The sex differentiated binding 125I-human prolactin (PRL) to rat liver membranes was studied and the present results extend our previous studies on induction of hepatic PRL receptors by growth hormone (GH). In prepubertal female rats, PRL receptor levels are low compared with those in mature female rat livers. Infusion of hGH during one week to 17-day-old female rats resulted in a receptor level typical of adult female rats. The time course of receptor disappearance in male rats treated with hGH was also studied. When the receptor-inducing hormone was removed, receptor levels in hGH-treated male rats returned to the normal level characteristic of male rats after approximately 96 h. The specificity of various GH-like and PRL-like hormones in PRL receptor induction was studied in hypophysectomized rats. The PRL-like hormones were identified by measuring their potency to displace 125I-hPRL from a receptor preparation obtained from female rat livers, and the GH-like hormones were identified by their potency to increase body weight in hypophysectomized rats. Using similar doses of hormones it was found that in vivo administration of growth-promoting peptides (rGH, hGH, bGH) induced PRL receptors, whereas lactogenic hormones (rPRL, hPL) had a very small or no effect on PRL receptor induction. This suggests that binding to a type of GH receptor is the first step in PRL receptor induction.
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