Galanin, a 29-aminoacid peptide (30 in humans), is widely distributed in the nervous and endocrine systems and exerts its actions via three G-protein-coupled receptors, GalR1-3. The galanin system has, among others, been associated with tumorigenesis. Our objective was to assess the expression of galanin and its receptors in pituitary tumors. Transcript levels of galanin and galanin receptors 1-3 (GalR1-3) were measured using quantitative real-time PCR (q-PCR) in pituitary tumors, surgically removed from thirteen patients, and twelve post mortem pituitaries. Galanin, GalR1 and GalR2 mRNA, but not GalR3 mRNA, were found in the twelve human post-mortem pituitaries. Expression of GalR1 was relatively increased in most, whereas GalR2 was decreased in some tumors. High levels of GalR3 were only found in tumors of five patients, who all relapsed shortly after surgical intervention. The results suggest that GalR3, a receptor for the neuroendocrine peptide galanin, is a potential marker for relapsing pituitary tumors. Thus, galanin receptors may play an important role in pituitary tumors, also for surgical outcome and prognosis, and may serve as a diagnostic tool. The association of GalR3 with tumor relapse suggests that antagonists to this receptor represent a potential therapeutic approach to treatment of pituitary tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience