Dopamine D2 receptor plays a critical role in cell proliferation and proopiomelanocortin expression in the pituitary

Hiroo Yamaguchi, Atsu Aiba, Kenji Nakamura, Kazuki Nakao, Hiroyuki Sakagami, Kaoru Goto, Hisatake Kondo, Motoya Katsuki

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Background It has been suggested that the dopaminergic system is involved in the inhibitory control of secretion of pituitary hormones and in the regulation of motor function in the striatum. To elucidate the specific role of the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in the pituitary and brain, we generated D2R deficient (D2R mutant) mice using the gene targeting method. Results Electrophysiological studies as well as ligand binding assays show no functional D2R in mutant mice. The D2R mutant mice display a hypoactivity and a slow, creeping movement. The expression of enkephalin mRNA in the striatum is increased in the mutant mice, but not that of dynorphin and substance P. D2R mutant mice have significantly darker coat colour than their wild-type littermates and show an elevation of plasma alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) levels. We found corresponding hyperplastic changes of intermediate lobe of the pituitary and the increased expression of pro opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the pituitary in D2R mutant mice. Conclusions D2R plays a critical role in the inhibitory regulation of endocrine cell proliferation and the transcription of POMC mRNA, and consequently in the regulation of α-MSH in plasma. D2R might be involved in the regulation of enkephalin expression in the striatum, and hence might affect the movement and the behaviour.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)253-268
    Number of pages16
    JournalGenes to Cells
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Genetics
    • Cell Biology


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