Different functions of QTL for estrogen-dependent tumor growth of the rat pituitary
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Estrogen treatment to rats of the Fischer 344 (F344) strain induces growth of pituitary tumors that exhibit accelerated cell proliferation, breakdown of basement membrane, and formation of hemorrhagic lakes. Estrogen-dependent pituitary growth is due to variation in a group of quantitative trait loci (QTL), called Edpm for estrogen-dependent pituitary mass, that we previously identified in an F2 intercross of F344 and the tumor-resistant Brown Norway strain. We previously identified 5 QTL, and microsatellite markers developed since our earlier work have allowed us to scan new chromosomal regions, resulting in two new QTL for estrogen-dependent pituitary mass: Edpm9-2 and a possible QTL on the X Chromosome (Chr). Here we report evidence that these QTL differ from each other in how they affect growth. To examine the effect of the Edpm QTL on biochemical components of tumor growth, we tested their effects in 138 progeny of a backcross to the F344 strain which were given a 10-week chronic estrogen treatment. Hemoglobin/DNA ratio (a measure of blood volume relative to cell number) and total pituitary DNA (a measure of cell number) correlated only weakly, and very large pituitaries were observed which had a low hemoglobin/DNA ratio resembling a normal gland. Through QTL mapping, we found that Edpm2-1, Edpm3, Edpm5, and Edpm9-2 all had significant effects on pituitary mass, but Edpm2-1 and Edpm9-2 primarily affected DNA content, Edpm5 primarily affected hemoglobin/DNA ratio, and Edpm3 affected all traits equally.
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