Very recently a subset of human GH-secreting pituitary adenomas carrying a somatic mutation in the alpha subunit of the stimulatory regulatory protein of adenylyl cyclase (Gs) was identified. In all these tumors (Group 2; about 30% of all the GH secreting tumors studied) the alpha s cDNAs contained mutations; in 8 tumors mutations replaced arginine 201 with either cysteine or histidine while in the remaining tumors glutamine 227 was replaced by either arginine or leucine. No mutations were observed in the remaining adenomas (Group 1). The two mutations caused a constitutive activation of adenylyl cyclase and a turn on of cAMP synthesis by inhibiting GTPase activity. The transformed phenotype was reflected in adenomatous cells with high rate of cAMP production and in vitro GH secretion. No differences in age, sex, clinical features, duration of the disease and cure rate were observed between the patients without (Group 1) or with alpha s mutation (Group 2), while higher serum GH levels and smaller tumor size were present in Group 2 patients. Moreover, hypersecretory activity in Group 2 tumors was also apparent at electron microscopy: cells of Group 2 tumors were densely granulated and showed prominent rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex. With respect to Group 1, Group 2 patients were less responsive to GH-releasing hormone (GHRH), while they were more sensitive to somatostatin. The former finding is in agreement with the hypothesis that the oncogenic proteins mimic the effects of extracellular growth factors, so removing the requirement for GHRH; the latter might explain the low rate of tumor growth as due to the counteracting role of endogenous inhibitory factors.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Pathology Research and Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine