Résumé : In dog thyroid cells, insulin or IGF-1 induces cell growth and is required for the mitogenic action of TSH through cyclic AMP, of EGF, and of phorbol esters. HGF per se stimulates cell proliferation and is thus the only full mitogenic agent. TSH and cAMP enhance, whereas EGF phorbol esters and HGF repress differentiation expression. In this study, we have investigated for each factor and regulatory cascade of the intermediate step of immediate early gene induction, that is, c-myc, c-jun, jun D, jun B, c-fos, fos B, fra-1, fra-2, and egr1; fra-1 and fra-2 expressions were very low. TSH or forskolin increased the levels of c-myc, jun B, jun D, c-fos, and fos B while decreasing those of c-jun and egr1. Phorbol myristate ester stimulated the expression of all the genes. EGF and HGF stimulated the expression of all the genes except jun D and for EGF fos B. All these effects were obtained in the presence and in the absence of insulin, which shows that insulin is not necessary for the effects of the mitogens on immediate early gene expression. The definition of the repertoire of early immediate genes inductible by the various growth cascades provides a framework for the analysis of gene expression in tumors. (1) Insulin was able to induce all the protooncogenes investigated except fos B. This suggests that fos B could be the factor missing for insulin to induce mitogenesis. (2) No characteristic pattern of immediate early gene expression has been observed for insulin, which induces cell hypertrophy and is permissive for the action of the other growth factors. These effects are therefore not accounted for by a specific immediate early gene expression. On the other hand, insulin clearly enhances the effects of TSH, phorbol ester, and EGF on c-myc, junB, and c-fos expression. This suggests that the effect of insulin on mitogenesis might result from quantitative differences in the transcription complexes formed. (3) c-myc, c-fos, and jun B mRNA induction by all stimulating agents, whether inducing cell hypertrophy, or growth and dedifferentiation, or growth and differentiation, suggests that, although these expressions are not sufficient, they may be necessary for the various growth responses of thyroid cells. (4) The inhibition of c-jun and egr1 mRNA expression, and the marked induction of jun D mRNA appear to be specific features of the TSH cAMP pathway. They might be related to its differentiating action. (5) fos B, which is induced by TSH, forskolin, phorbol ester, and HGF but not by insulin, could be involved in the mitogenic action of the former factors.