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Raúl M Luque and Rhonda D Kineman

Neuronostatin, a somatostatin gene-encoded peptide, exerts important physiological and metabolic actions in diverse tissues. However, the direct biological effects of neuronostatin on pituitary function of humans and primates are still unknown. This study used baboon (Papio anubis) primary pituitary cell cultures, a species that closely models human physiology, to demonstrate that neuronostatin inhibits basal, but not ghrelin-/GnRH-stimulated, growth hormone (GH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, without affecting the secretion of other pituitary hormones (prolactin, ACTH, FSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)) or changing mRNA levels. Actions of neuronostatin differs from somatostatin which in this study reduced GH/PRL/ACTH/LH/TSH secretion and GH/PRL/POMC/LH gene expression. Remarkably, we found that inhibitory actions of neuronostatin are likely mediated through: (1) the orphan receptor GPCR107 (found to be highly expressed in pituitary compared to somatostatin-receptors), (2) common (i.e. adenylyl cyclase/protein kinase A/MAPK/extra-/intracellular Ca2+ mobilization, but not phospholipase C/protein kinase C/mTOR) and distinct (i.e. PI3K) signaling pathways than somatostatin and; (3) dissimilar molecular mechanisms than somatostatin (i.e. upregulation of GPCR107 and downregulation of GHS-R/Kiss1-R expression by neuronostatin and, upregulation of sst1–5 expression by somatostatin). Altogether, the results of this study provide the first evidence that there is a functional neuronostatin signaling circuit, unique from somatostatin, which may work in concert with somatostatin to fine-tune hormone release from somatostropes and gonadotropes.

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Manuel D Gahete, Juan M Jiménez-Vacas, Emilia Alors-Pérez, Vicente Herrero-Aguayo, Antonio C Fuentes-Fayos, Sergio Pedraza-Arévalo, Justo P Castaño and Raúl M Luque

Endocrine and neuroendocrine tumors comprise a highly heterogeneous group of neoplasms that can arise from (neuro)endocrine cells, either from endocrine glands or from the widespread diffuse neuroendocrine system, and, consequently, are widely distributed throughout the body. Due to their diversity, heterogeneity and limited incidence, studying in detail the molecular and genetic alterations that underlie their development and progression is still a highly elusive task. This, in turn, hinders the discovery of novel therapeutic options for these tumors. To circumvent these limitations, numerous mouse models of endocrine and neuroendocrine tumors have been developed, characterized and used in preclinical, co-clinical (implemented in mouse models and patients simultaneously) and post-clinical studies, for they represent powerful and necessary tools in basic and translational tumor biology research. Indeed, different in vivo mouse models, including cell line-based xenografts (CDXs), patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and genetically engineered mouse models (GEMs), have been used to delineate the development, progression and behavior of human tumors. Results gained with these in vivo models have facilitated the clinical application in patients of diverse breakthrough discoveries made in this field. Herein, we review the generation, characterization and translatability of the most prominent mouse models of endocrine and neuroendocrine tumors reported to date, as well as the most relevant clinical implications obtained for each endocrine and neuroendocrine tumor type.

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Manuel D Gahete, David Rincón-Fernández, Alicia Villa-Osaba, Daniel Hormaechea-Agulla, Alejandro Ibáñez-Costa, Antonio J Martínez-Fuentes, Francisco Gracia-Navarro, Justo P Castaño and Raúl M Luque

Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid acylated hormone, highly expressed in the stomach, which binds to its cognate receptor (GHSR1a) to regulate a plethora of relevant biological processes, including food intake, energy balance, hormonal secretions, learning, inflammation, etc. However, ghrelin is, in fact, the most notorious component of a complex, intricate regulatory system comprised of a growing number of alternative peptides (e.g. obestatin, unacylated ghrelin, and In1-ghrelin, etc.), known (GHSRs) and, necessarily unknown receptors, as well as modifying enzymes (e.g. ghrelin-O-acyl-transferase), which interact among them as well as with other regulatory systems in order to tightly modulate key (patho)-physiological processes. This multiplicity of functions and versatility of the ghrelin system arise from a dual, genetic and functional, complexity. Importantly, a growing body of evidence suggests that dysregulation in some of the components of the ghrelin system can lead to or influence the development and/or progression of highly concerning pathologies such as endocrine-related tumors, inflammatory/cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegeneration, wherein these altered components could be used as diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic targets. In this context, the aim of this review is to integrate and comprehensively analyze the multiple components and functions of the ghrelin system described to date in order to define and understand its biological and (patho)-physiological significance.

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Alejandro Ibáñez-Costa, Esther Rivero-Cortés, Mari C Vázquez-Borrego, Manuel D Gahete, Luis Jiménez-Reina, Eva Venegas-Moreno, Andrés de la Riva, Miguel Ángel Arráez, Inmaculada González-Molero, Herbert A Schmid, Silvia Maraver-Selfa, Inmaculada Gavilán-Villarejo, Juan Antonio García-Arnés, Miguel A Japón, Alfonso Soto-Moreno, María A Gálvez, Raúl M Luque and Justo P Castaño

Somatostatin analogs (SSA) are the mainstay of pharmacological treatment for pituitary adenomas. However, some patients escape from therapy with octreotide, a somatostatin receptor 2 (sst2)-preferring SSA, and pasireotide, a novel multi-sst-preferring SSA, may help to overcome this problem. It has been proposed that correspondence between sst1-sst5 expression pattern and SSA-binding profile could predict patient’s response. To explore the cellular/molecular features associated with octreotide/pasireotide response, we performed a parallel comparison of their in vitro effects, evaluating sst1-sst5 expression, intracellular Ca2+ signaling ([Ca2+]i), hormone secretion and cell viability, in a series of 85 pituitary samples. Somatotropinomas expressed sst5>sst2, yet octreotide reduced [Ca2+]i more efficiently than pasireotide, while both SSA similarly decreased growth hormone release/expression and viability. Corticotropinomas predominantly expressed sst5, but displayed limited response to pasireotide, while octreotide reduced functional endpoints. Non-functioning adenomas preferentially expressed sst3 but, surprisingly, both SSA increased cell viability. Prolactinomas mainly expressed sst1 but were virtually unresponsive to SSA. Finally, both SSA decreased [Ca2+]i in normal pituitaries. In conclusion, both SSA act in vitro on pituitary adenomas exerting both similar and distinct effects; however, no evident correspondence was found with the sst1-sst5 profile. Thus, it seems plausible that additional factors, besides the simple abundance of a given sst, critically influence the SSA response.