Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LCSB researchers characterise a new tumour syndrome

14.10.2014

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have published their findings that mutations in a gene known as “ARMC5” promote the growth of benign tumours in the adrenal glands and on the meninges: ARMC5 appears to belong to the group of so-called tumour suppressor genes. It is the first time in years that scientists have characterized such a gene.

The ARMC5 gene was discovered by independent workgroups studying benign tumours – so-called adrenal adenomas – in connection with Cushing’s syndrome. In this disease, the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Now, for the first time, a mutation of ARMC5 has been characterized as the cause behind the growth of meningeal tumours.

The results on this tumour syndrome, obtained by the group of Dr. Patrick May and PD. Dr. Jochen Schneider together with colleagues from Charité Berlin (Dr. Ulf Elbelt) and the Universities of Würzburg (Prof. Dr. Bruno Allolio) and Cologne (Dr. Michael Kloth), have been published recently in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism” ( DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-2648).

Cortisol is an important hormone. It influences many metabolic pathways in the body and has a suppressing effect on the immune system. Accordingly, it is commonly employed as an anti-inflammatory medication. Prolonged, elevated levels of cortisol in the body can lead to obesity, muscular dystrophy, depression and other symptoms.

To maintain the correct concentration in the blood, the body has a refined regulation system: Certain areas of the brain produce the hormone corticotropin as a stimulator of cortisol release; the actual formation of cortisol takes place in the adrenal glands. As the concentration of cortisol in the blood rises, the brain reduces the production of corticotropin.

In search of the causes of Cushing’s syndrome, scientists recently encountered certain genetic causes of benign tumours of the adrenal cortex. Growth of these adrenal cortex adenomas is based on a combination of hereditary and spontaneous mutations: It affects people in whom one of two “alternative copies” – one of the so-called alleles – of the ARMC5 gene is mutated from birth.

If the second allele of ARMC5 later also undergoes a spontaneous mutation in the adrenal cortex, then the gene no longer functions. “What is interesting is that the failure of ARMC5 has no direct influence on cortisol production. However, because the tumour cells multiply faster than other body cells, and the number of cells in the tumour increases, the blood cortisol level rises in the course of the disease”, says Dr Schneider. Then, the cortisol level in the body rises and ultimately results in the onset of Cushing’s syndrome.

When other scientific workgroups discovered that further benign tumours – in this case meningeal tumours – occur more often in ARMC5-Cushing families, the group of Patrick May and Jochen Schneider sequenced the ARMC5 gene and studied it using bioinformatic techniques. “We demonstrated for the first time, in a patient with an adrenal cortex tumour and simultaneously a meningeal tumour, that somatic, that is non-hereditary, ARMC5 mutations are present in both tumours. This observation suggests that ARMC5 is a true tumour-suppressor gene.”

It must now be explored, Schneider continues, to what extent patients with adrenal cortex tumours ought to be screened for simultaneous presence of meningioma, and in which other types of tumour ARMC5 mutations are responsible for tumour growth: “Building upon that, we can learn whether the gene and the metabolic pathways it influences offer new approaches for treating the tumour syndrome.”

Weitere Informationen:

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jc.2014-2648 - Link to the publication
http://wwwen.uni.lu/lcsb/news_events/cushing_s_syndrome_lcsb_researchers_charact... - Link to the pressrelease
http://wwwen.uni.lu/lcsb - Link to the LCSB

Sophie Kolb | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>