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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Jan;72(1):145-50.

Hypothalamic regulation of pulsatile thyrotopin secretion.

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Department of Clinical Endocrinology, Medizinische Hochschule, Hannover, Germany.


To determine the mechanism underlying pulsatile TSH secretion, 24-h serum TSH levels were measured in three groups of five healthy volunteers by sampling blood every 10 min. The influence of an 8-h infusion of dopamine (200 mg), somatostatin (500 micrograms), or nifedipine (5 mg) on the pulsatile release of TSH was tested using a cross-over design. The amount of TSH released per pulse was significantly lowered by these drugs, resulting in significantly decreased mean basal TSH serum levels. However, pulses of TSH were still detectable at all times. The TSH response to TRH (200 micrograms) tested in separate experiments was significantly lowered after 3 h of nifedipine infusion compared to the saline control value. Nifedipine treatment did not alter basal, pulsatile, or TRH-stimulated PRL secretion. The persistence of TSH pulses under dopamine and somatostatin treatment and the blunted TSH responses to nifedipine infusion support the hypothesis that pulsatile TSH secretion is under the control of hypothalamic TRH. The 24-h TSH secretion pattern achieved under stimulation with exogenous TRH in two patients with hypothalamic destruction through surgical removal of a craniopharyngioma provided further circumstantial evidence for this assumption. No TSH pulses and low basal TSH secretion were observed under basal conditions (1700-2400 h), whereas subsequent repetitive TRH challenge (25 micrograms/2 h to 50 micrograms/1 h) led to a pulsatile release of TSH with fusion of TSH pulses, resulting in a TSH secretion pattern strikingly similar to the circadian variation. These data suggest that pulsatile and circadian TSH secretions are predominantly controlled by TRH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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