Epidermal growth factor, insulin, and estrogen stimulate development of prolactin-secreting cells in cultures of GH3 cells

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Abstract

Pituitary tumor GH3 cells synthesize and secrete both growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL). Morphological and functional changes of GH3 cells induced by epidermal growth factor (EGF, 10 nM), insulin (300 nM), and estradiol-17β (E2, 1 nM) were studied. Treatment of cultures of GH3 cells for 6 days with EGF, insulin, or E2 alone, and with EGF plus E2 did not affect the total number of GH3 cells, but a combination of EGF, insulin, and E2 decreased the total number of GH3 cells compared with control treatment. DNA-synthesizing cells were detected by monitoring 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) uptake. EGF, E2, or a combination of EGF, insulin, and E2 significantly decreased the proportion of BrdU-labeled cells (21.1 ± 1.7%, 21.0 ± 1.4%, 18.2 ± 1.3%; P < 0.05, P < 0.05, P < 0.01, respectively) compared with control treatment (28.6 ± 1.5%), but insulin did not (31.4 ± 2.4%). Immunocytochemical analysis of GH3 cells cultured in 5% fetal calf serum-supplemented medium (control) showed that about 70% of all GH3 cells were GH-immunoreactive cells (GH-ir cells), apparently containing only GH, and 14% were mammosomatotrophs (MS cells), containing both GH and PRL, while PRL-immunoreactive cells (PRL-ir cells), containing only PRL, were not detected. No GH or PRL immunoreactivity could be detected in the remaining cells (15%). EGF decreased the proportion of GH-ir cells. The effects of EGF were enhanced by simultaneous exposure to insulin and E2; this decreased the proportion of GH-ir cells to about 20% of the total GH3 cells and significantly increased the proportion of MS cells to 300% of controls. Treatment with EGF plus insulin, EGF plus E2, or a combination of EGF, insulin, and E2 all stimulated the appearance of PRL-ir cells. Exposure to EGF caused a significant decrease in GH mRNA (P < 0.01) and a significant increase in PRL mRNA (P < 0.05). These observations suggest that EGF is closely involved in differentiation of PRL-ir cells from GH-ir cells via MS cells in GH3 cell cultures. Cytosine arabinoside (10-7 M), an inhibitor of cell division, did not affect the changes in proportion of the three cell types induced by treatment with a combination of EGF, insulin, and E2. It is therefore probable that the transdifferentiation does not require mitosis of the GH3 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Volume299
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2000

Keywords

  • Cell culture
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • GH3 cells
  • Mammosomatotroph
  • Mammotroph
  • Pituitary
  • Somatotroph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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