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Physiol Res. 2000;49 Suppl 1:S27-35.

The regulation of adenohypophyseal prolactin secretion: effect of triiodothyronine and methylene blue on estrogenized rat adenohypophysis.

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Institute of Endocrinology, Prague, Czech Republic.


Estrogens and thyroid hormones contribute importantly to cell proliferation and tumor transformation in the pituitary gland. We found that methylene blue antagonized estrogen-promoted adenohypophyseal enlargement and the enhancement of prolactin secretion. The purpose of the present article is to provide a review about neurotransmitters and their receptors involved in estrogen-induced anterior pituitary growth and in the antagonistic effects of triiodothyronine (T3) and methylene blue (MB). Central dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems are the most important factors regulating pituitary growth and function. Recently nitric oxide (NO) was added to the list of the neurotransmitters and neuropeptides involved in the control of the anterior pituitary secretion. Our data suggest that estrogen-induced anterior pituitary growth is associated with decreased synthesis and metabolism of central catecholamines, reduction of adenohypophyseal beta-adrenergic receptors and increase of dopamine DA-2 receptors. We found that the treatment with T3 or MB prevented both estrogen-induced catecholaminergic inhibition and dopamine DA-2 receptor increment in the anterior pituitary. In contrast to T3, MB given alone also slightly decreased the anterior pituitary weight. Serum levels and anterior pituitary content of prolactin were increased after treatment with estradiol benzoate (EB), whereas T3 or MB partially attenuated prolactin hypersecretion after estrogen administration. This is in accord with the attenuation of EB-induced inhibition of dopaminergic system by T3 and MB. MB given in combination with EB also partially attenuated EB-promoted rise of adenohypohyseal NO synthase activity which plays an important role in the regulation of prolactin secretion. Further studies on central catecholaminergic systems, pituitary receptors, the nitrergic system and mechanisms of intracellular signal transduction are necessary for better understanding of pituitary tumor transformation and possibly for the discovery of new approaches towards treating patients with these diseases.

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