Diverse intracellular signalling systems used by growth hormone-releasing hormone in regulating voltage-gated Ca2+ or K+ channels in pituitary somatotropes

C. Chen, R. Xu, I. J. Clarke, M. Ruan, K. Loneragan, S. G. Roh

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Influx of Ca2+ via Ca2+ channels is the major step triggering exocytosis of pituitary somatotropes to release growth hormone (GH). Voltage-gated Ca2+ and K+ channels, the primary determinants of the influx of Ca2+, are regulated by GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) through G-protein-coupled intracellular signalling systems. Using whole-cell patch-clamp techniques, the changes of the Ca2+ and K+ currents in primary cultured ovine and human somatotropes were recorded. Growth hormone-releasing hormone (10 nmol/L) increased both L- and T-type voltage-gated Ca2+ currents. Inhibition of the cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway by either Rp-cAMP or H89 blocked this increase in both L- and T-type Ca2+ currents. Growth hormone-releasing hormone also decreased voltage-gated transient (I(A)) and delayed rectified (I(K)) K+ currents. Protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors, such as calphostin C, chelerythrine or downregulation of PKC, blocked the effect of GHRH on K+ currents, whereas an acute activation of PKC by phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (1 μmol/L) mimicked the effect of GHRH. Intracellular dialysis of a specific PKC inhibitor (PKC19-36) also prevented the reduction in K+ currents by GHRH. It is therefore concluded that GHRH increases voltage-gated Ca2+ currents via cAMP/PKA, but decreases voltage-gated K+ currents via the PKC signalling system. The GHRH-induced alteration of Ca2+ and K+ currents augments the influx of Ca2+, leading to an increase in [Ca2-]i and the GH secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-368
Number of pages13
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth hormone-releasing hormone
  • Ion channel
  • Protein kinase A
  • Protein kinase C
  • Voltage-gated

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