MTOR inhibition reduces cellular proliferation and sensitizes pituitary adenoma cells to ionizing radiation

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19 Scopus citations


Background: Pituitary adenomas are the most frequent brain tumor in adults. Although histologically benign, pituitary tumors cause significant morbidity and mortality. Neurosurgery and medical therapeutics may lessen the morbidity and mortality associated with pituitary tumors; however, these treatments are associated with significant adverse side effects. Thus, an improved understanding of pituitary adenomas at the molecular and cellular level is needed to design novel therapeutic compounds. Methods: To assess the effect of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition on pituitary adenoma cells, rat GH3 or MMQ cells were treated with the clinically useful mTOR inhibitors, rapamycin or RAD001. Cellular proliferation and growth following exposure to mTOR inhibitors or radiation were assessed using biochemical methods. Results: In the present study, we observed basal activation of mTOR, downstream of constitutive Akt signaling, in rat GH3 adenoma cells. Functionally, the mTOR inhibitors, rapamycin and RAD001 (500 pM-5 nM), induced G1 growth arrest within 24 hours, an effect associated with reduced cellular proliferation. Both rapamycin and RAD001 decreased the phosphorylation of mTOR at the serine 2448, a key determinant of mTOR activity. Inhibition of mTOR also radiosensitized GH3 cells such that 2.5 Gy in combination with 500 pM rapamycin or RAD001 reduced cellular viability more effectively than 2.5 or 10 Gy alone. Conclusions: These data may support a possible therapeutic role for mTOR inhibitors in limiting the cellular proliferation and radioresistance of pituitary adenoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Akt
  • RAD001
  • everolimus
  • mTOR
  • pituitary tumor
  • radiation
  • rapamycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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