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Expression of the α-subunit of glycoprotein hormones in the pars tuberalis-specific glandular cells in rat, mouse and guinea-pig

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Abstract.

The nature of the hormone(s) secreted by the pars tuberalis (PT) is still unknown. This pituitary lobe is mainly formed by specific glandular cells that differ in their ultrastructural features from the other adenohypophysial cell types. Data from the literature indicate the presence of thyroid-stimulating hormone immunoreactivity in the PT-specific cells of the rat and the Djungarian hamster but not of other species, including the mouse and guinea-pig. The PT also encloses variable numbers of pars distalis cells, essentially gonadotrophs that are mainly dispersed in its caudal area. We studied the expression of the glycoprotein hormone α-subunit in the PT of the rat, mouse and guinea-pig by in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. In situ hybridization, using an oligonucleotide probe complementary to rat cDNA sequence 196–237 revealed the expression of the α-subunit gene throughout the PT of the rat and the mouse; in the guinea-pig, the probe labelled no pituitary cells. Light- and electron-microscopic immunocytochemistry demonstrated α-subunit immunoreactivity in the secretory granules of the PT-specific cells in the three species examined. These cells did not react with a specific antibody against the β-subunit of luteinizing hormone, an antibody that labelled scattered gonadotrophs. The present data suggest that hormone(s) produced by the PT-specific glandular cells are, at least partly, related to glycoprotein hormones.

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Received: 1 March 1994 / Accepted: 24 May 1994

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Stoeckel, M., Hindelang, C., Klein, M. et al. Expression of the α-subunit of glycoprotein hormones in the pars tuberalis-specific glandular cells in rat, mouse and guinea-pig. Cell Tissue Res 278, 617–624 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004410050253

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  • Key words: Pituitary
  • Pars tuberalis
  • α-Subunit
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • In situ hybridization
  • Rat
  • Mouse
  • Guinea-pig