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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2010 Sep 15;326(1-2):85-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2010.04.006. Epub 2010 Apr 14.

Pituitary tumors: cell type-specific roles for BMP-4.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Kraepelinstr. 2, 80804 Munich, Germany.


BMP-4 plays a crucial role not only in the formation of the anterior pituitary during embryo development but also in the pathogenesis of pituitary tumors in adults. In tumor cells, BMP-4 promotes prolactin secretion and lactotroph cell proliferation through a Smad-estrogen receptor crosstalk but it inhibits ACTH production and cell proliferation of corticotrophs. In addition, BMP-4 increases GH secretion in rat pituitary tumor somatolactotroph GH3 cells and FSHbeta subunit gene transcription in the murine gonadotroph cell line, LbetaT2. Therefore, BMP-4 has a differential role on different types of pituitary tumors: it promotes pituitary prolactinoma while it inhibits corticotroph pathogenesis in Cushing's disease. The modulation of BMP-4 also plays an important role in the therapeutic mechanism of action of bromocriptine, somatostatin analogs and retinoic acid.

2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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