The MtT/E and MtT/S cells have been established from a mammotrophic pituitary tumor, and postulated to be progenitor and premature growth hormone (GH) cells, respectively. The difference in the regulation of GH and GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) receptor gene transcription in relation to the developmental stage of GH cells were examined in these two cell lines. In MtT/S cells, triiodothyronine (T3), all-trans retinoic acid (RA) and 9-cis retinoic acid (9cRA) stimulated GH promoter activity but dexamethasone (DEX) did not. On the other hand, DEX stimulated GHRH-receptor promoter alone. T3, RA and 9cRA showed little effect alone but each of them augmented the effect of DEX when used together with DEX. In MtT/E cells, DEX, RA and 9cRA showed similar effect as observed in MtT/S cells on both GH and GHRH-receptor promoter activity. However, T3 neither stimulated GH promoter activity nor augmented the DEX-induced GHRH-receptor gene transcription in MtT/E cells. RT-PCR analyses revealed that both cell types expressed TRα1, TRβ1 and TRα2, but expression of TRβ2, a pituitary specific isoform of TR, was only detected in MtT/S cells. However, the deficiency of TRβ2 for its own sake does not appear to be a reason why T3 action was not observed in MtT/E cells, because co-transfection of expression plasmids for TRβ2 and RXRα failed in conferring on the cells an ability to respond to T3 by increased GH or GHRH-receptor promoter activity. These results suggest that the acquisition of mechanisms responsible for the regulation of GH or GHRH-receptor transcription by T3 may be involved in the process of functional development of GH cells.
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