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Endocrinology. 1987 Mar;120(3):986-94.

Identification and characterization of two classes of receptors for oxytocin and vasopressin in porcine tunica albuginea, epididymis, and vas deferens.


The neurohypophysial hormones oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) are involved in the regulation of the contractility of the male genital tract in several animal species. We investigated the presence of specific binding sites for [3H]OT and [3H]arginine VP (AVP) in membranes prepared from tunica albuginea, epididymis, and vas deferens from prepubertal pigs 2-16 weeks of age. Membranes were incubated with [3H]OT and [3H]AVP in the presence or absence of the corresponding unlabeled peptides. Binding equilibrium was reached in 60 min at 22 C. Millimolar concentrations of Mg2+ increased the specific binding of both ligands. Analysis of families of self- and cross-displacement curves using the computer program LIGAND clearly demonstrated that two classes of binding sites were present in all tissues investigated. The first class of sites, designated the OT site, shows high affinity for OT, AVP, lysine vasopressin, arginine vasotocin, the selective OT agonists [Thr4,Gly7]OT and [Asu1,6]OT, and the OT antagonists derived from ornithine vasotocin (OVT), namely d(CH2)5Tyr(Et)OVT and dEt2OVT. The second class of sites, designated the VP site, shows high affinity for AVP, lysine vasopressin, arginine vasotocin, and the selective V1 antagonist d(CH2)5Tyr(Me)AVP. The V2 agonist [1-deamino,4-valine]8-D-AVP shows low affinity for both sites. Isotocin, desglycinamide [Arg-8]AVP and tocinoic acid were ineffective in displacing [3H]AVP or [3H]OT. The highest density of OT receptors was found in tunica albuginea and epididymis, whereas the highest density of AVP receptors was found in vas deferens. Adenylate cyclase was not activated in any of the tissues studied by concentrations of AVP or OT up to 100-fold greater than their Kd values. This is the first demonstration and pharmacological characterization of specific OT and V1 VP receptors in the tunica albuginea, epididymis, and vas deferens. The recent demonstration of high local concentration of neurohypophysial hormones in the gonads of several mammals support a physiological role of these OT and VP receptors in regulation of the motility of the male genital tract.

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