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      Apoptosis of Lactotrophs Induced by D2 Receptor Activation Is Estrogen Dependent

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          Background/Aims: Dopamine (DA) inhibits prolactin release and reduces lactotroph proliferation by activating D2 receptors. DA and its metabolite, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), induce apoptosis in different cell types. DA receptors and DA transporter (DAT) were implicated in this action. Considering that estradiol sensitizes anterior pituitary cells to proapoptotic stimuli, we investigated the effect of estradiol on the apoptotic action of DA and 6-OHDA in anterior pituitary cells, and the involvement of the D2 receptor and DAT in the proapoptotic effect of DA. Methods: Viability of cultured anterior pituitary cells from ovariectomized rats was determined by MTS assay. Apoptosis was evaluated by Annexin-V/flow cytometry and TUNEL. Lactotrophs were identified by immunocytochemistry. Results: DA induced apoptosis of lactotrophs in an estrogen-dependent manner. In contrast, estradiol was not required to trigger the apoptotic action of 6-OHDA. Cabergoline, a D2 receptor agonist, induced lactotroph apoptosis, while sulpiride, a D2 receptor antagonist, blocked DA-induced cell death. The blockade of DAT by GBR12909 did not affect the apoptotic action of DA, but inhibited 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis. Conclusion: These data show that DA, through D2 receptor activation, induces apoptosis of estrogen-sensitized anterior pituitary cells, and suggest that DA contributes to the control of lactotroph number not only by inhibiting proliferation but also by inducing apoptosis.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Molecular pathways involved in the neurotoxicity of 6-OHDA, dopamine and MPTP: contribution to the apoptotic theory in Parkinson's disease.

          Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a preferential loss of the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. Although the etiology of PD is unknown, major biochemical processes such as oxidative stress and mitochondrial inhibition are largely described. However, despite these findings, the actual therapeutics are essentially symptomatical and are not able to block the degenerative process. Recent histological studies performed on brains from PD patients suggest that nigral cell death could be apoptotic. However, since post-mortem studies do not allow precise determination of the sequence of events leading to this apoptotic cell death, the molecular pathways involved in this process have been essentially studied on experimental models reproducing the human disease. These latter are created by using neurotoxic compounds such as 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) or dopamine (DA). Extensive study of these models have shown that they mimick, in vitro and in vivo, the histological and/or the biochemical characteristics of PD and thus help to define important cellular actors of cell death presumably critical for the nigral degeneration. This review reports recent data concerning the biochemical and molecular apoptotic mechanisms underlying the experimental models of PD and correlates them to the phenomena occurring in human disease.
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            Advances in the treatment of prolactinomas.

            Prolactinomas account for approximately 40% of all pituitary adenomas and are an important cause of hypogonadism and infertility. The ultimate goal of therapy for prolactinomas is restoration or achievement of eugonadism through the normalization of hyperprolactinemia and control of tumor mass. Medical therapy with dopamine agonists is highly effective in the majority of cases and represents the mainstay of therapy. Recent data indicating successful withdrawal of these agents in a subset of patients challenge the previously held concept that medical therapy is a lifelong requirement. Complicated situations, such as those encountered in resistance to dopamine agonists, pregnancy, and giant or malignant prolactinomas, may require multimodal therapy involving surgery, radiotherapy, or both. Progress in elucidating the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of prolactinomas may enable future development of novel molecular therapies for treatment-resistant cases. This review provides a critical analysis of the efficacy and safety of the various modes of therapy available for the treatment of patients with prolactinomas with an emphasis on challenging situations, a discussion of the data regarding withdrawal of medical therapy, and a foreshadowing of novel approaches to therapy that may become available in the future.
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              Pituitary lactotroph hyperplasia and chronic hyperprolactinemia in dopamine D2 receptor-deficient mice.

              Dopamine secreted from hypophysial hypothalamic neurons is a principal inhibitory regulator of pituitary hormone secretion. Mice with a disrupted D2 dopamine receptor gene had chronic hyperprolactinemia and developed anterior lobe lactotroph hyperplasia without evidence of adenomatous transformation. Unexpectedly, the mutant mice had no hyperplasia of the intermediate lobe melanotrophs. Aged female D2 receptor -/- mice developed uterine adenomyosis in response to prolonged prolactin exposure. These data reveal a critical role of hypothalamic dopamine in controlling pituitary growth and support a multistep mechanism for the induction and perpetuation of lactotroph hyperplasia, involving the lack of dopamine signaling, a low androgen/estrogen ratio, and a final autocrine or paracrine "feed-forward" stimulation of mitogenesis, probably by prolactin itself.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                July 2008
                06 February 2008
                : 88
                : 1
                : 43-52
                Instituto de Investigaciones en Reproducción, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                116117 Neuroendocrinology 2008;88:43–52
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 41, Pages: 10
                Cellular Communication, Receptors and Signalling


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