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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 15, 1991; 88(4): 1494–1498.

Interactive effects of neurohypophyseal neuropeptides with receptor antagonists on passive avoidance behavior: mediation by a cerebral neurohypophyseal hormone receptor?


The neurohypophyseal neuropeptides (Arg8)-vasopressin (AVP) and [pGlu4,Cyt6]AVP-(4-8) (where pGlu is pyroglutamic acid and Cyt is cystine) facilitate the retention of one-trial-learning passive avoidance behavior in rats when administered into the cerebral ventricle immediately after the learning trial. The fragment [pGlu4,Cyt6]AVP-(4-8) was considerably more effective than AVP. Oxytocin (OXT) and [pGlu4,Cyt6]OXT-(4-8) have the opposite effect and attenuate passive avoidance behavior also when administered into the cerebral ventricle after the learning trial. Again the fragment was more active than the parent molecule. The ancient arginine-containing neurohypophyseal hormone vasotocin in "high" doses (10ng) had a vasopressin-like effect and in "low" doses (0.1 ng) had an OXT-like effect on passive avoidance behavior. Because both vasopressinergic (V1) and oxytocinergic receptors have been demonstrated in the central nervous system, we asked whether specific antagonists of the V1, V2, and OXT receptor could antagonize the effects of these neuropeptides on passive avoidance behavior. The three antagonists were approximately equally active in blocking the effect of vasopressin, whereas the fragment [pGlu4]AVP-(4-8) and the high dose of vasotocin were more readily blocked by the OXT antagonist. The attenuating effect of OXT, the fragment [pGlu4,Cyt6]OXT-(4-8), and the low dose of vasotocin was markedly reduced by the OXT antagonist. This effect could also be reduced by pretreatment with the V1 antagonist but not with the V2 antagonist. These results suggest the existence of a separate neurohypophyseal hormone receptor complex in the brain affecting memory processes that differs from the peripheral V1, V2, and OXT receptor.

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Selected References

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