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Gen Comp Endocrinol January 1, 2011; 170 (1): 156-61.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor stimulates growth of pituitary melanotrope cells in an autocrine way.

Kuribara M , Hess MW , Cazorla M , Roubos EW , Scheenen WJ , Jenks BG .

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is expressed in the mammalian pituitary gland, in both the anterior and intermediate lobes, where its functional significance is unknown. Melanotrope cells in the intermediate pituitary lobe of the amphibian Xenopus laevis also produce BDNF, which co-exists in secretory granules with α-melanophore-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), a peptide that causes pigment dispersion in dermal melanophores during adaptation of the toad to a dark background. Xenopus melanotropes are highly plastic, undergoing very strong growth to support the high biosynthesis and release of α-MSH in black-adapted animals. In this study we have tested our hypothesis that this enhanced growth of the melanotrope is maintained by autocrine release of BDNF. Furthermore, since the extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway is a major component of BDNF signaling in neuronal plasticity, we investigated its involvement in melanotrope cell growth. For these purposes melanotropes were treated for 3 days in vitro, with either an anti-BDNF serum or a recombinant tropomyosin-receptor kinase B (TrkB) receptor fragment to eliminate released BDNF, or with the ERK inhibitor U0126. We also applied a novel inhibitor of the TrkB receptor, cyclotraxin-B, to test this receptor''s involvement in melanotrope cell growth regulation. All treatments markedly reduced melanotrope cell growth. Therefore, we conclude that autocrine release of BDNF and subsequent TrkB-dependent ERK-mediated signaling is important for melanotrope cell growth during its physiologically induced activation.

PubMed ID: 20888824
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bdnf mapk1 ntrk2

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