In vivo and in vitro effects of tetrahydroisoquinolines and other alkaloids on rat pituitary function

Donald R. Britton, Catherine Rivier, Thomas Shier, Floyd Bloom, Wylie Vale

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Several tetrahydroisoquinolines (TIQs) were tested for their in vitro and in vivo capacities to modulate prolactin (PRL) and β-endorphin (β-end) secretion by the rat pituitary and for their abilities to displace [3H]spiroperidol and [3H]naloxone binding from pituitary and hypothalamic membranes. Receptor binding studies showed that TIQs could be classified as having (a) higher affinity for opiate receptors (tetrahydropapaverine, papaverine, 6-methylsalsolinol, 1-carboxysalsolinol and 3',4'-deoxynorlaudanosolinecarboxylic acid), (b) higher affinity for the dopamine receptor (salsolinol and 7-methylsalsolinol), or (c) approximately equal affinity for the two binding sites (6,7-dimethylsalsolinol and tetrahydropapaveroline, THP). In freely moving male rats, THP produced a several-fold increase in plasma PRL levels. This effect was not altered by co-administration of naloxone but was attenuated by dopamine. In vitro several TIQs reversed the inhibitory effect of dopamine on PRL secretion by cultured anterior pituitary cells. The order of potencies of the TIQs in this system paralleled their order of potencies in the dopamine receptor assay. THP, the most potent dopamine antagonist, also blocked dopamine-mediated inhibiton of β-endorphin secretion from neurointermediate lobe cells in culture. These data demonstrate that THP and some other TIQs can act as dopamine antagonists in radioreceptor assays, in cell culture and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1211
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1982

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* This research was supported by Grant AA03504 to the Salk Institute Alcohol Research Center. D.R.B. was an NRS NIDA Fellow (No. 1 F31 DA 05131-01) at the time of this study. P Address all correspondence to: D. R. B&ton, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131, U.S.A.


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