Context: Dopamine agonists (DA) are the first choice treatment of prolactinomas. However, a subset of patients is resistant to DA, due to undefined dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) alterations. Recently, D2R was found to associate with filamin-A (FLNA), a widely expressed cytoskeleton protein with scaffolding properties, in melanoma and neuronal cells.
Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the role of FLNA in D2R expression and signaling in human tumorous lactotrophs and rat MMQ and GH3 cells.
Design: We analyzed FLNA expression in a series of prolactinomas by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. We performed FLNA silencing or transfection experiments in cultured cells from DA-sensitive or -resistant prolactinomas and in MMQ and GH3 cells, followed by analysis of D2R expression and signaling.
Results: We demonstrated reduced FLNA and D2R expression in DA-resistant tumors. The crucial role of FLNA on D2R was demonstrated by experiments showing that: 1) FLNA silencing in DA-sensitive prolactinomas resulted in 60% reduction of D2R expression and abrogation of DA-induced inhibition of prolactin release and antiproliferative signals, these results being replicated in MMQ cells that endogenously express FLNA and D2R; and 2) FLNA overexpression in DA-resistant prolactinomas restored D2R expression and prolactin responsiveness to DA, whereas this manipulation was ineffective in GH3 cells that express FLNA but not D2R. No alteration in FLNA promoter methylation was detected, ruling out the occurrence of epigenetic FLNA silencing in DA-resistant prolactinomas.
Conclusions: These data indicate that FLNA is crucial for D2R expression and signaling in lactotrophs, suggesting that the impaired response to DA may be related to the reduction of FLNA expression in DA-resistant prolactinomas.