Emma M Roberts

University of Bristol, Bristol, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (7)23.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The neuropeptide apelin is expressed in hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei and mediates its effects via activation of the apelin receptor (APJ). Evidence suggests a role for apelin and APJ in mediating the neuroendocrine response to stress. To understand the physiological role of APJ in regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, we measured adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT) plasma levels in male and female mice lacking APJ (APJ KO) and in wild-type controls, in response to a variety of acute stressors. Exposure to mild restraint, systemic injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), insulin-induced hypoglycaemia, and forced swim (FS) stressors, elevated plasma ACTH and CORT levels in wild-type mice. Acute mild restraint significantly increased plasma ACTH and CORT to a similar level in APJ KO mice as in wild-type mice. However, an intact APJ was required for a conventional ACTH, but not CORT, response to LPS administration in male mice, and to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in male and female mice. In contrast, APJ KO mice displayed an impaired CORT response to acute FS stress, regardless of gender. These data indicate that APJ has a role in regulation of the HPA axis response to some acute stressors and has a gender-specific function in peripheral immune activation of the HPA axis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The G protein-coupled apelin receptor (APJ) binds the endogenous peptide apelin and has been shown to have roles in many physiological systems. Thus far, distribution studies have predominantly been conducted in the rat and there is limited knowledge of the cellular distribution of APJ in mouse or human tissues. As recent functional studies have been conducted in APJ knock-out mice (APJ KO), in this study we undertook to characterize APJ mRNA and I(125)[Pyr(1)]apelin-13 binding site distribution in mouse tissues to enable correlation of distribution with function. We have utilized in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH) using APJ riboprobes, which revealed strong hybridization specifically in the paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic (SON) nuclei of the hypothalamus and in the anterior pituitary, with marginally lower levels in the posterior pituitary. In the periphery, strong hybridization was observed in the lung, heart, adrenal cortex, renal medulla, ovary and uterus. Autoradiographic binding to APJ with I(125)[Pyr(1)]apelin-13 exhibited significant binding in the anterior pituitary, while lower levels were observed in the posterior pituitary and PVN and SON. In the periphery, strong receptor binding was observed in tissues exhibiting intense riboprobe hybridization, indicating a good correlation between receptor transcription and translation. While the distribution of APJ mRNA and functional protein in the mouse shows similarities to that of the rat, we report a species difference in central APJ distribution and in the pituitary gland.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Peptides
  • E M Roberts · G R Pope · M J F Newson · S J Lolait · A-M O'Carroll
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    ABSTRACT: Vasopressin V1b receptor knockout (V1b⁻/⁻) mice were used to investigate a putative role for the V1b receptor (V1bR) in fluid regulation and in the hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system (HNS) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses to osmotic stress induced by water deprivation (WD). Male wild-type and V1b⁻/⁻ mice were housed in metabolic cages to allow determination of water intake and urine volume and osmolality. When provided with food and water ad lib., spontaneous urine volume and urine osmolality did not differ between genotypes. Similarly, WD for 24 h caused comparable decreases in urine volume and increases in urine osmolality irrespective of genotype. WD resulted in an increase in plasma corticosterone concentration in wild-type animals; however, this WD-induced increase in plasma corticosterone was significantly attenuated in V1b⁻/⁻ mice. Comparable increases in neuronal activation, indicated by increased c-fos mRNA expression, and in vasopressin mRNA expression occurred in both the supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of wild-type and V1b⁻/⁻ mice following WD; however, the WD-induced decrease in corticotrophin-releasing hormone mRNA expression seen in the PVN of wild-type mice was not observed in the PVN of V1b⁻/⁻ mice. These data suggest that, although the vasopressin V1bR is not required for normal HNS function, it is necessary for a full HPA-axis response to the osmotic stress of WD.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Neuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The expression of the novel peptide apelin and its receptor APJ within specific regions of the brain, in particular the magnocellular neurones of the hypothalamus and the circumventricular organs, has implicated the apelinergic system in mechanisms controlling fluid homeostasis. In addition, apelin and APJ are considered to be involved in controlling arginine vasopressin (AVP) secretion into the circulation and release within the hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system. To clarify the role of APJ during regulation of fluid homeostasis, we compared the effects of osmotic stimulation on the urinary concentrating capacities and central nervous system responses of salt-loaded (SL) and water-deprived (WD) female APJ knockout (APJ(-/-)) mice and wild-type controls. SL resulted in a significantly increased urine volume in APJ(-/-) mice compared to wild-type controls, whereas WD in APJ(-/-) mice failed to reduce urine volume as seen in wild-type controls. AVP transcripts in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei and plasma AVP concentrations were significantly attenuated in SL APJ(-/-) mice compared to SL wild-type, but increased comparably in wild-type and APJ(-/-) mice after WD. Analysis of c-fos mRNA expression in the median preoptic nucleus and subfornical organ in response to either WD or SL showed attenuated expression in APJ(-/-) compared to wild-type mice. These findings further implicate the apelinergic system in mechanisms controlling fluid homeostasis, particularly at a neuroendocrine level, and suggest stimulus-specific involvement in vasopressinergic activity.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Journal of Neuroendocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The apelinergic system, comprised of apelin and its G protein-coupled receptor (APJ; APLNR as given in MGI Database), is expressed within key regions of the central nervous system associated with arginine vasopressin (AVP) synthesis and release as well as in structures involved in the control of drinking behaviour, including the magnocellular neurones of the hypothalamus, circumventricular organs, and the pituitary gland. This localisation is indicative of a possible functional role in fluid homeostasis. We investigated a role for APJ in the regulation of fluid balance using mice deficient for the receptor. Male APJ wild-type and knockout (APJ(-/-)) mice were housed in metabolic cages to allow determination of water intake and urine volume and osmolality. When provided with free access to water, APJ(-/-) mice drank significantly less than wild-types, while their urine volume and osmolality did not differ. Water deprivation for 24 h significantly reduced urine volume and increased osmolality in wild-type but not in APJ(-/-) mice. Baseline plasma AVP concentration increased comparably in both wild-type and APJ(-/-) mice following dehydration; however, APJ(-/-) mice were unable to concentrate their urine to the same extent as wild-type mice in response to the V2 agonist desmopressin. Analysis of c-fos (Fos as given in MGI Database) mRNA expression in response to dehydration showed attenuation of expression within the subfornical organ, accentuated expression in the paraventricular nucleus, but no differences in expression in the supraoptic nucleus nor median pre-optic nucleus in APJ(-/-) mice compared with wild-type. These findings demonstrate a physiological role for APJ in mechanisms of water intake and fluid retention and suggest an anti-diuretic effect of apelin in vivo.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: The apelinergic system has a widespread expression in the central nervous system (CNS) including the paraventricular nucleus, supraoptic nucleus and median eminence, and isolated cells of the anterior lobe of the pituitary. This pattern of expression in hypothalamic nuclei known to contain corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and vasopressin (AVP) and to co-ordinate endocrine responses to stress has generated interest in a role for apelin in the modulation of stress, perhaps via the regulation of hormone release from the pituitary. In this study, to determine whether apelin has a central role in the regulation of CRF and AVP neurones, we investigated the effect of i.c.v. administration of pGlu-apelin-13 on neuroendocrine function in male mice pre-treated with the CRF receptor antagonist, alpha-helical CRF(9-41), and in mice-lacking functional AVP V1b receptors (V1bR KO). Administration of pGlu-apelin-13 (1 mg/kg i.c.v.) resulted in significant increases in plasma ACTH and corticosterone (CORT), which were significantly reduced by pre-treatment with alpha-helical CRF(9-41), indicating the involvement of a CRF-dependent mechanism. Additionally, pGlu-apelin-13-mediated increases in both plasma ACTH and CORT were significantly attenuated in V1bR KO animals when compared with wild-type controls, indicating a role for the vasopressinergic system in the regulation of the effects of apelin on neuroendocrine function. Together, these data confirm that the in vivo effects of apelin on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal neuroendocrine function appear to be mediated through both CRF- and AVP-dependent mechanisms.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Journal of Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Arginine vasopressin (AVP) and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) have both been implicated in modulating insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells. In the present study, we investigated the insulin-secreting activities of AVP and CRH in wild-type and AVP VIb receptor knockout mice. Both neuropeptides stimulated insulin secretion from isolated mouse pancreatic islets. The response of islets to CRH was increased fourfold by concomitant incubation with a subthreshold dose of AVP that alone did not stimulate insulin secretion. Activation of the endogenously expressed M3 receptor by the cholinergic agonist carbachol also potentiated CRH-induced insulin secretion, indicating that the phenomenon may be pathway specific (i.e. Ca2+-phospholipase C) rather than agonist specific. The protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors Ro-31-8425 and bisindolylmaleimide I attenuated the potentiating effect of AVP on CRH-stimulated insulin secretion and blocked AVP-stimulated insulin secretion. A possible interaction between the PKC and protein kinase A pathways was also investigated. The phorbol ester phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) stimulated insulin secretion, while the addition of both PMA and CRH enhanced insulin secretion over that measured with either PMA or CRH alone. Additionally, no AVP potentiation of CRH-stimulated insulin secretion was observed upon incubation in Ca2+-free Krebs-Ringer buffer. Taken together, the present study suggests a possible synergism between AVP and CRH to release insulin from pancreatic beta-cells that relies at least in part on activation of the PKC signaling pathway and is dependent on extracellular Ca2+. This is the first example of a possible interplay between the AVP and CRH systems outside of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2008 · Journal of Endocrinology

Publication Stats

125 Citations
23.77 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2013
    • University of Bristol
      • The Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology
      Bristol, England, United Kingdom