Pivotal Role of an Endogenous Tetrahydroisoquinoline, Salsolinol, in Stress- and Suckling-Induced Release of Prolactin


Address for correspondence: G.M. Nagy, M.D., Ph.D., Neuroendocrine Research Laboratory, Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology, Semmelweis University, Tűzoltó u. 58, Budapest, 1094 Hungary. Voice: 36-1-215-6920; fax: 36-1-215-3064. e-mail: nagy-gm@ana2.sote.hu


Abstract: In mammals, the role of a prolactin-releasing factor (PRF) in the acute changes of prolactin (PRL) secretion that usually occur after challenges (e.g., suckling stimulus or stress) of homeostasis has been suspected for a long time. We have recently observed that 1-methyl-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline, salsolinol (SAL), produced by the hypothalamus and the neuro-intermediate lobe (NIL) of the pituitary gland, can selectively release PRL from the anterior lobe (AL). Moreover, binding sites for SAL have been detected in areas like median eminence, NIL, and AL. It has been proposed that SAL is a putative endogenous PRF. We have also found that a structural analogue of SAL, 1-methyl-3,4-dihydroisoquinoline (1MeDIQ), is able to block dose-dependently SAL-, suckling-, and immobilization (IMO) stress-induced release of PRL without having any influence on α-methyl-p-tyrosine (αMpT)-induced PRL responses. Neither SAL nor 1MeDIQ has any effect on α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (αMSH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), β-endorphin (β-END) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) secretion. Moreover, SAL-induced PRL response was attenuated in male rats pretreated with dexamethasone (DEX). These results strongly suggest that SAL has an important role in the regulation of PRL release induced by physiologic and environmental stimuli; therefore, it can be considered as the strongest candidate for being the PRF in the hypothalamo-hypophysial system. Our findings also indicate that the adrenal steroids may play an inhibitory feedback role in SAL-mediated PRL response.