Thyroid hormone induction of an autocrine growth factor secreted by pituitary tumor cells

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Science  19 Dec 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4783, pp. 1549-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.3097825


Thyroid hormones stimulate the rate of cell division by poorly understood mechanisms. The possibility that thyroid hormones increase cell growth by stimulating secretion of a growth factor was investigated. Thyroid hormones are nearly an absolute requirement for the division of GH4C1 rat pituitary tumor cells plated at low density. Conditioned media from cells grown with or without L-triiodothyronine (T3) were treated with an ion exchange resin to remove T3 and were tested for ability to stimulate the division of GH4C1 cells. Conditioned medium from T3-treated cells was as active as thyroid hormone at promoting GH4C1 cell growth but did not elicit other thyroid hormone responses, induction of growth hormone, and down-regulation of thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptors, as effectively as T3 did. A substance or substances associated with T3-induced growth stimulatory activity migrated at high molecular weight at neutral pH and was different from known growth-promoting hormones induced by T3. The results demonstrate that thyroid hormones stimulate the division of GH4C1 pituitary cells by stimulating the secretion of an autocrine growth factor.