Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) secretion depends primarily on hypophysiotrophic factors released from neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. However, the neurochemical factors controlling these neurons, in particular neuropeptides, have had little investigation. In this study, we have investigated the role of neurotensin in the regulation of the different components of the hypothalamo‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis under basal and stress conditions in rats. For this purpose, animals were implanted with bilateral cannulae filled with crystals of the neurotensin antagonist, SR 48692, and which were located above the paraventricular nucleus. Five days after surgery, the effects of SR 48692 implants were studied on basal and stress‐induced secretion of ACTH and corticosterone. Such treatment did not modify plasma levels of ACTH and corticosterone in basal conditions but reduced ACTH but not corticosterone levels after tail cut procedure. After an exposure to a novel environment for 30 min, both ACTH and corticosterone plasma levels were reduced in the SR 48692‐treated group. In situ hybridization studies revealed that chronic administration of SR 48692 induced a significant reduction of CRF mRNA levels in the parvocellular division of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. In addition, a 2‐fold increase in basal levels of plasma vasopressin associated with an increase in vasopressin mRNA levels in the magnocellular neurons of the paraventricular nucleus was also detected. Finally, the basal plasma levels of oxytocin were not affected by the same treatment.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1997
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