17 December 2001
In mammals, growth hormone (GH) is under a dual hypothalamic control exerted by growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin (SRIH). We investigated GH release in a pleuronectiform teleost, the turbot (Psetta maxima), using a serum-free primary culture of dispersed pituitary cells. Cells released GH for up to 12 days in culture, indicating that turbot somatotropes do not require releasing hormone for their regulation. SRIH dose-dependently inhibited GH release up to a maximal inhibitory effect of 95%. None of the potential stimulators tested induced any change in basal GH release. Also, neither forskolin, an activator of adenylate cyclase, nor phorbol ester (TPA), an activator of protein kinase C, were able to modify GH release, suggesting that spontaneous basal release already represents the maximal secretory capacity of turbot somatotropes. In contrast, forskolin and TPA were able to increase GH release in the presence of SRIH. In this condition (coincubation with SRIH), pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) stimulated GH release, whereas none of the other neuropeptides tested (GHRHs; sea bream or salmon or chicken II GnRHs; TRH; CRH) had any significant effect. These data indicate that inhibitory control by SRIH may be the basic control of GH production in teleosts and lower vertebrates, while PACAP may represent the ancestral growth hormone-releasing factor in teleosts, a role taken over in higher vertebrates by GHRH.