The effects of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) on the prolactin gene transcription of cultured pituitary of male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats PRL releasing tumor (PPRT) (induced by estradiol) cells were studied. The PRL mRNA levels were determined by in situ hybridization of cytoplasmic RNA with a DIG-labeled PRL cDNA probe. PRL mRNA levels didn't change when the PPRT cells were incubated with 10(-8) mol/L or 10(-7) mol/L GRP for 24 h, but decreased by 20% when GRP was increased to 10(-6) mol/L (P < 0.05). The PRL mRNA level increased to 1.60, 2.10, 2.21 times of the control group when the PPRT cells were respectively incubated with 10(-8), 10(-7), 10(-6) mol/L VIP for 24 h (P < 0.05). The PRL mRNA level didn't change when the PPRT tumor cells were incubated with 10(-8) mol/L E2 for 48 h, but did increase to 2.80 and 2.92 times of the control group respectively when 10(-7) mol/L and 10(-6) mol/L E2 were used. The results above indicated that GRP and VIP exert an inhibitory and a stimulatory effect on RPL gene transcription respectively, while the stimulatory action of E2 on PRL secretion is a direct one.