Effects of a low-protein diet on prolactin- and growth hormone-producing cells in the rat pituitary gland

Masayuki Hara, Damon C. Herbert, Takashi Taniguchi, Atsuhiko Hattori, Ritsuko Ohtani-Kaneko, Masayuki Iigo, Yukio Kato, Kazuaki Hirata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: It is well known that an unbalanced diet induces various changes in the pituitary gland. However, little attention has been paid to the molecular aspects of this perturbation. We studied the influence of a low-protein diet (LPD) on the prolactin (PRL) and growth hormone (GH) cells in the rat pituitary gland using immunohistochemical staining and in situ hybridization. Materials: Rats aged 20 days were fed a diet containing 27% protein or one with 8% protein (LPD) for 30 days. Pituitary glands were obtained and subjected to either immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization. Quantitative morphological analysis was then conducted to determine cell number and area as well as the percentage of cells stained by the respective antisera and/or cDNA probe in each experimental group. Results: The average sectional areas of both PRL- and GH-producing cells in the LPD group were smaller in size than those in the controls. The cell numbers per unit area (mm2) of PRL-positive cells and PRL mRNA-positive cells were 3,596.5 and 3,948.6, respectively, in the LPD group, and 3,179.6 and 4,888.5, respectively, in the controls. The numbers per unit area of GH- positive cells and GH mRNA-positive cells in the LPD group were similar (2,252.3 and 2,224.4), as compared to 2,161.3 and 1,684.2, respectively, in the well-fed rats. Whereas PRL-positive cells comprised about 27% of the total number of cells in both animal groups, those given the LPD contained a lower percentage (29%) of PRL mRNA-positive cells as compared to the controls (44%). On the other hand, GH mRNA-positive cells numbered about 15% of the total cell population both animal groups; however, the malnourished rats contained a lower percentage (16%) of GH-positive cells than did their well- fed counterparts (20%). Conclusions: Taken together, these results indicate that in the rat pituitary gland, administration of an LPD reduced the size of PRL- and GH-positive cells as well as differentially affecting a subpopulation of the PRL mRNA-positive cells and the GH-positive cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalAnatomical Record
Volume251
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Immunocytochemistry
  • In situ hybridization
  • Mammotrophs
  • Quantitative morphological analysis
  • Somatotrophs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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