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Cultured fetal rat pituitaries kept in synthetic medium are able to initiate synthesis of trophic hormones

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An immunohistochemical study was performed to determine the capacity of early fetal pituitaries to differentiate into specific hormone-synthesizing tissue in the absence of any influence from the central nervous system. Rathke's pouches from rats were removed from their juxtadiencephalic position on day 11 and 12 of gestation and maintained for 2–7 days in a chemically defined culture medium (M 199) without antibiotics and serum supplementation. The immunocytochemical observations provided evidence for the differentiation of ACTH-, TSH-gb-, LH-gb-, FSH-gb-, GH- and PRL-synthesizing cells in the isolated organ cultured from 11 to 12-day-old pituitary primordia. The appearance of specific hormone-synthesizing cells in vitro displayed a delay of 1.5–2 days compared to the day of appearance in vivo, however, the sequential order of developmental events occurred as observed in vivo. The present results suggest that endocrine or neuroendocrine signals are not required for the expression of specific secretory functions of fetal pituitaries, at least at an age of 11–12 days.

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Correspondence to Dr. Á. Nemeskéri.

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Nemeskéri, Á., Halász, B. Cultured fetal rat pituitaries kept in synthetic medium are able to initiate synthesis of trophic hormones. Cell Tissue Res. 255, 645–650 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00218803

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Key words

  • Pituitary, pars distalis
  • Differentiation
  • Organ culture
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Rat (Sprague-Dawley, CFY)