Changes in the hypothalamo-corticotrope axis after bilateral adrenalectomy: evidence for a median eminence site of glucocorticoid action

E Spinedi, M Giacomini, M C Jacquier, R C Gaillard
Neuroendocrinology 1991, 53 (2): 160-70
Bilateral adrenalectomy (ADX) leads to increased ACTH synthesis and secretion. It is thought that endogenous glucocorticoids exert a feedback mechanism at both pituitary and brain levels. The present study has been performed in order to determine the effect of ADX on the release of hypothalamic neuropeptides with corticotropin-releasing activity (CRA) and if there exists a median eminence site of glucocorticoid action to regulate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function. Adrenalectomized and sham-operated male rats were killed at different periods after surgery (2, 5, 7 and 14 days) and trunk blood was collected for ACTH and corticosterone (B) concentrations measurement. Brain (median eminence, ME; and medial basal hypothalamus, MBH) and pituitary (anterior lobe, AP; and neurointermediate lobe, NIL) tissues were dissected in order to evaluate either peptide content or in vitro hormone release. The results indicate that ADX blunted plasma B levels and increased AP ACTH content and secretion in a time-related fashion up to the 14th day. ADX significantly decreased both CRF and CRA contents in the ME at all periods studied; ME arginine-vasopressin (AVP) increased 7 and 14 days after ADX. MBH CRF decreased after ADX, but returned to sham value 2 weeks later; similarly, MBH AVP decreased at all periods after ADX. Removal of endogenous glucocorticoids did not vary neither oxytocin (OXY) content in the ME and MBH nor AVP and OXY contents in the NIL. In our superfusion experiments, we found that ADX increased basal AVP release and did not change spontaneous CRF secretion from ME terminals. Dexamethasone (Dxm, 10 nM) diminished AVP but not CRF output by ME tissues from adrenalectomized rats. A direct relationship was found between ME CRF and 28 mM KCl (hK+)-induced CRF release by MEs from adrenalectomized rats. ME fragments from adrenalectomized rats were hyperresponsive to kH+ stimulation of AVP release. Dxm (10 nM) decreased the hK(+)-evoked CRF and AVP release by MEs from adrenalectomized rats. ADX and dexamethasone treatment did not influence basal and hK(+)-elicited ME OXY release. Additionally, a rapid glucocorticoid inhibitory effect on ACTH secretion by isolated AP cells from both sham and adrenalectomized rats was found, and an in vitro corticotrope hyporesponse to 0.63 nM CRF and 9.25 nM AVP stimulation during several days after ADX.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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