International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. XCII. Urotensin II, urotensin II-related peptide, and their receptor: from structure to function.
Urotensin II is a potent vasoactive peptide, which was originally isolated from fish urophysis. We studied expression of urotensin II and its receptor mRNAs in the tumor tissues of adrenocortical tumors, pheochromocytomas and neuroblastomas. Effects of exogenously added urotensin II on cell proliferation were studied in a human adrenocortical carcinoma cell line, SW-13 and a human renal cell carcinoma cell line, VMRC-RCW. The reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed expression of urotensin II and its receptor mRNAs in all the samples examined; seven pheochromocytomas, nine adrenocortical adenomas (four with primary aldosteronism, four with Cushing syndrome and one with non-functioning adenoma), four adrenocortical carcinomas, one ganglioneuroblastoma and five neuroblastomas, as well as four normal portions of adrenal glands (cortex and medulla). Urotensin II-like immunoreactivity was detected in one of eight adrenocortical adenomas, two of four adrenocortical carcinomas, one of six pheochromocytomas, and one of five neuroblastomas by radioimmunoassay, but not in normal portions of adrenal glands (detection limit; 0.2pmol/g wet weight). Treatment with urotensin II for 24h significantly increased number of SW-13 cells (at 10(-8) and 10(-7)mol/l) and VMRC-RCW cells (at 10(-8)mol/l). These findings raise the possibility that urotensin II may act as an autocrine/paracrine growth stimulating factor in adrenal tumors.