The IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) play a dual role in the regulation of the activity and bioavailability of IGFs in different tissues. Diverse evidence has shown that IGFBPs can inhibit and/or potentiate IGF actions. In this study, igfbp1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were isolated in the fine flounder, a flat fish species that shows slow growth and inherent Gh resistance in muscle. Subsequently, the expression of all igfbps was assessed in the skeletal muscle of flounder that underwent different nutritional statuses. igfbp1 was not expressed in muscle during any of the nutritional conditions, whereas igfbp3 and igfbp5 were the lowest and the highest igfbps expressed respectively. A dynamic expression pattern was found in all the igfbps expressed in skeletal muscle, which depended on the nutritional status and sampling period. During the fasting period, igfbp2, 4, and 5 were downregulated, whereas igfbp3 was upregulated during part of the fasting period. The restoration of food modulated the expression of the igfbps dynamically, showing significant changes during both the long-and short-term refeeding. igfbp3 and igfbp6 were downregulated during short-term refeeding, whereas igfbp5 was upregulated, and igfbp2 and igfbp4 remained stable. During long-term refeeding, the expression of igfbp2, 4, 5, and 6 increased, while igfbp3 remained unchanged. In conclusion, this study shows for the first time the isolation of all igfbps in a single fish species, in addition to describing a dynamic nutritional and time-dependent response in the expression of igfbps in the skeletal muscle of a nonmammalian species.
IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) modulate the availability of IGFs for their cognate receptors. In zebrafish testes, IGF3 promotes the proliferation and differentiation of type A undifferentiated (A) spermatogonia, and igf3 expression is strongly elevated by FSH but also responds to T. Here we report the effects of FSH and T on igfbp transcript levels in adult zebrafish testis. We then examined T and FSH effects on zebrafish spermatogenesis and explored the relevance of IGFBPs in modulating these T or FSH effects, using a primary tissue culture system for adult zebrafish testis. T up-regulated igfbp1a and igfbp3 expression, whereas FSH reduced igfbp1a transcript levels. To quantify effects on spermatogenesis, we determined the mitotic index and relative section areas occupied by A, type A differentiating, or type B spermatogonia. In general, T and FSH stimulated spermatogonial proliferation and increased the areas occupied by spermatogonia, suggesting that both self-renewal and differentiating divisions were stimulated. Preventing IGF/IGFBP interaction by NBI-31772 further increased T- or FSH-induced spermatogonial proliferation. However, under these conditions the more differentiated type A differentiating and B spermatogonia occupied larger surface areas at the expense of the area held by A spermatogonia. Clearly decreased nanos2 transcript levels are in agreement with this finding, and reduced amh expression may have facilitated spermatogonial differentiation. We conclude that elevating IGF3 bioactivity by blocking IGFBPs shifted T- or FSH-induced signaling from stimulating spermatogonial self-renewal as well as differentiation toward predominantly stimulating spermatogonial differentiation, which leads to a depletion of type A spermatogonia.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) is a major regulator of spermatogenesis, targeting somatic cell functions in the testes. We reported previously that zebrafish Fsh promoted the differentiation of type A undifferentiated spermatogonia (A) by stimulating the production of factors that advance germ cell differentiation, such as androgens, insulin-like peptide 3 (Insl3) and insulin-like growth factor 3 (Igf3). In addition, Fsh also modulated the transcript levels of several other genes, including some belonging to the Wnt signaling pathway. Here, we evaluated if and how Fsh utilizes part of the canonical Wnt pathway to regulate the development of spermatogonia. We quantified the proliferation activity and relative section areas occupied by A and type A differentiating (A) spermatogonia and we analyzed the expression of selected genes in response to recombinant proteins and pharmacological inhibitors. We found that from the three downstream mediators of Fsh activity we examined, Igf3, but not 11-ketotestosterone or Insl3, modulated the transcript levels of two β-catenin sensitive genes ( and ). Using a zebrafish β-catenin signaling reporter line, we showed that Igf3 activated β-catenin signaling in type A spermatogonia and that this activation did not depend on the release of Wnt ligands. Pharmacological inhibition of the β-catenin or of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways revealed that Igf3 activated β-catenin signaling in a manner involving PI3K to promote the differentiation of A to A spermatogonia. This mechanism represents an intriguing example for a pituitary hormone like Fsh using Igf signaling to recruit the evolutionary conserved, local β-catenin signaling pathway to regulate spermatogenesis.
Retinoic acid (RA) is critical for mammalian spermatogonia differentiation, and stimulates Stra8 expression, a gene required for meiosis. Certain fish species, including zebrafish, have lost the stra8 gene. While RA still seems important for spermatogenesis in fish, it is not known which stage(s) respond to RA or if its effects are integrated into the endocrine regulation of spermatogenesis. In zebrafish, RA promoted spermatogonia differentiation, supported androgen-stimulated meiosis and reduced spermatocyte and spermatid apoptosis. Follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) stimulated RA production. Expressing a dominant-negative RA receptor variant in germ cells clearly disturbed spermatogenesis but meiosis and spermiogenesis still took place although sperm quality was low in 6 months-old adults. This condition also activated Leydig cells. Three months later, spermatogenesis apparently had recovered, but doubling of testis weight demonstrated hypertrophy, apoptosis/DNA damage among spermatids was high and sperm quality remained low. We conclude that RA signaling is important for zebrafish spermatogenesis but is not of critical relevance. Since Fsh stimulates androgen and RA production, germ cell-mediated, RA-dependent reduction of Leydig cell activity may form a hitherto unknown intratesticular negative feedback loop.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) modulates vertebrate spermatogenesis by regulating somatic cell functions in the testis. We have found previously that zebrafish Fsh stimulated the differentiating proliferation of type A undifferentiated spermatogonia (Aund) in an androgen-independent manner by regulating the production of growth factors and other signaling molecules in both Sertoli (SCs) and Leydig cells (LCs). For example, Fsh triggered the release of Igf3 that subsequently activated β-catenin signaling to promote the differentiating proliferation of Aund. In the present study, we report that Fsh moreover uses the non-canonical Wnt pathway to promote the proliferation and accumulation of Aund. Initially, we found that the stimulatory effect of Fsh on the proliferation activity of Aund was further strengthened when β-catenin signaling was inhibited, resulting in an accumulation of Aund. We then showed that this Fsh-induced accumulation of Aund was associated with increased transcript levels of the non-canonical Wnt ligand, wnt5a. In situ hybridization of insl3 mRNA, a gene expressed in LCs, combined with Wnt5a immunocytochemistry identified LCs as the cellular source of Wnt5a in the adult zebrafish testis. Addition of an antagonist of Wnt5a to incubations with Fsh decreased both the proliferation activity and the relative section area occupied by Aund, while an agonist of Wnt5a increased these same parameters for Aund. Taken together, our data suggest that Fsh triggered LCs to release Wnt5a, which then promoted the proliferation and accumulation of Aund. Hence, Fsh uses non-canonical Wnt signaling to ensure the production of Aund, while also triggering β-catenin signaling via Igf3 to ensure spermatogonial differentiation.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1 and IGF-1R) play main roles in vertebrate growth and development. In fish, besides contributing to somatic growth, both molecules exhibit pleiotropic functions. We isolated complete cDNAs sequences encoding for both IGF-1 and IGF-1R in the Chilean flounder by using RT-PCR and rapid amplification of cDNAs ends (RACE) techniques. We analyzed gene expression in pre-metamorphic larvae and different organs of juvenile fish through whole mount in situ hybridization and RT-PCR, respectively. In addition, we studied the presence of calcified skeletal structures in pre-metamorphic larvae through the fluorescent chromophore calcein. The IGF-1 cDNA sequence displays an open reading frame of 558 nucleotides, encoding a 185 amino acid preproIGF-1. Moreover, IGF-1R contains an open reading frame spanning 4239 nucleotides, rendering a 702 amino acid subunit alpha and a 676 amino acid subunit beta. The deduced mature IGF-1 and IGF-1R exhibited high sequence identities with their corresponding orthologs in fishes, especially those domains involved in biological activity. RT-PCR showed expression of IGF-1 and IGF-1R transcripts in all studied tissues, consistent with their pleiotropic functions. Furthermore, we observed IGF-1 expression in notochord and IGF-1R expression in notochord, somites and head in larvae of 8 and 9 days post fertilization. Complementarily, we detected in larvae of 8 days post fertilization the presence of calcified skeletal structures in notochord and head. Interestingly, both mRNAs and calcified structures were found in territories such as notochord, an embryonic midline structure essential for the pattern of surrounding tissues as nervous system and mesoderm. Our results suggest that IGF-1 and its receptor play an important role in the development of the nervous system, muscle and bone-related structures during larval stages.
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