The effect of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on acute secretion of PRL by pituitary lactotrophs was examined under basal conditions and after treatment with TRH or dopamine. We used the reverse hemolytic plaque assay (RHPA) to determine the amount of PRL secreted per lactotroph and the percentage of pituitary cells secreting PRL. Young (2- to 3-month-old) female Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized and 1 week later implanted with a Silastic capsule containing 180 ng/ml estradiol in sesame oil. Three days later, rats were killed, anterior pituitaries were removed, and cells were enzymatically dispersed and prepared for use in the RHPA. In Exp I, time and dose responses to bFGF were determined using the RHPA. Basic FGF reduced (P < 0.0001) the mean basal secretion of prolactin per lactotroph. The effect was similar at 30, 60, 120, and 240 min of incubation. The reduction in PRL was greatest at 3.36 X 10-6 M, while lesser reductions were observed at 1.68 x 10-6 and 5.60 X 10-7 M. A dose of 3.36 x 10-6 M (60 ng/ml) and an incubation time of 60 min were subsequently used in Exp II. In Exp II, we examined the effects of bFGF on TRH stimulation and dopamine inhibition of PRL secretion. PRL secretion was maximally stimulated (P < 0.01) by 10-7 M TRH. Basic FGF blocked the TRH-induced increase in PRL secretion. PRL secretion was maximally reduced (P < 0.001) by 10-6 M dopamine. Coincubation of bFGF with dopamine reduced (P < 0.01) the mean plaque area to the same extent as dopamine alone. In each experimental situation changes in mean plaque area reflected a shift in the frequency distribution of the plaque area. Neither bFGF, TRH, dopamine, nor the combined treatments influenced the percentage of pituitary cells secreting PRL compared to basal conditions. We have demonstrated that 1) bFGF reduces the basal secretion of PRL in an acute manner; 2) bFGF blocks the TRHinduced increase in PRL; and 3) bFGF does not potentiate the inhibitory effect of dopamine on PRL secretion and, therefore, may act in part through the same inhibitory pathway as dopamine. We conclude from these data that bFGF, or related factors, could play a role in the regulation of PRL secretion.
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