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The integrity of homeostasis can be affected by chronic stress, and hyposomatotropism is evident in chronic stress-associated illnesses. In the present study, we demonstrated that a continuous stress (CS) severely affected somatotrophs among hormone-secreting cells in the anterior lobe (AL) of the pituitary by using a rat CS model. Among AL cells, the proliferation of somatotrophs was almost entirely suppressed in rats that had 3-5 days of CS (5dCS), although other hormone-secreting cells continued to proliferate. The cell size of somatotrophs was reduced at 5dCS (P<0.01), the number of secretory granules was increased at 3dCS (P<0.01) and serum growth hormone (GH) was on declining trend during 1 to 5dCS, suggesting that GH release was inhibited. GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) mRNA level in the arcuate nucleus was transiently decreased, whereas its receptor expression in the AL was significantly increased in CS rats. When 5dCS rats were injected with GHRH, transient GH secretion was observed, whereas proliferation of somatotrophs did not occur. The GHRH administration failed to stimulate extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 phosphorylation and the nuclear translocation of ERK in somatotrophs. These results suggest that somatotrophs of 5dCS rats expressed sufficient GHRH receptor, which could transfer a signal for GH release. However, the GHRH-induced proliferation signal was blocked somewhere between the receptor and ERK1/2. Because significant increase of corticosterone in the initial stage (the 1-3dCS) was observed in this model, the corticosterone may affect the signalling. Although the mechanism underlying the blockage of the proliferation signal in somatotrophs under CS remains unclear, these somatotrophic disorder, suggesting that the present animal model may be useful for understanding the molecular mechanisms of chronic stress-associated illnesses. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Neuroendocrinology © 2012 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.


T Ogawa, H Sei, H Konishi, N Shishioh-Ikejima, H Kiyama. The absence of somatotroph proliferation during continuous stress is a result of the lack of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation. Journal of neuroendocrinology. 2012 Oct;24(10):1335-45

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PMID: 22612533

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