Both native and recombinant basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) exerted a marked effect on the morphology of a pituitary clonal somatotroph-like cell line (MtT/S) in vitro. Addition of 10 pg–20 ng bovine basic FGF/ml caused the cells to flatten and spread out over the culture dish, the cells showing strong surface contact. Those in contact with the culture dish were epithelial in appearance, being polygonal, closely apposed and forming a pavement-like monolayer. Basic FGF inhibited cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner at the higher concentrations tested (0·5–20 ng/ml). This cell-adhesive effect of basic FGF was also observed in normal dispersed pituitary cells. The observed stimulation of pituitary cell adhesion is the first report of a morphological effect of basic FGF on pituitary cells and could explain the physiological significance of basic FGF and its high concentration in the pituitary gland.
Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 130, 381–386