08 April 2008
Adrenoceptors, Superior cervical ganglion, Hypophysiotropic hormone levels, Thyrotropin-releasing hormone, Growth hormone-releasing hormone, Somatostatin, Prolactin, Wallerian degeneration, Growth hormone
After bilateral superior cervical ganglionectomy (SCGx) of adult male rats, norepinephrine (NE) content of the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH) decreased significantly by 39-47% from 16 h to 7 days after surgery. During this time the levels of serum growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL) and of MBH GH-releasing hormone (GRH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and somatostatin were measured by RIA. In sham-operated controls, serum PRL increased and serum GH decreased 16–24 h after surgery, attaining pre-surgical levels later on. In SCGx rats, significantly lower serum GH and PRL and higher MBH GRH and TRH content as compared to controls was observed 16-24 h after surgery, during the wallerian degeneration phase after SCGx. MBH somatostatin concentration decreased in SCGx rats 20 h after surgery. Two injections of the α<sub>1</sub>-adrenoceptor blocker prazosin 45 and 90 min before sacrifice, alone or together with the β-blocker propranolol, prevented the changes in MBH hypophysiotropic hormone content, as well as in serum GH and PRL levels, found in SCGx rats 20 h after surgery. Propranolol treatment did not affect hormone levels. Neither drug modified the decrease in MBH NE content observed after SCGx. The results argue in favor of the existence of physiologically relevant projections from superior cervical ganglion neurons to the MBH controlling hypophysiotropic hormone release.