Growth hormone-releasing factor expression is discordantly regulated in the hypothalamus and testis of streptozotocin-diabetic rats

D. Olchovsky, J. F. Bruno, M. Berelowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF) mRNA expression in male rats occurs predominantly in the hypothalamus (mainly in the arcuate nucleus), and among extraneural sites primarily in the testis. Hypothalamic GRF is the physiological tropic stimulus to growth hormone secretion. However, the role of GRF in the testis is unknown. We have shown previously that hypothalamic GRF mRNA expression is significantly reduced in streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. This reduction is confined to the arcuate nucleus and probably accounts for the suppression of growth hormone pulsatility. The present studies were performed to evaluate GRF expression in the testis of streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced by injection of STZ (100 mg/kg i.p.). Seventeen to twenty days later diabetic rats were hyperglycemic compared with vehicle-injected controls and demonstrated growth failure. Insulin treatment reduced the glycemia and increased body weight towards normal. Total RNA was extracted from the hypothalamus and testis, and GRF mRNA levels estimated by solution hybridization/nuclease protection assay. Levels of hypothalamic somatostatin mRNA were measured to serve as control values. GRF mRNA was significantly (P<0.001) decreased in the hypothalamus of STZ-diabetic rats (0.2±0.07 mean relative densitometric units, n=8) compared with controls (1.0±0.19, n=8) with no change in somatostatin mRNA expression. In contrast, testicular GRF mRNA was increased 70% (P<0.05) in STZ-diabetic rats. Insulin treatment resulted in normalization of hypothalamic GRF mRNA levels (1.1±0.17, n=5) with no effect on testicular GRF mRNA expression. In conclusion GRF gene expression is discordantly regulated in tissues of male STZ-diabetic rats. While reduced GRF expression may account for the low growth hormone state in this model, increased testicular GRF mRNA (with the previously reported reduction of insulin-like growth factor-I mRNA) resembles the response seen in growth hormone-sensitive tissue (especially the hypothalamus) to this growth hormone-deficient state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-192
Number of pages104
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes


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