The effects of morphine on the release of dopamine from tuberoinfundibular neurons and the release of PRL from the anterior pituitary gland were studied in diestrous female rats. Morphine ions ejected iontophoretically in minute quantities into the arcuate nuclei (using one electrode per nucleus) were found to reduce markedly the concentration of dopamine in hypophysial portal plasma. Thirty minutes after the iontophoretic ejection of morphine using charges of 3.6 and 6.6 millicoulombs/electrode, the concentrations of dopamine in hypophysial portal plasma were reduced 70% and 83%, respectively, relative to the preiontophoretic values. When morphine was iontophoresed into each arcuate nucleus using a charge of 1.5 millicoulombs/electrode, there was no change in the concentration of dopamine in hypophysial portal plasma. The suppressive effect of morphine on dopamine release was prevented by pretreatment of the animals with naloxone (5 mg/kg, ip). In addition to the reduction of the concentration of dopamine in hypophysial portal plasma, the iontophoresis of morphine into the arcuate nuclei enhanced the serum concentration of PRL. On the basis of the present observations, it is suggested that morphine acts on an opiate receptor within the arcuate nucleus to suppress the secretion of dopamine from tuberoinfundibular neurons into hypophysial portal blood, thereby enhancing pituitary gland secretion of PRL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas