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.
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Bloch, B., Brazeau, P., Ling, N. et al. Immunohistochemical detection of growth hormone-releasing factor in brain. Nature 301, 607–608 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1038/301607a0
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