, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 102–108 | Cite as

Establishment of a protocol to extend the lifespan of human hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma cells

  • Aurora Aiello
  • Maria Francesca Cassarino
  • Simona Nanni
  • Antonella Sesta
  • Francesco Ferraú
  • Claudio Grassi
  • Marco Losa
  • Francesco Trimarchi
  • Alfredo Pontecorvi
  • Salvatore Cannavò
  • Francesca Pecori Giraldi
  • Antonella Farsetti
Endocrine Methods and Techniques



The aim of this study was to generate immortalized human anterior pituitary adenoma cells. Reliable cell models for the study of human pituitary adenomas are as yet lacking and studies performed so far used repeated passaging of freshly excised adenomas, with the attendant limitations due to limited survival in culture, early senescence, and poor reproducibility.

Methods & Results

We devised a technique based upon repeated co-transfections of two retroviral vectors, one carrying the catalytic subunit of human telomerase, hTERT, the other SV40 large T antigen. This approach extended the lifespan of cells derived from a human growth hormone-secreting adenoma up to 18 months while retaining morphology of primary cells, growth hormone synthesis and growth hormone secretion.


Our attempt represents the first demonstration of successful lifespan extension of human growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma cells via co-transfection of hTERT and SV40T and paves the way to future attempts to obtain stable cell lines.


GH-secreting adenoma Immortalization Pituitary cell line TERT SV40 T-antigen 



This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (PRIN2010TYCL9B_006) to AF, (PRIN2010TYCL9B_004) to FPG, (PRIN2010TYCL9B-001) and PRIN 2015 (PRIN2015ZHKFTA) to SC; and by the Italian Ministry of Health (GR 2011-02351557) to SN and (RF-2013-02356201) to SC.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora Aiello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Francesca Cassarino
    • 3
  • Simona Nanni
    • 2
  • Antonella Sesta
    • 3
    • 4
  • Francesco Ferraú
    • 5
  • Claudio Grassi
    • 6
  • Marco Losa
    • 7
  • Francesco Trimarchi
    • 8
  • Alfredo Pontecorvi
    • 2
  • Salvatore Cannavò
    • 9
  • Francesca Pecori Giraldi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Antonella Farsetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cell Biology and NeurobiologyNational Research CouncilRomeItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Medical PathologyUniversità CattolicaRomeItaly
  3. 3.Neuroendocrinology Research LaboratoryIstituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCSMilanItaly
  4. 4.Deparment of Clinical Sciences & Community HealthUniversità di MilanoMilanItaly
  5. 5.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  6. 6.Institute of Human PhysiologyUniversità CattolicaRomeItaly
  7. 7.Department of NeurosurgeryOspedale San Raffaele IRCCSMilanItaly
  8. 8.Accademia Peloritana dei PericolantiUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  9. 9.Department of Childhood and Adulthood Human Pathology G. BarresiUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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