Gene Summary

Gene:AVPR1A; arginine vasopressin receptor 1A
Aliases: V1aR, AVPR1, AVPR V1a
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene acts as receptor for arginine vasopressin. This receptor belongs to the subfamily of G-protein coupled receptors which includes AVPR1B, V2R and OXT receptors. Its activity is mediated by G proteins which stimulate a phosphatidylinositol-calcium second messenger system. The receptor mediates cell contraction and proliferation, platelet aggregation, release of coagulation factor and glycogenolysis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:vasopressin V1a receptor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (39)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (2)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Adenoma
  • ACTH Syndrome, Ectopic
  • Receptors, LH
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Small Cell Carcinoma
  • Proprotein Convertase 2
  • Messenger RNA
  • Peptides
  • Cancer RNA
  • Vasopressins
  • Lung Cancer
  • Chromosome 12
  • Up-Regulation
  • Estradiol
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Base Sequence
  • Genetic Variation
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Breast Cancer
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Receptors, Vasopressin
  • Aldosterone
  • Adrenocortical Cancer
  • Gene Expression
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Adrenocortical Cancer
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Northern Blotting
  • beta Catenin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
Tag cloud generated 27 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AVPR1A (cancer-related)

Grassi D, Bellini MJ, Acaz-Fonseca E, et al.
Estradiol and testosterone regulate arginine-vasopressin expression in SH-SY5Y human female neuroblastoma cells through estrogen receptors-α and -β.
Endocrinology. 2013; 154(6):2092-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of arginine-vasopressin (AVP) is regulated by estradiol and testosterone (T) in different neuronal populations by mechanisms that are not yet fully understood. Estrogen receptors (ERs) have been shown to participate in the regulation of AVP neurons by estradiol. In addition, there is evidence of the participation of ERβ in the regulation of AVP expression exerted by T via its metabolite 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT) and its further conversion in the androgen metabolite and ERβ ligand 3β-diol. In this study we have explored the role of ERs in the regulation exerted by estradiol and T on AVP expression, using the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. Estradiol treatment increased AVP mRNA levels in SH-SY5Y cells in comparison with cells treated with vehicle. The stimulatory effect of estradiol on AVP expression was imitated by the ERα agonist 4,4',4',-(4-propyl-[1H]-pyrazole-1,3,5-triyl)trisphenol and blocked by the ER antagonist, ICI 182,780, and the ERα antagonist 1,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methyl-5-[4-(2-piperidinylethoxy)phenol]-1hpyrazoledihydrochloride. In contrast, the ERβ agonist 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propionitrile reduced AVP expression, whereas the ERβ antagonist 4-[2-phenyl-5,7-bis(trifluoromethyl) pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-3-yl]phenol enhanced the action of estradiol on AVP expression. T increased AVP expression in SH-SY5Y cells by a mechanism that was dependent on aromatase but not on 5α-reductase activity. The T effect was not affected by blocking the androgen receptor, was not imitated by the T metabolite 5α-DHT, and was blocked by the ERα antagonist 1,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methyl-5-[4-(2-piperidinylethoxy)phenol]-1hpyrazoledihydrochloride. In contrast, 5α-DHT had a similar effect as the ERβ agonists 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propionitrile and 3β-diol, reducing AVP expression. These findings suggest that estradiol and T regulate AVP expression in SH-SY5Y cells through ERs, exerting a stimulatory action via ERα and an inhibitory action via ERβ.

Bakos J, Strbak V, Paulikova H, et al.
Oxytocin receptor ligands induce changes in cytoskeleton in neuroblastoma cells.
J Mol Neurosci. 2013; 50(3):462-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aim of the present study was to evaluate effects of ligands of oxytocin receptors on gene expression of neurofilament proteins (nestin and microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2)) associated with neuronal differentiation and growth factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF)) related to neuronal growth. Fluorescent staining of F-actin was used to observe morphology of cells. Co-treatment with oxytocin and oxytocin receptor antagonist--atosiban--resulted in significant increase of MAP2 gene expression in SK-N-SH cells. There was no effect of oxytocin on gene expression of growth factors BDNF and NGF. Surprisingly, oxytocin with atosiban significantly increased mRNA levels for both BDNF and NGF. Gene expression of vasopressin receptor (V1aR) significantly decreased in response to vasopressin. Atosiban decreased mRNA levels for oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and V1aR. Oxytocin significantly decreased OXTR and nestin mRNA levels and increased mRNA levels for BDNF and NGF in U-87 MG cells. The densest recruitment of F-actin filaments was observed in apical parts of filopodia in SK-N-SH cells incubated in oxytocin presence. Present data demonstrate complex role of ligands of oxytocin receptors in regulation of gene expression of intermediate filaments and thus, oxytocin might be considered as a growth factor in neuronal type of cells.

Tani Y, Sugiyama T, Izumiyama H, et al.
Differential gene expression profiles of POMC-related enzymes, transcription factors and receptors between non-pituitary and pituitary ACTH-secreting tumors.
Endocr J. 2011; 58(4):297-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
The differential gene expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-related processing enzymes, transcription factors, and receptors responsible for ACTH secretion between non-pituitary and pituitary ACTH-secreting tumors remains obscure. This study was attempted to determine the gene expression profiles of transcription factors (Tpit, NeuroD1 and IKZF1), proprotein convertase (PC) 1/3 and PC2, and several key receptors linked to ACTH secretion, including corticotrophin releasing hormone receptor (CRHR1), vasopressin receptor 1b (V1bR), somatostatin receptor (SSTR) subtype-2, -5 and dopamine receptor type 2 (D2R) in non-pituitary and pituitary ACTH-secreting tumors. Surgical tissue specimens from carcinoid tumors causing ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS: n=4) and pituitary tumors causing Cushing's disease (CD: n=13), were subjected to real-time RT-PCR for measurements of each mRNA levels. POMC and CRHR1 mRNA levels in CD were far greater than those in EAS, whereas IKZF1, PC2, SSTR-2 and -5 mRNA levels in EAS were significantly greater than those in CD. NeuroD1, Tpit, PC1/3, V1bR and D2R mRNA levels were comparable between EAS and CD. In conclusion, differential gene expression profiles revealed more abundant mRNA expression in EAS than in CD of 1) IKZF1 with its potential implication of cell differentiation and hormone secretion, 2) PC2 with its possible enhanced processing activity of mature ACTH, and 3) SSTR-2 and -5 with their potential therapeutic application of more selective agonists in EAS patients.

Zhong M, Boseman ML, Millena AC, Khan SA
Oxytocin induces the migration of prostate cancer cells: involvement of the Gi-coupled signaling pathway.
Mol Cancer Res. 2010; 8(8):1164-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Expression of genes that encode oxytocin (OXT) and vasopressin (AVP) and their cognate receptors in normal and diseased prostates are only partially characterized. Reverse transcription and PCR were used to examine the expression of these genes in normal prostate epithelial and stromal cell lines, k-ras-transformed prostate epithelial cell lines, and in four prostate cancer cell lines. Secreted and cell-associated OXT peptide was measured by an enzyme immunoassay. OXT and its receptor (OXTR) were expressed in all eight prostate cell lines. Cell-associated OXT peptide was also found in all prostate epithelial cell lines except in DU145 cells. Neither AVP nor its cognate receptors (V1a receptor and V2 receptor) were expressed in any prostate cell line examined. These data point to the OXTR as the primary target of OXT and AVP, and suggest that OXT might be an autocrine/paracrine regulator in human prostate. We found that OXT induces the migration of PC3 and PC3M, but not DU145 prostate cancer cells. The effect of OXT is distinct from the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced migration of prostate cancer cells, in which ERK1/2 and EGF receptor kinase activities were required. When cells were pretreated with pertussis toxin, the effect of OXT, but not EGF, on cell migration was abolished. Pretreatment with the cyclic AMP analogue, 8-Br-cAMP, did not affect OXT-induced cell migration, which eliminated the nonspecific effect of pertussis toxin. We conclude that a Gi-dependent mechanism is involved in OXTR-mediated migration of prostate cancer cells, and indicates a role for OXTR in prostate cancer metastasis.

El-Kares R, Hueber PA, Blumenkrantz M, et al.
Wilms tumor arising in a child with X-linked nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
Pediatr Nephrol. 2009; 24(7):1313-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report on a child with X-linked nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) who developed Wilms tumor (WT). Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is caused by mutations of the arginine vasopressin receptor (AVPR2) or aquaporin-II (AQP2) genes. Wilms tumor is also genetically heterogeneous and is associated with mutations of WT1 (15-20%), WTX (20-30%) and other loci. The boy presented at 5 months with failure to thrive, polyuria, hypernatremia and abdominal mass. Analysis of leukocyte DNA showed a novel missense mutation (Q174H) of the AVPR2 gene, which was not present in his mother. In cells (WitS) isolated from the tumor, WTX mRNA expression and coding sequence were intact. However, we identified a 44-kb homozygous deletion of the WT1 gene spanning exons 4 to 10. The WT1 deletion was not present in leukocyte DNA from the patient or his mother. We also noted strong beta-catenin (CTNNB1) expression in the tumor cells and identified a heterozygote missense Ser45Cys mutation of exon 3 of CTNNB1. However, the mutation was absent both in the constitutional DNA of the patient and his mother. The concurrence of WT and NDI has not been previously reported and may be unrelated. Nevertheless, this case nicely illustrates the sequence of events leading to sporadic Wilms tumor.

Gagliardi L, Hotu C, Casey G, et al.
Familial vasopressin-sensitive ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (VPs-AIMAH): clinical studies of three kindreds.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009; 70(6):883-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Cushing's syndrome due to familial ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (AIMAH) has been reported in small kindreds. In vasopressin-sensitive AIMAH (VPs-AIMAH), VP stimulates an aberrant, ACTH-independent increase in cortisol. The aims of this study were to (i) delineate the preclinical phenotype of VPs-AIMAH in a three-generation kindred (AIMAH-01) and two smaller kindreds (AIMAH-02 and AIMAH-03) and (ii) investigate the aetiology of VP sensitivity in AIMAH-01.
DESIGN: Clinical studies of three kindreds for adrenal tumours or early Cushing's and molecular studies of adrenal tumours (AIMAH-01).
PATIENTS: Thirty-three individuals, from three kindreds, were screened for perturbations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or adrenal tumours.
MEASUREMENTS: Patients underwent clinical, biochemical and adrenal imaging investigations. Evaluation included low-dose (1 IU/70 kg) VP stimulation. Adrenal VP receptor (AVPR1A, AVPR1B, AVPR2) expression (AIMAH-01) was assessed using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC for VP was also performed.
RESULTS: AIMAH-01 had three siblings with Cushing's, and four individuals with suppressed ACTH/aberrant VP responses and/or adrenal nodules. In AIMAH-02, a father and son were affected. AIMAH-03 had three siblings with Cushing's. RT-PCR showed adrenal overexpression of AVPR1A and AVPR1B. IHC detected AVPR1A. The adrenal tumour from one patient also stained weakly for VP and AVPR2.
CONCLUSION: Adrenal nodules, suppressed ACTH and increased VP sensitivity may represent preclinical disease, allowing early detection, and treatment, of affected individuals. In AIMAH-01, increased VP sensitivity may be due to adrenal VP receptor overexpression. In these kindreds, VPs-AIMAH is familial, and autosomal dominant inheritance is most likely.

Machado MC, Valeria de Sa S, Correa-Giannella ML, et al.
Association between tumoral GH-releasing peptide receptor type 1a mRNA expression and in vivo response to GH-releasing peptide-6 in ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome patients.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2008; 158(5):605-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: GH secretagogues (GHS) produce exaggerated ACTH and cortisol responses in Cushing's disease (CD) patients, attributable to their direct action on GH-releasing peptide receptor type 1a (GHSR-1a). However, there are no studies correlating the in vivo response to GHS and GHSR-1a mRNA expression in ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome (CS) patients. The aim of this study is to correlate the patterns of ACTH and cortisol response to GH-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) to GHSR-1a expression in ACTH-dependent CS patients.
DESIGN: Prospective study in a tertiary referral hospital center. Fifteen CD patients and two ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) patients were studied.
METHODS: Tumor fragments were submitted to RNA extraction, and GHSR-1a expression was studied through real-time qPCR and compared with normal tissue samples. The patients were also submitted to desmopressin test and vasopressin receptor type 1B (AVPR1B) mRNA analysis by qPCR.
RESULTS: GHSR-1a expression was similar in normal pituitary samples and in corticotrophic tumor samples. GHSR-1a expression was higher in patients (CD and EAS) presenting in vivo response to GHRP-6. Higher expression of AVPR1B was observed in the EAS patients responsive to desmopressin, as well as in corticotrophic tumors, as compared with normal pituitary samples, but no correlation between AVPR1B expression and response to desmopressin was observed in the CD patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results revealed a higher expression of GHSR-1a in the ACTH-dependent CS patients responsive to GHRP-6, suggesting an association between receptor gene expression and in vivo response to the secretagogue in both the CD and the EAS patients.

Louiset E, Contesse V, Groussin L, et al.
Expression of vasopressin receptors in ACTH-independent macronodular bilateral adrenal hyperplasia causing Cushing's syndrome: molecular, immunohistochemical and pharmacological correlates.
J Endocrinol. 2008; 196(1):1-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cortisol secretion in ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (AIMAH) causing Cushing's syndrome can be controlled by illegitimate receptors. The aim of the present study was to characterize the molecular, immunohistochemical, and pharmacological profiles of vasopressin receptors in cells derived from three patients with AIMAH (H1-H3), in order to evaluate the role of ectopic vasopressin receptors in the physiopathology of hypercortisolism. Expression of mRNAs encoding the vasopressin receptor types (V(1a), V(1b), and V(2)) were analyzed by RT-PCR in adrenal tissues. The presence of V(1a) and V(2) receptors was studied by immunohistochemistry on adrenal sections. The pharmacological profiles of vasopressin receptors involved in the control of cortisol secretion were investigated using the V(1a) receptor antagonist SR49059 and the V(2) receptor agonist [deamino-Cys(1), Val(4), D-Arg(8)]-vasopressin on cultured cells. The V(1a) receptor protein was present and functional in H1 and H3 tissues, whereas the V(1b) receptor was not expressed in any of the tissues. RT-PCR experiments revealed that V(2) receptor mRNAs were detected in the three tissues. In contrast, immunohistochemical and cell incubation studies showed that the V(2) receptor was involved in the stimulatory effect of AVP on cortisol secretion in H1 and H2, but not in H3 cells. Taken together, these data show that expression of functional ectopic V(2) receptors and repression of eutopic V(1a) receptor can coexist in some hyperplastic corticosteroidogenic tissues. They also reveal that immunohistochemical and incubation studies are essential for the characterization of ectopic receptors actually involved in the control of cortisol secretion by AIMAHs.

Tateno T, Izumiyama H, Doi M, et al.
Differential gene expression in ACTH -secreting and non-functioning pituitary tumors.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2007; 157(6):717-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Differential expression of several genes between ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors causing Cushing' disease (CD), silent corticotroph adenoma (SCA), and non-functioning pituitary tumors (NFT) was investigated.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We used tissue specimens from 35 pituitary tumors (12 CD, 8 SCA, and 15 NFT). Steady-state mRNA levels of the genes related to proopiomelanocortin (POMC) transcription, synthesis, processing, and secretion, such as neurogenic differentiation 1 (NeuroD1), T-box 19 (Tpit), corticotropin releasing hormone receptor (CRHR), vasopressin receptor 1b (V1bR), prohormone convertase (PC) 1/3 and PC2, 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11beta-HSD) type 1 and type 2, glucocorticoid receptor alpha (GRalpha), annexin A1, histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), and BRM/SWI2-related gene 1, were determined by real-time RT-PCR.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: POMC and Tpit mRNA levels were greater in CD and SCA than those in NFT. NeuroD1 mRNA levels were less in CD than those in NFT, but almost comparable between SCA and NFT. PC1/3 mRNA levels were greater in CD, but less in SCA than those in NFT. PC2 mRNA levels in CD and SCA were less than those in NFT. CRHR, V1bR, and 11beta-HSD2 mRNA levels in CD were greater than those in SCA and NFT. HDAC2 mRNA levels in CD and SCA were lower than those in NFT. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that the genes related to transcription, synthesis, processing, and secretion of POMC are differentially regulated in ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors causing CD and SCA compared with those in NFT. This may partly explain the development of clinically active and inactive CD.

Ripoll GV, Farina HG, Yoshiji H, et al.
Desmopressin reduces melanoma lung metastasis in transgenic mice overexpressing tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1.
In Vivo. 2006 Nov-Dec; 20(6B):881-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Desmopressin (DDAVP) is a synthetic vasopressin analog capable of inducing an increase in the plasma levels of von Willebrand factor and coagulation factor VIII. DDAVP has been used during surgery to prevent bleeding in patients with coagulation defects. We have previously demonstrated that adjuvant perioperative DDAVP therapy inhibits lung and lymph node metastasis in a breast cancer model. Here the effect of DDAVP on experimental lung colonization of B16 melanoma cells was investigated in a transgenic mice model with high levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) in the systemic circulation. Transgenic C57BL/6j-CBA mice overexpressing human TIMP-1 in the liver under the control of the mouse albumin promoter/enhancer were employed. Treatment with DDAVP (2 microg/kg/dose) at the time of intravenous injection of B16 cells significantly inhibited the formation of lung metastases in TIMP-1 transgenic animals (p = 0.021), while no significant effect was obtained in control hybrid mice. The inhibition was not due to direct cytotoxic effects of DDAVP on tumor cells and no expression of vasopressin receptors was detected in B16 cells. Our data indicate that DDAVP therapy may impair successful implantation of circulating melanoma cells and suggest that high levels of circulating TIMP-1 display a cooperative role in the antitumor activity of the compound.

Péqueux C, Breton C, Hagelstein MT, et al.
Oxytocin receptor pattern of expression in primary lung cancer and in normal human lung.
Lung Cancer. 2005; 50(2):177-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
In order to assess if oxytocin- and vasopressin-induced mitogenic effects detected on small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) cell lines could be transposed on primary SCLC, the aim of the present work was to identify mediators of these mitogenic actions on primary tumours samples. This was addressed on normal human lung tissue, on SCLC and on non-SCLC (NSCLC). Herein, we observe, in normal human lung, that OTR is colocalized with vascular endothelial cells of the lung and is not expressed by lung cells of epithelial nature. We detected mRNA amplification of V1aR, V2R and of a V2R variant. We observed that 86% of SCLC biopsies analyzed expressed at least the OTR and that 71% expressed the OTR, the V1aR and the V2R altogether. Comparatively, 50% of NSCLC biopsies tested expressed at least the OTR and 32% expressed the OTR, the V1aR and the V2R altogether. The occurrence of the V1bR/V3R is of 28 and 18% for SCLC and NSCLC, respectively. Nevertheless, for the SCLC biopsies analyzed in this study, V1bR/V3R expression correlates, in all cases, with the expression of all the other neurohypophysial peptide receptors. Our results suggest that neurohypophysial peptide antagonists may offer promise as a potential new therapeutic modality for the treatment of lung cancer expressing at least one of the neurhypophysial peptide receptor subtypes.

Péqueux C, Keegan BP, Hagelstein MT, et al.
Oxytocin- and vasopressin-induced growth of human small-cell lung cancer is mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2004; 11(4):871-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant growth of small-cell lung carcinoma is promoted by various neuroendocrine autocrine/paracrine loops. Therefore, to interfere with this mitogenic process, it is crucial to elucidate the mechanisms involved. It is known that the oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) genes, normally transcriptionally restricted in their expression, are activated in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), concomitantly with expression of their receptors (OTR, V1aR, V1bR/V3R and V2R). The aim of the present study was to characterize, in concentrations close to physiological and pharmacological conditions, intracellular signalling events triggered by OT and VP binding to their specific receptors in SCLC cells and to identify factors mediating OT- and VP-induced mitogenic effects on SCLC. Known agonists for OTR ([Thr4,Gly7]OT) and V1aR (F180), in addition to OT and VP, were able to elicit increases in cytosolic Ca2+ levels and this effect could be blocked using an OTR antagonist (OVTA) or a V1aR antagonist (SR49059) respectively. There was no activation of the cAMP pathway detected after VP, dDAVP (a V2R agonist), or OT treatment. Stimulation of SCLC cells with OT and VP led to an increase of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 phosphorylation, maximal at 5 min, and the subsequent phosphorylation of its downstream target p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (p90RSK). Pre-incubation with OVTA and SR49059, and with inhibitors of phospholipase C (PLC), protein kinase C (PKC), mitogen-activated protein kinase/ERK kinase (MEK) 1/2 and a Ca2+ chelator significantly reduced OT- and VP-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylations. OVTA, SR49059 as well as MEK1/2 and PKC inhibitors also downregulated OT- and VP-induced p90RSK phosphorylation. In [3H]thymidine-uptake experiments, we subsequently observed that PLC, Ca2+, PKC and ERK1/2 are absolutely required for the OT- and VP-stimulated SCLC cellular growth process. In conclusion, the results presented here indicate that OT- and VP-induced mitogenic effects on SCLC are respectively mediated by OTR and V1aR signalling and that this mitogenic signalling passes through the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p90RSK in a PLC-, Ca2+-, PKC- and MEK1/2-dependent pathway.

Dall'Asta C, Ballarè E, Mantovani G, et al.
Assessing the presence of abnormal regulation of cortisol secretion by membrane hormone receptors: in vivo and in vitro studies in patients with functioning and non-functioning adrenal adenoma.
Horm Metab Res. 2004; 36(8):578-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Regulation of cortisol secretion by aberrant hormone receptors may play a role in the pathogenesis of ACTH-independent Cushing's syndrome. In this study, the topic was evaluated by combining in vivo and in vitro approaches. Cortisol responses to various stimuli (standard meal, GnRH + TRH, cisapride, vasopressin, glucagon) were assessed in 6 patients with clinical or subclinical adrenal Cushing's syndrome, and non-functioning adrenal adenoma in two cases. Abnormal responses were observed in three patients with Cushing's syndrome; one patient showed a gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP)-dependent cortisol rise after meal, together with responses after GnRH and cisapride; the second patient showed an LH-dependent cortisol response to GnRH, and in the third cortisol rose after cisapride. The pattern of receptor expression performed by RT-PCR showed that while GIP-R was only expressed in tumor from the responsive patient, 5-hydroxytryptamine type 4 receptor and LH-R were also present in normal adrenal tissues and tissues from non-responsive patients. Interestingly, an activating mutation of Gsalpha gene was identified in one of these tumors. Therefore, cortisol responses to agents operating via Gs protein coupled receptors (in one case associated with Gsalpha mutation) were found in Cushing's patients, while these responses were absent in the others. The finding of receptor expression in normal and non-responsive tumors suggests that different mechanisms are probably involved in inducing in vivo cortisol responses.

Burnatowska-Hledin MA, Kossoris JB, Van Dort CJ, et al.
T47D breast cancer cell growth is inhibited by expression of VACM-1, a cul-5 gene.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004; 319(3):817-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vasopressin-activated calcium-mobilizing (VACM-1), a cul-5 gene, is localized on chromosome 11q22-23 close to the gene for Ataxia Telangiectasia in a region associated with a loss of heterozygosity in breast cancer tumor samples. To examine the biological role of VACM-1, we studied the effect of VACM-1 expression on cellular growth and gene expression in T47D breast cancer cells. Immunocytochemistry studies demonstrated that VACM-1 was expressed in 0.6-6% of the T47D cells and localized to the nucleus of mitotic cells. Overexpressing VACM-1 significantly attenuated cellular proliferation and MAPK phosphorylation when compared to the control cells. In addition, VACM-1 decreased egr-1 and increased Fas-L mRNA levels. Further, egr-1 protein levels were significantly lower in the nuclear fraction from VACM-1 transfected cells when compared to controls. These data indicate that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of cellular growth.

Fay MJ, Longo KA, Karathanasis GA, et al.
Analysis of CUL-5 expression in breast epithelial cells, breast cancer cell lines, normal tissues and tumor tissues.
Mol Cancer. 2003; 2:40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The chromosomal location of CUL-5 (11q 22-23) is associated with LOH in breast cancer, suggesting that CUL-5 may be a tumor suppressor. The purpose of this research was to determine if there is differential expression of CUL-5 in breast epithelial cells versus breast cancer cell lines, and normal human tissues versus human tumors. The expression of CUL-5 in breast epithelial cells (HMEC, MCF-10A), and breast cancer cells (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) was examined using RT-PCR, Northern blot analysis, and Western blot analysis. The expression of mRNA for other CUL family members (CUL-1, -2, -3, -4A, and -4B) in these cells was evaluated by RT-PCR. A normal human tissue expression array and a cancer profiling array were used to examine CUL-5 expression in normal human tissues and matched normal tissues versus tumor tissues, respectively.
RESULTS: CUL-5 is expressed at the mRNA and protein levels by breast epithelial cells (HMEC, MCF-10A) and breast cancer cells (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231). These cells also express mRNA for other CUL family members. The normal human tissue expression array revealed that CUL-5 is widely expressed. The cancer profiling array revealed that 82% (41/50) of the breast cancers demonstrated a decrease in CUL-5 expression versus the matched normal tissue. For the 50 cases of matched breast tissue there was a statistically significant approximately 2.2 fold decreased expression of CUL-5 in tumor tissue versus normal tissue (P < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The data demonstrate no apparent decrease in CUL-5 expression in the breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) versus the breast epithelial cells (HMEC, MCF-10A). The decrease in CUL-5 expression in breast tumor tissue versus matched normal tissue supports the hypothesis that decreased expression of CUL-5 may play a role in breast tumorigenesis.

Miyamura N, Tsutsumi A, Senokuchi H, et al.
A case of ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia: simultaneous expression of several aberrant hormone receptors in the adrenal gland.
Endocr J. 2003; 50(3):333-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (AIMAH) is a rare cause of Cushing's syndrome. Recently, aberrant expression of adrenal receptors for various hormones and/or cytokines has been identified in several cases with AIMAH, which may act as a pathogenetic factor for the disorder. We report here an AIMAH patient with a Rathke's cleft cyst. Endocrinological examinations revealed that the pituitary cyst had no hormonal secretion. Administrations of either AVP or isoproterenol provoked cortisol production in the patient, whereas DDAVP, mosapride or endogenous LH induced by GnRH did not. Reverse transcriptional-PCR analysis of total RNA obtained from the patient's adrenal tissue revealed the expression of mRNA of receptors for V1a, V1b, V2, and LH/hCG. Three of these receptors except for V1a receptor were not expressed in normal adrenal tissue. Hyperosmolar saline infusion promoted the patient's cortisol secretion through the increase in endogenous AVP (peak plasma AVP level reached 90.4 pg/ml during the test). These results suggest that endogenous AVP and catecholamines are involved in the pathophysiology of the patient. Further study will be necessary to clarify the molecular mechanisms that regulate tissue-specific expression of these receptors and their role in the overgrowth of adrenal in AIMAH.

Pecori Giraldi F, Marini E, Torchiana E, et al.
Corticotrophin-releasing activity of desmopressin in Cushing's disease: lack of correlation between in vivo and in vitro responsiveness.
J Endocrinol. 2003; 177(3):373-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Desmopressin (DDAVP), an arginine vasopressin analogue, markedly stimulates ACTH secretion in patients with Cushing's disease, in contrast to its minimal effect in normal subjects. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying this action and it appeared to be of interest to evaluate the effect of DDAVP on ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas in vitro, in comparison with its effect in the same patients in vivo. Pituitary adenomas from 14 patients with Cushing's disease were incubated with DDAVP, corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and DDAVP together with vasopressin receptor antagonists or CRH. Incubation with DDAVP induced a modest dose-dependent increase in ACTH concentrations which appeared maximal at 10 nM. CRH stimulated ACTH to a greater extent compared with DDAVP and potentiated the effect of DDAVP alone. The DDAVP-induced ACTH increase appeared blunted by vasopressin V(2) and V(3) receptor antagonists. V(3) receptor gene expression was detected by RT-PCR in all adenoma samples except for two which were not responsive to DDAVP in vitro but responsive to the peptide in vivo. Surprisingly, no difference in the in vitro ACTH secretory response was observed between in vivo DDAVP-responsive (ACTH peak>150% baseline) and -unresponsive (ACTH peak<120% baseline) patients, suggesting that the pituitary adenoma is not the sole mediator of the ACTH-releasing effect of DDAVP. In conclusion, the marked stimulatory effect of DDAVP observed in patients with Cushing's disease appears to be mainly dependent on an extrapituitary action, possibly the inhibition of a corticotrophin release-inhibitory factor.

Ocejo-Garcia M, Ahmed SI, Coulson JM, Woll PJ
Use of RT-PCR to detect co-expression of neuropeptides and their receptors in lung cancer.
Lung Cancer. 2001; 33(1):1-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) synthesises a wide range of neuropeptides and their corresponding receptors. Together, these can form autocrine growth loops. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) does not generally share this neuroendocrine phenotype. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that multiple neuropeptides and their receptors are co-expressed in SCLC, constituting potential autocrine loops. Expression of mRNA for arginine vasopressin, gastrin, cholecystokinin, gastrin-releasing peptide, endothelin and neurotensin, together with their cognate receptors, was evaluated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in a panel of human lung cancer cell lines. We have assessed those neuropeptides and neuropeptide receptors that could be used as potential early markers to detect lung cancer cells both as micrometastases in blood and within dysplasia in bronchial biopsies. We establish that although no cell line expressed all neuropeptides, co-expression of neuropeptides and their receptors is common in SCLC but not in NSCLC. We conclude that mRNA for the neuropeptides gastrin-releasing peptide and arginine vasopressin and the cholecystokinin receptor B were most SCLC-specific and RT-PCR for these markers could be used to distinguish between SCLC and NSCLC.

Du J, Keegan BP, North WG
Key peptide processing enzymes are expressed by breast cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2001; 165(2):211-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of the three key peptide processing enzyme families, represented by CPE, PAM, and PC1/3 plus PC2, were examined in MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 breast cancer cell lines. Both of these cell lines express vasopressin receptors as well as the vasopressin gene, but the processing of vasopressin gene-related proteins appears to be limited. Products of the expected size for, CPE, PAM and PC1/PC3 could be amplified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from both cell lines. Cloning and sequencing of these RT-PCR products revealed that each enzyme mRNA had a structure identical to that published for the human form of the respective enzyme. Western analysis provided evidence that mRNAs for these enzymes are translated into proteins. Alternatively, PC2 mRNA was identified to be present in MCF-7 cells both by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis, but could not be demonstrated for ZR-75-1 cells. Our findings suggest that the key processing enzymes needed to generate active vasopressin and other neuropeptide growth factors are present in breast cancer cells.

North WG
Gene regulation of vasopressin and vasopressin receptors in cancer.
Exp Physiol. 2000; 85 Spec No:27S-40S [PubMed] Related Publications
It is proposed that neuropeptide production by tumours is an important part of a special process of oncogenic transformation rather than a pre-existing condition of progenitor cells; this concept is called Selective Tumour gene Expression of Peptides essential for Survival (STEPS). All small-cell lung cancers and breast cancers evidently express the vasopressin gene, and this gene seems to be structurally normal in all but exceptional cases. Vasopressin gene expression in cancer cells leads to the production of both normal and abnormal forms of tumour vasopressin mRNA and proteins. Although the necessary post-translational processing enzymes are expressed in these cells, most processing seems to be extragranular, and most of the protein products become components of the plasma membrane. Small-cell lung cancer and breast cancer cells also express normal genes for all vasopressin receptors and produce normal vasopressin receptor mRNAs and V1a and V1b receptor proteins, and the vasopressin-activated calcium mobilising (VACM) protein; plus both normal and abnormal forms of the V2 receptor. Through these receptors, vasopressin exercises multifaceted effects on tumour growth and metabolism. A normal protein vasopressin gene promoter seems to be present in small-cell lung cancer cells, and this promoter contains all of the transcriptional elements known to be involved in gene regulation within hypothalamic neurones. Since these elements largely account for regulation of tumour gene expression observed in vitro, it is likely that as yet unknown factors are selectively produced by tumours in vivo to account for the observed seemingly autonomous or unregulated production of hormone in tumour patients. Promoter elements thought to be responsible for selective vasopressin gene expression in small-cell lung cancer probably include an E-box and a neurone restrictive silencer element close to the transcription start site. It is possible that transcription factors acting at these same elements can explain selective vasopressin expression, not only in small-cell tumours, but also in all other tumours such as breast cancer. By extrapolation, similar mechanisms might also be responsible for the expression of additional features that characterize the 'neuroendocrine' profile of these cancers.

Sato K, Fukuno H, Taniguchi T, et al.
A novel mutation in the vasopressin V2 receptor gene in a woman with congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
Intern Med. 1999; 38(10):808-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 56-year-old Japanese woman with congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (CNDI) is reported. She was diagnosed with CNDI accompanied by advanced gastric cancer. After total gastrectomy, approximately 500 ml fluid per hour was necessary to prevent dehydration. Urinary volume was decreased by administration of hydrochlorothiazide. We detected a novel mutation in the vasopressin V2 receptor gene of her chromosomal DNA. A substitution from G to A was found at the 631 nucleotide position, altering codon 12 from glycine (GGG) to glutamic acid (GAG) in the first extracellular domain. This missense mutation appeared to be the cause of her resistance to arginine vasopressin.

de Keyzer Y, René P, Beldjord C, et al.
Overexpression of vasopressin (V3) and corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptor genes in corticotroph tumours.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1998; 49(4):475-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The molecular mechanisms underlying ACTH-secreting tumour formation remain unknown. Transmembrane signalling pathways play an important role in several endocrine disorders including pituitary tumours. To investigate the role of the pituitary vasopressin (V3) receptor (R) in ACTH-secreting tumours we have qualitatively and quantitatively analysed its mRNA.
DESIGN: RT-PCR, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and S1 nuclease protection experiments were used to analyse V3 mRNA structure in ACTH-secreting tumours. We also developed a competitive RT-PCR system to compare the levels of expression of POMC, V3 and CRH-R genes. This system used as competitor a single mutant template (termed multi-mutant) containing primers for the three genes flanking an unrelated core sequence allowing multiple quantifications from the same cDNA preparations. We analysed 12 normal pituitaries, 15 corticotroph pituitary adenomas and 6 ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoids.
RESULTS: The V3 mRNA structure and sequence were found to be identical in normal and tumoural pituitary indicating that the tumoural Vs mRNA codes for a normal receptor. POMC RT-PCR signals in the pituitary tumour group were approximately 7-fold higher than in the normal pituitary group. Similarly, V3 and CRH-R signal were increased in pituitary tumors (mean +/- SEM: 5.87 x 10(-6) +/- 1.73 x 10(-6), and 2.33 x 10(-4) +/- 1.4 x 10(-4), respectively), when compared to normal pituitaries (1.19 x 10(-7) +/- 2.39 x 10(-8), and 1.7 x 10(-6) +/- 4.65 x 10(-7), respectively) suggesting that these two genes are expressed at very high levels in corticotroph tumours. When expressed relative to the corresponding POMC signals, increases in V3 and CRH-R signals reached 49-fold and 137-fold, respectively, in pituitary tumours. In ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoids V3 gene expression level was also higher than in normal pituitary, whereas CRH-R signals were detected in only 4 of the 6 tumours with wide variations.
CONCLUSION: Our results show that both vasopressin and CRH receptor genes are overexpressed in ACTH-secreting pituitary tumours. They suggest that overexpression of G protein-coupled receptors may be an additional mechanism through which membrane receptors may play a role in human tumours.

Chabot V, de Keyzer Y, Gebhard S, et al.
Ectopic ACTH Cushing's syndrome: V3 vasopressin receptor but not CRH receptor gene expression in a pulmonary carcinoid tumor.
Horm Res. 1998; 50(4):226-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the etiological diagnosis of ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome, it may be difficult to distinguish pituitary disease from ectopic ACTH production, specially when this is due to a benign neuroendocrine tumor. We describe a patient with partial dexamethasone suppression consistent with Cushing's disease, an absent response to CRH suggesting ectopic ACTH production and an atypical, apparent circadian rhythm. Bilateral cavernous sinus catheterization suggested a nonpituitary source of ACTH and, in the search of an ectopic tumor, somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, abdominal CT scan, and duodenopancreatic endoscopic echography were performed and failed to reveal any abnormality. Thoracic CT scan disclosed a tiny right lung nodule that showed a definite tracer uptake on MIBG scintigraphy. After resection, the nodule proved to be an 8-mm typical pulmonary carcinoid, with positive immunostaining for the classical neuroendocrine markers and for ACTH, and showing tissue expression of the POMC gene. However, the CRH receptor gene was not expressed, explaining the absent CRH response in vivo, whereas the V3 vasopressin receptor gene was expressed in the tumor tissue. The latter feature appears to be characteristic of benign carcinoids and may contribute to explaining the CRH-independent circadian rhythm observed in this case.

Arnaldi G, Gasc JM, de Keyzer Y, et al.
Variable expression of the V1 vasopressin receptor modulates the phenotypic response of steroid-secreting adrenocortical tumors.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998; 83(6):2029-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
We studied the putative role of the vasopressin receptors in the phenotypic response of steroid-secreting adrenocortical tumors. A retrospective analysis of a series of 26 adrenocortical tumors responsible for Cushing's syndrome (19 adenomas and 7 carcinomas) showed that vasopressin (10 IU, i.m., lysine vasopressin) induced an ACTH-independent cortisol response (arbitrarily defined as a cortisol rise above baseline of 30 ng/mL or more) in 7 cases (27%). In comparison, 68 of 90 patients with Cushing's disease (76%) had a positive cortisol response. We then prospectively examined the expression of vasopressin receptor genes in adrenocortical tumors of recently operated patients (20 adenomas and 19 adrenocortical carcinomas). We used highly sensitive and specific quantitative RT-PCR techniques for each of the newly characterized human vasopressin receptors: V1, V2, and V3. The V1 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was detected in normal adrenal cortex and in all tumors. Its level varied widely between 2.0 x 10(2) and 4.4 x 10(5) copies/0.1 microgram total RNA, and adenomas had significantly higher levels than carcinomas, although there was a large overlap. Among the 6 recently operated patients who had been subjected to the vasopressin test in vivo, the tumor V1 mRNA levels were higher in the 4 responders (9.5 x 10(3) to 5.0 x 10(4)) than in the 2 nonresponders (2.0 x 10(2) and 1.8 x 10(3)). One adenoma that had a brisk cortisol response in vivo, also had in vitro cortisol responses that were inhibited by a specific V1 antagonist. In situ hybridization showed the presence of V1 mRNA in the normal human adrenal cortex where the signal predominated in the compact cells of the zona reticularis. A positive signal was also present in the tumors with high RT-PCR V1 mRNA levels; its distribution pattern was heterogeneous and showed preferential association with compact cells. RT-PCR studies for the other vasopressin receptors showed a much lower signal for V2 and no evidence for V3 mRNA. We could not establish whether the V2 mRNA signal observed in normal and tumoral specimens was present within adrenocortical cells or merely within tissue vessels. We conclude that the vasopressin V1 receptor gene is expressed in normal and tumoral adrenocortical cells. High, and not ectopic, expression occurs in a minority of tumors that become directly responsive to vasopressin stimulation tests.

Sakai Y, Horiba N, Sakai K, et al.
Corticotropin-releasing factor up-regulates its own receptor gene expression in corticotropic adenoma cells in vitro.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997; 82(4):1229-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
To investigate the expression of CRF receptor (CRF-R) in human corticotropic adenoma (hCA) cells, we analyzed messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of type-1 CRF-R (CRF-R1). Adenomas were obtained from 10 patients with Cushing's disease. Northern blot analysis using a rat CRF-R1 complementary RNA probe revealed a main hybridization band of 2.7 kilobases in all the hCAs. The CRF-R1 mRNA level significantly increased after 1 h, reached 15-fold the basal level at 8 h, and remained elevated 24 h after the addition of 10 nmol/L CRF in vitro. Dose dependency of the stimulatory effect of CRF was also demonstrated in hCA cells, whereas CRF down-regulated CRF-R1 mRNA levels in rat anterior pituitary (AP) cells. Treatment with dexamethasone or vasopressin decreased the CRF-R1 mRNA level in hCA cells, as observed in rat AP cells. In conclusion, we detected CRF-R1 mRNA in all hCAs tested. The CRF-R1 mRNA level was up-regulated by CRF itself in cultured hCA cells, in contrast to the down-regulation in rat AP cells.

de Keyzer Y, René P, Lenne F, et al.
V3 vasopressin receptor and corticotropic phenotype in pituitary and nonpituitary tumors.
Horm Res. 1997; 47(4-6):259-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pituitary corticotropic cells express a specific vasopressin receptor, called V1b or V3, through which vasopressin stimulates corticotropin secretion. We recently cloned a cDNA coding for this receptor and showed that it belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor family. V3 mRNA is readily detected by RT-PCR in normal human pituitaries and corticotropic pituitary adenomas but not in PRL or GH-secreting adenomas, thus demonstrating that, like POMC itself and the CRH receptor, V3 is a marker of the corticotropic phenotype. Nuclease protection experiments suggest that V3 is overexpressed in some corticotropic adenomas, and thus may play a role in tumor development by activating the phospholipase C-signalling pathway. In addition analysis of its expression in nonpituitary neuroendocrine tumors showed a striking association with carcinoids of the lung responsible for the ectopic ACTH syndrome.

Dahia PL, Ahmed-Shuaib A, Jacobs RA, et al.
Vasopressin receptor expression and mutation analysis in corticotropin-secreting tumors.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996; 81(5):1768-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vasopressin is an important regulator of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activation, primarily acting through the V3 receptor (V3R). Many patients with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas, but not normal individuals, respond to desmopressin, a relatively V2-specific vasopressin agonist, with increased ACTH and cortisol levels. We have searched for mutations of the V3R gene in ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas and one ectopic ACTH-secreting tumor. No abnormalities were found in 12 tumors studied by PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis. We then verified by RT-PCR whether the response to desmopressin was due to overexpression of the V3R or abnormal expression of the V2R in the pituitary tumor. We found that the V2R gene was expressed in a number of corticotroph tumors and in the ACTH-secreting ectopic tumor, and that the V3R gene appears to be overexpressed in these tumors. We conclude that V3R mutations are unlikely to be present in the ACTH-secreting tumors we examined, but that the V2R gene is expressed in the majority of the samples tested, and the V3R is expressed in all of these tumors. We speculate that the response to the desmopressin test observed in patients with Cushing's disease may be due to abnormal expression of V3R or V2R in ACTH-secreting tumors.

de Keyzer Y, Lenne F, Auzan C, et al.
The pituitary V3 vasopressin receptor and the corticotroph phenotype in ectopic ACTH syndrome.
J Clin Invest. 1996; 97(5):1311-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ectopic ACTH secretion occurs in highly differentiated and rather indolent tumors like bronchial carcinoids or, in contrast, in various types of aggressive and poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumors. We explored this phenomenon using the recently cloned human pituitary V3 vasopressin receptor as an alternate molecular marker of the corticotroph phenotype. Expression of V3 receptor, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) receptor, and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) genes was examined in tumors of pituitary and nonpituitary origin. A comparative RT-PCR approach revealed signals for both V3 receptor and CHR receptor mRNAs in 17 of 18 ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas, and 6 of 6 normal pituitaries; in six growth hormone- or prolactin-secreting adenomas, a very faint V3 receptor signal was observed in three cases, and CRH receptor signal was undetected in all. Six of eight bronchial carcinoids responsible for the ectopic ACTH syndrome had both POMC and V3 receptor signals as high as those in ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas; in contrast, no POMC signal and only a very faint V3 receptor signal were detected in six of eight nonsecreting bronchial carcinoids. Northern blot analysis showed V3 receptor mRNA of identical size in ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoids and pituitary tumors. Other types of nonpituitary tumors responsible for ectopic ACTH syndrome presented much lower levels of both POMC and V3 receptor gene expression than those found in ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoids. In contrast with the V3 receptor, CRH receptor mRNA was detected in the majority of neuroendocrine tumors irrespective of their POMC status. These results show that expression of the V3 receptor gene participates in the corticotroph phenotype. Its striking association with ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoids defines a subset of nonpituitary tumors in which ectopic POMC gene expression is but one aspect of a wider process of corticotroph cell differentiation, and opens new possibilities of pharmacological investigations and even manipulations of this peculiar ACTH hypersecretory syndrome.

de Keyzer Y, Auzan C, Lenne F, et al.
Cloning and characterization of the human V3 pituitary vasopressin receptor.
FEBS Lett. 1994; 356(2-3):215-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) plays a determinant role in the normal ACTH response to stress in mammals. We cloned a human cDNA coding a 424 amino acid G-protein coupled receptor structurally related to the vasopressin/oxytocin receptor family. When expressed in COS cells, this receptor binds AVP with a high affinity (Kd = 0.55 +/- 0.13 nM) and is functionally coupled to phospholipase C. Competition studies with peptidic or non peptidic AVP analogues reveal that it is pharmacologically distinct from V1a and V2 AVP receptors and therefore it is designated V3. RT-PCR analysis shows that the human V3 receptor is expressed in normal pituitary and also in kidney, but is undetectable in liver, myometrium and adrenal gland. Northern blot analysis reveals a approximately 4.8 kb messenger in human corticotropic pituitary adenomas.

Suda T, Tozawa F, Dobashi I, et al.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone, proopiomelanocortin, and glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in adrenocorticotropin-producing tumors in vitro.
J Clin Invest. 1993; 92(6):2790-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To differentiate between ectopic ACTH syndrome and Cushing's disease, gene expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), and glucocorticoid receptor was examined in 10 pituitary adenomas (Cushing's disease) and in 10 ectopic ACTH-producing tumors. CRH increased plasma ACTH levels in all patients with Cushing's disease and in five patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome whose tumors contained CRH and CRH mRNA. In five CRH nonresponders, CRH was not detected in tumors that contained no CRH mRNA or that contained only long-size CRH mRNA. Dexamethasone (Dex) decreased plasma ACTH levels in all patients with Cushing's disease and in three patients with ectopic ACTH-producing bronchial carcinoid. These tumors contained glucocorticoid receptor mRNA. CRH increased and Dex decreased ACTH release and POMC mRNA levels in pituitary adenoma and bronchial carcinoid cells. PMA increased POMC mRNA levels only in carcinoid cells. These results reveal characteristics of ectopic ACTH-producing tumors: long-size CRH mRNA and PMA-induced POMC gene expression. In addition, there are two ectopic ACTH syndrome subtypes: tumors containing ACTH with CRH (CRH responder) and tumors without CRH. Dex decreases ACTH release and POMC mRNA levels in some bronchial carcinoids. Therefore, CRH and Dex tests have limited usefulness in differentiating between Cushing's disease and ectopic ACTH syndrome.

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