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C Schmid, C Ghirlanda-Keller and J Zapf

OBJECTIVE: Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) inhibits cell growth. Previous reports have suggested the existence of plasma membrane IGFBP-3 receptors that could mediate direct, IGF-independent effects. Thus far, however, the only well-defined putative IGFBP-3 receptor is the type V transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) receptor, a membrane glycoprotein that mediates TGF-beta-induced growth inhibition in selected cells. The aim of the study was to test whether IGFBP-3 and TGF-beta exert short-term effects in an osteosarcoma cell line that produces no IGF but contains type 1 IGF receptors. DESIGN: DNA synthesis and apoptosis in Saos-2/B-10 cells were measured in response to IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-3 and TGF-beta2, and to type 1 IGF receptor ligands with poor affinity for IGFBP-3 ([QAYL]-IGF-I and insulin). RESULTS: IGF-I and IGF-II stimulated thymidine incorporation into DNA and suppressed apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner with maximal effects at 1 and 3 nM respectively. TGF-beta2 slightly increased thymidine incorporation into DNA but had no effect on apoptosis. IGFBP-3 had no effect by itself. Whereas it blocked the above effects of 1 nmol/l IGF-I, it did not block those of 1 nmol/l [QAYL]-IGF-I or 100 nmol/l insulin. CONCLUSIONS: IGFBP-3 does not affect DNA synthesis or apoptosis in an IGF-independent manner in IGF-responsive osteosarcoma cells. It therefore appears to act essentially by sequestration of IGF.

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E Zoidis, M Gosteli-Peter, C Ghirlanda-Keller, L Meinel, J Zapf and C Schmid

OBJECTIVE: X-linked hypophosphatemia, a renal phosphate (Pi)-wasting disorder with defective bone mineralization, is caused by mutations in the PHEX gene (a Pi-regulating gene with homology to endopeptidases on the X chromosome). We wondered whether changes in Phex and neprilysin (NEP) (another member of the family of zinc endopeptidases) mRNA expression could be observed in relation to vitamin D and Pi metabolism during GH- and IGF-I-stimulated growth of hypophysectomized rats. DESIGN: Animals were infused s.c. for 2 days with vehicle, 200 mU (67 microg) GH or 300 microg IGF-I/rat per 24 h. We determined serum osteocalcin and osteocalcin mRNA in bone, Phex mRNA in bone and lungs, serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)) and serum Pi levels, and renal expression of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3)-1alpha-hydroxylase (1alpha-hydroxylase), of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3)-24-hydroxylase (24-hydroxylase) and of the Na-dependent Pi-cotransporter type I and II (Na(d)Pi-I and -II). RESULTS: As compared with vehicle-treated controls, body weight and tibial epiphyseal width significantly increased in GH- and IGF-I-treated animals. Serum osteocalcin and osteocalcin mRNA levels in bone, Phex mRNA in bone and lungs, serum 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) and renal 1alpha-hydroxylase mRNA rose concomitantly, whereas expression of NEP in lungs was barely affected and renal 24-hydroxylase mRNA decreased. Na(d)Pi-I and -II gene expression in the kidney and serum Pi levels remained unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a coordinate regulation of Phex mRNA expression in lungs and bone and vitamin D metabolism during GH- and IGF-I-stimulated growth.

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A P Silva, P Schoeffter, G Weckbecker, C Bruns and H A Schmid

Objective: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-dependent Cushing’s syndrome is biochemically characterized by increased plasma concentrations of ACTH inducing hypersecretion of cortisol. Somatostatin is known to inhibit ACTH secretion, and in vitro data have shown the inhibition of ACTH secretion by agonists activating sst2 and sst5 receptors. The present study aimed to determine the inhibitory effect of the multireceptor ligand SOM230, compared with the sst2-preferring agonist octreotide, on corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-stimulated secretion of ACTH and corticosterone in rats.

Methods: Secretion of ACTH and corticosterone was induced by i.v. application of CRH (0.5 μg/kg) in rats pretreated 1 h before by i.v. application of SOM230 (1, 3, or 10 μg/kg), octreotide (10 μg/kg) or NaCl 0.9%.

Results: SOM230 (3 and 10 μg/kg) inhibited CRH-induced ACTH release by 45±3% and 51±2%, respectively, and corticosterone release by 43±5% and 27±16%, respectively. 10 μg/kg of octreotide tended to be less potent at inhibiting ACTH release (34±6% inhibition) and did not alter the secretion of corticosterone.

Conclusion: SOM230 has a stronger inhibitory effect on ACTH and corticosterone secretion than octreotide in rats. This difference can be explained by its higher affinity to sst1, sst3 and especially sst5 receptors compared with octreotide.

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P Wiesli, M Brandle, T Pfammatter, J Zapf, GA Spinas and C Schmid

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare insulin concentrations measured by a traditional radioimmunoassay (RIA) and a more specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in blood samples obtained during the arterial stimulation and venous sampling (ASVS) test in patients with insulinoma. DESIGN: Prospective case series. METHODS: In 14 patients with an insulinoma undergoing an ASVS test, blood samples were obtained from the hepatic vein at baseline and 60 s after calcium injection into an artery supplying the tumour and a control artery (supplying pancreatic tissue without tumour). A selective arterial calcium stimulation was performed in five additional patients without evidence for an insulinoma. We measured insulin by a traditional RIA and a specific immunoassay. RESULTS: In patients with insulinoma, insulin concentrations increased between 2.3- and 24.2-fold (median 8.2-fold) when measured by RIA and between 7.3- and 59.4-fold (median 16) when measured by ELISA following calcium injection into the artery supplying the tumour. Following calcium injection into the control artery, insulin concentrations were 0.6 to 1.3 times (median 1.0) the baseline values by RIA and 0.5 to 2.5 times (median 1.1) the baseline values by ELISA. In patients without insulinoma, insulin concentrations increased following calcium stimulation between 0.7- and 2.1-fold (median 1.3-fold) when measured by RIA and between 0.6- and 4.7-fold (median 1.3-fold) when measured by ELISA. CONCLUSIONS: When insulin is measured by specific immunoassays, a higher cut-off (i.e. five- to sixfold increase) rather than the traditional criterion of a twofold increase should be used to localise an insulinoma during the ASVS test. The increase in insulin concentrations following calcium stimulation is significantly higher when insulin is measured by a specific assay compared with results obtained with traditional RIAs.