The localization of the PRL receptor as well as of PRL has been studied by immunoperoxidase techniques in the ovaries of cycling, pregnant, and lactating rats. Specific antisera to the receptor and to the hormone were used. By light microscopy, immunostaining for the PRL receptor coincided with that for the hormone. Staining was found intracellularly in most components of the ovary, except the theca, and was most striking in the luteal cells. Both PRL and its receptor were concentrated heavily in the ovum. Beginning 24–36 h postpartum, there was a change in the pattern of luteal cell staining, with a shift in the intensity of staining products to the periphery of the luteal cell, giving a ring appearance to these cells. The results suggest roles for PRL in ovarian function involving both maintenance of the corpus luteum and maturation of the ovum. This study also demonstrates the intracellular localization of a polypeptide hormone in association with its specific receptor.
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