07 April 2008
Levels of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), TRH mRNA and pyroglutamyl peptidase II were analyzed in the hypothalamus-adenohypophyseal axis during lactation and estrous cycle. Mediobasal hypothalamic levels of TRH dropped 41% (p < 0.01) from pregnancy levels (taken as 100%) on the first day of lactation, recovering until day 15 to the values observed at pregnancy. A sharp decrease was also observed during weaning (36%, p < 0.01 compared to last day of lactation). TRH levels in the neurohypophysis increased during lactation and dropped at weaning. Highest TRH mRNA levels in the paraventricular nucleus were found at the end of pregnancy and beginning of lactation; they decreased 37% (p < 0.05) at day 5 of lactation and stayed constant thereafter. Pyroglutamyl peptidase II adenohypophyseal activity was not modified during lactation but changed during estrous cycle. Relative to estrous values, activity diminished 58% (p < 0.05) at 10.00 h (57% at 14.00 h) during diestrus 2 and 27% at 10.00 h (37% at 14.00 h) during proestrus. Hypothalamic TRH mRNA levels fluctuated in an opposite manner to adenohypophyseal pyroglutamyl peptidase II during the estrous cycle with a peak at diestrus 2: 183% of the estrous value (p < 0.05). These data point to a regulation of TRH metabolism in conditions where prolactin (PRL) secretion fluctuates. They also suggest a sharp release of TRH between the end of pregnancy and the first day of lactation and that translational efficiency or post-translational processing of TRH precursor in the paraventricular neurons (projecting to the median eminence) increases during lactation and drops at weaning, concomitantly with PRL secretion.