Co-occurrence of immunoreactive corticotropin-like and alpha-melanotropin-like material in pituitary cells: differences between young and adult rats

M SchäferR Martin


We examined to which extent adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)-like substances are cleavable into alpha-melanotropin (MSH)-like material by application of exogenous enzymes on pituitary sections prior to immunocytochemical stainings. In pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) cells of the anterior lobe from developing rats (1 to 21 postnatal days) at least one of two cells contained alpha-MSH-like immunoreactivity besides ACTH-like immunostaining. Pretreatment of these tissue sections with tryptic enzymes enhanced remarkably alpha-MSH-like immunostaining. In contrast, alpha-MSH-like immunoreactivity was almost not detectable in anterior lobes from adult rats, also after treatment with enzymes. After adrenalectomy (ax) POMC cells in anterior lobes behaved similarly: a few days after the operation almost all ACTH cells contained also alpha-MSH immunostaining, whereas after more than two weeks alpha-MSH immunostaining was nearly absent, also after application of enzymes. In contrast to rats, in young and adult guinea pig pituitaries all ACTH-like immunoreactivity was prevented by treatment with tryptic enzymes. These observations are consistent with the assumption that occurrence of ACTH- and alpha-MSH-like substances in rat pituitaries is regulated ...Continue Reading


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