Activation of GABA receptors in the hypothalamus stimulates secretion of growth hormone and prolactin

J. O. Willoughby, P. M. Jervois, M. F. Menadue, W. W. Blessing

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    Localized intracerebral microinjections of GABA, muscimol, picrotoxin and bicuculline were made in the anterior and basal hypothalamus to determine possible sites of action of GABA in the regulation of prolactin and growth hormone (GH) secretion. Studies were carried out in unanesthetized male rats with chronic indwelling atrial cannulae and intracerebral guide cannulae which permitted stress free blood sampling and intrahypothalamic injections, respectively. Preoptic/anterior hypothalamic area (PO/AHA) injection of muscimol (0.16 nmol) stimulated both prolactin and GH secretion. GABA (1600 nmol) stimulated prolactin. Bicuculline (0.016 and 0.16 nmol) inhibited GH secretion. Medial basal hypothalamic (MBH) injection of muscimol (0.1 and 1.0 nmol) and GABA (1000 nmol) stimulated prolactin but had no effect on GH secretion. Picrotoxin and bicuculline did not stimulate GH. These findings indicate that activation of PO/AHA GABAergic receptors facilitates secretion of GH and prolactin and activation of MBH GABAergic receptors stimulates secretion of prolactin. It is proposed that GABA inhibits somatostatin neurons in the PO/AHA to facilitate GH and inhibits tuberoinfundibular dopamine or GABA neurons in the MBH to stimulate prolactin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-125
    Number of pages7
    JournalBrain Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 May 1986


    • anterior hypothalamus
    • growth hormone
    • medial basal hypothalamus
    • muscimol
    • prolactin
    • γ-aminobutyric acid


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