, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 59–63 | Cite as

Effects of the estrous cycle stage on the prolactin secretory response to dopamine in vitro

  • Cheryl A. Fitch
  • Marc E. Freeman


Dopamine (DA) will both stimulate and inhibit prolactin (PRL) secretion from the anterior pituitary gland in vitro and in vivo. The present study was designed to determine if there are selected times during the estrous cycle of the rat when one function is favored over the other. Anterior pituitary glands collected on diestrus-1 (D1), diestrus-2 (D2), the morning of proestrus (Pro-AM), the afternoon of proestrus (Pro-PM), and estrus (E) were enzymatically dissociated and placed in monolayer culture. On the fourth day in culture, cells were challenged for 10, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, or 240 min with media alone or media containing either 100 pM or 1 μM DA. The concentration of PRL in the media was determined by radioimmunoassay. Regression analysis revealed that in the absence of DA, PRL secretion from cultured cells differed significantly depending on the stage of the estrous cycle during which they were obtained. Cells obtained during the morning of diestrus-2 secreted PRL at the greatest rate compared to other stages of the cycle. When all stages were compared, the rates of PRL secretion were: D2>E>D1>Pro-AM>Pro-PM (each significantly different from the others,P<0.01). By 20–30 min of exposure to 100 pM DA, the rate of PRL secretion from cells obtained during each stage of the cycle was significantly enhanced. This enhanced secretion persisted in cells obtained during D2 and Pro-PM but was short-lived in cells obtained during other stages. No inhibition of PRL secretion was induced by this dose of DA. PRL secretion was inhibited when treated with 1 μM DA in cells obtained at all stages of the estrous cycle. Inhibition was more prolonged in cells obtained on D1, D2, and Pro-AM. DA was least effective as an inhibitor of PRL secretion in cells obtained during Pro-PM and E. Prior to inhibiting PRL secretion in cells obtained during Pro-PM, 1 μM DA rapidly stimulated PRL secretion. This effect persisted for 60 min. These data suggest that in the absence of DA, the dynamics of PRL secretion from anterior pituitary cells in vitro differ depending on the stage of the estrous cycle during which the cells were obtained. Moreover, the in vivo environment of the cell determines the direction and magnitude of the PRL-secretory response to DA.

Key Words

Prolactin estrous cycle dopamine 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl A. Fitch
    • 1
  • Marc E. Freeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahassee

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