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Beatriz Ferreiro, Rosa Pastor and Juan Bernal

Abstract.

The concentration and occupancy of the thyroid hormone receptor have been measured in rat brain nuclear extracts at the end of the fetal period and during the postnatal period. Receptor occupancy attained maximal values at postnatal day 15 (52% of total receptor binding sites occupied by T3) and correlated with plasma and cytosol total and free T3. The values for these parameters showed greater differences throughout development than did receptor occupancy. From gestational day 21 to postnatal day 15, total T3 increased in plasma from 0.18 to 1 nmol/l and in cytosol from 1 to 7.5 pmol/l. Free T3 increased in plasma from 1.2 to 6 pmol/l and in cytosol from 8 to 59 pmol/l. Nuclear free T3, calculated on the basis of receptor occupancy, and Kd increased in parallel, from 39.8 to 107 pmol/l at the same ages. Values for nuclear free T3 were between 2 and 5 times those in cytosol and between 10 and 40 times those in plasma, suggesting the presence of a small free T3 gradient from plasma to the nucleus. All of the above changes take place during the critical period of oligodendrocyte differentiation and the start of myelin gene expression, suggesting that thyroid hormone influences these important events of brain maturation.

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Javier Ortiz-Caro, Rosa M. Pastor and Trinidad Jolin

Abstract. In this study we investigated further the antigoitrogenic effect of ClO4 in rats on a low iodine diet (LID) and 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU). The thyroid weight of rats on the mixed goitrogen was initially similar to that of animals on PTU, decreasing to values obtained in rats treated with ClO4 alone by 10 days. Despite the differences in thyroid weight, rats treated during an identical period with PTU or mixed goitrogen develop hypothyroidism to a comparable degree as far as can be assessed by the thyroidal 127I content, plasma T4, T3 and TSH concentrations, and pituitary TSH content. Moreover, it was observed that there were differences in plasma insulin and glucose levels in these hypothyroid animals. The plasma insulin and glucose levels of rats on PTU are comparable to those found in control rats. In rats on mixed goitrogen, both plasma insulin and glucose levels are initially maintained within the normal ranges, and then decline over the subsequent days of treatment. Within the treatment period studied here, plasma insulin and glucose levels were higher for rats on PTU than for animals on ClO4, PTU + ClO4, or thyroidectomized (Th) animals.

We have obtained further evidence of the hypothyroid state of rats on these goitrogen regimens based on measurements of pituitary and plasma GH levels and liver mitochondrial alpha-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase (α-GPD). The PTU-treatment decreased the liver α-GPD activity to a comparable degree to that of mixed goitrogen. Moreover, both PTU + ClO4 and PTU-treatment resulted in a state of hypothyroidism intense enough to induce effects on growth, and plasma and pituitary GH levels comparable to that of Th animals. However, the values for rats on mixed goitrogen appear to be below the PTU data. The present findings appear to be consistent with the view that TSH is not the unique factor determining the size of the resulting goitre. The results are discussed in relation to the hypothesis that: 1) the antigoitrogenic effect of ClO4 could be associated with changes in the ability of the thyroid tissue to bind TSH, or with a step beyond TSH binding, and 2) the different endocrine and metabolic states of rats on PTU or PTU + ClO4, shown by their different plasma insulin, GH and glucose levels, may play an important role in determining the thyroid weight response to TSH.

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Montserrat Broch, Maria Teresa Auguet, Rafael Ramírez, Montserrat Olona, Carmen Aguilar, Ana Megia, Maria José Alcaide, Rosa Pastor, Salomé Martínez, Enric Caubet, Antonio Garcia-España and Cristóbal Richart

Context and objective

Adipokines are involved in the etiopathology of obesity-related disorders. Since the role of adipokine retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4) in obesity remains uncertain and its relationship with other adipokines and inflammatory markers has not been examined in detail, we investigated the relationships of RBP4 mRNA expression and circulating protein levels with obesity, anthropometric and metabolic variables, as well as with obesity-related inflammatory markers adiponectin and C-reactive protein.

Subjects and methods

One-hundred and twenty-five subjects participated, 36 lean (body mass index (BMI): <25 kg/m2) and 89 obese (overweight/obese; BMI: ≥25<40) whose anthropometric and metabolic variables were assessed. mRNA expression was quantified by real-time PCR in subcutaneous adipose tissue (s.c.-AT) of 46 subjects.

Results

There was a tendency for circulating RBP4 levels to positively correlate with waist circumference (β=0.29, P=0.08; R 2=0.08), but there was no significant association with the obesity-related parameters analysed. RBP4 and adiponectin mRNA expression levels were similarly downregulated in the s.c.-AT of obese subjects (0.5-fold); however, RBP4 downregulation did not affect its circulating protein levels. The expression of RBP4 and adiponectin was positively correlated even after controlling for confounding factors (β=0.59, P<0.0001; R 2=0.40).

Conclusions

In our population, RBP4 circulating levels were not significantly correlated with obesity-related parameters, although a tendency to correlate with waist circumference suggests a relationship with insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders. In addition, our results suggest that the production of RBP4 by other tissues such as liver, rather than s.c.-AT, may be involved in regulating RBP4 circulating levels.