An animal model of combined pituitary hormone deficiency disease

Stephanie C Colvin, Purdue University


LHX3 is a LIM-homeodomain transcription factor that has essential roles in pituitary and nervous system development in mammals. Children who are homozygous for recessive mutations in the LHX3 gene present with combined pituitary hormone deficiency disease (CPHD) characterized by deficits of multiple anterior pituitary hormones. Most LHX3 patients also present with additional defects associated with the nervous system including a characteristic limited head rotation and sometimes deafness. However, of the 10 types of LHX3 mutation described to date, one mutation type (W224ter) does not result in the limited head rotation, defining a new form of the disease. W224ter patients have CPHD but do not have nervous system symptoms. Whereas other mutations in LHX3 cause loss of the entire protein or its activity, the W224ter mutation causes specific loss of the carboxyl terminal of the LHX3 protein—a region that we have shown to contain critical regulatory domains for pituitary gene activation. To better understand the molecular and cellular etiology of CPHD associated with LHX3 gene mutations, I have generated knock-in mice that model the human LHX3 W224ter disease. The resulting mice display marked dwarfism, thyroid disease, female infertility, and reduced male fertility. Immunohistochemistry, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays (ELISA) were used to measure hormones and regulatory factor protein and RNA levels, an approach which is not feasible with human patients. We have generated a novel mouse model of human pediatric CPHD. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the actions of the LHX3 factor are molecularly separable in the nervous system and pituitary gland.




Rhodes, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics|Endocrinology

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