Aromatase is concentrated in the proximal pars distalis of tilapia pituitary

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Aromatase has been identified in the teleostean, avian, and mammalian pituitaries, although its cellular location(s) is not yet certain. To address this question, experiments were performed in tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), a species which has been well characterized with respect to the intraglandular distribution of the different pituitary cell types. To estimate aromatase, glands were microdissected into rostral pars distalis (RPD), proximal pars distalis (PPD), and neurointermediate lobe (NIL) and organs were cultured in the presence of [3H]androstenedione for 16-24 hr. [3H]Estrogen products were isolated and quantified after ether extraction, hydrolysis with glucuronidase-sulfatase, thin-layer chromatography, and phenolic partition. Authentic estrone or estradiol-17β were produced by all pituitary regions and also by the urophyseal region of the spinal cord. Aromatase was two to five times higher in PPD than in RPD or NIL and similar to activity in adjacent hypothalamus-preoptic area (HPOA). Much lower estrogen yields were obtained in cultures of cerebellum, urophysis, and other cord regions. Since the PPD contains most of the somatotropes, these data are consistent with earlier studies implicating GH3/GH4 cell strains as an enriched enzyme source, although its presence in other cell types cannot be ruled out. The unusually high and localized aromatase in tilapia pituitary renders this species a useful model for studying the targets and functional importance of estrogen as a parahormone in the pituitary. © 1988.

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General and Comparative Endocrinology