Membrane effects of thyrotropin-releasing hormone and estrogen shown by intracellular recording from pituitary cells

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Science  04 May 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4392, pp. 509-511
DOI: 10.1126/science.107590


The effects of thyrotropin-releasing hormone and 17 beta-estradiol on the electrical membrane properties of a prolactin-secretin pituitary cell line (GH3/B6) were studied with intracellular microelectrode recordings. Of the cells tested, 50 percent were excitable and displayed calcium-dependent action potentials when depolarized. When injected directly on the membrane of an excitable cell, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and 17 beta-estradiol induced action potentials within 1 minute. The spiking activity was preceded by a progressive increase of the input resistance without any detectable change in the resting membrane polarization. The results reveal a rapid effect of both substances on the membrane of GH3/B6 cells. In the case of thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which has both a short-term effect on release of prolactin and a long-term effect on its synthesis, the induced electrical activity may be associated with the stimulation of prolactin production. The physiological implication of 17 beta-estradiol-induced, calcium-dependent spiking activity remains to be elucidated.