Prolactin (PRL) exerts a wide variety of physiological effects on mammalian tissues through its receptor (PRL-R) on the target cells. PRL-R in rat tissue consists of two isoforms, the long and the short form, and the regulatory mechanisms of their mRNA expression in tissues are complex and diverse. The present study reports the differential regulation of PRL-R mRNA expression in rat liver and kidney by testosterone and oestradiol. Using Northern blot analysis, short form PRL-R mRNA was clearly detected in female rat liver and male rat kidney, and long form PRL-R mRNA was faintly observed only in female rat liver. However, the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction method enabled efficient analysis of mRNA levels in short and long forms of PRL-R in the liver and kidney of both male and female rats. The mRNA levels for the long and short forms of PRL-R were depressed in the liver of male rats but not in that from female rats during sexual maturation. Castration of male rats resulted in the induction of the mRNAs for these two forms of PRL-R in the liver. Testosterone, but not oestradiol, completely blocked the induction by castration of liver PRL-R gene expression. In kidney, in contrast, mRNA levels for both forms of PRL-R were depressed in female rats but not in male rats after sexual maturation. Administration of oestradiol, but not of testosterone, caused marked repression of short form PRL-R mRNA, particularly in the kidney of male rats. The levels of long form PRL-R mRNA in the kidney was less affected by the administration of oestradiol. These results have suggested that the expression of PRL-R mRNAs in rat liver and kidney is differentially regulated by testosterone and oestrogen.
Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 143, 383–392