Regulation of prolactin secretion by dopamine at the level of the hypothalamus in the Turkey

Orlan Youngren, Yupaporn Chaiseha, Khaled Al-Zailaie, Stephen Whiting, Seong Wook Kang, Mohamed El Halawani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Avian prolactin (PRL) secretion is regulated by vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) neurons residing in the infundibular nuclear complex (INF) of the hypothalamus. This VIPergic activity is modulated by stimulatory dopaminergic inputs. Dynorphin, serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and VIP all appear to stimulate PRL secretion along a hypothalamic pathway, expressing κ opioid, serotonergic, dopaminergic and VIPergic receptors in succession, with the VIPergic system as the final mediator. Electrical stimulation (ES) within the turkey hypothalamus at the level of the medial preoptic area (POA), the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMN), the INF or the median eminence (ME) results in the release of PRL. When the selective D1 DA receptor antagonist SCH-23390 HCl was infused intraventricularly at the rate of 10 nmol/min, ES in the POA or VMN was unable to increase PRL levels, while ES in the INF and ME did increase PRL to the same level as that of controls. These results were interpreted to suggest that the D1 DA receptors involved in PRL release lie caudally to the VMN and dorsally to the INF. Bilateral microinjections (50 ng) of the D1 DA receptor agonist SKF-38393 HCl into the POA or VMN failed to produce any increase in PRL, while similar microinjections in the INF increased PRL significantly within 15 min. Bilateral microinjections of the D1 DA antagonist (50 ng) into the INF blocked the rise in PRL associated with ES in the POA. Bilateral microinjections of a D2 DA antagonist (50 ng) into the INF failed to block PRL secretion induced by ES in the POA. Tract tracing, using double-label immunocytochemistry, revealed the presence of a monosynaptic dopaminergic pathway projecting from the POA to the INF. These data imply that the only hypothalamic D1 DA receptors involved in the regulation of avian PRL secretion are those residing within the INF in the same region as the VIP neurons known to be involved in PRL secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 6 2002


  • Arcuate nucleus
  • Birds
  • Catecholamine antagonists
  • Catecholamine receptors
  • Catecholamines
  • Preoptic area
  • Prolactin
  • Vasoactive intestinal peptide


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