Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MicroRNAs Differentially Expressed in ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Tumors


Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, doi:10.1210/jc.2008-1451
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 94, No. 1 320-323
Copyright © 2009 by The Endocrine Society
MicroRNAs Differentially Expressed in ACTH-Secreting Pituitary Tumors
Fernando Colbari Amaral, Natalia Torres, Fabiano Saggioro, Luciano Neder, Hélio Rubens Machado, Wilson Araújo Silva, Jr, Ayrton Custódio Moreira and Margaret Castro

Departments of Internal Medicine (F.C.A., N.T., A.C.M., M.C.), Pathology (F.S., L.N.), Surgery and Anatomy (H.R.M.), and Genetics (W.A.S.), School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil

Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Margaret de Castro, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil. E-mail:

Context: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs, functioning as antisense regulators of gene expression by targeting mRNA and contributing to cancer development and progression. More than 50% of miRNA genes are located in cancer-associated genomic regions or in fragile sites of the genome.

Objective: The aim of the study was to analyze the differential expression of let-7a, miR-15a, miR-16, miR-21, miR-141, miR-143, miR-145, and miR-150 in corticotropinomas and normal pituitary tissue and verify whether their profile of expression correlates with tumor size or remission after treatment.

Material and Methods: ACTH-secreting pituitary tumor samples were obtained during transphenoidal surgery from patients with Cushing disease and normal pituitary tissues from autopsies. The relative expression of miRNAs was measured by real-time PCR using RNU44 and RNU49 as endogenous controls. Relative quantification of miRNA expression was calculated using the 2–{Delta}{Delta}Ct method.

Results: We found underexpression of miR-145 (2.0-fold; P = 0.04), miR-21 (2.4-fold; P = 0.004), miR-141 (2.6-fold; P = 0.02), let-7a (3.3-fold; P = 0.003), miR-150 (3.8-fold; P = 0.04), miR-15a (4.5-fold; P = 0.03), miR-16 (5.0-fold; P = 0.004), and miR-143 (6.4-fold; P = 0.004) in ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors when compared to normal pituitary tissues. There were no differences between miRNA expression and tumor size as well as miRNA expression and ratio of remission after surgery, except in patients presenting lower miR-141 expression who showed a better chance of remission.

Conclusion: Our results support the possibility that altered miRNA expression profile might be involved in corticotrophic tumorigenesis. However, the lack of knowledge about miRNA target genes postpones full understanding of the biological functions of down-regulated or up-regulated miRNAs in corticotropinomas.