Response of pituitary thyrotrophs to thyrotrophin-releasing hormone in Snell dwarf mice

Damon C. Herbert, Andrzej Bartke, Kalman Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH) on pituitary thyrotrophs was investigated in Snell dwarf mice (dw/dw) that are genetically deficient in thyrotrophin (TSH) and in normal animals of the same strain. The normal animals were treated with either saline or 10 μg TRH per day for 2 weeks, while the dwarf mice were given daily injections of saline, 10 μg TRH for 2 weeks or 10 μg for 6 weeks. At the end of each experimental period, the pituitary glands were removed and fixed for light-microscopic analysis using immunocytochemistry, or for transmission electron-microscopic study. Compared to thyrotrophs observed in the pituitary glands of untreated normal mice, thyrotrophs in TRH-treated normal mice appeared to be more numerous by immunocytochemistry and showed signs of stimulation by electron microscopy. In contrast, immunostainable thyrotrophs could not be identified in the pituitary glands of untreated or TRH-treated dwarfs. However, a few cells exhibiting ultrastructural features of stimulated thyrotrophs, were noticeable in the dwarfs following TRH administration. Thus, while failing to induce the synthesis of immunoreactive TSH under the applied experimental conditions, exogenous TRH appeared to elicit differentiation of thyrotroph precursors into ultrastructurally recognizable thyrotrophs. The discrepancy between the immunocytochemical and ultrastructural findings remains unresolved; more work is required to clarify the question as to why ultrastructural maturation of thyrotrophs was unaccompanied by the production of immunoreactive TSH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-687
Number of pages5
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1987


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mouse
  • Pituitary gland, pars anterior (distalis)
  • Thyrotrophs
  • Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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