Prolactin receptor messenger ribonucleic acid in normal and neoplastic human pituitary tissues

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Mar;82(3):963-8. doi: 10.1210/jcem.82.3.3815.


We examined the specific cell types in normal human pituitaries that expressed PRL receptor (PRL-R) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) by combined in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The distribution of PRL-R mRNA in 28 pituitary adenomas was examined by in situ hybridization and reverse transcription-PCR in 12 cases of adenomas. In another set of experiments, 34 PRL adenomas from men, women, and bromocriptine-treated patients were analyzed for PRL-R by in situ hybridization. In the normal pituitary, PRL- and LH-producing cells had significantly more mean grain counts per cell and higher percentages of cells positive for PRL-R than GH and TSH cells. PRL-R mRNA was present in all groups of adenomas by in situ hybridization and reverse transcription-PCR. PRL adenomas had a significantly higher density of labeling compared to other adenoma types. Although there was no difference in the levels of PRL-R mRNA in PRL adenomas from men and premenopausal and postmenopausal women, patients treated with bromocriptine before pituitary surgery had significantly lower levels of PRL-R compared to all other groups. These results indicate that in the normal pituitary, PRL and LH cells have the highest level of PRL-R mRNA, whereas PRL adenomas have significantly higher levels of PRL-R mRNA than other types of adenomas, and bromocriptine treatment decreases the levels of PRL-R mRNA in PRL adenomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / drug therapy
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bromocriptine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hormone Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Prolactin / genetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Hormone Antagonists
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Prolactin
  • Bromocriptine