Transient dopaminergic inhibition of prolactin release from hybrid cells derived by fusion of normal rat pituitary and gh4c1 tumor cells

Richard N.D. Day, Patricia M. Hinkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The clonal rat pituitary tumor cell line GH4C1 secretes PRL but does not respond to dopamine, a physiological inhibitor of PRL. In an attempt to generate a dopamine-responsive cell line, GH4C1 cells, which lack the enzyme hypoxanthineguanine phosphoribosyltransferase, were fused with cells from the pituitary glands of lactating rats to generate cell hybrids. The GH4C1 cells were fused with dispersed normal pituitary cells by either chemical fusion in 40% polyethylene glycol or electrofusion. The fused cells were grown in medium with hypoxanthine, aminopterin, and thymidine (HAT) for 4 weeks to select for hybrid cells. Control fusions between GH4C1 cells only or normal cells only did not produce viable colonies. Of 36 HATselected colonies, 3 responded to 10 nM bromocryptine (BCR) with inhibition of TRH-stimulated PRL release. These hybrid colonies had an inhibitory response similar to that of normal pituitary cells in culture. Both TRH- and vasoactive intestinal peptide-stimulated PRL release were inhibited to basal levels by 10 nM BCR, with an IC50 for BCR of approximately 0.25 nM. Basal hormone release was not inhibited by BCR. The BCRsensitive hybrid cells grew more slowly than the parental GH4C1 line both in culture and when passaged in female Wistar-Furth rats. The response of the hybrid cells to the dopamine agonist and the characteristic of slow growth were lost after 9 months of continuous culture and after freezing cells. The parental GH4C1 cells were grown in female Wistar-Furth rats, the resulting tumors were dissociated, and the cells were grown in culture. This resulted in a brief establishment of the dopamine response. Stimulated PRL and GH release from freshly dispersed GH4C1 tumor cells was inhibited by BCR at concentrations from 0.1-10 nM, and spiroperidol reversed the inhibition. The inhibitory response to the dopaminergic agonist was lost quickly as the cells were carried in culture. These results demonstrate that GH4CX cells may have the genetic information necessary for dopaminergic inhibition of PRL synthesis, but that the dopamine response is not observed under standard tissue culture conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2165-2173
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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