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Am J Pathol. 2010 Oct;177(4):1969-76. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.100138. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Mice with inactivation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (Aip) display complete penetrance of pituitary adenomas with aberrant ARNT expression.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene have been shown to predispose to pituitary adenoma predisposition, a condition characterized by growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary tumors. To study AIP-mediated tumorigenesis, we generated an Aip mouse model. Heterozygous mice developed normally but were prone to pituitary adenomas, in particular to those secreting GH. A complete loss of AIP was detected in these lesions, and full penetrance was reached at the age of 15 months. No excess of any other tumor type was found. Ki-67 analysis indicated that Aip-deficient tumors have higher proliferation rates compared with Aip-proficient tumors, suggesting a more aggressive disease. Similar to human AIP-deficient pituitary adenomas, immunohistochemical studies showed that expression of aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator 1 or 2 (ARNT or ARNT2) protein was lost in the mouse tumors, suggesting that mechanisms of AIP-related tumorigenesis involve aberrant ARNT function. The Aip(+/-) mouse appears to be an excellent model for the respective human disease phenotype. This model constitutes a tool to further study AIP-associated pituitary tumorigenesis and may be potentially valuable in efforts to develop therapeutic strategies to treat pituitary adenomas.

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