Peptides (v.74, #C)

Behavioral, hormonal and central serotonin modulating effects of injected leptin by Darakhshan J. Haleem; Zeba Haque; Qurrat-ul-Aen Inam; Huma Ikram; Muhammad Abdul Haleem (1-8).
Leptin is viewed as an important target for developing novel therapeutics for obesity, depression/anxiety and cognitive dysfunctions. The present study therefore concerns behavioral, hormonal and central serotonin modulating effects of systemically injected leptin. Pharmacological doses (100 and 500 μg/kg) of leptin injected systemically decreased 24 h cumulative food intake and body weight in freely feeding rats and improved acquisition and retention of memory in Morris water maze test. Potential anxiety reducing, hormonal and serotonin modulating effects of the peptide hormone were determined in a separate experiment. Animals injected with 100 or 500 μg/kg leptin were tested for anxiety in an elevated plus maze test 1 h later. A significant increase in the number of entries and time passed in open arm of the elevated plus maze in leptin injected animals suggested pronounced anxiety reducing effect. Moreover, circulating levels of leptin correlated significantly with anxiety reducing effects of the peptide hormone. Serum serotonin increased and ghrelin decreased in leptin injected animals and correlated, positively and negatively respectively, with circulating leptin. Corticosterone increased at low dose and levels were normal at higher dose. Serotonin metabolism in the hypothalamus and hippocampus decreased only at higher dose of leptin. The results support a role of leptin in the treatment of obesity, anxiety and cognitive dysfunctions. It is suggested that hormonal and serotonin modulating effects of leptin can alter treatment efficacy in particularly comorbid conditions.
Keywords: Leptin; Anxiety; Cognition; Depression; Obesity; Serotonin; Ghrelin;

MCH levels in the CSF, brain preproMCH and MCHR1 gene expression during paradoxical sleep deprivation, sleep rebound and chronic sleep restriction by Ana Luiza Dias Abdo Agamme; Bruno Frederico Aguilar Calegare; Leandro Fernandes; Alicia Costa; Patricia Lagos; Pablo Torterolo; Vânia D’Almeida (9-15).
Neurons that utilize melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) as neuromodulator are located in the lateral hypothalamus and incerto-hypothalamic area. These neurons project throughout the central nervous system and play a role in sleep regulation. With the hypothesis that the MCHergic system function would be modified by the time of the day as well as by disruptions of the sleep-wake cycle, we quantified in rats the concentration of MCH in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the expression of the MCH precursor (Pmch) gene in the hypothalamus, and the expression of the MCH receptor 1 (Mchr1) gene in the frontal cortex and hippocampus. These analyses were performed during paradoxical sleep deprivation (by a modified multiple platform technique), paradoxical sleep rebound and chronic sleep restriction, both at the end of the active (dark) phase (lights were turned on at Zeitgeber time zero, ZT0) and during the inactive (light) phase (ZT8).We observed that in control condition (waking and sleep ad libitum), Mchr1 gene expression was larger at ZT8 (when sleep predominates) than at ZT0, both in frontal cortex and hippocampus.In addition, compared to control, disturbances of the sleep–wake cycle produced the following effects: paradoxical sleep deprivation for 96 and 120 h reduced the expression of Mchr1 gene in frontal cortex at ZT0. Sleep rebound that followed 96 h of paradoxical sleep deprivation increased the MCH concentration in the CSF also at ZT0. Twenty-one days of sleep restriction produced a significant increment in MCH CSF levels at ZT8. Finally, sleep disruptions unveiled day/night differences in MCH CSF levels and in Pmch gene expression that were not observed in control (undisturbed) conditions.In conclusion, the time of the day and sleep disruptions produced subtle modifications in the physiology of the MCHergic system.
Keywords: Melanin-concentrating hormone; Hypothalamus; REM sleep; Neuropeptide; Cerebrospinal fluid;

Retro-inverso forms of gastrin5–12 are as biologically active as glycine-extended gastrin in vitro but not in vivo by Kathryn M. Marshall; Marie Laval; Ioulia Sims; Arthur Shulkes; Graham S. Baldwin (16-22).
Non-amidated gastrin peptides such as glycine-extended gastrin (Ggly) are biologically active in vitro and in vivo and have been implicated in the development of gastric and colonic cancers. Previous studies have shown that the truncated form of Ggly, the octapeptide LE5AY, was still biologically active in vitro, and that activity was dependent on ferric ion binding but independent of binding to the cholecystokinin 2 (CCK2) receptor. The present work was aimed at creating more stable gastrin-derived ‘super agonists’ using retro-inverso technology. The truncated LE5AY peptide was synthesized using end protecting groups in three forms with l-amino acids (GL), d-amino acids (GD) or retro-inverso (reverse order with d-amino acids; GRI). All of these peptides bound ferric ions with a 2:1 (Fe: peptide) ratio. As predicted, Ggly, GL and GRI were biologically active in vitro and increased cell proliferation in mouse gastric epithelial (IMGE-5) and human colorectal cancer (DLD-1) cell lines, and increased cell migration in DLD-1 cells. These activities were likely via the same mechanism as Ggly since no CCK1 or CCK2 binding was identified, and GD remained inactive in all assays. Surprisingly, unlike Ggly, GL and GRI were not active in vivo. While Ggly stimulated colonic crypt height and proliferation rates in gastrin knockout mice, GL and GRI did not. The apparent lack of activity may be due to rapid clearance of these smaller peptides. Nevertheless further work designing and testing retro-inverso gastrins is warranted, as it may lead to the generation of super agonists that could potentially be used to treat patients with gastrointestinal disorders with reduced mucosal function.
Keywords: Gastrin; Ggly; Retro-inverso peptides; Colorectal cancer;

Identification and functional characterization of a novel locust peptide belonging to the family of insect growth blocking peptides by Tewodros Firdissa Duressa; Kurt Boonen; Yoichi Hayakawa; Roger Huybrechts (23-32).
Display OmittedGrowth blocking peptides (GBPs) are recognized as insect cytokines that take part in multifaceted functions including immune system activation and growth retardation. The peptides induce hemocyte spreading in vitro, which is considered as the initial step in hemocyte activation against infection in many insect species. Therefore, in this study, we carried out a series of in vitro bioassay driven fractionations of Locusta migratoria hemolymph combined with mass spectrometry to identify locust hemocyte activation factors belonging to the family of insect GBPs. We identified the locust hemocyte spreading peptide (locust GBP) as a 28-mer peptide encoded at the C-terminus of a 64 amino acid long precursor polypeptide. As demonstrated by QRT-PCR, the gene encoding the locust GBP precursor (proGBP) was expressed in large quantities in diverse locust tissues including fat body, endocrine glands, central nervous system, reproductive tissues and flight muscles. In contrary, hemocytes, gut tissues and Malpighian tubules displayed little expression of the proGBP transcript. The bioactive peptide induces transient depletion of hemocytes in vivoand when injected in last instar nymphs it extends the larval growth phase and postpones adult molting. In addition, we identified a functional homologous hemocyte spreading peptide in Schistocerca gregaria.
Keywords: Cytokine; Immunity; Growth; Locusta migratoria; Schistocerca gregaria;

Effect of natriuretic peptides on cerebral artery blood flow in healthy volunteers by Song Guo; Jens P. Goetze; Jørgen L. Jeppesen; John C. Burnett; Jes Olesen; Inger Jansen-Olesen; Messoud Ashina (33-42).
The natriuretic peptides (NPs), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), have vasoactive functions that concern humans and most animals, but their specific effects on cerebral circulation are poorly understood. We therefore examined the responsiveness of cerebral arteries to different doses of the natriuretic peptides in animals and humans. We conducted a dose-response experiment in guinea pigs (in vitro) and a double-blind, three-way cross-over study in healthy volunteers (in vivo). In the animal experiment, we administered cumulative doses of NPs to pre-contracted segments of cerebral arteries. In the main study, six healthy volunteers were randomly allocated to receive two intravenous doses of ANP, BNP or CNP, respectively, over 20 min on three separate study days. We recorded blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (V MCA) by transcranial Doppler. In addition, we measured temporal and radial artery diameters, headache response and plasma concentrations of the NPs. In guinea pigs, ANP and BNP but not CNP showed significant dose-dependent relaxation of cerebral arteries. In healthy humans, NP infusion had no effect on mean V MCA, and we found no difference in hemodynamic responses between the NPs. Furthermore, natriuretic peptides did not affect temporal and radial artery diameters or induce headache. In conclusion, natriuretic peptides in physiological and pharmacological doses do not affect blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery or dilate extracerebral arteries in healthy volunteers.
Keywords: Natriuretic peptides; Atrial; Brain; C-type; Cerebral arteries; Cerebral blood flow; Headache;

Ghrelin is a brain-gut peptide that regulates gastrointestinal (GI) motility. We hypothesized that the excitatory effect of ghrelin on the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) increases GI motility by activating the central growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) and central neuropeptide Y (NPY) signaling pathways, leading to increased enteric cholinergic activity.Thirty-six male Sprague Dawley rats were maintained on duodenal catheterization and PVN cannulation. Small intestinal transit (SIT) was observed and rats were divided as follows: experimental animals received ghrelin injections in the PVN (0.03, 0.08, or 0.24 nM); 1 nM GHSR antagonist D-Lys3-GHRP6 alone; 1 nM D-Lys3-GHRP6 before ghrelin injection in the PVN, respectively. Electrophysiologic parameters of the interdigestive myoelectric complex (IMC) were examined by administration of 0.24 nM ghrelin in the PVN after small intestinal electrode implantation and PVN cannulation. GI cholinergic pathway activation was analyzed after intravenous atropine administration. The involvement of central NPY signaling was evaluated by injecting an anti-NPY immunoglobulin (IgG) in the PVN. Neuronal expression of c-Fos in the brain and GI tract was examined using immunohistochemistry.Injection of ghrelin in the PVN dose-dependently accelerated SIT, and this excitatory effect was competitively inhibited by a GHSR antagonist. The excitatory effect of ghrelin on IMC activity was diminished by GHSR antagonism and NPY neutralization, as well as by blockade of peripheral muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Extrinsic ghrelin significantly upregulated c-Fos expression in the PVN and other central nuclei, as well as in the enteric nervous plexuses of the stomach, duodenum, and proximal colon. The ghrelin-induced upregulation of central and enteric c-Fos expression was also dependent on central GHSR activation.Ghrelin positively regulates GI motility by exciting both central and enteric neurons, including those of the PVN, by activating GHSR and NPY pathways, and peripheral muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.
Keywords: Ghrelin; Paraventricular nucleus; Growth hormone secretagogue receptor; c-Fos; Interdigestive myoelectric complex; Brain–gut axis;

Display OmittedThe Drosophila gene fruitless expresses male and female specific transcription factors which are responsible for the generation of male specific neuronal circuitry for courtship behavior. Mutations in this gene may lead to bisexual behavior in males. Bisexual behavior in males also occurs in the absence of the neuropeptide SIFamide. We show here that the SIFamide neurons do not express fruitless. However, when fruitless neurons are made to express RNAi specific for the SIFamide receptor, male flies engage in bisexual behavior, showing that SIFamide acts on fruitless neurons. If neurons expressing a SIFaR-gal4 transgene are killed by the apoptotic protein reaper or when these neurons express SIFamide receptor RNAi, males also show male–male courtship behavior. We next used this transgene to localize neurons that express the SIFamide receptor. Such neurons are ubiquitously present in the central nervous and we also found two neurons in the uterus that project into the central nervous system.
Keywords: Fruitless; SIFamide; Courtship behavior; RNAi; Transgenic; Receptor; Gal4;

Control of liver glucokinase activity: A potential new target for incretin hormones? by Flavio Francini; María Laura Massa; Mónica Patricia Polo; Hernán Villagarcía; María Cecilia Castro; Juan José Gagliardino (57-63).
We tested the exendin-4 and des-fluoro-sitagliptin effects on fructose-induced increase in liver glucokinase activity in rats with impaired glucose tolerance and the exendin-4 effect on glucokinase activity in HepG2 cells incubated with fructose in the presence/absence of exendin-9-39. After 3 weeks of in vivo fructose administration we measured: (1) serum glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels; (2) liver and HepG2 cells glucokinase activity and (3) liver glucokinase and 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase mRNA and protein levels. Fructose fed rats had: hypertriglyceridemia, hyperinsulinemia and high liver glucokinase activity (mainly located in the cytosolic fraction) together with higher glucokinase and 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase mRNA and protein concentrations compared to control rats. Co-administration of either exendin-4 or des-fluoro-sitagliptin prevented serum and liver changes except glucokinase protein expression. Exendin-4 also prevented fructose-induced increase in glucokinase activity in cultured HepG2 cells, effect blunted by co-incubation with exendin-9-36. In conclusion exendin-4/des-fluro-sitagliptin prevented fructose-induced effect on glucokinase activity, mainly affecting enzyme activity modulators. Exendin 9-39 blunted in vitro protective exendin-4 effect on glucokinase activity, thus suggesting a direct effect of the later on hepatocytes through GLP-1 receptor. Alterations of glucokinase activity modulators could play a role in the pathogenesis of liver dysfunction, becoming a potential new treatment target for GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Keywords: Exendin-4; Des-fluoro-sitagliptin; GLP-1 receptor agonist; Liver glucokinase; 6-Phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase; Fructose-rich diet; Prediabetes;

Urocortin 1 (Ucn1) is a 40-amino-acid peptide that has vasodilatory activity and displays immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. Maternal and cord plasma Ucn1 levels are increased in preeclampsia and preterm labor, but the mechanisms of such increase are poorly known. Thus, we investigated Ucn1 localization in human umbilical cord and assessed some potential stimuli to Ucn1 release by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Human umbilical cords were obtained at uncomplicated term pregnancy (n  = 11). Ucn1 localization was assessed by immunohistochemistry and quantified. HUVEC were grown in vitro to confluence, then incubated with serial concentrations of interleukin (IL)-8, interferon (INF)-γ, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endothelin (ET)-1, prostaglandin (PG)F-2α, estradiol, progesterone and dexamethasone and Ucn1 concentrations were measured in the supernatants. Ucn1 was immunolocalized with similar intensity in umbilical cord arteries, vein and Wharton’s jelly. Ucn1 mRNA was detected in all HUVEC cultures and Ucn1 peptide was detectable in culture medium from untreated cells at different time points. Incubation with IFN-γ increased Ucn1 secretion in a dose-dependent manner. Treatments with IL-8, LPS, ET-1 and dexamethasone were able to increase three to fourfold Ucn1 release from cultured endothelial cells. In conclusion, umbilical vessels express Ucn1 and may be a contributive source of Ucn1 release into fetal-placental circulation. IL-8, IFN-γ, LPS, ET-1 and dexamethasone promote Ucn1 secretion from cultured HUVEC.
Keywords: Urocortin; HUVEC; Interleukin-8; Interferon-γ; LPS; Endothelin-1; Dexamethasone;

Keywords: Vasopressin; Oxytocin; Fluid homeostasis; Satiety; Intranasal oxytocin; Salivary vasopressin; Context dependency; State dependency;