Acta Physiologica

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1748-1716
Print ISSN: 1748-1708
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Fluorescent protein-based indicators have enabled measurement of intracellular signals previously nearly inaccessible for studies. However, indicators showing intracellular translocation upon response suffer from serious limitations, especially the very time-consuming data collection. We therefore set out in this study to evaluate whether fixing and counting cells showing translocation could mend this issue. Altogether three different genetically encoded indicators for diacylglycerol and inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate were transiently expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells stably expressing human OX(1) orexin receptors. Upon stimulation with orexin-A, the cells were fixed with six different protocols. Different protocols showed clear differences in their ability to preserve the indicator's localization (i.e. translocation after stimulus) and its fluorescence, and the best results for each indicator were obtained with a different protocol. The concentration-response data obtained with cell counting are mostly comparable to the real-time translocation and biochemical data. The counting method, as used here, works at single time point and looses the single-cell-quantitative aspect. However, it also has some useful properties. First, it easily allows processing of a 100- to 1000-fold higher cell numbers than real-time imaging producing statistically consistent population-quantitative data much faster. Secondly, it does not require expensive real-time imaging equipment. Fluorescence in fixed cells can also be quantitated, though this analysis would be more time-consuming than cell counting. Thirdly, in addition to the quantitative data collection, the method could be applied for identifying responsive cells. This might be very useful in identification of e.g. orexin-responding neurones in a large population of non-responsive cells in primary cultures.
 
Aim: Protein kinases, activated by vasodilator substances, affect vascular function by regulating large conductance Ca(2+) -activated K(+) (KCa 1.1) channels. Thus, the aim of the present investigation was to address the hypothesis that quercetin-induced vasorelaxation is caused by a PKG-mediated stimulation of KCa 1.1 currents. Methods: Single freshly isolated myocytes and endothelium-denuded rings of the rat tail main artery were employed for electrophysiological and contractility measurements respectively. Results: Quercetin relaxed vessels and increased KCa 1.1 currents in a concentration-dependent manner: both effects were antagonized by the specific KCa 1.1 channel blocker iberiotoxin. Stimulation of KCa 1.1 currents was fully reversible upon drug washout, markedly reduced by Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPs, a PKG-inhibitor, but not affected by catalase. Quercetin shifted by 34.3 mV the voltage dependence of KCa 1.1 channel activation towards more negative membrane potentials without affecting its slope. Under conditions of tight functional coupling between sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) release sites and KCa 1.1 channels, quercetin decreased both the frequency and the amplitude of KCa 1.1 transient currents in a ryanodine-like manner. Conclusion: The natural flavonoid quercetin relaxes the rat tail main artery partly via a PKG-mediated stimulation of smooth muscle KC a 1.1 channels.
 
Foetal growth restriction (FGR), reflective of an adverse intrauterine environment, confers a significantly increased risk of perinatal mortality and morbidity. In addition, low birthweight associates with adult diseases including hypertension, metabolic dysfunction and behavioural disorders. A key mechanism underlying FGR is exposure of the foetus to glucocorticoids which, while critical for foetal development, in excess can reduce foetal growth and permanently alter organ structure and function, predisposing to disease in later life. Foetal glucocorticoid exposure is regulated, at least in part, by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11β-HSD2), which catalyses the intracellular inactivation of glucocorticoids. This enzyme is highly expressed within the placenta at the maternal-foetal interface, limiting the passage of glucocorticoids to the foetus. Expression of 11β-HSD2 is also high in foetal tissues, particularly within the developing central nervous system. Down-regulation or genetic deficiency of placental 11β-HSD2 is associated with significant reductions in foetal growth and birth weight, and programmed outcomes in adulthood. To unravel the direct significance of 11β-HSD2 for developmental programming, placental function, neurodevelopment and adult behaviour have been extensively investigated in a mouse knockout of 11β-HSD2. This review highlights the evidence obtained from this mouse model for a critical role of feto-placental 11β-HSD2 in determining the adverse programming outcomes.
 
Nitric oxide (NO) is an endogenous mediator of many physiological processes, many of which are mediated by cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP). Much effort has been made to validate clinical markers of NO production or bioavailability. While the measurement of plasma nitrate, nitrite, and cGMP concentrations have been suggested to reflect endogenous production of NO, there is no study showing whether there is correlation between these three markers. In the present study, we investigate whether there is correlation between the plasma concentrations of nitrate, nitrite, and cGMP in a relatively homogeneous group of 141 healthy subjects. Venous blood samples were collected from healthy male subjects and plasma aliquots were then immediately removed and stored at -70 degrees C until analysed in duplicate for their nitrite and nitrate content using ozone-based chemiluminescence assays. Plasma cGMP levels were determined by using a commercial enzyme immunoassay. While we found no significant correlation between plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations (P = 0.747), or between plasma nitrate and cGMP concentrations (P = 0.221), a significant positive correlation was found between plasma cGMP and nitrite concentrations (P = 0.017, r(s) = 0.270). The significant correlation we found between plasma nitrite and cGMP concentrations is consistent with the notion that nitrite or cGMP concentrations in plasma may be useful clinical markers of NO formation in healthy subjects.
 
The study was undertaken to extend our investigation concerning both the in vivo activity of interleukin (IL)-17 and the specific role of nitric oxide (NO) in IL-17-induced effects in the process of haematopoiesis. CBA mice were simultaneously treated with IL-17 and/or nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, l-NAME, for 5 days and changes within various haematopoietic cell lineages in bone marrow, spleen and peripheral blood were analysed. Findings showed that administration of both IL-17 and l-NAME stimulated increase in net haematopoiesis in normal mice. IL-17-enhanced myelopoiesis was characterized by stimulation of both femoral and splenic haematopoietic progenitor cells and morphologically recognizable granulocytes. Additionally, IL-17 induced alterations in the frequency of erythroid progenitor cells in both bone marrow and spleen, accompanied with their mobilization to the peripheral blood. As a consequence of these changes in the erythroid cell compartments, significant reticulocytosis was observed, which evidenced that in IL-17-treated mice effective erythropoiesis occurred. Exposure of mice to NOS inhibitor also increased the number of both granulocyte-macrophage and erythroid progenitors in bone marrow and spleens, and these alterations were followed by the mobilization of erythroid progenitors and elevated content of reticulocytes in peripheral blood. The specific role of NO in IL-17-induced haematopoiesis was demonstrated only in the IL-17-reducing effect on bone marrow late stage erythroid progenitors, CFU-E. The results demonstrated the involvement of both IL-17 and NO in the regulation of haematopoietic cell activity in various haematopoietic compartments. They further suggest that IL-17 effects are differentially mediated depending on the haematopoietic microenvironments.
 
Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and (b) coronary perfusion pressure (CPP) from female (N = 56) and male SHR (N = 56). Date are reported as means ± SEM. *P < 0.05 compared with the female group (unpaired Student’s t-test).
Coronary perfusion pressure of isolated hearts from female and male SHR before and after perfusion with 100 lm
The relaxation induced by oestrogen in the coronary vascular bed from normotensive rats has been well described. However, almost nothing is known about this action in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). We investigated the effect of 17 β-oestradiol (E(2) ) in coronary arteries from SHR as well as the contribution of the endothelium and the vascular smooth muscle to this action. Coronary arteries from male and female rats were used. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and baseline coronary perfusion pressure (CPP) were determined. The effects of 10 μm E(2) were assessed by in bolus administration before and after endothelium denudation (0.25 μm sodium deoxycholate) or perfusion with 100 μm N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), 2.8 μm indomethacin, 0.75 μm clotrimazole, 100 μm L-NAME after endothelium denudation (0.25 μm sodium deoxycholate), 100 μm L-NAME plus 2.8 μm indomethacin, 0.75 μm clotrimazole plus 2.8 μm indomethacin and 4 mm tetraethylammonium (TEA).   MAP was higher in the male group, while CPP was higher in the female group (P<0.05). There were no differences in E(2)-induced relaxation between females and males (-17±1.6 vs. -17±2% respectively). Only in the female group the E(2) response was significantly attenuated after endothelium removal or perfusion with clotrimazole. The response to E(2) was reduced in both groups with L-NAME, L-NAME plus indomethacin, L-NAME after endothelium removal or TEA. Nitric oxide, endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor and potassium channels may have the most important role to E(2) response in the female group, whereas nitric oxide and potassium channels may have the most important role in the male group.
 
The adipose tissue-derived hormone, leptin, acts via its receptor (LRb) in the brain to regulate energy balance and neuroendocrine function. In order to understand leptin action we have explored the physiological function of LRb signalling pathways, defining important roles for signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) in positive signalling and for LRbTyr(985)-mediated feedback inhibition in leptin signal attenuation. As the cells on which leptin acts are not homogeneous, but rather represent a broadly distributed network of neurones with divergent projections and functions, it is also crucial to consider how each of these populations responds to LRb signals to contribute to leptin action. While well-known LRb-expressing neurones within the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus mediate crucial effects on satiety and energy expenditure, other populations of LRb-expressing neurones in the ventral tegmental area and elsewhere likely control the mesolimbic dopamine system. Additional populations of LRb-expressing neurones likely contribute to other aspects of neuroendocrine regulation. It will be important to define the molecular mechanisms by which leptin acts to regulate neurophysiology in each of these LRb-expressing neural populations in order to understand the totality of leptin action.
 
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key regulator of cellular and whole-body energy homeostasis. Recently, 12 AMPK-related kinases (BRSK1, BRSK2, NUAK1, NUAK2, QIK, QSK, SIK, MARK1, MARK2, MARK3, MARK4 and MELK) were identified that are closely related by sequence homology to the catalytic domain of AMPK. The protein kinase LKB1 acts as a master upstream kinase activating AMPK and 11 of the AMPK-related kinases by phosphorylation of a conserved threonine residue in their T-loop region. Further sequence analyses have identified the eight-member SNRK kinase family as distant relatives of AMPK. However, only one of these is phosphorylated and activated by LKB1. Although much is known about AMPK, many of the AMPK-related kinases remain largely uncharacterized. This review outlines the general similarities in structure and function of the AMPK-related kinases before examining the specific characteristics of each, including a brief discussion of the SNRK family.
 
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a cellular energy sensor that is conserved in eukaryotes. Elevated AMP/ATP ratio activates AMPK, which inhibits energy-consuming processes and activates energy-producing processes to restore the energy homeostasis inside the cell. AMPK activators, metformin and thiazolidinediones, are used for the treatment of type II diabetes. Recently, reports have indicated that AMPK may also be a beneficial target for cancer treatment. Cancer cells have characteristic metabolic changes different from normal cells and, being a key metabolic regulator, AMPK may regulate the switch. AMPK may act to inhibit tumorigenesis through regulation of cell growth, cell proliferation, autophagy, stress responses and cell polarity.
 
In the present study, we assessed the role of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptors (5-HT(1A), 5-HT(2) and 5-HT(7)) in the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM) on the ventilatory and thermoregulatory responses to hypoxia. To this end, pulmonary ventilation (V(E)) and body temperature (T(b)) of male Wistar rats were measured in conscious rats, before and after a 0.1 microL microinjection of WAY-100635 (5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist, 3 microg 0.1 microL(-1), 56 mm), ketanserin (5-HT(2) receptor antagonist, 2 microg 0.1 microL(-1), 36 mm) and SB269970 (5-HT(7) receptor antagonist, 4 microg 0.1 microL(-1), 103 mm) into the NRM, followed by 60 min of severe hypoxia exposure (7% O(2)). Intra-NMR microinjection of vehicle (control rats) or 5-HT antagonists did not affect V(E) or T(b) during normoxic conditions. Exposure of rats to 7% O(2) evoked a typical hypoxia-induced anapyrexia after vehicle microinjections, which was not affected by microinjection of WAY-100635, SB269970 or ketanserin. The hypoxia-induced hyperpnoea was not affected by SB269970 and ketanserin intra-NMR. However, the treatment with WAY-100635 intra-NRM attenuated the hypoxia-induced hyperpnoea. These data suggest that 5-HT acting on 5-HT(1A) receptors in the NRM increases the hypoxic ventilatory response.
 
The 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist 4-Iodo-N-[2-[4-(methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl]ethyl]-N-2-pyridinyl-benzamide hydrochloride (p-MPPI) (10 microM) was perfused into the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) to study simultaneously the effects of the drug on the DRN and frontal cortex extracellular serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) levels and concurring behavioural states. Waking, slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep were determined by polygraphic recordings during microdialysis perfusion and extracellular sample collection. The samples were analysed by microbore high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrochemical detection for analysis of 5-HT. p-MPPI perfusion into the DRN (n = 6) produced a sixfold 5-HT increase in the DRN during all behavioural states. The increased 5-HT level was most likely related to the blockage of 5-HT(1A) receptors in the DRN by p-MPPI. No significant effect was seen on sleep. Despite the dramatic increase in DRN extracellular 5-HT produced by p-MPPI, only a transient and nonsignificant effect on sleep was recorded. It is suggested that the usual coupling between 5-HT level and behavioural state may be lost when an excessive serotonergic output is pharmacologically achieved.
 
To clarify the time-related changes in cardiac function and the mechanism underlying the cardiac dysfunction present in diabetes mellitus, we studied mechanical responses induced by alpha(1)- and beta-adrenoceptors, the Ca(2+)-entry promoter Bay K 8644- and ryanodine (an agent known to inhibit Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum) in papillary muscles from streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic and age-matched control rats. Male Wistar rats received a single injection of STZ (60 mg kg(-1)) via the tail vein to induce diabetes. For the mechanical studies, papillary muscle preparations were suspended in an organ bath and isometric contractions were measured in 1-, 4-, and 10-week STZ-induced diabetic and age-matched control rats. In 1-week diabetic rats, the contractions induced by isoproterenol, methoxamine and Bay K 8644 were unchanged (vs. age-matched controls). In 4-week diabetic rats, (a) the isoproterenol- and Bay K 8644-induced contractions were impaired, (b) sensitivity to ryanodine was reduced, whereas (c) the methoxamine-induced contraction was unchanged. In 10-week diabetic rats, the isoproterenol- and Bay K 8644-induced contractile responses were impaired and the sensitivity to ryanodine was reduced, but in sharp contrast the methoxamine-induced contraction was enhanced. Both the mRNA level for the alpha(1A) adrenoceptor (but not the alpha(1B) or alpha(1D) mRNAs) and alpha(1A) adrenoceptor protein were increased in 10-week diabetic rats (vs. age-matched controls). These results suggest that impairments of beta-adrenergic and Ca(2+)-handling mechanisms occur early in the development of cardiomyopathy in STZ-induced diabetic rats, and that this is followed by augmentation of alpha(1A) adrenoceptor-mediated inotropy due to alpha(1A) adrenoceptor upregulation.
 
Differences in fibre-type recruitment during exercise may induce a heterogenic response in fibre-type gene expression. We have investigated the effect of two different exercise protocols on the fibre-type-specific expression of master genes involved in oxidative metabolism [proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) and Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4)]. Untrained subjects (n = 7) completed 90-min cycling either at a constant intensity [continuous exercise (CE): approximately 60% of VO(2max) ] or as interval exercise (IE: approximately 120/20% VO(2max) , duty cycle 12/18s). Muscle samples were taken before (pre) and 3 h after (post) exercise. Single fibres were isolated from freeze-dried muscle and characterized as type I or type II. The cDNA from two fibres of the same type was pooled and mRNA analysed with reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR. Continuous exercise and IE elicited a small increase in blood lactate (<2.5 mM) and moderate glycogen depletion (<40%) without difference between exercise modes. The mRNA of PGC-1α and PDK4 increased 5- to 8-fold in both fibre types after exercise, and the relative increase was negatively correlated with the basal level. However, the mRNA of PGC-1α and PDK4 was not different between type I and II fibres neither pre nor post, and there was no difference in the exercise-induced response between fibre types or exercise modes. We conclude that the mRNA of PGC-1α and PDK4 increases markedly in both fibre types after prolonged exercise without difference between CE and IE. The similar response between fibre types may relate to that subjects were sedentary and that the metabolic stress was low.
 
Aim: We investigated whether preconditioning with caloric restriction (CR) ameliorates kidney ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and whether the salutary effects of CR are mediated through enhanced autophagy and/or activation of key metabolic sensors SIRT1, AMP-kinase and PGC-1α. Methods: Six- to seven-week-old Wistar rats were divided into three groups: (i) sham-operated group; (ii) I/R group (40-min ischaemia followed by 24 h of reperfusion); and (iii) I/R group kept under CR (energy intake 70%) for 2 weeks before surgery. In additional experiments, sirtinol and 3-methyladenine (3-MA) were used as inhibitors of SIRT1 and autophagy respectively. Renal function was measured, and acute tubular damage and nitrotyrosine expression were scored. Kidney adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK), SIRT1, eNOS, PGC-1α and LC-3B expressions were measured. Results: Caloric restriction improved renal function, protected against the development of acute tubular necrosis and attenuated I/R-induced nitrosative stress. Kidney I/R injury decreased eNOS and PGC-1α expression, inhibit autophagy and increased SIRT1 and AMPK expressions by 2.6- and fourfold respectively. However, phosphorylation level of AMPK was decreased. As compared with I/R injury group, CR further increased kidney SIRT1 expression by 1.8-fold, promoted autophagy and counteracted I/R-induced decreases in the expression of eNOS and PGC-1α. 3-MA abolished the renoprotective effects of CR, whereas sirtinol did not influence renal function in CR rats with I/R injury. Conclusions: Caloric restriction ameliorates acute kidney I/R injury through enhanced autophagy and counteraction of I/R-induced decreases in the renal expression of eNOS and PGC-1α.
 
Myocardial stretching is an arrhythmogenic factor. Optical techniques and mechanical uncouplers are used to study the mechanoelectric feedback. The aim of this study is to determine whether the mechanical uncouplers 2,3-butanedione monoxime and Blebbistatin hinder or modify the electrophysiological effects of acute mechanical stretch. The ventricular fibrillation (VF) modifications induced by acute mechanical stretch were studied in 27 Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts using epicardial multiple electrodes and mapping techniques under control conditions (n = 9) and during the perfusion of 2,3-butanedione monoxime (15 mM) (n = 9) or Blebbistatin (10 μm) (n = 9). In the control series, myocardial stretch increased the complexity of the activation maps and the dominant frequency (DF) of VF from 13.1 ± 2.0 Hz to 19.1 ± 3.1 Hz (P < 0.001, 46% increment). At baseline, the activation maps showed less complexity in both the 2,3-butanedione monoxime and Blebbistatin series, and the DF was lower in the 2,3-butanedione monoxime series (11.4 ± 1.2 Hz; P < 0.05). The accelerating effect of mechanical stretch was abolished under 2,3-butanedione monoxime (maximum DF = 11.7 ± 2.4 Hz, 5% increment, ns vs baseline, P < 0.0001 vs. control series) and reduced under Blebbistatin (maximum DF = 12.9 ± 0.7 Hz, 8% increment, P < 0.01 vs. baseline, P < 0.0001 vs. control series). The variations in complexity of the activation maps under stretch were not significant in the 2,3-butanedione monoxime series and were significantly attenuated under Blebbistatin. The accelerating effect and increased complexity of myocardial activation during VF induced by acute mechanical stretch are abolished under the action of 2,3-butanedione monoxime and reduced under the action of Blebbistatin.
 
The myocardial extracellular matrix (ECM), which preserves the geometry and integrity of the myocardium, is a dynamic structure whose component proteins are maintained by a finely controlled homeostatic balance between deposition and degradation. One of the key targets in cardiology is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms which mediate pathological remodelling of this matrix causing the transition from compensatory hypertrophy to congestive decompensated heart failure. In response to injury or increased workload, cardiac remodelling including myocyte hypertrophy, develops as the heart attempts to compensate for increased wall stresses. Persistence of these stresses over extended time periods leads to disruption of ECM homeostasis resulting in irreversible maladaptive cardiac remodelling, ventricular dilatation and finally heart failure. ECM remodelling is regulated by the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their endogenous inhibitors (TIMPs). Clinical studies and experimental models of cardiac disease states have reported alterations in the balance between the MMPs and TIMPs in the failing heart and crucially at intermediate time points in the progression to failure. This article reviews the recent clinical, genetic and experimental approaches employed to compare ECM, MMP and TIMP profiles in healthy, compensated and failing hearts and identifies common themes in the perturbation of ECM homeostasis in the transition to heart failure.
 
Na+,K+-ATPase situated in the plasma membrane mediates active extrusion of Na+ and intracellular accumulation of K+. This transport system – the Na+,K+-pump – is the major regulator of the transmembrane distribution of Na+ and K+, and is itself subject to regulation by a wide variety of factors in skeletal muscles. The excitation of skeletal muscles is elicited by a rapid influx of Na+, followed by an equivalent efflux of K+ across sarcolemmal and t-tubular membranes. Due to their size and sudden onset, these events constitute the major transport challenge for the Na+,K+-pumps. Skeletal muscles contain the largest single pool of K+ in the organism. During intense exercise, the Na+,K+-pumps cannot readily reaccumulate K+ into the muscle cells. Therefore, the working muscles undergo a net loss of K+, causing up to a doubling of the K+ concentration in the arterial blood plasma in less than 1 min and even larger increases in interstitial K+. This may induce depolarization, loss of excitability and force, in particular in muscles, where the excitation-induced passive Na+,K+-fluxes are large. During continuous stimulation of isolated rat muscles, there is a highly significant correlation between the rise in extracellular K+ and the rate of force decline. Fortunately, excitation increases the Na+,K+-pumping rate within seconds. Thus, maximum activation of up to 20-fold above the resting transport rate may be reached in 10 s, with utilization of all available Na+,K+-pumps. In muscles, where excitability is reduced by pre-exposure to high [K+]o, acute activation of the Na+,K+-pumps by hormones or intermittent electrical stimulation restores excitability and contractility. In working muscles, the Na+,K+-pumps, due to rapid activation of their large transport capacity, play a dynamic regulatory role in the from second to second ongoing restoration and maintenance of excitability and force. Excitation is a self-limiting process that depends on the leak/pump ratio for Na+ and K+. Acute inhibition of the Na+,K+-pumps with ouabain or downregulation of the Na+,K+-pump capacity clearly reduces contractile endurance in isolated muscles. The Na+,K+-pumps are a limiting factor for contractile force and endurance. This is in particular noted if their capacity is reduced because of inactivity or disease. For these reasons, tight regulation of the Na+,K+-pumps is crucial for the maintenance of plasma K+, membrane potential and excitability in skeletal muscle. This is achieved by: In conclusion, the Na+,K+-pump is a central target for regulation of Na+,K+-distribution, important for the contractile performance of skeletal muscles, the pathophysiology of several diseases and for therapeutic intervention.
 
Genetic studies of Wnt11 have revealed many insights into the roles and regulation of Wnt11, particularly during development. New tools to study Wnt11 have recently become available, making it timely to review the literature regarding this unique Wnt family member. In this study, we focus on mammalian Wnt11, describing its main sites of expression during development, and how the Wnt11 gene is regulated. We highlight an emerging theme in which canonical Wnt signals regulate Wnt11 expression through transcription factors in addition to, or other than, Tcf/LEF family members. We also discuss the frizzled family and other receptors that bind to Wnt11, the intracellular kinases and small GTPases that act downstream of Wnt11, and the effects of Wnt11 on Wnt/β-catenin signalling. Finally, we elaborate on the relevance of Wnt11 to human cancer, where it appears to be important both for proliferation and/or survival during normal differentiation and for migration/invasion.
 
Acta Physiologica keeps receiving excellent contributions from very different research areas, united by their physiological relevance. From manuscript preparation, all through the review process, to the final publication, authors, reviewers, editors, publishers and Journal-owning scientific societies fulfil important distinctive roles, ensuring the constant high quality of the material published in Acta Physiologica. At regular meetings and in a continuous, stringent evaluation process, we are carefully reviewing and refining the work done 'behind the scenes'. This led to a current revision of and addition to our Author Guidelines, always realizing our major objective of letting the quality of the research we report be matched by an equally high quality of the reporting process itself. This editorial focuses on and addresses current and prospective contributors to Acta Physiologica, highlighting areas of special relevance and recently reviewed issues relevant for Acta's authors. As always, we do welcome your feedback. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
 
Thank you for the courtesy of forwarding to me the letters by Burnstock (2013) and Abbracchio et al., (2013) regarding my article titled "The discovery of a new class of synaptic transmitters in smooth muscle fifty years ago and amelioration of coronary artery thrombosis" published in Acta Physiol (2013) Feb; 207(2):236-43. I would be grateful if you would publish the following response. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
 
To examine the effects of low-volume muscle endurance training on muscle oxidative capacity, endurance and strength of the forearm muscle during 21-day forearm immobilization (IMM-21d). The non-dominant arm (n = 15) was immobilized for 21 days with a cast and assigned to an immobilization-only group (Imm-group; n = 7) or an immobilization with training group (Imm+Tr-group; n = 8). Training comprised dynamic handgrip exercise at 30% of pre-intervention maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) at 1 Hz until exhaustion, twice a week during the immobilization period. The duration of each exercise session was 51.7 +/- 3.4 s (mean +/- SE). Muscle oxidative capacity was evaluated by the time constant for phosphocreatine recovery (tau(off)PCr) after a submaximal handgrip exercise using (31)phosphorus-magnetic resonance spectroscopy. An endurance test was performed at 30% of pre-intervention MVC, at 1 Hz, until exhaustion. tau(off)PCr was significantly prolonged in the Imm-group after 21 days (42.0 +/- 2.8 and 64.2 +/- 5.1 s, pre- and post-intervention respectively; P < 0.01) but did not change for the Imm+Tr-group (50.3 +/- 3.0 and 48.8 +/- 5.0 s, ns). Endurance decreased significantly for the Imm-group (55.1 +/- 5.1 and 44.7 +/- 4.6 s, P < 0.05) but did not change for the Imm+Tr-group (47.9 +/- 3.0 and 51.7 +/- 4.0 s, ns). MVC decreased similarly in both groups (P < 0.01). Twice-weekly muscle endurance training sessions, each lasting approx. 50 s, effectively prevented a decrease in muscle oxidative capacity and endurance; however, there was no effect on MVC decline with IMM-21d.
 
Over the last decade, the regulation of phosphate (Pi) homeostasis has been under intense investigation. By utilizing modern biochemical and genetic tools, the pathophysiological mechanisms behind several known hereditary and acquired hypo- and hyperphosphatemic diseases have been clarified. The results of these efforts have opened new insights into the causes of Pi dysregulation and hereby also the physiological mechanisms determining Pi homeostasis. Although several potential Pi-regulating proteins have been discovered and investigated, current data strongly argues for fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF23), a hormonal factor produced in bone, as a particularly important regulator of Pi homeostasis. In this article, we review the discovery of the FGF23 protein, as well as its biochemistry, localization of production, receptor specificity and mechanisms of action.
 
It is known that garlic has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Aged red garlic (ARG), a novel aged garlic formulation, has higher antioxidant effects than fresh raw garlic. This study was performed to examine the anti-inflammatory effects of ARG extract (ARGE). The anti-inflammatory effects of ARGE were evaluated in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated Raw 264.7 macrophages and acute lung inflammatory mice. NO production was determined by the Griess method, and iNOS, HO-1 and COX-2 expressions were measured using Western blot analysis. Histology and inflammation extent of lung were analysed using haematoxylin-eosin staining and immunohistochemistry. ARGE treatment markedly reduced LPS-induced nitrite production in RAW 264.7 macrophages and reduced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. Treatment of cells with ARGE led to a significant increase in haeme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein expression, which was mediated by stimulating the expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Treatment with zinc protoporphyrin, a selective inhibitor of HO-1, significantly reversed the ARGE-mediated inhibition of nitrite production (P < 0.05). In LPS-induced inflammatory mice, ARGE treatment down-regulated iNOS and COX-2 expressions, while it up-regulated HO-1 expression. These results show that ARGE reduces LPS-induced nitric oxide production in RAW 264.7 macrophages through HO-1 induction and suggest that ARGE may have potential effects on prevention and treatment of acute inflammatory lung injury.
 
Adipose tissue modulates whole body metabolism and insulin sensitivity by controlling circulating lipid levels and producing molecules that can regulate fatty acid metabolism in such tissues as muscle and liver. We have developed RNA interference (RNAi) screens to identify genes in cultured adipocytes that regulate insulin signalling and key metabolic pathways. These short interfering RNA (siRNA)-based screens identified the transcriptional corepressor receptor interacting protein 140 (RIP140) (J Clin Invest 116: 125, 2006) and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP4k4) (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103: 2087, 2006) as negative regulators of insulin-responsive hexose uptake and oxidative metabolism. Gene expression profiling revealed that RIP140 depletion upregulates the expression of clusters of genes in the pathways of glucose uptake, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle, fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative phosphorylation. RIP140-null mice resist weight gain on a high-fat diet and display enhanced glucose tolerance. MAP4k4 depletion in adipocytes increases many of the RIP140-sensitive genes, increases adipogenesis and mediates some actions of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Remarkably, another hit in our RNAi screens was fat specific protein 27 (FSP27), a highly expressed isoform of Cidea. We discovered that FSP27 unexpectedly associates specifically with lipid droplets and regulates fat storage. We conclude that RIP140, MAP4k4 and the novel lipid droplet protein FSP27 are powerful regulators of adipose tissue metabolism and are potential therapeutic targets for controlling metabolic disease. The discovery of these novel proteins validates the power of RNAi screening for discovery of new therapeutic approaches to type 2 diabetes and obesity.
 
In vivo, renal medullary interstitial cells (RMICs) and collecting duct principal cells (mpkCCD cells) are subjected to inflammatory, oxidative and mechanical stress as a result of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). Because heat-shock protein (HSP) 27 and HSP70 are induced by cellular stresses and play a role in cytoprotection, we hypothesized that HSP27 and HSP70 are increased in rats subjected to acute UUO and in RMICs and mpkCCD cells exposed to inflammatory, oxidative or mechanical stress. Rats were subjected to acute UUO for 6 h and 12 h. To examine the expression of HSP27, phosphorylated HSP27 (pHSP27) and HSP70 in response to inflammatory, oxidative and mechanical stress in vitro, we exposed RMICs and mpkCCD cells to interleukin 1β (IL-1β), hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ), and stretch stimulation over time. The phosphorylated form of HSP27 (pHSP27) was increased in the renal inner medulla (IM) after 6-h and 12-h UUO, while HSP27 and HSP70 were unchanged. Furthermore, after 6 h and 12 h of UUO, the expression of inflammatory (IL-1β) and oxidative [haem oxygenase 1 (HO-1)] markers was induced. Exposure to inflammatory, oxidative and mechanical stress changed HSP27 and pHSP27 expression in RMICs but not in mpkCCD cells, while HSP70 was not affected by any of the stress conditions. Exposure of RMICs to oxidative and mechanical stress induced HSP27 phosphorylation via a p38-dependent mechanism. These data demonstrate that, in response to acute UUO, different forms of cellular stresses modulate HSP27 expression and phosphorylation in RMICs. This may affect the ability of renal cells to mount an effective cytoprotective response.
 
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important clinical problem that may lead to death and for those who survive, the sequelae of AKI include loss of quality of life, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD). The incidence of AKI continues to rise without clear successes in humans for the pharmacological prevention of AKI or treatment of established AKI. Dendritic cells and macrophages are critical early initiators of innate immunity in the kidney and orchestrate inflammation subsequent to ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). These innate cells are the most abundant leukocytes present in the kidney, and they represent a heterogeneous population of cells that are capable of responding to cues from the microenvironment derived from pathogens or endogenous inflammatory mediators such as cytokines or anti-inflammatory mediators such as adenosine. Lymphocyte subsets such as NKT cells and Tregs also play roles in regulating ischemic injury by promoting and suppressing inflammation, respectively. Adenosine, produced in response to IR, is generally considered as a protective signalling molecule and elicits its physiological responses through four distinct adenosine receptors. However, its short half-life, lack of specificity, and rapid metabolism limits the use of adenosine as a therapeutic agent. These adenosine receptors play various roles in regulating the activity of the aforementioned hematopoietic cells in elevated levels of adenosine such as during hypoxia. This review focuses on the importance of one receptor, the adenosine 2a subtype, in blocking inflammation associated with AKI. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
 
We investigated the effects and underlying molecular mechanism of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a calcium (Ca(2+) )-permeable non-selective cation channel, on phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) at threonine 497 (Thr497) in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) and in mice. Western blotting and immunoprecipitation were used for the evaluation of protein phosphorylation; protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B) activity was assessed by convention kit; Griess assay was for NO production; tube formation and Matrigel plug assay were used for angiogenesis. In BAECs, treatment with the TRPV1 ligand evodiamine decreased the phosphorylation of eNOS at Thr497, protein kinase Cα (PKCα) at Serine 657 (Ser657) and PKCβ2 at Ser660. Evodiamine increased protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B) activity and promoted the formation of a PP2B-PKC complex. Inhibition of TRPV1 activation by the pharmacological antagonists, removal of extracellular Ca(2+) or pharmacological inhibition of PI3K/Akt/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II/AMP-activated protein kinase signalling pathway abolished the evodiamine-induced alterations in phosphorylation of eNOS at Thr497, PKCα at Ser657, PKCβ2 at Ser660 and PP2B activity, as well as the formation of a PP2B-PKC complex. Inhibition of PP2B activation partially reduced the evodiamine-induced NO bioavailability and tube formation in endothelial cells (ECs) and angiogenesis in mice. Moreover, evodiamine decreased the phosphorylation of eNOS at Thr497, PKCα at Ser657 and PKCβ2 at Ser660 in apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-deficient mouse aortas but not TRPV1-deficient or ApoE/TRPV1 double-knockout mice. TRPV1 activation in ECs may elicit a Ca(2+) -dependent effect on PP2B-PKC signalling, which leads to dephosphorylation of eNOS at Thr497 in ECs and in mice.
 
The NR2B-containing N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors may be involved in a variety of phenomena including synaptic plasticity, memory formation and pain perception. Here we used the NMDA-2B receptor antagonist Ro 25-6981 to investigate the role of the NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in spinal nociception. Extracellular single unit recordings were performed from dorsal horn wide dynamic range (WDR) neurones in intact urethane-anaesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. The responses of the WDR neurones evoked by C-fibre activation after sciatic nerve stimulation were defined according to latencies. To block the dorsal horn NMDA-2B receptors, the antagonist Ro 25-6981 was applied topically onto the spinal cord. High-frequency stimulation (HFS) of the sciatic nerve was used to induce spinal long-term potentiation (LTP). Spinal administration of the NMDA-2B receptor antagonist Ro 25-6981 had a clear antinociceptive effect at the spinal level (P < 0.05, C-fibre evoked responses after 4 mm Ro 25-6981 vs. C-fibre evoked responses in baseline). Moreover, spinal administration of this antagonist clearly attenuated the magnitude of spinal cord LTP after HFS conditioning (P < 0.05, C-fibre evoked responses after HFS vs. C-fibre evoked responses after 8 mm Ro 25-6981 + HFS). The present study indicates that expression of full LTP in dorsal horn neurones obtained by HFS conditioning may be dependent on the NMDA receptors containing the NR2B subunit. This suggests that activation of dorsal horn NR2B-containing NMDA receptors may be involved in use-dependent sensitization at the spinal level.
 
Epithelia are physiologically exposed to osmotic stress resulting in alteration of cell volume in several aspects of their functioning; therefore, the activation of 'emergency' systems of rapid cell volume regulation is fundamental in their physiology. In this review, the physiological response to osmotic stress, particularly hypertonic stress, was described in a salt-transporting epithelium, the intestine of the euryhaline teleost European eel. This epithelium is physiologically exposed to changes in extracellular osmolarity and represents a good physiological model for functional studies on cellular volume regulation, permitting the study of volume regulated ion transport mechanisms in a native tissue. An absorptive form of the cotransporter, homologue of the renal NKCC2, localized on the apical membrane, was found in the intestine of the euryhaline teleost European eel. This cotransporter accounts for the luminal uptake of Cl-; it operates in series with a basolateral Cl- conductance and presumably a basolateral electroneutral KCl cotransport and in parallel with a luminal K+ conductance. The ion transport model described for eel intestine, based on the operation of an absorptive luminal Na+-K+-2Cl-, is basically the same as the model that has been proposed for the thick ascending limb (cTAL) of the mammalian renal cortex. This paper focuses on the role of Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransport in the responses to hypertonic stress in the eel intestine and the role of cytoskeleton (either actin-based or tubulin based) is discussed.
 
Aim: Using mice deficient in the CaV 3.1 T-type Ca(2+) channel, the aim of the present study was to elucidate the molecular identity of non-L-type channels involved in vascular tone regulation in mesenteric arteries and arterioles. Methods: We used immunofluorescence microscopy to localize CaV 3.1 channels, patch clamp electrophysiology to test the effects of a putative T-type channel blocker NNC 55-0396 on whole-cell Ca(2+) currents, pressure myography and Ca(2+) imaging to test diameter and Ca(2+) responses of the applied vasoconstrictors, and Q-PCR to check mRNA expression levels of several Ca(2+) handling proteins in wild-type and CaV 3.1(-/-) mice. Results: Our data indicated that CaV 3.1 channels are important for the maintenance of myogenic tone at low pressures (40-80 mm Hg), whereas they are not involved in high-voltage-activated Ca(2+) currents, Ca(2+) entry or vasoconstriction to high KCl in mesenteric arteries and arterioles. Furthermore, we show that NNC 55-0396 is not a specific T-type channel inhibitor, as it potently blocks L-type and non-L-type high-voltage-activated Ca(2+) currents in mouse mesenteric vascular smooth muscle cell. Conclusion: Our data using mice deficient in the CaV 3.1 T-type channel represent new evidence for the involvement of non-L-type channels in arteriolar tone regulation. We showed that CaV 3.1 channels are important for the myogenic tone at low arterial pressure, which is potentially relevant under resting conditions in vivo. Moreover, CaV 3.1 channels are not involved in Ca(2+) entry and vasoconstriction to large depolarization with, for example, high KCl. Finally, we caution against using NNC 55-0396 as a specific T-type channel blocker in native cells expressing high-voltage-activated Ca(2+) channels.
 
Regulation of folliculogenesis and oocyte-somatic cell interactions in the ovarian follicles is under the control of gonadotrophins and various local factors. In the present study, an attempt was made to isolate and examine the biological activities of ovarian follicular fluid protein(s) in sheep in vitro. Follicular fluids aspirated from ovarian follicles of slaughterhouse-derived ovaries were made cell free by centrifugation (5000 g for 30 min) and steroid free by charcoal treatment. The follicular fluid was then subjected to ammonium sulphate precipitation and gel filtration chromatography using G-75 Sephadex. Protein detection was performed using a UV spectrophotometer at 280 nm. The 35-50% fraction yielded a detectable peak and a protein of 30.1 kDa as examined by SDS-PAGE. The effect of increasing doses of the 30.1 kDa ovine follicular fluid protein (oFFP) was tested at different doses on pre-antral and antral follicle growth; cumulus cell expansion; oocyte maturation; changes in protein, calcium and phosphorus levels of oocytes after culture in media containing different levels of isolated protein; mural granulosa cell, polar granulosa cell (cumulus cell), oviductal epithelial cell monolayer formation and granulosa cell proliferation in vitro. The oFFP significantly inhibited antral follicle growth, cumulus expansion, oocyte maturation and somatic cell growth in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. The oFFP did not have a significant effect on the pre-antral follicle growth in vitro. The protein, calcium and phosphorus contents of oocytes were found to decrease in oocytes cultured in maturation medium containing the oFFP. The present study demonstrates a follicular fluid factor regulating folliculogenesis and oocyte maturation in sheep.
 
Endothelial membrane hyperpolarization mediated by KCa3.1 and KCa2.3 channels has been demonstrated to initiate endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-type vasodilations. Moreover, pharmacological potentiation of KCa3.1/KCa2.3 channels has been suggested to improve EDHF-type vasodilations. Herein, we determined whether the KCa3.1/KCa2.3 activator SKA-31 and its derivative SKA-20 improve endothelial dysfunction in KCa3.1-/- and NOS3-/- mice. Membrane potentials were measured using patch-clamp electrophysiology on carotid artery (CA) endothelial cells (CAEC) from wild-type (wt) and KCa3.1-/- mice. Endothelium-dependent vasodilations were determined by pressure myography in CA. SKA-31 (1 μm) activated KCa3.1 and KCa2.3 channels and induced membrane hyperpolarization in CAEC of wt (ΔMP -45 mV). These responses were significantly reduced in CAEC of KCa3.1-/- (ΔMP -8 mV). SKA-31 (200 nm, 500 nm) and SKA-20 (300 nm) significantly enhanced EDHF vasodilations in wt. SKA-20 also improved vasodilations during NO synthesis. In KCa3.1-/-, the defective EDHF vasodilations were unchanged at 200 nm SKA-31, but were significantly improved at 500 nm. EDHF vasodilations were slightly enhanced at 300 nm SKA-20, but vasodilations during NO synthesis were unchanged. SKA-31 (500 nm) enhanced the impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation in NOS3-/- mice twofold. Pharmacological inhibition of the soluble epoxide hydrolase by t-AUCB (1 μm) in contrast did not increase ACh-induced EDHF- or NO-mediated vasodilations in wt and KCa3.1-/-. Normal and defective endothelium-dependent vasodilations in murine carotid arteries can be improved by pharmacological enhancement of KCa3.1/KCa2.3 functions. These findings further support the concept that pharmacological activation of endothelial KCa2.3/KCa3.1 could offer a novel endothelium-specific antihypertensive strategy.
 
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) can give information about cellular metabolism in vivo which is difficult to obtain in other ways. In skeletal muscle, noninvasive (31) P MRS measurements of the post-exercise recovery kinetics of pH, [PCr], [Pi] and [ADP] contain valuable information about muscle mitochondrial function and cellular pH homeostasis in vivo, but quantitative interpretation depends on understanding the underlying physiology. Here, by giving examples of the analysis of (31) P MRS recovery data, by some simple computational simulation, and by extensively comparing data from published studies using both (31) P MRS and invasive direct measurements of muscle O2 consumption in a common analytical framework, we consider what can be learnt quantitatively about mitochondrial metabolism in skeletal muscle using MRS-based methodology. We explore some technical and conceptual limitations of current methods, and point out some aspects of the physiology which are still incompletely understood. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
 
The electrical properties of Na(+) -activated K(+) current (I(K(Na)) ) and its contribution to spike firing has not been characterized in motor neurons. We evaluated how activation of voltage-gated K(+) current (I(K) ) at the cellular level could be coupled to Na(+) influx through voltage-gated Na(+) current (I(N) (a) ) in two motor neuron-like cells (NG108-15 and NSC-34 cells). Increasing stimulation frequency altered the amplitudes of both I(Na) and I(K) simultaneously. With changes in stimulation frequency, the kinetics of both I(Na) inactivation and I(K) activation were well correlated at the same cell. Addition of tetrodotoxin or ranolazine reduced the amplitudes of both I(Na) and I(K) simultaneously. Tefluthrin (Tef) increased the amplitudes of both I(Na) and I(K) throughout the voltages ranging from -30 to + 10 mV. In cell-attached recordings, single-channel conductance from a linear current-voltage relation was 94 ± 3 pS (n = 7). Tef (10 μm) enhanced channel activity with no change in single-channel conductance. Tef increased spike firing accompanied by enhanced facilitation of spike-frequency adaptation. Riluzole (10 μm) reversed Tef-stimulated activity of K(Na) channels. In motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells, increasing stimulation frequency altered the kinetics of both I(Na) and I(K) . Modelling studies of motor neurons were simulated to demonstrate that the magnitude of I(K(Na)) modulates AP firing. There is a direct association of Na(+) and K(Na) channels which can provide the rapid activation of K(Na) channels required to regulate AP firing occurring in motor neurons.
 
Conformational analysis of fluorescent styryl dyes FM 1-43 and FM 4-64 was undertaken to clarify if distinct activity-dependent labelling of single lactotrophs vesicles and plasma membrane by two dyes is associated with their structural differences. The activity-dependent labelling of single vesicles and plasma membrane by FM 1-43 and FM 4-64 was studied using confocal microscopy. The fluorescence intensity of vesicles fused with the plasma membrane, and the plasma membrane alone was measured; the ratio of their respective peak amplitudes was calculated. The conformational analysis of FM 1-43 and FM 4-64 was further undertaken by employing the Monte Carlo approach to search the conformational space of these molecules. In FM 1-43 staining of vesicles and plasma membrane, the ratio of the fluorescence peak amplitudes (vesicle vs. plasma membrane) was 2.6 times higher in comparison with FM 4-64 staining. In FM 4-64 molecule the low-energy conformations are distributed in three conformational states (consisting of 3, 4 and 2 conformers respectively) in which the proportion of the molecules residing in a given state is 62%, 28% and 9% respectively. In FM 1-43 the conformation distribution is limited to just one conformational state with three approximately equally populated conformers what can be explained by greater intrinsic rigidity of the molecule. The observed structural characteristics of FM 1-43 molecules may account for a higher increase in quantum yield and/or binding affinity upon incorporation of the dye into the vesicle matrix and therefore stronger fluorescence emission in comparison with FM 4-64.
 
Top-cited authors
Paul Vanhoutte
  • The University of Hong Kong
Eva H C Tang
  • The University of Hong Kong
Alexander Orekhov
  • Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology
Reuben J Shaw
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Wolfgang Taube
  • Université de Fribourg