Estrogen-induced pituitary tumor development in the ACI rat not inhibited by dietary energy restriction

Thomas J. Spady, Karen L. Pennington, Rodney D. McComb, Diane F. Birt, James D. Shull

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17 Scopus citations


We have demonstrated that a 40% restriction of dietary energy consumption virtually abolishes the development of prolactin (PRL)-producing pituitary tumors in Fischer 344 (F344) rats treated chronically with estrogen, apparently by inhibiting the ability of estrogen to enhance survival within a rapidly proliferating lactotroph population. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine whether energy restriction exerts a similar antitumorigenic action in another rat strain, August x Copenhagen- Irish (ACI), in which PRL-producing pituitary tumors develop in response to estrogen treatment. Ovariectomized female ACI rats were either allowed to consume a control diet ad libitum or were fed a modified diet that restricted energy consumption by 40% relative to the amount of energy consumed by animals fed the control diet. We also examined the ability of 17β-estradiol (E2) administered for 20 wk via subcutaneous Silastic implants to induce development of PRL-producing pituitary tumors. Treatment with E2 increased pituitary weight as well as the pituitary weight-to-body weight ratio and induced gross hyperprolactinemia to the same extent in ACI rats fed either the control or the energy-restricted diet. Moreover, dietary energy restriction did not affect the ability of E2 to induce pituitary cell proliferation or inhibit apoptosis, as evidenced by quantification of two surrogate markers. These data provide compelling evidence that a 40% restriction of energy consumption does not inhibit the ability of E2 to induce pituitary tumor development in the ACI rat. In conjunction with our published studies of the F344 rat strain, the data presented herein indicate that the inhibitory effects of dietary energy restriction on estrogen-induced pituitary tumor development are rat-strain specific and suggest that sensitivity to specific antitumorigenic actions of energy restriction is strongly affected by genetic background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-253
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • 17β-estradiol
  • ACI rat
  • Lactotroph
  • S-100
  • Testosterone-repressed prostate message-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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