The presence of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland has previously been demonstrated, but the exact cell types expressing GR have not yet been characterized. In this study, we demonstrate the colocalization of GR and pituitary hormones in the rat pituitary gland by using an immunocytochemical double-labelling method. The majority of anterior lobe corticotropin-immunoreactive and growth hormone-immunoreactive cells contained GR-like immunoreactivity. Cells of the intermediate lobe showed intensive ACTH-like immunoreactivity but did not express GR. The glycoprotein hormones thyroid-stimulating hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone were colocalized with GR to a lesser degree; approximately one-half of the cells exhibiting immunoreactivity to these hormones contained GR. By contrast, only a minority of the prolactin-immunoreactive cells expressed GR. Our results suggest that glucocorticoids may differentially regulate the secretion and/or synthesis of these pituitary hormones by directly affecting the hormone-producing cells of the anterior pituitary.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism