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Vol. 80, No. 2, 2004
Issue release date: 2004

Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha-Induced Nitric Oxide Restrains the Apoptotic Response of Anterior Pituitary Cells

Candolfi M. · Jaita G. · Zaldivar V. · Zárate S. · Pisera D. · Seilicovich A.
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Abstract

We previously reported that tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) inhibits cell proliferation whereas it stimulates apoptosis of anterior pituitary cells in an estrogen-dependent manner. Also, we showed that nitric oxide (NO) mediates the inhibitory effect of TNF-α on prolactin release. Here, we studied the effect of TNF-α on nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and expression in anterior pituitary cells from cycling and ovariectomized (OVX) rats, and the role of NO in TNF-α induced apoptosis of anterior pituitary cells. NOS activity was higher in anterior pituitary cells from rats in proestrus than in diestrus and was stimulated by 17β-estradiol (10–9 M, E2). TNF-α (50 ng/ml) stimulated NOS activity in anterior pituitary cells from rats at both stages of the estrous cycle and in cells from OVX rats cultured either with or without E2. Inducible NOS (iNOS) gene expression was higher in anterior pituitary cells from rats in proestrus than in diestrus and its expression was enhanced by TNF-α. Acute administration of E2 to OVX rats increased endothelial NOS (eNOS) expression in the anterior pituitary gland. Also, E2 increased eNOS mRNA in dispersed anterior pituitary cells from OVX rats, and this effect was blocked by TNF-α. nNOS expression in the anterior pituitary gland was higer at proestrus than at diestrus but eNOS expression was similar at both stages. TNF-α decreased eNOS mRNA in anterior pituitary cells from rats at proestrus or diestrus. In anterior pituitary cells from OVX rats, TNF-α failed to induce apoptosis but was able to induce it when cells were incubated with NAME or NMMA, NOS inhibitors that did not affect cell viability per se. In the presence of E2, NAME induced apoptosis and enhanced the proapoptotic effect of TNF-α. In conclusion, our study shows that TNF-α upregulates iNOS gene expression whereas it downregulates estrogen-induced eNOS expression in anterior pituitary cells. Endogenous NO may restrain rather than mediate the proapoptotic effect of TNF-α in anterior pituitary cells.



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