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Brain Res Bull. 2000 May 15;52(2):109-13.

Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor in the rat pituitary gland.

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Department of Neurosciences, The University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


The presence of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is described within specific regions of the adult rat pituitary gland. Immune staining methods revealed a small number of GDNF-immunopositive cells in the anterior lobe, and in areas of the neural lobe, while no immunoreactive endocrine cells were observed in the intermediate lobe. In the neural lobe, immunofluorescence methods were also used to demonstrate that GDNF and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) are co-localized in the glial cells (pituicytes) of the neural lobe. GDNF was not co-localized with neurofilament (NF) in nerve fibers of the neural lobe, suggesting that it is not present in axonal fibers. Measurements of GDNF content in separated anterior and neurointermediate lobes were also performed, using an enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). Values for GDNF were slightly higher in the neurointermediate lobe than those obtained for the anterior lobe. The presence of GDNF in areas of the pituitary is discussed in the context of its possible function to support and maintain hypothalamic innervation, as well as a potential autocrine factor within endocrine cells.

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