Cytokine-dependent gp130 receptor subunit regulates human fetal pituitary adrenocorticotropin hormone and growth hormone secretion.
Shimon I., Yan X., Ray DW., Melmed S.
We have shown recently that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and oncostatin M (OSM), two members of the gp130-dependent cytokine family, stimulate murine proopiomelanocortin (POMC) transcription and adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) secretion. LIF and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) also synergistically induced in vivo ACTH secretion in fetal nonhuman primates. To elucidate the role of the gp130-related cytokines in human pituitary hormone regulation, we tested expression of gp130-related cytokine receptors in human fetal pituitaries. Using RT-PCR, mRNA expression of receptors for LIF, IL-6, and CRH, and the gp130 subunit, were all detected in fetal pituitaries of 18- and 31-wk gestation. Recombinant human IL-6, LIF, and OSM treatments of primary human fetal pituitary cultures (16-31 wk) increased ACTH secretion by up to 48% (P < 0.05) using doses of 1 nM, and when fetal cultures were cotreated with CRH, ACTH was induced five- to sixfold as compared to CRH alone (three- to fourfold; P = 0.01). Incubation with gp130-specific antibody suppressed basal and cytokine-stimulated ACTH secretion (alone or with CRH) from human fetal cells. Human POMC promoter -879/+6 fused to the luciferase reporter gene and transfected into AtT-20 cells, was stimulated by LIF (7-fold), which also exerted strong (22-fold) synergy with CRH on POMC transcription. Growth hormone (GH) release from fetal cultures was modestly stimulated (15-31%, P < 0.05), while other anterior pituitary hormones were not altered by these cytokines. Thus, physiologic concentrations of the gp130-related cytokines have direct effects on ACTH and GH regulation in the human pituitary, indicating that gp130-dependent signals serve as a paracrine system controlling early human pituitary function.