Cholecystokinin (CCK) receptor and CCK gene expression in human pituitary adenomas and in vitro effects of CCK peptides on GH and gonadotrophin secretion

Eftychia Oilkonomou, A. Charlton, Michael Buchfelder, Eric F. Adams

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There is growing evidence that cholecystokinin (CCK) affects growth and differentiation of anterior pituitary cells, via the CCK-B receptor. The possibility of an autocrine / paracrine role for CCK to modulate hormone secretion in human pituitary tumour cells is demonstrated here by RT-PCR and direct sequencing. In support of this conclusion, a neutralising antibody against the CCK peptide exhibited a dose dependent inhibition of hormone secretion by functionless pituitary adenomas. Total RNA was extracted from human pituitary adenomas, reverse transcribed into cDNA and subjected to PCR using primers specific for the gene for CCK, CCK-A and CCK-B receptors. PCR bands of the predicted length were observed in all tumours using human CCK gene and CCK-B receptor primers. Restriction digestion and direct sequence analysis provided further evidence that they represented both the human CCK peptide along with the CCK-A and/B receptor mRNA. CCK-33 and CCK octapeptide sulphate (CCK-8s) both powerfully stimulated phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis, providing evidence for functional activity of the CCK-A and/B receptors. A direct stimulatory effect of CCK peptides on both LH and FSH secretion is reported for the first time, whereas stimulatory effects on GH were blocked by antagonists to CCK. These results may indicate an autocrine role for CCK in the functioning and perhaps development of human pituitary tumours. © J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-689
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • autocrine
  • CCK
  • CCK antagonists
  • GH
  • gonadotropins
  • pituitary adenomas


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