Functional expression of CXCR4 in somatotrophs: CXCL12 activates GH gene, GH production and secretion, and cellular proliferation

Yongho Lee, Jeong Mo Kim, Eun Jig Lee

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38 Citations (Scopus)


The interaction of chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (CXCL12) and its receptor CXCR4 may play an important role in the regulation of anterior pituitary function. In this study, we investigated the expression of CXCL12 and CXCR4 and their role in normal rat pituitary and GH-producing GH3 tumor cell line. RT-PCR analysis and immunohistochemistry revealed that CXCR4 was expressed in normal rat anterior pituitary and GH3 tumor cells. Double immunofluorescent staining showed the complete colocalization of CXCR4 with GH in rat pituitary, indicating that CXCR4 is specifically expressed in rat somatotrophs. Using rat primary pituitary cell cultures and GH releasing hormone receptor expressing stable GH3 cells (GH3-GHRHR), we evaluated the function of CXCL12 compared with GHRH. CXCL12 stimulated GH gene activation in both primary rat anterior pituitary cells and GH3-GHRHR cells. CXCL12 also stimulated GH secretion from primary rat pituitary cells in a dose-dependant manner. BrdU incorporation was increased in response to CXCL12 addition in GH3 cell culture, indicating CXCL12-induced cell proliferation. CXCL12-dependent phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was also confirmed by western blot analysis, supporting the evidence that MAPK is an intracellular mediator of CXCL12/CXCR4 interaction in GH3 cell proliferation. In conclusion, these results indicate that CXCL12/CXCR4 interaction plays an important role in GH production, secretion, and the proliferation of somatotrophs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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