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Maria Eugenia Sabatino, Juan Pablo Petiti, Liliana del Valle Sosa, Pablo Anibal Pérez, Silvina Gutiérrez, Carolina Leimgruber, Alexandra Latini, Alicia Inés Torres, and Ana Lucía De Paul

Although pituitary adenomas represent 25% of intracranial tumors, they are usually benign, with the mechanisms by which these tumors usually avoid an invasive profile and metastatic growth development still remaining unclear. In this context, cellular senescence might constitute a plausible explanation for the benign nature of pituitary adenomas. In this study, we investigated the emergence of cellular senescence as a growth control mechanism during the progression of estrogen-induced pituitary tumors. The quantification of Ki67-immunopositive cells in the pituitaries of estrogenized male rats after 10, 20, 40, and 60 days revealed that the mitogenic potential rate was not sustained for the whole period analyzed and successively decreased after 10 days of estrogen exposure. In addition, the expression of cellular senescence features, such as the progressive rise in the enzymatic senescence-associated b-galactosidase (SA-b-gal) activity, IL6, IL1b, and TGFb expression, was observed throughout pituitary tumor development. Furthermore, tumoral pituitary cells also displayed nuclear pATM expression, indicating activated DNA damage signaling, with a significant increase in p21 expression also being detected. The associations among DNA damage signaling activation, SA-b-gal expression, and p21 may provide a reliable combination of senescence-associated markers for in vivo pituitary senescence detection. These results suggest a role for this cellular process in the regulation of pituitary cell growth. Thus, cellular senescence should be conceived as a contributing component to the benign nature of pituitary adenomas, thereby influencing the capability of the pituitary gland to avoid unregulated cell proliferation.

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Milagros Peña-Zanoni, Erika Yanil Faraoni, Alejandra Abeledo-Machado, Pablo Anibal Perez, Carla Agustina Marcial López, María Andrea Camilletti, Silvina Gutierrez, Susana B Rulli, and Graciela Diaz-Torga

Among pituitary adenomas, prolactinomas are the most frequently diagnosed (about 50%). Dopamine agonists are generally effective in the treatment of prolactinomas. However, a subset of about 25% of patients does not respond to these agents. The management of drug-resistant prolactinomas remains a challenge for endocrinologists and new inhibitory treatments are needed. Pituitary activins inhibit lactotroph function. Its expression and action were found reduced in animal models of lactotroph hyperplasia (female mice overexpressing the B subunit of the human chorionic gonadotrophin and female mice knockout for dopamine receptor type 2). In these models, an oophorectomy avoids prolactinoma development. Hormonal replacement with oestradiol and/or progesterone is not enough to reach the tumor size observed in transgenic females. We postulated that the loss of gonadal inhibins after an oophorectomy contributes to prevent hyperplasia development. Here, we demonstrated that an oophorectomy at 2 months age recovers the following in adulthood: (i) pituitary activin expression, (ii) activin receptor expression specifically in lactotroph population, (iii) activin biological activity in lactotrophs with a concomitant reduction of Pit-1 expression. To summarize, when an oophorectomy is performed, inhibins are lost and the inhibitory action of pituitary activins on lactotroph population is recovered, helping to prevent lactotroph hyperplasia development. These results emphasize the importance of the inhibitory action of activins on lactotroph function, positioning activins as a good therapeutic target for the treatment of resistant prolactinomas.

Free access

Juan Pablo Petiti, Liliana del Valle Sosa, Florencia Picech, Gabriela Deisi Moyano Crespo, Jean Zander Arevalo Rojas, Pablo Anibal Pérez, Carolina Beatriz Guido, Carolina Leimgruber, María Eugenia Sabatino, Pedro García, Verónica Bengio, Francisco Roque Papalini, Paula Estario, Celina Berhard, Marcos Villarreal, Silvina Gutiérrez, Ana Lucía De Paul, Jorge Humberto Mukdsi, and Alicia Inés Torres

In pituitary adenomas, early recurrences and resistance to conventional pharmacotherapies are common, but the mechanisms involved are still not understood. The high expression of epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) signal observed in human pituitary adenomas, together with the low levels of the antimitogenic transforming growth factor beta receptor 2 (TBR2), encouraged us to evaluate the effect of the specific HER2 inhibition with trastuzumab on experimental pituitary tumor cell growth and its effect on the antiproliferative response to TGFB1. Trastuzumab decreased the pituitary tumor growth as well as the expression of ERK1/2 and the cell cycle regulators CCND1 and CDK4. The HER2/ERK1/2 pathway is an attractive therapeutic target, but its intricate relations with other signaling modulators still need to be unraveled. Thus, we investigated possible cross-talk with TGFB signaling, which has not yet been studied in pituitary tumors. In tumoral GH3 cells, co-incubation with trastuzumab and TGFB1 significantly decreased cell proliferation, an effect accompanied by a reduction in ERK1/2 phosphorylation, an increase of SMAD2/3 activation. In addition, through immunoprecipitation assays, a diminution of SMAD2/3-ERK1/2 and an increase SMAD2/3–TGFBR1 interactions were observed when cells were co-incubated with trastuzumab and TGFB1. These findings indicate that blocking HER2 by trastuzumab inhibited pituitary tumor growth and modulated HER2/ERK1/2 signaling and consequently the anti-mitogenic TGFB1/TBRs/SMADs cascade. The imbalance between HER2 and TGFBRs expression observed in human adenomas and the response to trastuzumab on experimental tumor growth may make the HER2/ERK1/2 pathway an attractive target for future pituitary adenoma therapy.