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Gonadal steroid regulation of substance p sp and sp encoding messenger rna in the rat anterior pituitary and hypothalamus


, : Gonadal steroid regulation of substance p sp and sp encoding messenger rna in the rat anterior pituitary and hypothalamus. Endocrinology 126(1): 330-340

Substance P-like immunoreactivity (SP-LI) is present in the rat anterior pituitary (AP) and in hypothalamic neurons that may be involved in the control of AP secretion and/or reproductive function. The presence of multiple SP-encoding mRNAs and tachykinin peptides and their regulation by steroid hormones were examined in APs and hypothalami from normal, gonadectomized, and steroid-treated male and female rats. SP-encoding mRNAs were identified by nuclease protection assays of RNA, and tachykinin peptides were identified by combined HPLC-RIA of tissue extracts. .beta.- and .gamma.-preprotachykinin (PPT) mRNAs and SP, neurokinin A, and neuropeptide .gamma. peptides were identified in the AP. The .alpha.-, .beta.-, and .gamma.-PPT mRNAs and SP, neurokinin A, neuropeptide .gamma., neuropeptide K, and neurokinin B peptides were present in hypothalalamic tissue. Previous studies have been established that in the AP, SP is differentially regulated by gonadal steroids; estrogen decreases and androgen increases AP SP. Steroid effects were further analyzed in experiments using RIAs to measure SP levels in the AP and median eminence (ME) of steroid- and oil-treated gonadectomized rats. To assess whether steroids alter steady state PPT mRNA levels and presumably SP synthesis in these tissues, potential effects on AP and hypothalamic SP-encoding mRNAs were determined. Ovariectomized rats treated for 10 days with estradiol benzoate showed a 50% decrease in AP SP and a 90% decrease in AP .beta.- and .gamma.-PPT mRNAs compared to ovariectomized oil-treated controls. Estradiol benzoate replacement had no effect on SP levels in the isolated ME, but did cause a 50% increase in .alpha., .beta.-, and .gamma.PPT mRNAs in the hypothalamus. Although there were no significant effect of testosterone propionate on AP SP levels in castrated males, 10 days of testosterone propionate replacement did cause a significant increase in .beta.- and .gamma.PPT mRNAs in the AP. No androgen effects were seen on either ME SP or hypothalamic SP-encoding mRNAs. These data demonstrate that estrogen up-regulates SP-encoding mRNAs in the hypothalamus, whereas it down-regulates SP-encoding mRNAs in the pituitary. These results implicate SP and other tachykinins derived from the SP gene as steroid-regulated modulators of AP secretion and possibly reproductive function.

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