Studies on rat pituitary homografts. I. In vitro biosynthesis and release of growth hormone and prolactin

A. Zanini, G. Giannattasio, P. de Camilli, A. E. Panerai, E. E. Müller, J. Meldolesi

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Homologous anterior pituitaries grafted under the kidney capsule in hypophysectomized rats were studied 30 days after transplantation. Some cells maintained the ultrastructural features peculiar to the various cell types of normotopic glands, while the others were characterized by few, small, dense granules, spherical or polymorphic, located peripherally in the cytoplasm. This picture might be due to a functional adaptation which occurs in pituitary cells still producing different hormones, once removed from central nervous system control. The major change in polypeptide hormone composition of graft homogenates relative to normotopic pituitaries is the fall in GH and PRL concentration. The in vitro incorporation of L[ 3H]leucine into the two hormones and the release of radioactive GH and PRL from L-[ 3H]leucine-prelabeled tissue fragments are also greatly decreased. The decrease in concentration, in vitro biosynthesis, and release of GH per mg tissue protein are approximately 87, 91, and 93%, respectively. These results might be due primarily to a decrease in the number of somatotrophs and/or in their secretory activity, with relatively minor changes in GH intracellular transport and turnover. In contrast, a clearcut fall in in vitro turnover was detected for PRL, as shown by the fact that decreases in biosynthesis and release per mg tissue protein of this hormone (approximately -95% and -99%, respectively) by far exceed the decrease in the tissue concentration (-74%). These data indicate that the in vitro secretory activity of mammotrophs is greatly reduced in the grafts with respect to the normotopic glands. Thus, the high secretory activity previously reported in hypophysectomized rats bearing pituitary grafts should be attributed to the lack of the inhibitory control of the central nervous system rather than to an increase in secretory capacity under nonrestrained conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-236
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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