Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences vol:1040 pages:84-88
As studied by single cell RT-PCR of pituitary hormones, we demonstrated that the pituitaries of rats and mice contain a subpopulation of cells that express two or more hormone phenotypes typically belonging to lineages that are branched separately early during embryonic development, such as glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit (alphaGSU) mRNA + PRL mRNA, alphaGSU mRNA + POMC mRNA, and POMC mRNA + GH or PRL mRNA. GnRH in vitro selectively expands the population of cells coexpressing alphaGSU mRNA + PRL mRNA, and CRH selectively increases the proportion of cells coexpressing alphaGSU mRNA + POMC mRNA. Colocalization of alphaGSU + PRL or alphaGSU + POMC could not be detected by double immunofluorescence. This lineage promiscuity was also observed in the pituitary in vivo.