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Life Sci. 1984 Oct 15;35(16):1705-11.

Effect of corticosterone on the prolactin response to psychological and physical stress in rats.


Both corticosterone and prolactin (PRL) levels increase in response to stress. In these studies we examined the effect of corticosterone on the PRL response to both physical (footshock) and psychological (novel environment) stress. Three groups of rats were used: sham adrenalectomized (SHAM), adrenalectomized (ADX), and adrenalectomized with corticosterone replacement (ADX+CORT). The corticosterone-treated animals received 80 micrograms corticosterone/ml drinking water. Blood samples were drawn via an indwelling cannula and PRL values determined using radioimmunoassay. ADX rats showed a consistently greater PRL response to being placed on a platform above water (novel environment) or when receiving intermittant footshock than did ADX+CORT rats. The PRL response of the latter group was similar to that of the SHAM animals. These findings indicate that corticosterone levels of an animal can significantly attenuate the magnitude of the PRL response to both physical and psychological stress. These findings further emphasize that the PRL response to stress is dependent not only upon the immediate action of the stressor, but also the prior stress history of the animal.

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