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Yu M Yu, Horacio M Domené, Jorge Sztein, Debra R Counts and Fernando Cassorla

Yu YM, Domené HM, Sztein J, Counts DR, Cassorla F. Developmental changes and differential regulation by testosterone and estradiol of growth hormone receptor expression in the rabbit. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;135:583–90. ISSN 0804–4643

To investigate the effects of testosterone and estradiol (E2) on growth hormone receptor (GH-R) gene expression, we measured GH-R mRNA levels in relation to the changes of sex steroid concentrations in the normal male rabbits aged 1–12 months and after administration of testosterone or E2 to castrated male rabbits. In the normal animals, E2 levels were below the detection limit in all age groups, and testosterone levels were below the detection limit at 1 month, increased at 2 months and reached the plateau of the adult levels after 4 months. Liver GH-R mRNA levels were low at 1 month, reached a peak at 2 months and then decreased slightly thereafter. In the castrated animals, liver and growth plate GH-R mRNA levels were increased in the testosterone-treated group (162.0 ± 12.0%, p < 0.025; 128.4 ± 7.6%; p < 0.025) and reduced in the E2-treated group (29.6 ± 6.2%, p < 0.005; 53.6 ± 11.3%, p < 0.025). Sex steroid administration did not result in any significant change in GH-R mRNA levels in striated muscle, kidney and heart. Serum GH concentrations were increased in E2 (15.3 ± 7.7 μg/l vs 4.8 ± 2.2 μg/l, p < 0.025) but the increase was not significant in testosterone-treated animals (8.4 ± 7.7 μg/l vs 4.8 ± 2.2 μg/l). Both testosterone and E2 treatment resulted in a reduction of mean serum growth hormone-binding protein (GHBP) levels compared to control animals (1077 ± 422 pmol/l, p < 0.01; 1137 ± 443 pmol/l, p < 0.01; 2308 ± 565 pmol/l). We conclude that in addition to their stimulatory effect on GH secretion, testosterone and E2 have opposite effects on GH-R gene expression in liver and growth plate in the rabbit. The modulation of GH-R expression by sex steroids may be important for growth during sexual maturation in mammals.

Yu M Yu, MD, 11600 Bootjack Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, USA

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Gabriela Marin, Saul N Malozowski, Kevin Barnes, Janice Southers, Audrey Cristiano and Fernando Cassorla

We studied catch-up growth following withdrawal of glucocorticoid administration in seven intact prepubertal cynomolgus monkeys. To reduce stress during blood sampling, a vascular access port was implanted subcutaneously in each animal for the duration of the study. After a baseline observation period of 50 weeks, the monkeys received injections of dexamethasone at a dose of 100 μg·kg−1·day−1 for 15 weeks. Growth velocity was monitored every 3 weeks by measuring lower leg length and body weight. Spontaneous serum growth hormone (GH) concentrations and GH levels after insulin and l-dopa stimulation, as well as serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and plasma thyrotropin, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, were measured during the study. Differences between animals were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance and Student's paired t-test. Mean±sem growth velocity (mm/3 weeks) decreased from 0.90±0.08 during the baseline period to 0.29±0.07 (p< 0.001) during the period of growth retardation, and increased to 1.23±0.2 (p< 0.001) during the period of catch-up growth. Spontaneous GH and peak GH levels following insulin did not show any significant variation during the study. Peak GH during the l-dopa test decreased from 15.4±3.2 μg/l during the baseline period to 6.2±2.4 μg/l during the period of growth retardation (p<0.05), and increased to 23.0±5.9 μg/l during the period of catch-up growth (p<0.05). Serum IGF-I levels were 3.0±1.0 mU/l during the baseline period, increased to 9.5±1.3 mU/l (p<0.05) during the period of dexamethasone administration and decreased to 6.1±1.0 mU/l during catch-up. Plasma thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels did not vary during the study, whereas thyrotropin decreased during the period of growth retardation. We conclude that GH secretion increases after l-dopa during catch-up growth in this primate model, suggesting that GH may play a role in the accelerated growth observed during this period.

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Song Guang Ren, Saul Malozowski, Prosper Sanchez, Donald E. Sweet, D. Lynn Loriaux and Fernando Cassorla

Abstract.

Local injection of hormones into the tibial epiphyseal growth plate offers a possible model to answer whether sex steroids can affect bone growth directly. To answer this question, we injected different doses of testosterone enanthate (4, 40, 120 and 400 μg/100 g of rat weight) once into the tibial epiphyseal growth plate of castrated 35-day-old male rats. The contralateral tibia was injected with sesame oil and served as control. All animals were sacrificed at age 42 days. Tibias were removed for measurement of epiphyseal growth plate width and blood was collected for measurement of serum IGF-I and testosterone. The lower doses of testosterone enanthate (4, 40 and 120 μg/100 g) did not produce any significant change in epiphyseal growth plate width. Testosterone at the largest dose tested (400 μg/100 g) increased epiphyseal growth plate width by about 15% compared to control (p < 0.01). At this dose, serum testosterone was not increased, suggesting that the effect on epiphyseal growth plate width was not due to higher systemic testosterone concentrations. No differences in IGF-I levels were observed among the groups. We conclude that direct administration of testosterone enanthate at a dose of 400 μg/100 g into the rat tibial epiphyseal growth plate can increase epiphyseal growth plate width.

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Song Guang Ren, Ze Huang, Donald E. Sweet, Saul Malozowski and Fernando Cassorla

Abstract

To evaluate the dose-response relationship between thyroxine and tibial growth, 60 male rats age 21 days were rendered hypothyroid by administration of methimazole in the drinking water. Twenty-one days later, the hypothyroid rats were randomly divided into 5 groups which received 0, 2, 8, 32, or 64 μg·kg−1·day−1 of T4 im for 21 days. All animals were sacrificed at age 64 days. Rat tibia were removed for measurement of epiphyseal growth plate width and longitudinal growth rate. Serum T4 and IGF-I levels were determined by RIA. Methimazole therapy significantly decreased serum T4, IGF-I, epiphyseal growth plate width, and longitudinal growth rate compared to controls. Epiphyseal growth plate width gradually increased when T4 was administered at doses from 2 to 32 μg·kg−1·day−1 (271±14, 311±15 and 324±11 μm), and subsequently decreased when T4 was given at a dose of 64 μg·kg−1·day−1 (267±8 μm). A similar profile was observed for longitudinal growth rate and IGF-I. We conclude that rat tibial growth has a biphasic response to exogenous T4 administration, and that the effects of T4 on tibial growth may be mediated through IGF-I secretion.

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Titania Pasqualini, June McCalla, Stacy Berg, David G Poplack, Susan R Rose, Bruce C Nisula and Fernando Cassorla

Abstract.

We evaluated serum thyroid hormone and thyroid antibody levels, the serum TSH response to TRH, and the circadian pattern of serum TSH in 10 children and adolescents after radiation therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Four patients had received central nervous system preventive cranial irradiation and intrathecal chemotherapy, and the remaining 6 patients were treated with craniospinal irradiation for central nervous system relapse. Serum total T4 and T3 concentrations were within the normal range and thyroid antibodies were negative in all patients. Four patients who had received craniospinal irradiation had low free T4 levels. Prior to TRH administration, the overall mean serum TSH concentration was 5.4±1.3 mU/l, and the mean peak response to TRH was 33±6.5 mU/l. Both were significantly increased when compared to the levels observed in our control population (p<0.05 and <0.025, respectively). The overall mean nadir diurnal TSH was 3.6±0.8 mU/l, and the mean peak nocturnal TSH was 6.9±1.3 mU/l, both significantly elevated when compared to normal children (p<0.025). The mean nocturnal TSH surge, however, was not significantly different from normal. Four of 6 children treated with craniospinal irradiation, and one of four children treated with cranial irradiation had increased basal and peak serum TSH concentrations in response to TRH. One of the patients treated with cranial irradiation had an abnormal nocturnal TSH surge. We conclude that subtle primary hypothyroidism is relatively common in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, particularly in those who have been treated with craniospinal irradiation.