Previous studies have shown a parallel relationship between pituitary vasopressin (VP) receptor content and responsiveness of the corticotroph during chronic stress. The regulation of pituitary VP receptors was further studied by analysis of V1b VP receptor mRNA levels in pituitaries of rats subjected to chronic immobilization, i.p. hypertonic saline injection (physical stress paradigms associated with increased pituitary responsiveness), and water deprivation, or to 2% saline in the drinking water (osmotic stress paradigms associated with decreased pituitary responsiveness). Northern blot hybridization with a 363 bp 32P‐labelled fragment of the rV1b receptor cDNA coding sequence revealed two bands of about 3.7 and 3.2 Kb, whereas a probe directed to the 5′ untranslated region recognized only the 3.7 Kb band. Repeated i.p. hypertonic saline injection, 3 times in 24 h at 8 h intervals, or daily for 8 days, increased the intensity of the 3.7 Kb band by 155 ± 17.5% (P<0.01) and 118 ± 14.6% (P<0.01), respectively, while the 3.2Kb band increased by 122 ± 39.3% (P<0.01) only after 3 times injection. Smaller increases of 39 ± 11 and 33 ± 9% (P<0.05) in the 3.7 Kb band were found after repeated immobilization 3 times in 24 h and 2 h for for 8 days respectively. In situ hybridization studies confirmed significant increases (P<0.05) in V1b receptor mRNA levels after 8 and 14 days repeated immobilization (63 ± 19% and 83 ± 10%) or i.p. hypertonic saline injection (110 ± 13% and 73 ± 20%). In response to acute stress, V1b receptor mRNA increased by 77 ± 5% (3.7 Kb band) after 4 h immobilization for 1 h, whereas both bands were reduced by 49 ± 5% and 45 ± 5%, 4 h after a single i.p. hypertonic saline injection. The decrease in V1b receptor mRNA following a single i.p. hypertonic saline injection was prevented by pretreatment with a V1 receptor antagonist, suggesting that increased VP secretion may account for this effect. In spite of the decrease in V1 b receptor mRNA following i.p. hypertonic saline injection, VP binding in pituitary membrane rich fractions, and VP‐stimulated inositol phosphate formation in quartered hemipituitaries were increased by 24 and 39%, respectively. V1b receptor mRNA levels were unchanged or decreased following prolonged osmotic stimulation. These studies suggest that increased V1b receptor mRNA levels contribute to the VP receptor upregulation observed during repeated immobilization and i.p. hypertonic saline injection, whereas the lack of parallelism between V1b receptor mRNA and VP binding indicates that regulation of steady‐state levels of V1b receptor mRNA is not a primary determinant in the control of pituitary VP receptor concentration during stress.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1995
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