OBJECTIVE: The stimulatory and inhibitory effects of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and kainic acid on prolactin (PRL) secretion have been correlated with the serum prolactin concentrations before drug administration. In the present experiments, we analysed the role of NMDA and kainic acid in PRL secretion in females with different serum concentrations of PRL. METHODS: Hypoprolactinaemic females were obtained by ovariectomy or after administration of diethyldithiocarbamate (an inhibitor of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase). Chronic hyperprolactinaemia was induced by neonatal administration of testosterone or oestradiol and acute hyperprolactinaemia was induced either by administration of alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine (an inhibitor of tyrosine hydroxylase) or by ether exposure. To analyse the role of dopamine in the effects of NMDA, we measured pituitary concentrations of dopamine after NMDA treatment and the effects of pretreatment with domperidone. RESULTS: (1) NMDA, but not kainic acid, stimulated PRL release in cyclic females. This effect was independent of serum PRL concentrations and was not accompanied by a decrease in pituitary concentrations of dopamine. (2) NMDA did not change PRL secretion in neonatally androgenized females, whereas NMDA and kainic acid inhibited PRL release in neonatally oestrogenized females. The inhibitory effects of NMDA and kainic acid were blocked by domperidone. (3) Kainic acid inhibited PRL secretion in prepubertal hyper- and hypoprolactinaemic rats. (4) Hyperprolactinaemia induced by ether stress was counteracted by administration of NMDA and kainic acid. CONCLUSIONS: (a) NMDA has a dual effect on prolactin secretion that is independent of prior prolactin concentrations and of dopamine activity, but kainic acid is only inhibitory. (b) The stimulatory or inhibitory effects of NMDA and kainic acid on PRL secretion were not strictly related to basal PRL concentrations and necessarily involved a change in the secretion of prolactin releasing factors, as no correlations were observed between changes in pituitary concentrations of dopamine and serum PRL concentrations. (c) Females rendered hyperprolactinaemic by neonatal administration of testosterone or oestradiol responded differently after NMDA administration. (d) NMDA and kainic acid blocked the mechanisms involved in stress-induced PRL secretion.
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