Browsing Department of Physiology: Faculty Research and Presentations by Subjects
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Genetic and gene expression analyses of the polycystic ovary syndrome candidate gene fibrillin-3 and other fibrillin family members in human ovaries.Several studies have demonstrated an association between polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the dinucleotide repeat microsatellite marker D19S884, which is located in intron 55 of the fibrillin-3 (FBN3) gene. Fibrillins, including FBN1 and 2, interact with latent transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-binding proteins (LTBP) and thereby control the bioactivity of TGFbetas. TGFbetas stimulate fibroblast replication and collagen production. The PCOS ovarian phenotype includes increased stromal collagen and expansion of the ovarian cortex, features feasibly influenced by abnormal fibrillin expression. To examine a possible role of fibrillins in PCOS, particularly FBN3, we undertook tagging and functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis (32 SNPs including 10 that generate non-synonymous amino acid changes) using DNA from 173 PCOS patients and 194 controls. No SNP showed a significant association with PCOS and alleles of most SNPs showed almost identical population frequencies between PCOS and control subjects. No significant differences were observed for microsatellite D19S884. In human PCO stroma/cortex (n = 4) and non-PCO ovarian stroma (n = 9), follicles (n = 3) and corpora lutea (n = 3) and in human ovarian cancer cell lines (KGN, SKOV-3, OVCAR-3, OVCAR-5), FBN1 mRNA levels were approximately 100 times greater than FBN2 and 200-1000-fold greater than FBN3. Expression of LTBP-1 mRNA was 3-fold greater than LTBP-2. We conclude that FBN3 appears to have little involvement in PCOS but cannot rule out that other markers in the region of chromosome 19p13.2 are associated with PCOS or that FBN3 expression occurs in other organs and that this may be influencing the PCOS phenotype.
Thyroidal dysfunction and environmental chemicals--potential impact on brain development.Certain polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dibenzo-p-dioxins (dioxins, 2,3,7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) have been shown to have neurotoxic effects and to alter thyroid function during critical periods of thyroid hormone-dependent brain development. This has led to the suggestion that some of the neurotoxic effects of these compounds could be mediated through the thyroid system. Thyroid hormones are essential for normal brain development during a critical period beginning in utero and extending through the first 2 years postpartum. They regulate neuronal proliferation, migration, and differentiation in discrete regions of the brain during definitive time periods. Even transient disruption of this normal pattern can impair brain development. Thyroid hormones are necessary for normal cytoskeletal assembly and stability and the cytoskeletal system is essential for migration and neuronal outgrowth. In addition, they regulate development of cholinergic and dopaminergic systems serving the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Animals perinatally exposed to certain environmental organohalogens such as many of the PCBs and dioxins have abnormal thyroid function and neurologic impairment. Although there are both species and congener variabilities, most reports show exposure results in thyroid enlargement and reduced serum T(4) levels with normal T(3) levels. Initial research concentrated on studying the direct actions of xenobiotics on the thyroid; however, some of these compounds bear a structural resemblance to the natural thyroid hormones and have high affinity with thyroid hormone-binding proteins such as transthyretin. These compounds could act as agonists or antagonists for receptors of the thyroid/steroid/retinoic acid superfamily. These structurally similar organohalogens could act at multiple points to alter thyroid hormone action. The similarity of the neurologic impairment seen in thyroid disorders to that seen following PCB or dioxin exposure suggests that one mechanism of neurotoxicity of these compounds could involve interaction with the thyroid system.
Vulnerability of the developing brain to thyroid abnormalities: environmental insults to the thyroid system.Neurologic development follows orderly patterns that can be severely disturbed when thyroid hormones are deficient or excessive. Should this occur at appropriate development periods, irreversible neurologic damage can result. The nature of the deficits depends upon the specific development period and the severity of the thyroid disturbance. PCBs and dioxins are structurally similar to the thyroid hormones. Their binding characteristics are similar to those of thyroid hormones and all three groups bind to the cytosolic Ah receptor, the thyroid hormone receptor and the serum thyroid hormone binding protein transthyretin. Depending upon the dose of toxin and the congener used, the toxins either decrease or mimic the biological action of the thyroid hormones. Either effect, if occurring during brain development, can have disastrous consequences. Children and animals exposed to PCBs or dioxins in utero and/or as infants can exhibit varying degrees of behavioral disorders. These disorders resemble those seen in children exposed to thyroid hormone deficiencies in utero and/or in infancy. The mechanism of developmental neurotoxicity of PCBs and dioxins is not known but data suggest it could be partially or entirely mediated by alterations in availability and action of thyroid hormones during neurological development. It is possible that transient exposure of the mother to doses of toxins presently considered nontoxic to the mother could have an impact upon fetal or perinatal neurological development. If the toxins act via their effect on thyroid hormone action, it is possible that doses of toxins that would normally not alter fetal development, could become deleterious if superimposed on a pre-existing maternal/or fetal thyroid disorder.