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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
On-line version ISSN 1414-431X
OLINTO, S.C.F. et al. Arginine induces GH gene expression by activating NOS/NO signaling in rat isolated hemi-pituitaries. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.11, pp.1066-1073. Epub May 31, 2012 ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2012007500094.
The amino acid arginine (Arg) is a recognized secretagogue of growth hormone (GH), and has been shown to induce GH gene expression. Arg is the natural precursor of nitric oxide (NO), which is known to mediate many of the effects of Arg, such as GH secretion. Arg was also shown to increase calcium influx in pituitary cells, which might contribute to its effects on GH secretion. Although the mechanisms involved in the effects of Arg on GH secretion are well established, little is known about them regarding the control of GH gene expression. We investigated whether the NO pathway and/or calcium are involved in the effects of Arg on GH gene expression in rat isolated pituitaries. To this end, pituitaries from approximately 170 male Wistar rats (~250 g) were removed, divided into two halves, pooled (three hemi-pituitaries) and incubated or not with Arg, as well as with different pharmacological agents. Arg (71 mM), the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP, 1 and 0.1 mM) and a cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) analogue (8-Br-cGMP, 1 mM) increased GH mRNA expression 60 min later. The NO acceptor hemoglobin (0.3 µM) blunted the effect of SNP, and the combined treatment with Arg and L-NAME (a NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor, 55 mM) abolished the stimulatory effect of Arg on GH gene expression. The calcium channel inhibitor nifedipine (3 µM) also abolished Arg-induced GH gene expression. The present study shows that Arg directly induces GH gene expression in hemi-pituitaries isolated from rats, excluding interference from somatostatinergic neurons, which are supposed to be inhibited by Arg. Moreover, the data demonstrate that the NOS/NO signaling pathway and calcium mediate the Arg effects on GH gene expression.
Keywords : Arginine; GH mRNA expression; Nitric oxide; Calcium (Ca2+); Cyclic guanosine monophosphate.