Thyrotropin-releasing hormone gene expression in normal thyroid parafollicular cells

P. J. Gkonos, M. A. Tavianini, C. Liu, B. A. Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The rat TRH gene encodes a 255-amino-acid precursor polypeptide, preproTRH, containing five copies of TRH and seven non-TRH peptides. Expression of this gene is well documented in the central nervous system, particularly in the hypothalamus. Thyroids also contain TRH immunoreactivity, but it is unknown whether this immunoreactivity results from expression of the TRH gene or from other genes encoding TRH-like products. Since the CA77 neoplastic parafollicular cell line expresses the TRH gene, we investigated whether TRH gene expression also occurs in normal thyroid parafollicular cells. Northern analysis of total thyroid RNA with a preproTRH-specific RNA probe identified a single hybridizing band the same size as authentic TRH mRNA found in hypothalamus and CA77 cells. Gel filtration analysis of thyroid extracts identified the same 7-kilodalton and 3-kilodalton species of immunoreactive preproTRH53-74 previously identified in hypothalamus and CA77 cells. Immunoreactive preproTRH115-151, not previously identified, was found in all three tissues. Part of this immunoreactivity comigrated with the synthetic preproTRH115-151 standard on gel filtration and reversed-phase HPLC. PreproTRH53-74 was localized to thyroid parafollicular cells by immunostaining. These findings demonstrate authentic TRH gene expression by normal rat thyroid parafollicular cells and establish the CA77 cell line as the only model system of a normal TRH-producing tissue. In addition to expanding the range of neuroendocrine peptides known to be produced by parafollicular cells, these results also suggest a potential paracrine regulatory role for TRH gene products within the thyroid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2109
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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