Hormonal modulation of the quantity and in situ activity of tyrosine hydroxylase in neurites of the median eminence

P. S. Wang, J. C. Porter

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The role of ovarian hormones in the control of the quantity and activity of tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrOHase) in neurites of the median eminence of the rat was investigated. TyrOHase was quantified by an immunoblot assay using purified rat TyrOHase as the standard. Treatment of ovariectomized animals with progesterone, but not estradiol, resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of TyrOHase in the median eminence. The in situ activity of the enzyme was assayed by measuring the rate of synthesis of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (dopa), and the results were expressed as mol of dopa per hr per mol of TyrOHase. In animals treated with both estradiol and progesterone for 3 days, the in situ activity TyrOHase in the median eminence was 114 ± 13.5 (mean ± SEM) compared to 26 ± 4.7 for the controls. Estradiol or progesterone alone was much less effective than was the combination of estradiol and progesterone. To ascertain whether the effect of estradiol and progesterone on TyrOHase activity was reflected in the secretion of dopamine into hypophyseal portal blood, ovariectomized rats were treated for 3 days with both estradiol and progesterone or with the solvent vehicle. The concentration of dopamine in portal plasma of the hormone-treated animals was 1.93 ± 0.533 ng/ml compared to 0.34 ± 0.094 ng/ml in vehicle-treated animals. We conclude that the quantity and in situ molar activity of TyrOHase in neurites of the median eminence as well as the secretion of dopamine from these neurites are modulated by the combined action of estradiol and progesterone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9804-9806
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


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