Opioid and dopamine involvement in prolactin release induced by arginine vasotocin and vasopressin in the male rat

David E. Blank, Mark K. Vaughan, Thomas H. Champney, Linda Y. Johnson, George M. Vaughan, Richard A. Becker, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The potential involvement of the endogenous opioid and dopamine (DA) systems in the mechanism(s) mediating arginine vasotocin (AVT)- and arginine vasopressin (AVP)-induced prolactin (PRL) release was investigated in vivo. The injection of AVT (5 μg) into unanesthetized male rats resulted in a 2-fold stimulation of PRL release 15 min later, followed by an inhibition of PRL release 30 min thereafter: both the stimulatory and inhibitory PRL responses to AVT were obviated by naloxone (NAL) (200 μg). Similarly, the administration of either AVT or AVP(5 μg) to urethane-anesthetized rats led to a 3- and 5-fold increase in plasma PRL levels, respectively, 10 min after injection. The PRL stimulatory response to both peptides was completely blocked by pretreating the animals with apomorphine (APO) (5 mg); however, the injection of APO by itself had no effect on PRL secretion in these animals. Both AVT and AVP were also effective in stimulating PRL release 10 min after injection in estrogen (50 μg)-progesterone (25 mg) (EP)-treated rats anesthetized with urethane. APO negated the PRL stimulatory response to these compounds in the EP-treated rat as well. Normal, urethane-treated rats experienced a 7- to 8-fold increase in PRL levels 20 min following the injection of methysergide (MET) (250 μg). Both AVT and AVP caused approximately a 2.5-fold greater PRL response in MET-treated animals than in AVT and AVP controls, respectively; however, only in the MET + AVT-treated rats was the PRL stimulatory response greater than in the MET controls. MET probably stimulated PRL through its DA antagonistic properties. It appears that AVT may stimulate PRL release in vivo via the endogenous opioid system. Furthermore, the mechanism(s) mediating the PRL stimulatory action of both AVT and AVP may also involve an inhibition of hypothalamic DA release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984


  • Arginine vasopressin
  • Arginine vasotocin
  • Dopamine
  • Naloxone
  • Opioids
  • Prolactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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