These studies evaluated the influence of an initial exposure of thyroid slices to thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) on the subsequent responsiveness to the hormone. Bovine thyroid slices were incubated with or without 50 mU/ml TSH for varying periods and then incubated in hormone-free medium for varying periods. Subsequently, slices were incubated for 20 min with 10 mM theophylline and with or without TSH. Cylic AMP was measured after the third incubation. Phosphodiesterase and adenylate cylase were assayed in homogenates prepared from slices after the second incubation. In some experiments prostaglandin E1, puromycin, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine and propylthiouracil were included in the media. In other experiments, low does of TSH (1 AND 10 mU/ml) were used instead of 50 mU/ml. Slices previously exposed to TSH have decreased responsiveness of the adenylate cyclase-cylic AMP system. Such refractoriness is hormone specific since initial exposure to prostaglandin E1 decreases the subsequent response to this substance but not to TSH. Refractoriness to TSH develops only when the first incubation is at least 30 min. It is not reversed by 5 h of incubation without hormone. Incubation of thyroid slices with puromycin does not eliminate refractoriness. The decreased response to TSH cannot be explained by release of thyroxine, triiodothyronine, or iodide from the slices. Phosphodiesterase activity is not increased during the refractory period. The decreased cyclic AMP response to TSH is associated with diminished response of adenylate cyclase activity to the hormone. Guanosine triphosphate (1 mM) increased adenylate cyclase activity in both control and TSH treated tissue, but the effect was significantly less in the latter. Although with guanosine triphosphate, TSH increased adenylate cyclase activity in TSH treated tissue, the enzyme activity was still less than that present in control tissue incubated with guanosine triphosphate and TSH. NaF caused an equivalent stimulation of adenylate cyclase in both control and TSH treated tissue. These results suggest that the refractoriness represents an alteration in hormone binding or the coupling of the bound hormone to the adenylate cyclase activity rather than any modification of the catalytic site of the enzyme.
S J Shuman, U Zor, R Chayoth, J B Field