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Changes in corticotropic responsiveness and mitochondrial ultrastructure of adrenocortical cells from the inner zone of the duck (Anas platyrhynchos) adrenal gland: The effects of cycloheximide, puromycin, and chloramphenicol

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Tissue slices from the inner zone of the adrenal showed no ultrastructural abnormalities after being superfused with Krebs-Henseleit buffer for more than 2 h. Slices superfused with medium containing no ACTH produced only traces of corticosterone and most of the mitochondria had shelf-like cristae. Exposure to medium containing ACTH (1 μg 1-24 ACTH · ml-1) caused a significant increase in the release of corticosterone and the mitochondria developed tubular cristae. Cycloheximide and puromycin inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, the release of corticosterone from tissue slices superfused with medium containing ACTH. A low concentration of cycloheximide in the medium (0.02 μg · ml-1) had only a slight effect on hormone release but many of the mitochondria developed dark matrixes and shelf-like or disrupted cristae. At higher concentrations of cycloheximide (0.2 μg · ml-1) the release of corticosterone was suppressed and when the concentration was increased to 2.0 μg · ml-1 it was blocked completely; each of these higher concentrations of cycloheximide caused the mitochondria to develop dense matrixes and shelf-like cristae. The inhibitory effects of cycloheximide on the corticotropic responsiveness of superfused tissue slices were reversible. Dependent upon the concentration, the addition of puromycin to the medium also caused, either partial (1.0 and 10.0 μm · ml-1) or complete (100 μg · ml-1), suppression of hormone release from slices superfused with medium containing ACTH; at the same time, the formation of tubular cristae in the mitochondria was blocked. Chloramphenicol had no effect on either hormone release or mitochondrial ultrastructure in the adrenocortical cells from the inner zone of the gland. It is suggested that a specific protein, synthesized in the cytoplasm, is necessary to accomplish the conformational changes in the mitochondrial cristae that accompany the full elaboration of corticotropin-induced hormone synthesis.

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Author information

Correspondence to Professor James Cronshaw or W. N. Holmes.

Additional information

This work was supported by a grant (PCM 79-15777) to J. Cronshaw and W.N. Holmes from the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. The authors wish to thank Mr. Gordon Lundy for his technical assistance and Ms. Sally Graupman for preparing the manuscript

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Pearce, R.B., Cronshaw, J. & Holmes, W.N. Changes in corticotropic responsiveness and mitochondrial ultrastructure of adrenocortical cells from the inner zone of the duck (Anas platyrhynchos) adrenal gland: The effects of cycloheximide, puromycin, and chloramphenicol. Cell Tissue Res. 221, 45–57 (1981).

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Key words

  • Adrenal zonation
  • Corticosterone
  • Mitochondrial ultrastructure
  • Protein synthesis