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J Endocrinol. 1991 Dec;131(3):411-9.

Rat anterior pituitary neuropeptides following chronic prolactin manipulation: a combined radioimmunoassay and mRNA study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London.


Prolactin secretion is highly regulable, and the possibility exists that there are local intrapituitary factors controlling prolactin secretion. Recently, the neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), galanin and substance P (SP) have been co-localized to the lactotroph in the female rat. We investigated the effects of alterations in prolactin status in vivo on pituitary and hypothalamic expression of these peptides by specific radioimmunoassays and mRNA analysis. In the anterior pituitary, following haloperidol treatment, the contents of both VIP and galanin were suppressed to below detectable levels. Similarly, after bromocriptine treatment, the content of VIP was decreased to below the detection limit of the assay while galanin (14.2 +/- 1.3 vs control 21.0 +/- 2.1 fmol/mg, P less than 0.05) also showed a significant reduction. The levels of VIP mRNA and galanin mRNA in these groups showed the same qualitative change as their respective peptides. Concurrent treatment with high-dose oestrogen modified the VIP peptide response to bromocriptine (1368.7 +/- 149.2 vs bromocriptine 843.4 +/- 82.7 fmol/mg, P less than 0.05) but not to haloperidol. Oestrogen-induced decreases in galanin content were not influenced by either treatment. The pituitary content of SP showed a fall after oestrogen treatment (1.1 +/- 0.01 vs control 6.4 +/- 0.8 fmol/mg, P less than 0.05) which was not significantly altered by either bromocriptine or haloperidol. Likewise, SP mRNA levels in the pituitary were decreased by 90% following oestrogen treatment. Hypothalamic expression of these peptides did not change with any of the treatments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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