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      Prolactin-Releasing Peptide Releases Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone and Increases Plasma Adrenocorticotropin via the Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus


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          Intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP) is known to increase plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cause c-fos expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). We hypothesize that this is the site at which PrRP acts to increase plasma ACTH. We have used ICV injection and direct intranuclear injection of PrRP into the PVN to investigate the sites important in the stimulation of ACTH release in vivo. To investigate the mechanism of action by which PrRP increases ACTH, we have used primary culture of pituitary cells and measured neuropeptide release from in vitro hypothalamic incubations. ICV administration of PrRP increased plasma ACTH 10 min post-injection (PrRP 5 nmol 81.0 ± 23.5 pg/ml vs. saline 16.8 ± 14.1 pg/ml, p < 0.05). Intra-PVN injection of PrRP increased ACTH 5 min post-injection (PrRP 1 nmol 22.9 ± 5.0 pg/ml vs. saline 10.3 ± 1.4 pg/ml, p < 0.05). This effect continued until 40 min post-injection (PrRP 1 nmol 9.9 ± 1.5 pg/ml vs. saline 6.2 ± 0.5 pg/ml, p < 0.05). In vitro PrRP (1–100 nmol/l) did not effect basal or corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-stimulated ACTH release from dispersed anterior pituitary cells. PrRP increased hypothalamic release of CRH (PrRP 100 nmol/l 1.4 ± 0.2 nmol/explant vs. the basal 1.1 ± 0.2 nmol/explant, p < 0.05) but not arginine vasopressin. PrRP also stimulated neuropeptide Y release (PrRP 100 nmol/l 56.5 ± 11.8 pmol/explant vs. basal 24.0 ± 1.9 pmol/explant, p < 0.01), a neuropeptide known to stimulate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. Our data suggest that in vitro PrRP does not have a direct action on the corticotrope but increases plasma ACTH via the PVN and this effect involves the release of hypothalamic neuropeptides including CRH and neuropeptide Y.

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          A prolactin-releasing peptide in the brain.

          Hypothalamic peptide hormones regulate the secretion of most of the anterior pituitary hormones, that is, growth hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone and adrenocorticotropin. These peptides do not regulate the secretion of prolactin, at least in a specific manner, however. The peptides act through specific receptors, which are referred to as seven-transmembrane-domain receptors or G-protein-coupled receptors. Although prolactin is important in pregnancy and lactation in mammals, and is involved in the development of the mammary glands and the promotion of milk synthesis, a specific prolactin-releasing hormone has remained unknown. Here we identify a potent candidate for such a hormone. We first proposed that there may still be unknown peptide hormone factors that control pituitary function through seven-transmembrane-domain receptors. We isolated the complementary DNA encoding an 'orphan' receptor (that is, one for which the ligand is unknown). This receptor, hGR3, is specifically expressed in the human pituitary. We then searched for the hGR3 ligand in the hypothalamus and identified a new peptide, which shares no sequence similarity with known peptides and proteins, as an endogenous ligand. We show that this ligand is a potent prolactin-releasing factor for rat anterior pituitary cells; we have therefore named this peptide prolactin-releasing peptide.
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            Corticotropin-releasing factor in the paraventricular nucleus modulates feeding induced by neuropeptide Y.

            Central administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) exerts a potent orexigenic effect in rats, whereas injection of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) suppresses food intake. Anatomical evidence of NPY-containing terminals located in close proximity to CRF-containing neurons and terminals of the hypothalamus and amygdala suggests possible interactions of these neuropeptide systems in food-intake regulation. The present study examined the effect of local administration of the CRF antagonist, alpha-helical CRF9-41, or peripheral treatment with dexamethasone on NPY-induced hyperphagia. Injection of a 250-ng dose of alpha-hel CRF within the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus significantly potentiated the feeding induced by a 500-ng dose of NPY injected into the same locus. In contrast, feeding induced by administration of the 500-ng dose of NPY into the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) was not modified by intra-VMH pre-treatment with a 250-ng dose of CRF antagonist. No effects of NPY or alpha-hel CRF on feeding were observed after administration into the central nucleus of the amygdala. Systemic pre-treatment with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone at a dose known to downregulate the function of CRF neurons in the PVN (100 micrograms/kg) enhanced feeding induced by intra-PVN administration of a 500-ng dose of NPY. These results suggest that hypothalamic CRF systems in the PVN exert inhibitory control over NPY-induced food intake.
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              Distribution and characterization of immunoreactive prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP) in rat tissue and plasma.

              We established a sensitive and specific two-site enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP) using two region-specific monoclonal antibodies. We investigated the tissue distribution and the plasma concentration of immunoreactive (ir-) PrRP in rats using this assay. Ir-PrRP was widely distributed in the central nervous system and pituitary gland. The highest concentration of ir-PrRP was found in the hypothalamus. In peripheral tissues, appreciable levels of ir-PrRP were found only in the adrenal gland. The mean plasma concentration of ir-PrRP was 0.13 +/- 0.01 fmol/ml (mean +/- SEM). In reverse-phase and gel-filtration high performance liquid chromatography, hypothalamic ir-PrRP eluted at a position identical to that of PrRP31 and PrRP20. On the other hand, ir-PrRP from the adrenal gland and plasma eluted only at the position of synthetic PrRP31, indicating that molecular forms of ir-PrRP in vivo differed among tissues. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                August 2002
                08 August 2002
                : 76
                : 2
                : 70-78
                Department of Metabolic Medicine, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, London, UK
                64427 Neuroendocrinology 2002;76:70–78
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, References: 61, Pages: 9
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