Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) actions on αT3-1 gonadotrophs show desensitization

Craig A. McArdle, Wyn Forrest-Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PACAP is a hypothalamic hypophysiotropic factor that acts upon a number of pituitary cells, including gonadotrophs. In the gonadotroph-derived αT3-1 cell line, PACAP acts via PVR1 receptors to stimulate adenylyl cyclase and phosphoinositidase C. PACAP-stimulated cAMP accumulation is inhibited by protein kinase C-activating phorbol esters in these cells and the current work was undertaken primarily to establish whether it is also subject to homologous regulation. In acute experiments, PACAP27-stimulated cAMP accumulation (intracellular plus extracellular) was measured (in the presence of phosphodiesterase inhibitor) both in intact cells and in cell membranes. The peptide increased cAMP accumulation, but initial rates of PACAP27-stimulated cAMP accumulation were reduced to between 10 and 50% within 10 min of stimulation in both cells and membranes. The initial rate of forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation was maintained in membranes but not in intact cells (although the deviation from linearity was less pronounced than with PACAP27). Thus, rapid homologous desensitization to PACAP27 occurs in intact αT3-1 cells, but is not entirely receptor specific. Rapid homologous desensitization of PACAP27-stimulated cAMP accumulation also occurred in the presence of a protein kinase C activating phorbol ester, which inhibited cAMP accumulation without altering the kinetics of the PACAP27 effect. Brief pre-treatment (3 min) with PACAP27 also reduced the ability of PACAP27, but not gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, to cause a spike-type elevation of cytosolic Ca2+ concentration (a consequence of phosphoinositidase C activation). In chronic desensitization studies, pre-treatment for 6 h with PACAP27 caused a dose-dependent (IC50 approximately 10 nM) reduction of PACAP-stimulated cAMP accumulation and down regulated cell surface PVR1 receptors (to approximately 50%). Thus, it appears that PACAP27-stimulated (PVR-1 receptor mediated) adenylyl cyclase undergoes rapid homologous desensitization in αT3-1 cells, which is paralleled by homologous desensitization of PACAP27-stimulated phosphoinositidase C activity and involves mechanisms distinct from those underlying heterologous desensitization by phorbol esters. Chronic desensitization of PACAP-stimulated cAMP accumulation and down-regulation of cell surface PVR-1 receptors also occurs in these cells although the receptor loss may not entirely explain the observed desensitization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-901
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenylyl cyclase
  • Calcium
  • Desensitization
  • Gonadotropes
  • Phosphoinositidase C
  • Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide
  • αT3-1 cells


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