2015 Volume 48 Issue 6 Pages 185-192
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is important in creating cellular environments in tissues. Recent studies have demonstrated that ECM components are localized in anterior pituitary cells and affect cell activity. Thus, clarifying the mechanism responsible for ECM maintenance would improve understanding of gland function. Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are endogenous inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases and participate in ECM degradation. In this study, we investigated whether cells expressing TIMPs are present in rat anterior pituitary gland. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze expression of the TIMP family (TIMP1-4), and cells producing TIMPs in the gland were identified by using in situ hybridization. Expression of TIMP1, TIMP2, and TIMP3 mRNAs was detected, and the TIMP-expressing cells were located in the gland. The TIMP-expressing cells were also investigated by means of double-staining with in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical techniques. Double-staining revealed that TIMP1 mRNA was expressed in folliculostellate cells. TIMP2 mRNA was detected in folliculostellate cells, prolactin cells, and thyroid-stimulating hormone cells. TIMP3 mRNA was identified in endothelial cells, pericytes, novel desmin-immunopositive perivascular cells, and folliculostellate cells. These findings indicate that TIMP1-, TIMP2-, and TIMP3-expressing cells are present in rat anterior pituitary gland and that they are involved in maintaining ECM components.