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Endocrinology. 2012 Jan;153(1):264-72. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-1677. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Homologous and heterologous in vitro regulation of pituitary receptors for somatostatin, growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone, and ghrelin in a nonhuman primate (Papio anubis).

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Department of Cell Biology, Physiology, and Immunology, University of Córdoba, E-14014 Córdoba, Spain.


Secretion of GH by pituitary somatotrophs is primarily stimulated by GHRH and ghrelin and inhibited by somatostatin through the activation of specific receptors [GHRH receptor (GHRH-R), GH secretagogue receptor (GHS-R) and somatostatin receptors (sst1-5), respectively]. However, we have shown that somatostatin, at low doses, can also stimulate GH release, directly and specifically, in primary pituitary cultures from a nonhuman primate (baboons, Papio anubis) and pigs. To determine whether somatostatin, GHRH, and ghrelin can also regulate the expression of their receptors in primates, pituitary cultures from baboons were treated for 4 h with GHRH or ghrelin (10(-8) m) or with high (10(-7) m) and low (10(-15) m) doses of somatostatin, and GH release and expression levels of all receptors were measured. GHRH/ghrelin decreased the expression of their respective receptors (GHRH-R and GHS-R). Both peptides increased sst1, only GHRH decreased sst5 expression, whereas sst2 expression remained unchanged. The effects of GHRH/ghrelin were completely mimicked by forskolin (adenylate cyclase activator) and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (protein kinase C activator), respectively, indicating the regulation of receptor subtype levels by GHRH and ghrelin involved distinct signaling pathways. In contrast, high-dose somatostatin did not alter GH release but increased sst1, sst2, and sst5 expression, whereas GHRH-R and GHS-R expression were unaffected. Interestingly, low-dose somatostatin increased GH release and sst1 mRNA but decreased sst5 and GHRH-R expression, similar to that observed for GHRH. Altogether, our data show for the first time in a primate model that the primary regulators of somatotroph function (GHRH/ghrelin/somatostatin) exert both homologous and heterologous regulation of receptor synthesis which is dose and subtype dependent and involves distinct signaling pathways.

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