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Effects of corticotrophin-releasing hormone on corticotrophs in anterior pituitary gland allografts in hypophysectomized, orchidectomized hamsters

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We investigated the effects of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) on the percentage of anterior pituitary gland (APG) cells which are corticotrophs as well as the size and shape of corticotrophs. Pituitary glands were removed from 7-week-old male hamsters and placed beneath the renal capsules of hamsters that had been hypophysectomized and orchidectomized 3 weeks previously. Beginning 6 days after each host had received a single allograft, each was injected subcutaneously twice daily with 4 ⧎g CRH or vehicle for 16 days. Six hosts in each group were decapitated 16 h after the last injection. Sections of anterior pituitary tissue were stained for ACTH and with hematoxylin. The percentage of corticotrophs among APG cells was greater in allografts exposed to exogenous CRH (∼20%) than in allografts exposed to vehicle (∼15%). Exposure to exogenous CRH increased the cross-sectional area of corticotroph cells in allografts to values greater than those measured for corticotrophs in allografts exposed to vehicle, without altering the shape of cells. Results of subsequent studies suggested that hamsters with allografts injected with vehicle do not release ACTH and that exogenous CRH causes an abrupt release of ACTH from allografts. These results indicate that CRH releases ACTH from ectopic corticotrophs and that administration of CRH can increase corticotroph size and the percentage of APG cells that are corticotrophs.

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Correspondence to Dr. Charles A. Blake.

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Horacek, M.J., Campbell, G.T. & Blake, C.A. Effects of corticotrophin-releasing hormone on corticotrophs in anterior pituitary gland allografts in hypophysectomized, orchidectomized hamsters. Cell Tissue Res. 258, 65–68 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00223145

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Key words

  • Pituitary gland, pars anterior (distalis)
  • Pituitary allografts
  • Corticotrophs
  • Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH)
  • ACTH
  • Golden hamster (Rodentia)