To understand the roles of four highly homologous rat hepatic serine protease inhibitor genes (Spi 2.1, Spi 2.2, Spi 2.3, and α1-antitrypsin), we measured the hepatic content of their specific mRNAs under several physiological conditions. Spi 2.1 and 2.3 mRNAs, which are regulated by growth hormone, paralleled serum growth hormone levels developmentally. Only Spi 2.1 mRNA decreased with starvation, while Spi 2.2, 2.3, and α1- antitrypsin mRNAs did not change. Despite the close homology of the Spi genes to mouse contrapsin, which is regulated by testosterone, none of the serine protease inhibitor mRNAs examined here was dependent on androgens for expression. Spi 2.2 mRNA displayed a unique ontogenetic regulation, with a rise in hepatic content at day 19 to levels five times that of any other age group. These studies confirm the importance of growth hormone in the regulation of Spi 2.1 and 2.3 mRNAs and suggest that Spi 2.2 mRNA may be regulated by metabolic alterations occurring in the weaning period.
- growth hormone
- protease inhibitor