Synthesis and release of pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides are under differential regulation in the anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary. Glucocorticoids inhibit synthesis of pro-opiomelanocortin-related peptides in the anterior lobe but not in the intermediate lobe. These two lobes are also characterized by differences in neural innervation and blood flow, both of which may represent routes of access for regulatory factors (the intermediate lobe is avascular). Immunoreactive glucocorticoid receptor, which can be demonstrated in many tissues, is absent from the intermediate lobe. Immunocytochemistry was used to demonstrate the presence of immunoreactive glucocorticoid receptor in the intermediate lobe after pituitary stalk transection, neurointermediate lobe grafts to kidney capsule, or monolayer culture of neurointermediate pituitary cells. This appearance of the glucocorticoid receptor is presumably a consequence of removal of intermediate pituitary cells from neural influences that may be responsible for inhibiting their expression under normal conditions in vivo.
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