Two spontaneous prolactinomas, removed from 28-mo-old female Wistar/Furth rats, were grafted by serial passages under the kidney capsule and the skin in 117 females of the same consanguineous strain. The hosts, aged between 2 and 10 mo, were free of estrogen treatment. These transplantable tumors, named SMtTW1 and SMtTW2, were studied until the fifth serial passage. The percentage of success was 100% under the kidney capsule and 20% under the skin. From the radioimmunoassays of prolactin (PRL), growth hormone, and adrenocorticotropic hormone and the immunocytochemical results, the tumors secrete PRL only. The PRL tumoral secretion was detected after 3 to 5 mo of graft; at 8 mo, mean plasma PRL values reached 5150 ng/ml (normal value, 15.2 ng/ml). Plasma growth hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone values remained normal. Like the primary tumors, the grafted tumors were benign, grew slowly, and were sparsely granulated well-differentiated prolactinomas with exocytosis. They remained identical during the first serial passages. The secretion and the growth of SMtTW2 were inhibited by bromocriptine.

In the light of our knowledge of the human prolactinoma, the spontaneous transplantable prolactinoma of the rat may be considered to be an animal model closer to the human pathology than the estrogen-induced “tumors” and the induced transplantable tumors. It is easier to use than the spontaneous prolactinoma of the rat.


Supported in part by grants from the Laboratories Sandoz (Paris, France) and La Ligue Nationale Française contre le Cancer. Preliminary results were presented at the Third Meeting of the Pituitary Pathology Club, Soltau, RFA, September 1987 (20).

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