AuthorFINDELL, PAUL RICHARD.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTo test the hypothesis that the hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neuronal system plays a role in the dynamic regulation of pituitary prolactin secretion, its activity was correlated with experimentally-induced prolactin secretory episodes in the male rat. Direct estimates of tuberoinfundibular neuronal activity were made by measuring its rates of dopamine and norepinephrine synthesis or release. Prolactin secretion was assessed in vivo by measuring radioimmunoassayable prolactin levels in peripheral blood and the pituitary and in vitro by measuring prolactin concentrations released into incubation media. The anesthetic urethane and a substance isolated from the pineal gland were both demonstrated to inhibit prolactin secretion. Significant elevations of newly synthesized tuberoinfundibular dopamine were observed concomitant with this decreased prolactin secretion suggesting that acute increases in tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neuronal activity were perhaps causally related to acute decreases in prolactin secretion since these substances were without a direct effect on the pituitary in vitro. Conversely, acute decreases in tuberoinfundibular neuronal activity induced by dopamine biosynthesis inhibition or mimicked by pituitary receptor blockade induced acute increases in prolactin secretion. As another prerequisite for its involvement in the dynamic regulation of prolactin secretion, the tuberoinfundibular neuronal system was demonstrated to be involved in the negative feedback control of prolactin over its own secretion. Elevated circulating prolactin levels produced by pituitary homografts transplanted beneath the kidney capsule accelerated tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neuronal activity. In two unrelated experimental conditions, rats rendered blind and anosmic or hyperprolactinemic, the chronic inhibition of prolactin secretion was not associated with the maintenance of an increased tuberoinfundibular neuronal activity, but rather with a supersensitivity of the anterior pituitary to the prolactin-release-inhibitory action of dopamine. Long-lasting alterations in tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neuronal activity appeared to induce this pituitary supersensitivity to dopamine. The tuberoinfundibular neuronal system appears to have the capacity to modulate prolactin secretory episodes via the alteration of its dopaminergic activity. Long-lasting alterations in this activity may induce changes in anterior pituitary sensitivity to dopamine essential for the chronic inhibition of pituitary prolactin secretion.