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Acta Physiol Scand. 1987 Sep;131(1):43-9.

Melatonin reduces the production and secretion of prolactin and growth hormone from rat pituitary cells in culture.

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Department of General Physiology, University of Oslo, Norway.


A culture of clonal tumour cells from rat pituitary gland that secrete both prolactin and growth hormone were used to investigate whether the pineal hormone melatonin can act directly on the pituitary gland to control prolactin production. Melatonin inhibition of prolactin and growth hormone production was significant but mild. Concentrations of between 10(-8) M and 10(-6) M reduced both prolactin and growth hormone production and prolactin secretion by 10-50%. 17 beta-oestradiol (OE) and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulated prolactin production but had no significant effect on growth hormone production. Melatonin reduced the effects of both of these compounds. Both TRH and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) stimulated secretion of prolactin, and TRH also of growth hormone. Melatonin reduced these effects significantly. TRH and VIP increased cAMP production two- and 12-fold, respectively. Melatonin had no effect on basal or stimulated cAMP production. The melatonin-induced changes in prolactin and growth hormone production and secretion seen here do not approach the magnitude of the fluctuations seen in plasma in vivo. It is concluded that while melatonin does have a direct effect on the lactotroph in the regulation of prolactin production, its main physiological target must be elsewhere.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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