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      An Autocrine Role for Pituitary GABA: Activation of GABA-B Receptors and Regulation of Growth Hormone Levels

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          There is increasing evidence suggesting that the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a local factor involved in the regulation of endocrine organs. Examples of such functions are documented in the pancreas, but recent results suggest that GABA may act in a similar way in the pituitary, in which GABA receptors are expressed and pituitary growth hormone (GH) cells provide a source of GABA. We hypothesised that GABA secreted in somatotropes may act as an autoregulatory signaling molecule. To test this hypothesis we first examined the nature of GABA receptors expressed by GH cells. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that GABA-B receptor subunits R1 and R2 are present in the whole rat pituitary. Laser microdissection of immunostained GH cells, followed by RT-PCR as well as immunoelectron microscopy, showed that GABA-B receptors are expressed on somatotropes. To investigate GABA-B receptor function in somatotropes, we used rat GH3 adenoma cells, which, like pituitary GH cells, express GABA-B R1 and R2 (as assessed by RT-PCR and immunoelectron microscopy) and produce GABA (checked by high performance liquid chromatography). After inhibition of endogenous GABA synthesis, GH production was stimulated by baclofen, a chromatography). After inhibition of endogenous GABA synthesis, GH production was stimulated by baclofen, a GABA-B receptor agonist. By contrast, blocking GABA-B receptors by an antagonist, phaclofen, decreased GH levels. We conclude that in GH-producing cells, GABA acts as an autocrine factor via GABA-B receptors to control GH levels.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Glucose-inhibition of glucagon secretion involves activation of GABAA-receptor chloride channels.

          The endocrine part of the pancreas plays a central role in blood-glucose regulation. It is well established that an elevation of glucose concentration reduces secretion of the hyperglycaemia-associated hormone glucagon from pancreatic alpha 2 cells. The mechanisms involved, however, remain unknown. Electrophysiological studies have demonstrated that alpha 2 cells generate Ca2+-dependent action potentials. The frequency of these action potentials, which increases under conditions that stimulate glucagon release, is not affected by glucose or insulin. The inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is present in the endocrine part of the pancreas at concentrations comparable to those encountered in the central nervous system, and co-localizes with insulin in pancreatic beta cells. We now describe a mechanism whereby GABA, co-secreted with insulin from beta cells, may mediate part of the inhibitory action of glucose on glucagon secretion by activating GABAA-receptor Cl- channels in alpha 2 cells. These observations provide a model for feedback regulation of glucagon release, which may be of significance for the understanding of the hypersecretion of glucagon frequently associated with diabetes.
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            Oocytes are a source of catecholamines in the primate ovary: evidence for a cell-cell regulatory loop.

            Catecholamines, thought to derive from the extrinsic innervation of the ovary, participate in the regulation of ovarian development and mature gonadal function. Recently, intraovarian neurons containing tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine biosynthesis, were described in the ovary of nonhuman primates. We now show that the primate ovary expresses both the genes encoding TH and dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), the key enzymes in norepinephrine (NE) biosynthesis. Ovarian neurons were identified as a site of TH and DBH gene expression, and surprisingly, oocytes were identified as an exclusive site of DBH synthesis. Oocytes contain neither TH mRNA nor protein, indicating that they are unable to synthesize dopamine (DA). They did, however, express a DA transporter gene identical to that found in human brain. The physiological relevance of this transporter system and DBH in oocytes was indicated by the ability of isolated oocytes to metabolize exogenous DA into NE. Isolated follicles containing oocytes-but not those from which the oocytes had been removed-responded to DA with an elevation in cAMP levels; this elevation was prevented by propranolol, a beta-adrenoreceptor antagonist. The results suggest that oocytes and somatic cells are linked by a neuroendocrine loop consisting of NE synthesized in oocytes from actively transported DA and cAMP produced by somatic follicular cells in response to NE-induced beta-adrenoreceptor activation.
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              Ontogenic expression of anterior pituitary GABAB receptor subunits


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                September 2002
                06 September 2002
                : 76
                : 3
                : 170-177
                aAnatomisches Institut der Universität München, München, and bLilly Germany, Bad Homburg, Deutschland; cDipartimento di Farmacologia, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italia
                64523 Neuroendocrinology 2002;76:170–177
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 42, Pages: 8
                Regulation of Growth Hormone


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