide causal evidence that this effect of GC is mediated by induction of the dual-specificity MAPK phosphatase, MKP-1/DUSP1. Excessive MKP-1 production is both necessary and sufficient to account for the impaired osteoblastic response to mitogens. Overexpression of MKP-1 after either GC treatment or transfection ablates the mitogenic response in osteoblasts. Knockdown of MKP-1 using either immunodepletion of MKP-1 before in vitro dephosphorylation assay or short interference RNA transfection prevents inactivation of ERK by GCs. Neither c-jun N-terminal kinase nor p38 MAPK is activated by the mitogenic cocktail in 20% fetal calf serum, but their activation by a DNA-damaging agent (UV irradiation) was inhibited by either GC treatment or overexpression of MKP-1, indicating regulation of all three MAPKs by MKP-1 in osteoblasts. However, an inhibitor of the MAPK/ERK kinase-ERK pathway inhibited osteoblast proliferation whereas inhibitors of c-jun N-terminal kinase or p38 MAPK had no effect, suggesting that ERK is the MAPK that controls osteoblast proliferation. Regulation of ERK by MKP-1 provides a novel mechanism for control of osteoblast proliferation by GCs.
    Molecular Endocrinology 01/2008; 21(12):2929-40. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal mass is maintained by a balance between formation and resorption, cell proliferation and apoptosis. In vitro, glucocorticoids (GCs) decrease extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) activation by mitogens, thus inhibiting osteoblast proliferation. Both ERK activity and proliferation are restored by co-treatment with the protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, vanadate. Since ERK signalling may also be anti-apoptotic, we explored the effects of vanadate on GC-induced apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Apoptosis in MBA-15.4 pre-osteoblasts increased from 6 h and remained up to eightfold higher through 6 days of 10(- 6) M dexamethasone (Dex) treatment. Co-incubation with 10(- 7) M vanadate markedly reduced apoptosis at all time points. Vanadate also prevented GC-induced poly-ADP-ribose polymerase cleavage. We assessed the transcriptional profiles of seven anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), inhibitors of apoptosis protein-1 (IAP-1), IAP-2, X-linked IAP (XIAP), Fas-associated death-domain-like IL-1beta-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein (FLIP(Long)) and FLIP(Short)) in osteoblasts subjected to various stimuli using real-time quantitative PCR. Although these anti-apoptotic genes responded to different mitogenic conditions, Dex failed to repress their expression, and in fact significantly up-regulated Bcl-X(L), IAP-2 and XIAP. Dex may therefore induce apoptosis by up-regulating pro-apoptotic gene expression. We have previously demonstrated that rats treated with GC develop low formation osteoporosis (bone histomorphometry and DEXA) and skeletal fragility (breaking strength) that were largely prevented by co-treatment with vanadate. We report here that vertebrae from rats treated with 3.5 mg/kg per day methylprednisolone for 9 weeks showed increased incidence of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotin-dUTP nick end-labelling-positive apoptotic osteocytes, which was reduced by vanadate co-treatment. We conclude that vanadate prevents GC-induced apoptosis of pre-osteoblasts in vitro and osteocytes in vivo, and this may contribute to its bone-sparing effects in vivo.
    Journal of Endocrinology 12/2007; 195(2):229-40. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nuclear receptors liver X receptor alpha (LXRalpha) and liver X-receptor beta (LXRbeta) have a well documented role in cholesterol homeostasis and lipid metabolism within tissues and cells including the liver, small intestine and macrophages. In keratinocytes, LXRs have been shown to up-regulate differentiation in vitro via increased transcription of proteins of the AP1 complex and to down-regulate proliferation in vivo. In this study, we provide a detailed description of the location and possible role of LXRs within human skin and its associated glands and appendages. Using RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, we have demonstrated expression of LXRalpha and LXRbeta mRNA and proteins in whole human skin as well as within a range of primary and immortalized human cell lines derived from human skin, hair follicle and sebaceous glands. Furthermore, we have shown that synthetic LXR specific agonists GW683965 and TO901317 significantly inhibit cell proliferation in primary epidermal keratinocytes, immortalized N/TERT keratinocytes and the immortalized SZ95 sebocyte line, and significantly increase lipogenesis in SZ95 sebocytes. In addition, we showed that the synthetic agonist TO901317 significantly reduced hair growth, in vitro.
    Experimental Dermatology 11/2007; 16(10):844-52. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The requirement for Ca(2+) to regulate hormone secretion from endocrine cells is long established, but the precise function of Ca(2+) sensors in stimulus-secretion coupling remains unclear. In the current study, we examined the expression of calpain and synaptotagmin in INS-1 pancreatic and GH3 and AtT20 pituitary cells, and investigated the sensitivity of hormone secretion from these cells to inhibition of the calpain family of cysteine proteases. Little difference in expression of mu-calpain was observed between the different endocrine cells. However, AtT20 cells did exhibit an extremely low abundance of both m-calpain and the 54 kDa isoform of calpain-10 relative to their expression in INS-1 and GH3 cells. Interestingly, secretagog-stimulated secretion from both INS-1 and GH3 cells was completely abolished following pre-incubation with the cysteine protease inhibitor E64, whereas stimulated secretion from AtT20 cells was modest and completely insensitive to E64 inhibition. These results are in stark contrast to synaptotagmin data. Synaptotagmin expression in AtT20 cells is abundant, whereas INS-1 cells express extremely low levels of this Ca(2+) sensor, relative to the pituitary cells. We hypothesize that the expression pattern of calpain and synaptotagmin isoforms may reflect alternative mechanisms of stimulus-secretion coupling in excitable endocrine cells.
    Journal of Endocrinology 10/2006; 190(3):R1-7. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D deficiency, common in South Asians, is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) activation depends on activated vitamin D [1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D)] concentration, reflecting opposing actions of 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1alpha-hydroxylase [1-alpha(OH)ase] for formation and 25(OH)D-24-hydroxylase [24(OH)ase] for catabolism. We previously reported that circulating 1,25(OH)(2)D contributed to determination of VDR-protein levels and VDR genotype was a determinant of both VDR mRNA and VDR-protein in South Asians. We hypothesized that chewing betel nut, an addictive habit common throughout South Asian communities, contributes to hypovitaminosis-D by modulating the enzymes regulating circulating 1,25(OH)(2)D concentration. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) 1-alpha(OH)ase and 24(OH)ase mRNA concentrations were measured and examined in relation to cross-sectional data on the vitamin-D axis, diet, smoking, and betel usage, including PBMC VDR-RNA and VDR-protein content in a pilot study of 33 healthy British Bangladeshis. PBMC 24(OH)ase mRNA correlated positively and serum 1,25(OH)(2)D negatively with betel quids per day (r = 0.49, P = 0.006 and r = -0.486, P = 0.006, respectively). Independent determinants for 24(OH)ase included betel quids per day (P < 0.0001) and serum 25-OHD (P = 0.024). Independent determinants for serum 1,25(OH)(2)D were gender, smoking, and betel quids per day. PBMC 1-alpha(OH)ase mRNA correlated inversely with VDR mRNA (r = -0.44; P = 0.013); its independent determinants were serum 1,25(OH)(2)D and VDR TaqI and BsmI polymorphisms (P = 0.03-0.0001). Betel chewing is a more powerful independent determinant of increased 24(OH)ase expression and of decreased serum calcitriol than serum 25-OHD, supporting the hypothesis that this habit could aggravate the effects of vitamin-D deficiency.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 07/2006; 91(7):2612-7. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulinotrophic effects of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) are mediated by its seven-transmembrane receptor (GLP-1R) in pancreatic beta-cells. We have transiently transfected the GLP-1R and a proopiomelanocortin (POMC) promoter-driven human preproinsulin gene vector (pIRES) into the AtT-20 pituitary corticotrophic cell line, to investigate the possibility of creating a regulated, insulin-expressing cell line. Receptor expression was confirmed by RT-PCR and functionality was demonstrated by measuring changes in cAMP levels in response to GLP-1. Rapid (5 min) stimulation of cAMP production was observed with 100 nM GLP-1, 24 h after transfection of 2 microg GLP-1R DNA. AtT-20 cells co-transfected with GLP-1R and human glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit or rat POMC promoters revealed GLP-1-stimulated cAMP activation of transcription. Co-transfection of the pIRES vector with the GLP-1R resulted in GLP-1-stimulated activation of POMC promoter-driven preproinsulin gene transcription but insulin secretion was not detected. However, using an adenoviral expression system to infect AtT-20 cells with GLP-1R and the preproinsulin gene (including 120 bp of its own promoter) resulted in a 6.4 +/- 0.6-fold increase in cAMP and a 4.9 +/- 0.8-fold increase in insulin secretion in response to 100 nM GLP-1. These results demonstrate, for the first time, functional GLP-1R-mediated preproinsulin gene transcription and secretion in a transplantable cell line.
    Journal of Endocrinology 01/2006; 187(3):419-27. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) are characterised by the lack of symptoms of hormone hypersecretory syndromes but in vitro studies have demonstrated that tumour cells may stain for gonadotrophins and/or their alpha- or beta-subunits. In this study, we aimed to examine the pattern of secretion of LH and FSH from a series of pituitary adenomas cultured in vitro and where data were available to relate the results to pre-operative serum gonadotrophin levels. The in vitro secretion of LH and FSH was measured from 46 cultured NFPAs and compared with pre-operative serum gonadotrophin levels in 38 patients. Peritumorous 'normal' pituitary cell cultures from 20 additional pituitary tumour patients were used for comparison with the NFPA group. A median pre-operative LH:FSH ratio of 0.33:1 was found in 38 patients with NFPAs. Preferential secretion of FSH was also documented from media of 46 NFPAs cultured in vitro with a median LH:FSH ratio of 0.32:1. A significant correlation (r = 0.43, P < 0.01) was observed between serum and media levels of FSH but not LH. Peritumorous 'normal' pituitary cells released LH and FSH in a reversed ratio (median LH:FSH ratio = 3.6:1, P < 0.01 compared with NFPAs). This study has evaluated pre-operative serum gonadotrophin levels and in vitro release of hormones in cultures of surgically removed tissue from patients with NFPAs. The data suggest preferential secretion of FSH occurs both in vitro and in vivo. By demonstrating that NFPAs cultured in vitro reflect the in vivo situation of preferential secretion of FSH, it may be possible in future to perform functional studies using this system to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of an imbalance in gonadotroph cells preferentially overproducing FSH in NFPAs.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 03/2005; 152(3):363-70. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoblast-derived interleukin-6 (IL-6) affects bone metabolism and is linked with a number of pathological states characterized by increased bone resorption, including osteoporosis and renal osteodystrophy. To examine the possibility that uraemia directly influences the release of this cytokine in bone, we have investigated the effect of human uraemic serum on the release of IL-6 from human osteoblast-like cells. Individual serum samples collected from healthy male volunteers or male haemodialysis patients prior to and during a dialysis treatment were assayed for IL-6, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R) using specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. MG-63 and SaOS-2 cells were cultured in media containing pooled sera from both groups and alongside matching charcoal-stripped sera. IL-6 concentrations were determined in harvested cell supernatants after 24 h. In further experiments, media containing individual sera obtained from five patients at regular intervals during their haemodialysis treatment were incubated with MG-63 cells to determine the effects of the dialysis process on IL-6 secretion. Haemodialysis patients had significantly higher (n = 10, P < 0.001) circulating concentrations of IL-6 (7.0 +/- 1.6 pg/ml) than normal subjects (0.4 +/- 0.1 pg/ml), but there were no significant differences in the concentrations of either IL-1beta or sIL-6R. These serum concentrations did not change significantly during 80 min of dialysis. IL-6 release by MG-63 cells incubated with charcoal-stripped serum from normal or from uraemic subjects was similar. Incubation with untreated sera from normal subjects increased IL-6 release by approximately 6-fold above the charcoal-stripped control, whereas sera from uraemic subjects increased IL-6 release by only approximately 2- to 3-fold (normal vs uraemic of 6878 +/- 595 and 2579 +/- 169 pg/ml, respectively, P < 0.001). Similar results were seen with SaOS-2 cells. Haemodialysis did not restore the capacity of uraemic serum to augment IL-6 release to the same degree as normal serum. These data show that the augmentation of IL-6 release from human osteoblastic cells after incubation with normal serum is greater than after uraemic serum. This may indicate the presence of an inhibitor of IL-6 release in uraemic serum that is involved in the deranged bone turnover of uraemic patients.
    Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 01/2005; 19(12):3078-83. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is a brain-gut peptide with GH-releasing and appetite-inducing activities and a widespread tissue distribution. Ghrelin is the endogenous ligand of the GH secretagogue receptor type 1a (GHS-R1a), and both ghrelin and the GHS-R1a are expressed in the pituitary. There are conflicting data regarding the effects of ghrelin on cell proliferation. A positive effect on proliferation and activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway has been found in hepatoma, adipose, cardiomyocyte and prostate cell lines. However, ghrelin has also been shown to have anti-proliferative effects on breast, lung and thyroid cell lines. We therefore examined the effect of ghrelin on the rat pituitary cell line GH3. RT-PCR was used for the detection of GHS-R1a and pre-proghrelin mRNA expression in GH3 cells. The effect of ghrelin on cell proliferation was studied using [(3)H]thymidine incorporation; cell counting and the activation of the MAPK pathway were studied using immunoblotting and inhibitors of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK 1/2), protein kinase C (PKC) and tyrosine phosphatase pathways. GHS-R1a and ghrelin mRNA expression were detected in GH3 cells. Ghrelin, at 10(-10) to 10(-6) M concentrations, significantly increased [(3)H]thymidine incorporation (at 10(-9) M, 183+/-13% (means+/-s.e.m.) compared with untreated controls), while 12-phorbol 13-myristate acetate (PMA) at 10(-7) M (used as a positive control) caused a 212+/-14% increase. A reproducible stimulatory effect of desoctanoyl ghrelin was also observed on [(3)H]thymidine incorporation (135+/-5%; P<0.01 at 10(-9) M compared with control), as well as on the cell count (control 6.8 x 10(4)+/-8.7 x 10(3) cells/ml vs desoctanoyl ghrelin (10(-9) M) 1.04 x 10(5)+/-7.5 x 10(3) cells/ml; P<0.01). Ghrelin caused a significant increase in phosphorylated ERK 1/2 in immunoblotting, while desoctanoyl ghrelin showed a smaller but also significant stimulatory effect. The positive effect of ghrelin and desoctanoyl ghrelin on [(3)H]thymidine incorporation was abolished by the MAPK kinase inhibitor U0126, the PKC inhibitor GF109203X and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor tyrphostin 23, suggesting that the ghrelin-induced cell proliferation of GH3 cells is mediated both via a PKC-MAPK-dependent pathway and via a tyrosine kinase-dependent pathway. This could also be clearly demonstrated by Western blot analysis, where a transient increase in ERK 1/2 phosphorylation by ghrelin was attenuated by all three inhibitors. We have shown a novel role for ghrelin in stimulating the proliferation of a somatotroph pituitary tumour cell line, suggesting that ERK activation is involved in mediating the effects of ghrelin on cell proliferation. Desoctanoyl ghrelin showed a similar effect. As ghrelin has been shown to be expressed in both normal and adenomatous pituitary tissue, locally produced ghrelin may play a role in pituitary tumorigenesis via an autocrine/paracrine pathway.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 08/2004; 151(2):233-40. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the anterior pituitary, expression of the common glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit (alphaGSU) is mediated in part by multiple response elements residing in the distal promoter (-435 bp). One such site is the gonadotrope-specific element (GSE), which is bound by the orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) and confers pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP)-stimulated alphaGSU expression. Here we investigated the functional importance of the GSE and SF-1 phosphorylation in both basal and stimulated alphaGSU transcription. Mutation of the GSE reduced basal and PACAP-stimulated alphaGSU promoter activity in the alphaT3-1 gonadotrope cell line. Overexpression of wild-type SF-1, but not an S203A mutant form of SF-1, enhanced basal and PACAP-stimulated alphaGSU promoter activity. The effect of PACAP on alphaGSU promoter activity was inhibited after overexpression of MAPK phosphatase. Helix assembly of the SF-1 ligand-binding domain was stimulated by PACAP in vitro via a MAPK-dependent pathway, as determined using a mammalian two-hybrid assay. PACAP quickly activated MAPK (within 5 min) and also resulted in elevated levels of phospho-cAMP response element-binding protein and phospho-SF-1, as judged by a specific antiphospho-S203 antibody; this effect was blocked by the MAPK kinase inhibitor, UO126. Collectively, these data demonstrate that SF-1 binds to the GSE and activates both basal and PACAP-stimulated alphaGSU transcription, which is further increased by phosphorylation at Ser203 via MAPK. These data suggest strongly that the induction of alphaGSU gene expression by peptide hormone signaling is coupled directly to the posttranslational status of SF-1.
    Molecular Endocrinology 12/2003; 17(11):2177-88. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    Robert C Fowkes, Jacky M Burrin
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    ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) is a key regulator of endocrine development, and mediates expression of gonadotrophin-specific genes in the pituitary. Basal and hormone stimulated transcription of the human glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit gene (alphaGSU) in gonadotrophs involves SF-1 and its cognate binding site, the gonadotroph-specific element (GSE). In this study, we demonstrate that SF-1 significantly enhances basal and forskolin-stimulated transcription of the human alphaGSU promoter in GH(3) cells. Mutation of the GSE abolished the SF-1-mediated transactivation of basal alphaGSU promoter activity, and significantly attenuated the forskolin effect by 50%. Mutation of the Ser203 residue in SF-1 to Ala blocked basal transactivation of alphaGSU promoter activity, and halved the forskolin effect. These data collectively reveal a direct role for SF-1 and the GSE in mediating basal and forskolin-stimulated transcription of the human alphaGSU promoter in GH(3) cells. The phosphorylation site at Ser203 appears to be required for these effects.
    Journal of Endocrinology 12/2003; 179(2):R1-6. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hormone regulation of anterior pituitary expression of the common glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit (alphaGSU) is mediated by multiple response elements residing in the first -435 bp of the human promoter. In rat pituitary cells and mouse alphaT3-1 precursor gonadotrophs, the human alphaGSU promoter is strongly responsive to activators of the adenylyl cyclase/cAMP pathway, such as the hypothalamic releasing hormone, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and forskolin (an adenylyl cyclase activator). However, the role of PACAP and cAMP in regulating alphaGSU transcription in the more differentiated LbetaT2 gonadotroph is unclear. Here, we investigate the regulation of the human alphaGSU promoter by PACAP and forskolin in LbetaT2 and alphaT3-1 gonadotrophs. PACAP failed to stimulate alphaGSU promoter activity or cAMP production in LbetaT2 cells, in marked contrast to alphaT3-1 cells. LbetaT2 gonadotrophs expressed extremely low levels of any PACAP type 1 receptors (PAC(1)-R) isoform by RT-PCR and lacked PAC(1)-R by radioligand binding. Forskolin stimulated the alphaGSU promoter in LbetaT2 cells, but by less than 30% of the response seen in alphaT3-1 gonadotrophs. This blunted cAMP transcriptional effect was not due to different levels of cAMP generation, or altered expression of the cAMP target proteins CREB, Akt, CBP or ICER. However, only LbetaT2 cells showed detectable expression of the protein kinase A type IIalpha regulatory subunit. Binding of activating transcription factor-2 and phosphorylated CREB to the consensus CRE was observed in both LbetaT2 and alphaT3-1 gonadotrophs, yet forskolin failed to stimulate either CRE- or CREB-mediated transcription in LbetaT2 cells. Collectively, these data demonstrate the lack of functional PACAP receptors in LbetaT2 gonadotrophs, and a pronounced attenuation in the responsiveness of this differentiated gonadotroph cell line to cAMP stimulus.
    Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 11/2003; 31(2):263-78. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    R C Fowkes, J M Burrin
    Journal of Endocrinology 07/2003; 177(3):345-50. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth hormone replacement therapy in GH-deficient children is associated with enhanced adrenal androgen production, raising the possibility that GH might stimulate adrenocortical hormone secretion. This has not been extensively investigated in adults to date. GH is a potent modulator of the activity of the 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) enzyme and by altering cortisol metabolism can affect the function of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and therefore potentially of adrenal androgen secretion. This study examined the effects of GH replacement in GH-deficient adults on adrenal androgen secretion. Prospective study of the effect of GH replacement therapy on adrenal androgen production in patients with adult onset hypopituitarism over a 12-month period. Thirty adult GH-deficient patients were classified into two groups according to their cortisol responses to an insulin-induced hypoglycaemia or a glucagon stimulation test: 13 patients were adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-sufficient (nine females, age 45.1 +/- 3 years), whereas 17 patients were ACTH-deficient (11 females, age 45.5 +/- 3 years). Serum samples were collected before patients were initiated on GH replacement therapy using a dose titration regimen, and after 6 and 12 months on GH therapy for measurement of serum IGF-I, dehydroepiand-rosterone sulphate (DHEAS), Delta4-Androstenedione (A4), testosterone, cortisol, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and cortisol binding globulin (CBG). Six months after the initiation of GH replacement therapy, serum IGF-I levels were within the normal age-related reference range in both groups of patients and this was maintained at 12 months [in all patients 0 vs. 6 months: median (interquartile range): 92.5 ng/ml (73-116 ng/ml) vs. 191 ng/ml (159-224 ng/ml), P < 0.01]. In both ACTH-sufficient and -deficient groups of GH-deficient patients, pretreatment serum DHEAS levels were lower than the normal age-related reference range (P < 0.01); the ACTH-deficient patients had significantly lower DHEAS levels than the ACTH-sufficient patients [median (interquartile range): 0.5 micro mol/l (0.4-1.2 micro mol/l) vs. 1.5 micro mol/l (0.6-2.7 micro mol/l), P < 0.05]. Following GH replacement therapy, median levels of serum DHEAS levels rose from 1.5 micro mol/l (0.6-2.7 micro mol/l) to 1.9 micro mol/l (1.9-3.9 micro mol/l) in ACTH-sufficient patients, increasing in 11 of the 13 patients (P < 0.02). In this group, the median percentage increase from baseline was 32% at 6 months (P < 0.05). In contrast, baseline serum DHEAS levels [0.5 micro mol/l (0.4-1.2 micro mol/l)] declined in or from the measurable range in 47% of ACTH-deficient patients [median -16%; range -36-0] and only in one patient a + 0.2 micro mol/l increase was observed. GH dose requirements tended to be lower in ACTH-sufficient patients [1.2 U/day (0.8-1.4 U/day) vs. 1.6 U/day (1.0-2.0 U/day); P = 0.062]. There were no significant changes in serum testosterone, A4, SHBG and/or CBG levels, compared to the pretreatment levels, in either group of patients over the 12 months of GH replacement. This study shows that median serum DHEAS levels are significantly lower in GH-deficient patients, even those with intact ACTH reserve, than in aged-matched controls. GH replacement therapy is associated with a significant increase in mean serum DHEAS only in ACTH-sufficient patients. These findings are consistent with either (i) GH stimulation of adrenal androgen production in the permissive presence of ACTH or (ii) an inhibitory effect of GH on 11beta-HSD type 1 activity leading to enhanced cortisol clearance, subsequent activation of the HPA axis and ACTH-mediated androgen secretion.
    Clinical Endocrinology 06/2003; 58(5):601-11. · 3.40 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
850.06 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008
    • William Harvey Research Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1988–2006
    • Queen Mary, University of London
      • • Centre for Endocrinology
      • • Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2003
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
      San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 1998–2002
    • St. George's School
      • Department of Anaesthesia
      Middletown, Rhode Island, United States
    • London College of Clinical Hypnosis
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1995
    • Loughborough University
      Loughborough, England, United Kingdom
    • University of London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1987–1991
    • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 1989
    • The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
      Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
  • 1980–1987
    • Newcastle University
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
  • 1982–1984
    • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
    • WWF United Kingdom
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1983
    • Aarhus University
      Aarhus, Central Jutland, Denmark