08 April 2008
Arginine vasopressin (AVP), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and catecholamines seem to be involved in the histamine- (HA) and/or stress-induced release of the pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and β-endorphin (β-END). The AVP component of the regulatory mechanism can be specifically studied in Brattleboro rats which lack AVP. These animals may therefore serve as a useful biological model for investigating the importance of AVP in the ACTH and β-END response to HA and stress. On this background, we studied the ACTH and β-END response to HA or restraint stress in conscious, male dizygotic AVP-deficient Brattleboro rats (DI) and compared the hypothalamic content of CRH and catecholamines in these rats with that of nondiabetic isogenic Long-Evans rats (LE). In addition, we studied the hypothalamic AVP content in LE rats after HA infusion or exposure to restraint stress. HA (270 nmol) administered intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) or 5 min of restraint stress caused a 6- to 7-fold increase in plasma concentrations of ACTH and β-END in LE rats but only a 2- to 3-fold increase in DI rats (p < 0.01 vs. LE). The basal hypothalamic content of CRH and catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) was similar in DI and LE rats. The hypothalamic AVP content in LE rats was unaffected by central HA infusion or restraint stress and was undetectable in DI rats. We conclude that inherited lack of AVP impaired the ACTH and β-END response to central HA administration as well as to restraint stress, suggesting that AVP is important for the mediation of these responses.