Brain Neuropeptides That Control Prolactin Secretion in Cattle

  • Lloyd L. Anderson (Iowa State University)


The objective was to test the hypothesis that dopamine regulates prolactin (PRL) secretion by determining acute changes in catecholamine concentrations in hypophyseal portal blood of cattle and their relation to peripheral blood concentration of PRL in hypophyseal stalk-transected (HST) and sham-operated control (SOC). Holstein heifers were subjected to neurosurgery to collect hypophyseal portal blood with a stainless steel cannula designed with a cuff placed under the pituitary stalk and peripheral blood via a jugular vein catheter. PRL plasma concentration was measured by radioimmunoassay, and dopamine and norepinephrine in portal plasma by radioenzymatic assay. During anesthesia before HST or SOC, PRL plasma concentration ranged from 20–40 ng/ml throughout 255 minutes. PRL abruptly increased and remained above 90 ng/ml after HST, compared with a steady decrease to <20 ng/ml in SOC heifers throughout 440 minutes. Within 5 minutes after severing of the hypophyseal stalk, dopamine in portal blood (>8 ng/ml) was significantly increased (P<0.05) compared with peripheral blood (<2 ng/ml). Norepinephrine concentration in portal blood was significantly greater (P<0.05) than in peripheral blood during the first 60 minutes. The sustained high PRL level in peripheral plasma after severing the hypophyseal stalk stimulated hypothalamic dopamine secretion from hypophyseal portal vessels during the prolonged period of blood collection. Norepinephrine concentration in these cattle was greater in hypophyseal portal blood than in peripheral blood, implicating both an important hypothalamic source of the catecholamine as well as an adrenal gland contribution during anesthesia.

Keywords: ASL R1786

How to Cite:

Anderson, L. L., (2003) “Brain Neuropeptides That Control Prolactin Secretion in Cattle”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2003
Peer Reviewed