[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have reported that liver-specific deletion of IGF-I in mice (LI-IGF-I-/-) results in decreased circulating IGF-I and increased GH levels. In the present study, we determined how elimination of hepatic IGF-I modifies the hypothalamic-pituitary GH axis to enhance GH secretion. The pituitary mRNA levels of GH releasing factor (GHRF) receptor and GH secretagogue (GHS) receptor were increased in LI-IGF-I-/- mice, and in line with this, their GH response to ip injections of GHRF and GHS was increased. Expression of mRNA for pituitary somatostatin receptors, hypothalamic GHRF, somatostatin, and neuropeptide Y was not altered in LI-IGF-I-/- mice, whereas hypothalamic IGF-I expression was increased. Changes in hepatic expression of major urinary protein and the PRL receptor in male LI-IGF-I-/- mice indicated an altered GH release pattern most consistent with enhanced GH trough levels. Liver weight was enhanced in LI-IGF-I-/- mice of both genders. In conclusion, loss of liver-derived IGF-I enhances GH release by increasing expression of pituitary GHRF and GHS receptors. The enhanced GH release in turn affects several liver parameters, in line with the existence of a pituitary-liver axis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elevation of circulating GH acts to feed back at the level of the hypothalamus to decrease GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) and increase somatostatin (SRIF) production. In the rat, GH-induced changes in GHRH and SRIF expression are associated with changes in pituitary GHRH receptor (GHRH-R), GH secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), and SRIF receptor subtype messenger RNA (mRNA) levels. These observations suggest that GH regulates its own synthesis and release not only by altering expression of key hypothalamic neuropeptides but also by modulating the sensitivity of the pituitary to hypothalamic input, by regulating pituitary receptor synthesis. To further explore this possibility, we examined the relationship between the expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides [GHRH, SRIF, and neuropeptide Y (NPY)] and pituitary receptors [GHRH-R, GHS-R, and SRIF receptor subtypes (sst2 and sst5)] in two mouse strains with alterations in the GH-axis; the GH receptor/binding protein gene-disrupted mouse (GHR/BP-/-) and the metallothionein promoter driven human GHRH (MT-hGHRH) transgenic mouse. In GHR/BP-/- mice, serum insulin-like growth factor I levels are low, and circulating GH is elevated because of the lack of GH negative feedback. Hypothalamic GHRH mRNA levels in GHR/BP-/- mice were 232 +/- 20% of GHR/BP+/+ littermates (P < 0.01), whereas SRIF and NPY mRNA levels were reduced to 86 +/- 2% and 52 +/- 3% of controls, respectively (P < 0.05; ribonuclease protection assay). Pituitary GHRH-R and GHS-R mRNA levels of GHR/BP-/- mice were elevated to 275 +/- 55% and 319 +/- 68% of GHR/BP+/+ values (P < 0.05, respectively), whereas the sst2 and sst5 mRNA levels did not differ from GHR/BP intact controls as determined by multiplex RT-PCR. Therefore, in the absence of GH negative feedback, both hypothalamic and pituitary expression is altered to favor stimulation of GH synthesis and release. In MT-hGHRH mice, ectopic hGHRH transgene expression elevates circulating GH and insulin-like growth factor I. In this model of GH excess, endogenous (mouse) hypothalamic GHRH mRNA levels were reduced to 69 +/- 6% of nontransgenic controls, whereas SRIF mRNA levels were increased to 128 +/- 6% (P < 0.01). NPY mRNA levels were not significantly affected by hGHRH transgene expression. Also, MT-hGHRH pituitary GHRH-R and GHS-R mRNA levels did not differ from controls. However, sst2 and sst5 mRNA levels in MT-hGHRH mice were increased to 147 +/- 18% and 143 +/- 16% of normal values, respectively (P < 0.05). Therefore, in the presence of GH negative feedback, both hypothalamic and pituitary expression is altered to favor suppression of GH synthesis and release.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p27Kip1 (p27) controls cell cycle progression by binding to and inhibiting the activity of cyclin dependent kinases. Disruption of the p27 gene in mice (p27-/-) results in increased body growth with a disproportionate enlargement of the spleen, thymus, testis, ovary and pituitary. The increase in pituitary size is due to selective hyperplasia of the intermediate lobe (IL) while the anterior lobe (AL) is not overtly affected. p27 heterozygous mice (p27+/-), as well as p27-/- mice, are hypersensitive to radiation- and chemical-induced tumors compared to wildtype (p27+/+) littermates. Therefore, unlike classical tumor suppressors, only a reduction in p27 levels is necessary to predispose tissues to secondary tumor promoters. Consistent with these studies is the fact that the p27 gene sequence and mRNA levels appear normal in human pituitary adenomas while p27 protein levels are decreased. Therefore, a reduction in p27 levels could be sufficient to sensitize pituitary cells to tumorigenic factors. To test this hypothesis, metallothionein promoter-driven, human growth hormone-releasing hormone (MT-hGHRH) transgenic mice, that exhibit somatotrope hyperplasia before 9 months of age and subsequent adenoma formation with 30 - 40% penetrance, were crossbred with p27+/- mice for two successive generations to produce p27+/+, p27+/- and p27-/- mice that expressed the hGHRH transgene. At 10 - 12 weeks of age, p27-/- and p27+/+, hGHRH mice were larger than their p27+/+ littermates and displayed characteristic hyperplasia of the IL and AL, respectively. Expression of the hGHRH transgene in both p27+/- and p27-/- mice selectively expanded the population of somatotropes within the AL, where pituitaries of p27+/-, hGHRH and p27-/-, hGHRH mice were two- and fivefold larger than p27+/+, hGHRH pituitaries, respectively. There was also a synergistic effect of hGHRH transgene expression and p27-deficiency on liver, spleen and ovarian growth. At 6 - 8 months of age, 83% of p27+/-, hGHRH mice displayed macroscopic AL adenomas (>100 mg), while all pituitaries from p27+/+, hGHRH mice remained hyperplastic (<20 mg). In contrast to the dramatic effects of p27-deficiency on hGHRH-induced organ growth, elimination of p53, by crossbreeding MT-hGHRH mice to p53-deficient mice, did not augment the hyperplastic/tumorigenic effects of hGHRH transgene expression. Taken together these results demonstrate that a reduction in p27 expression is sufficient to sensitize somatotropes to the proliferative actions of excess GHRH, resulting in the earlier appearance and increased penetrance of hGHRH-induced pituitary tumors.