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Endocrinology. 2001 Feb;142(2):730-9.

Central infusions of the recombinant human prolactin receptor antagonist, S179D-PRL, delay the onset of maternal behavior in steroid-primed, nulliparous female rats.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536, USA.


The expression of maternal behavior in the newly parturient rat is under endocrine regulation. Blocking endogenous PRL secretion with bromocriptine delays the normal rapid expression of maternal care shown toward foster young in steroid-primed virgin female rats. The recent development of the PRL receptor antagonist S179D-PRL, a mutant of human PRL in which the serine residue at the 179 position is replaced with aspartate, provides a potentially useful tool to examine the role of PRL in neural processing. In the present report, three experiments were conducted that examined the effects of this PRL antagonist on the induction of maternal behavior. In each experiment, ovariectomized, nulliparous rats were treated sequentially with SILASTIC capsules implanted sc with progesterone (days 1-11) and estradiol (days 11-17), a treatment that stimulates a rapid onset of maternal behavior in virgin rats. On day 11, females were implanted with Alzet miniosmotic pumps connected to cannulae directed unilaterally at the lateral ventricle (Exp 1) or bilaterally at the medial preoptic area (MPOA; Exp 2 and 3). Pumps contained either doses of S179D-PRL (0.115 or 1.15 mg/ml; Exp 1 and 2), wild-type human PRL (1.15 mg/ml; Exp 3), or the saline vehicle (Exp 1-3). Testing for maternal behavior began on day 12, a day after pump insertion, and animals were tested daily for 6 days. Latencies to contact, retrieve, and group foster test young were recorded. Administration of both the high and low doses of S179D-PRL infused into the lateral ventricle (Exp 1) or MPOA (Exp 2) significantly delayed the onset of maternal behavior. In contrast, MPOA infusions of the control hormone, wild-type human PRL, in Exp 3 did not delay the onset of maternal behavior. These findings support the concept that the effects of S179D-PRL are caused by its actions as a PRL receptor antagonist rather than by a nonspecific effect of the protein. Overall, these results demonstrate the effectiveness of S179D-PRL acting at the level of the central nervous system (and, more specifically, within the MPOA) to regulate maternal behavior, a PRL-mediated response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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