Hypothalamic monoaminergic activity and pituitary function in male rats with estrogen-induced pituitary hyperplasia

L. Cass Terry, Ronald Craig, Trudy Hughes, Janice Scliatzle, Marianne Zorza, Girolamo A. Ortolano, John O. Willoughby

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanism by which estrogen enhances prolactin (PRL) secretion and induces hyperplasia of lactotrophs is not defined clearly. The objective of this study was to examine hypothalamic monoaminergic PRL regulatory systems and pituitary hormone secretion in the early and later stages of estrogen-induced hyperprolactinemia and pituitary hyperplasia. Dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) turnover were determined in microdissected brain regions 3 and 30 days after a single subcutaneous dose of estradiol (2 mg) to male ACI rats. Plasma samples were collected in animals with indwelling intra-atrial cannulae. 3 days after estrogen there was a significant increase in plasma PRL, pituitary PRL and growth hormone (GH), and DA turnover in the median eminence and arcuate nucleus. Plasma concentrations and pituitary content of PRL increased at 30 days. The responsiveness of PRL to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) was enhanced at both times. Concentrations of DA decreased considerably in the median eminence and arcuate nucleus by 30 days, and turnover decreased in the median eminence. 5-HT turnover was not affected in the early stages of hyperprolactinemia. Plasma GH increased and TSH was unchanged, even though pituitary content of both hormones decreased at 30 days. Estrogen had no effect on plasma corticosterone. These findings support the hypothesis that estrogen induces pituitary hyperplasia by antagonizing DA inhibition of PRL-secreting cells and by enhancing their responsiveness to TRH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosterone
  • DNA
  • Dopamine
  • Estradiol
  • Growth hormone
  • hyrotropin
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Pituitary hyperplasia
  • Prolactin
  • Serotonin
  • TRH


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