Positive correlation between proopiomelanocortin and tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA levels in the mediobasohypothalamus of ovariectomized rats: Response to estradiol replacement and withdrawal

Dennis D. Rasmussen, Moshe Jakubowski, Donald L. Allen, James L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


We have investigated putative dopaminergic regulation of opiomelanotropinergic activity in the arcuate/periarcuate mediobasohypothalamus (MBH) by assessing the changes in MBH tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC; opiomelanotropin precursor) mRNA levels under conditions in which endogenous tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic activity exhibits marked changes. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were sacrificed at 09.00 and 15.00 h, and individual MBH POMC and TH cytoplasmic mRNA levels were simultaneously quantified by multiplex solution hybridization-RNase protection assay with protected fragments separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In ovariectomized (OVX) rats treated for 3 days with low- dose estradiol (E2) implants (resulting in 18±4 pg E2/ml serum), the MBH levels of POMC and TH mRNAs were approximately 17 and 31% lower than those measured in OVX controls, respectively. In OVX rats implanted for 20 days with larger E: implants (99±9 pg E2/ml serum), POMC and TH mRNA levels were approximately 29 and 41% lower than in OVX controls, respectively. Additional groups were exposed to the higher E2 dose for 20 days and then killed 10 or 20 days after removal of the E: implant. In these rats, POMC mRNA levels rebounded to the same level seen in OVX controls, while TH mRNA levels even exceeded control values by 22-27%. TO and POMC mRNA levels did not change significantly between 09.00 and 15.00 h, except 10 days after removal of the E2 implants, when 09.00 h POMC mRNA levels were higher than the 15.00 h levels. MBH POMC and TO mRNA levels were positively correlated with each other within individual animals. This correlation is maintained when both POMC and TO mRNA levels are suppressed in response to both 3-day low-dose and 20-day high-dose E2treatment. However, although rat MBH opiomelanotropinergic and tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic mRNA biosynthesis thus appear to be positively correlated, the coregulation or functional interactions of these two neuronal systems remain to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992



  • Estradiol
  • MRNA
  • Mediobasohypothalamus
  • Proopiomelanocortin
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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