While mutations in the GHRH receptor cause GH deficiency (GHD), mutations in the GHRH gene have never been reported, possibly indicating that lack of GHRH may cause broader consequences than GHD, or even not allow normal development. Indeed, in addition to the hypothalamus, GHRH is expressed in other CNS areas, in placenta, pancreas, heart, liver, kidney and testes, and circulating GHRH is believed to be mostly of extra-hypothalamic origin. GHRH has also a role in sleep regulation. Finally, GHRH and GHRHR isoforms are expressed in numerous cancer cells, where GHRH may act in autocrine/paracrine fashion to regulate cancer growth. To investigate the functions of GHRH, we worked on creating a mouse that ubiquitously lacks this protein. Initially, we used a plasmid (""""""""GHRHKO1"""""""") in which the Neomycin resistance cassette (Neor) substitutes an essential part of the GHRH gene, Twenty-five GHRHKO1 heterozygous mice, all originating form a single ES clone, have been identified. In order to create additional KO lines, we have subsequently created a second plasmid (""""""""GHRHKO2""""""""), in which the Neor is flanked by IoxP sites. Spec.
aim 1 : Analysis of the effect of targeted disruption of the GHRH gene on mouse phenotype in GHRHKO1 animals. F1 GHRHKO1 mice will be bred to generate homozygous KO mice, to be analyzed for phenotype, size, growth, viability, appearance of internal organs, and behavior. If homozygous KO is lethal, embryos and placentas from pregnant heterozygous females will be analyzed to determine the effect of lack of GHRH on fetal development. If the phenotype is limited to GHD, this mouse will be a useful model of GHD due to lack of hypothalamic GHRH, and will be useful to study the effect of endogenous GHRH on cancer development and growth.
Specific aim 2 : Creation of a GHRH KO mouse without Neor cassette (GHRHKO2). New heterozygous KO lines will be created in which the Neor is flanked by loxP sites. By recombinase technique, we will generate KO lines with no Neor, avoiding any interference with distant or neighboring genes. In addition, results obtained in the GHRHKO1 line will be confirmed or disproved.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
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Winer, Karen
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Johns Hopkins University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Alba, Maria; Fintini, Danilo; Bowers, Cyril Y et al. (2005) Effects of long-term treatment with growth hormone-releasing peptide-2 in the GHRH knockout mouse. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 289:E762-7
Alba, Maria; Schally, Andrew V; Salvatori, Roberto (2005) Partial reversibility of growth hormone (GH) deficiency in the GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) knockout mouse by postnatal treatment with a GHRH analog. Endocrinology 146:1506-13
Fintini, Danilo; Alba, Maria; Salvatori, Roberto (2005) Influence of estrogen administration on the growth response to growth hormone (GH) in GH-deficient mice. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 230:715-20
Fintini, Danilo; Alba, Maria; Schally, Andrew V et al. (2005) Effects of combined long-term treatment with a growth hormone-releasing hormone analogue and a growth hormone secretagogue in the growth hormone-releasing hormone knock out mouse. Neuroendocrinology 82:198-207
Alba, Maria; Fintini, Danilo; Salvatori, Roberto (2005) Effects of recombinant mouse growth hormone treatment on growth and body composition in GHRH knock out mice. Growth Horm IGF Res 15:275-82
Alba, Maria; Salvatori, Roberto (2004) A mouse with targeted ablation of the growth hormone-releasing hormone gene: a new model of isolated growth hormone deficiency. Endocrinology 145:4134-43