Source: Daily Yomiuri Online (Japan) Date: January 11, 2010 URL: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20100111TDY03103.htm Breakthrough made in diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome Researchers have discovered a protein in blood that can be used to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome, a breakthrough that could help detect the ailment during physical checkups. There are diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome - a disorder involving extreme fatigue of unknown cause that continues for at least six months--that rely primarily on subjective symptoms, but there have been no objective markers such as blood tests. The research team led by Hiroshi Kiyama, a professor of anatomy at Osaka City University, examined the intermediate lobes of the pituitary glands of rats in which they induced extreme fatigue by making them exercise for five consecutive days. They found that the lobes excreted extraordinarily high amounts of a protein called alpha-MSH and that alpha-MSH levels in the animals' blood also increased. The neurotransmitter dopamine inhibits the secretion of alpha-MSH, but the rats' ability to produce dopamine declined as their fatigue grew. The group also tested the levels of alpha-MSH in the blood of 57 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and the blood of 30 healthy people. The average level among the 37 people who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome less than five years before was about 50 percent higher than the healthy people. ============================================================================= Source: Journal of Neurochemistry Vol. 109, #5, pp 1389-1399 Date: March 23, 2009 URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122270951/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 Ref: All Hiroshi Kiyama papers, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term="Kiyama H"[Author] All Hiroshi Kiyama papers on alpha-MSH, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term="Kiyama H"[Author] alpha-MSH Rem: Please note that this might not be the research reported in todays press release. Chronic stress elicits prolonged activation of alpha-MSH secretion and subsequent degeneration of melanotroph. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Ogawa(*,**), Nobue Shishioh-Ikejima(*,**), Hiroyuki Konishi(*,**), Tetsuya Makino(*,**), Hiroyoshi Sei(***), Sumiko Kiryu-Seo*,**), Masaaki Tanaka(**,****), Yasuyoshi Watanabe(**,****), and Hiroshi Kiyama(*,**,+) * Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan ** The 21st Century COE Program 'Base to Overcome Fatigue', Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan *** Department of Integrative Physiology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan **** Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan + Address correspondence and reprint requests to Hiroshi Kiyama, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka, 545-8585 Japan. E-mail: kiyama@... Abstract Prolonged stress affects homeostasis in various organs and induces stress-associated disorders. We examined the cellular changes of pituitary gland under the continuous stress condition using a rat model in which rats were kept in a cage filled with water to a height of 1.5 cm for up to 5 days. Among the pituitary hormone mRNAs, proopiomelanocortin mRNA was up-regulated specifically in the intermediate lobe (IL) of this rat model. Additionally, the peripheral blood levels of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), a major product of proopiomelanocortin in IL were increased. The alpha-MSH secreting cells, melanotrophs, showed a markedly developed endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the early phase of the experiment. Subsequent continuous stress caused remarkable dilation of the endoplasmic reticulum, disruption of the Golgi structure, and the degeneration of some melanotrophs. In addition the dopaminergic nerve fibers from hypothalamus were markedly decreased in IL. A dopamine antagonist elicited the similar morphologic changes of melanotroph in normal rat. These findings suggest that prolonged stress suppressed hypothalamus-derived dopamine release in IL, which elicited over-secretion of alpha-MSH from the melanotrophs. The present study also suggests that prolonged hyperactivation of endocrine cells could lead to disorder of secretion mechanisms and eventual degeneration.