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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1990 Mar;32(3):349-62.

Neuroendocrine alterations in nude mice with a human lung carcinoma producing pro-opiomelanocortin, corticotrophin-releasing hormone and arginine vasopressin.

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  • 1Centro de Estudios Endocrinos (CEEN), Facultad de Ciencias M├ędicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.


A mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the lung (ICD classification 8430/3) resected from a patient with no clinical signs of pituitary-adrenal alterations was transplanted into 2-month-old athymic nu/nu nude mice, with the purpose of studying the effects exerted by the human tumour on the host hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. The tumour produces peptides derived from different regions of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC: ACTH, 7.6 +/- 0.7; N-terminal POMC, 6.6 +/- 0.6; beta-LPH/endorphin, 7.3 +/- 0.7; and alpha-MSH;3.8 +/- 0.5 pmol/g wet tissue) and the neuropeptides corticotrophin-releasing hormone and arginine vasopressin (CRH: 3.6 +/- 0.4 and AVP: 1.1 +/- 0.2 pmol/g wet tissue). Immunohistochemical staining of consecutive sections of the tumour indicated that staining of tumour cells for the different peptides was not uniform and although some cells co-stained with CRH and AVP, POMC-positive cells appeared to be distinct from CRH and AVP cells. Tumour extracts were chromatographed on Sephadex G-75 and fractions monitored for POMC-derived peptides. A single peak with characteristics of alpha-MSH was detected. The ACTH, N-POMC and beta-LPH/endorphin radioimmunoassays (RIA) detected a peak at large molecular weight, eluting at the position expected for POMC. These RIA systems also revealed an ACTH(1-39) peak and another peak which probably correspond to 13 kDa ACTH, a peak eluting at the position of hN-POMC(1-48), a beta-LPH-like peak, and a smaller sized peak which may represent alpha- or gamma-endorphin. The ACTH, N-POMC and beta-LPH/endorphin contents of anterior lobe (AL) extracts, but not neutrointermediate lobe (NIL) extracts, showed a striking decrease in tumour-bearing (TB) nude mice. However, while no difference was seen in the alpha-MSH content of AL extract between TB and control (C) nude mice, it decreased in NIL extracts of TB animals. The contents of CRH and AVP in stalk-median eminence extracts of TB nude mice was significantly lower than that of C nude mice. Basal plasma corticosteroids were raised in TB nude mice at levels comparable to those in stressed C nude mice, and although adrenal weights did not vary between TB and C nude mice, morphological changes indicating hypertrophy were found in the adrenal glands of the host animals. It was concluded that the tumour dramatically alters the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis of the host, and that it may be a useful model for studying tumour-host interactions in ectopic hormone-producing tumours.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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