, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 308–316 | Cite as

PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway involvement in regulating growth hormone secretion in a rat pituitary adenoma cell line

  • Carmelina Di Pasquale
  • Erica Gentilin
  • Simona Falletta
  • Mariaenrica Bellio
  • Mattia Buratto
  • Ettore degli Uberti
  • Maria Chiara Zatelli
Original Article



Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) controls growth hormone (GH) secretion via a negative feed-back loop that may disclose novel mechanisms possibly useful to control GH hyper-secretion. Our aim was to understand whether PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is involved in IGF1 negative feedback on GH secretion.


Cell viability, GH secretion, Akt, and Erk 1/2 phosphorylation levels in the rat GH3 cell line were assessed under treatment with IGF1 and/or everolimus, an mTOR inhitior.


We found that IGF1 improves rat GH3 somatotroph cell viability via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and confirmed that IGF1 exerts a negative feedback on GH secretion by a transcriptional mechanism. We demonstrated that the negative IGF1 loop on GH secretion requires Akt activation that seems to play a pivotal role in the control of GH secretion. Furthermore, Akt activation is independent of PI3K and probably mediated by mTORC2. In addition, we found that Erk 1/2 is not involved in GH3 cell viability regulation, but may have a role in controlling GH secretion, independently of IGF1.


Our data confirm that mTOR inhibitors may be useful to reduce pituitary adenoma cell viability, while Erk 1/2 pathway may be considered as a useful therapeutic target to control GH secretion. Our results open the field for further studies searching for effective drugs to control GH hyper-secretion.


Growth hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway MAPK pathway 



We thank Novartis for providing Everolimus and NVP-BEZ235 pure substances.


This work was supported by grants from the Italian Ministry of Education, Research and University (FIRB RBAP11884M, RBAP1153LS), and Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) in collaboration with Laboratorio in rete del Tecnopolo “Tecnologie delle terapie avanzate” (LTTA) of the University of Ferrara. The funding sources had no involvement in study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, in the writing of the report and in the decision to submit the article for publication

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

MCZ has received consultant fees from Novartis and Genzyme. EdU has received consultant fees from Novartis and grant support from Sanofi. The remaining authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical SciencesSection of Endocrinology & Internal Medicine, University of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Laboratorio in rete del Tecnopolo “Tecnologie delle terapie avanzate” (LTTA) of the University of FerraraFerraraItaly

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