Immunohistochemical detection of growth hormone-releasing factor in brain


The concept of a hypothalamic neurohumoral control for anterior pituitary secretion1 postulates the existence of a growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF) of neuronal origin that stimulates the pituitary gland to release growth hormone (GH). Such a compound has not yet been isolated and characterized from the brain, although there is extensive physiological and biochemical evidence for its existence (reviewed in ref. 2). However, a 44-amino-acid amidated peptide having the physiological properties of GRF as well as chemical similarities was recently isolated from a human pancreatic tumour that had caused acromegaly3. Two shorter biologically active fragments of 40 and 37 residues were also isolated. The synthetic replicates of these human pancreas GRF (hpGRF) peptides specifically stimulate GH release in vitro and in vivo3. Assuming similarity or identity between the putative hypothalamic GRF and the tumour-derived hpGRF, we have used immunohistochemistry to search for hpGRF-like immunoreactivity in the brain. We report here that antisera against the hpGRF1–40 peptide specifically stain neuronal cell bodies in the arcuate nucleus of the primate hypothalamus, with fibres projecting to the median eminence and ending in contact with portal vessels. This topography is characteristic of a neuronal system elaborating a releasing factor. These results provide evidence that hypothalamic GRF is very similar, if not identical, to hpGRF.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Harris, G. Neural Control of the Pituitary Gland (Arnold, London 1955).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Martin, J. B. in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology (eds Martini, L. & Ganong, W. F.) 129–168 (Raven, New York 1976).

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Guillemin, R. et al. Science 218, 585–587 (1982).

    CAS  Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Benoit, R. et al. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 79, 917–921 (1982).

    CAS  Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Sternberger, L. A. Immunocytochemistry (Prentice-Hall, New Jersey 1974).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Leonardelli, J., Barry, J. & Dubois, M. P. C.r. hebd. Séanc. Acad. Sci., Paris D276, 2043–2046 (1973).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Barry, J., Dubois, M. P. & Poulain, P. Z. Zellforsch. mikrosk. Anat. 146, 351–366 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Hökfelt, T., Fuxe, F., Johansson, O., Jeffcoate, S. & White, N. Eur. J. Pharmac. 34, 389–392 (1975).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Paull, W. K. et al. Peptides 1, 183–191 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Bloom, F. E., Battenberg, E. F., Rivier, J. & Vale, W. Regul. Peptides 4, 43–48 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Tramu, G. & Pillez, A. C.r. hebd. Séanc. Acad. Sci., Paris D294, 107–114 (1982).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Bugnon, C., Fellmann, D., Gouget, A. & Cardot, J. Nature 298, 159–161 (1982).

    CAS  Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Dubois, M. P., Barry, J. & Leonardelli, J. C.r. hebd. Séanc. Acad. Sci., Paris D179, 1899–1902 (1974).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Hökfelt, T. et al. Acta endocr., Copenh. Suppl. 200, 1–41 (1975).

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Imura, H. Clin. Endocr. Metab. 2, 235–260 (1980).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Millard, W., Martin, J. B. Jr, Audet, J., Sagar, S. & Martin, J. B. Endocrinology 110, 540–550 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Acs, Z., Antoni, F. & Makara, G. J. Endocr. 93, 239–245 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Frohman, L. & Bernardis, L. Endocrinology 82, 1125–1132 (1968).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Frohman, L., Bernardis, L. & Kant, K. Science 162, 580–582 (1968).

    CAS  Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bloch, B., Brazeau, P., Ling, N. et al. Immunohistochemical detection of growth hormone-releasing factor in brain. Nature 301, 607–608 (1983).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing