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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of the cyclic AMP-independent actions of somatostatin in GH cells. II. An increase in potassium conductance initiates somatostatin- induced inhibition of prolactin secretion.

The neuropeptide somatostatin inhibits prolactin release from GH4C1 pituitary cells via two mechanisms, inhibition of stimulated adenylate cyclase activity and an undefined cAMP-independent process. Somatostatin also hyperpolarizes GH4C1 cells and reduces their intracellular free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in a cAMP-independent manner. To determine whether these ionic changes were involved in the cAMP-independent mechanism by which somatostatin inhibited secretion, changes in cAMP levels were prevented from having any biological consequences by performing experiments in the presence of a maximal concentration of a cAMP analog. Under these conditions, inhibition of prolactin release by somatostatin required a transmembrane concentration gradient for K+ but not one for either Na+ or Cl-. However, elimination of the outward K+ gradient did not prevent somatostatin inhibition of vasoactive intestinal peptide-stimulated hormone release. Therefore, somatostatin's cAMP-mediated mechanism does not require a K+ gradient, whereas its cAMP-independent inhibition of secretion appears to result from a change in K+ conductance. Consistent with this conclusion, membrane hyperpolarization with gramicidin (1 microgram/ml) mimicked somatostatin inhibition of prolactin release. In addition, the K+ channel blocker tetrabutylammonium prevented the effects of somatostatin on the membrane potential, the [Ca2+]i and hormone secretion. Nonetheless, a K+ gradient was not sufficient for somatostatin action. Even in the presence of a normal K+ gradient, somatostatin was only able to inhibit prolactin release when the extracellular Ca2+ concentration was at least twice the [Ca2+]i. Furthermore, the calcium channel blocker, nifedipine (10 microM), which prevents the action of somatostatin to reduce the [Ca2+]i, specifically blocked inhibition of prolactin release via somatostatin's cAMP-independent mechanisms. Therefore, a decrease in Ca2+ influx through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels produces both the fall in [Ca2+]i and inhibition of hormone secretion in response to somatostatin.[1]


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