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Serotonin synthesis inhibition or receptor antagonism reduces pregnancy-induced nocturnal prolactin secretion

Life Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0024-3205(90)90624-z
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Abstract During early pregnancy, two surges of prolactin (PRL) designated as nocturnal (N) and diurnal (D) are displayed by the rat. We previously reported the positive influence of serotonin (5-HT) in regulating the D surge. Its role in the N surge remained inconclusive due to the contradictory results obtained with the 5-HT synthesis inhibitor parachlorophenylalanine (PCPA) and 5-HT 2 receptor antagonists. This study further characterizes the involvement of 5-HT in regulating the N surge. The effectiveness of different doses of ketanserin (KET), a 5-HT 2 receptor antagonist, to reduce plasma PRL levels during the surge was established. Sub-threshold (1 mg/kg BW) or just maximally effective (10 mg/kg BW) doses of KET were administered to rats that had been pre-treated with PCPA (250 mg/kg BW) for 24h. The lower dose of KET was ineffective in reducing the N surge even though less 5-HT was available due to PCPA treatment 24h earlier. The higher dose was effective in blocking the surge. Subsequently, the effect of one compared to two injections of PCPA 24 hours apart on plasma PRL levels and concentrations of 5-HT, dopamine (DA) and their respective metabolites 5-hydroxy-ndoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) in the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH) and the medial dorsal hypothalamus (MDH) was studied. Two injections of PCPA but not one abolished the N PRL surge. Levels of 5-HT and 5-HIAA were significantly (p<.005) reduced following either one or two injections of PCPA. Nevertheless, there was a greater (50 fold) decrease in 5-HIAA following 2 injections compared to one injection (10 fold), resulting in lower 5-HT turnover as indicated by lower 5-HIAA/5-HT ratios. Levels of DA in the MBH were reduced significantly only following two injections of PCPA, suggesting that the lack of effect of PCPA after one injection on the N surge was not due to a decrease in DA.

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