Recent in vitro studies highlighted G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK)2 and β-arrestins as important players in driving somatostatin receptor (SSTR) desensitization and trafficking. Our aim was to characterize GRK2 and β-arrestins expression in different pituitary adenomas and to investigate their potential role in the response to somatostatin analog (SSA) treatment in GH-secreting adenomas (GHomas). We evaluated mRNA expression of multiple SSTRs, GRK2, β-arrestin 1, and β-arrestin 2 in 41 pituitary adenomas (31 GHomas, 6 nonfunctioning [NFPAs], and 4 prolactinomas [PRLomas]). Within the GHomas group, mRNA data were correlated with the in vivo response to an acute octreotide test and with the GH-lowering effect of SSA in cultured primary cells. β-Arrestin 1 expression was low in all 3 adenoma histotypes. However, its expression was significantly lower in GHomas and PRLomas, compared with NFPAs (P <.01). GRK2 expression was higher in PRLomas and NFPAs compared with GHomas (P <.05). In the GHoma group, GRK2 expression was inversely correlated to β-arrestin 1 (P <.05) and positively correlated to β-arrestin 2 (P <.0001). SSA treatment did not affect GRK2 and β-arrestin expression in GHomas or in cultured rat pituitary tumor GH3 cells. Noteworthy, β-arrestin 1 was significantly lower (P <.05) in tumors responsive to octreotide treatment in vitro, whereas GRK2 and SSTR subtype 2 were significantly higher (P <.05). Likewise, β-arrestin 1 levels were inversely correlated with the in vivo response to acute octreotide test (P = .001), whereas GRK2 and SSTR subtype 2 expression were positively correlated (P <.05). In conclusion, for the first time, we characterized GRK2, β-arrestin 1, and β-arrestin 2 expression in a representative number of pituitary adenomas. β-Arrestin 1 and GRK2 seem to have a role in modulating GH secretion during SSA treatment.
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