Catecholamines and pituitary function. I. Effects of catecholamine synthesis inhibition and subsequent catecholamine infusion on gonadotropin and prolactin serum levels in normal cycling women and in women with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea.Horm Res 1984; 19(3):158-70HR
To investigate the role of catecholamines in the control of gonadotropin and prolactin release, we examined the effects of a catecholamine synthesis inhibitor (alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine, AMPT) administration and those of dopamine (DA) or epinephrine (EPI) infusion after endogenous catecholamine synthesis inhibition, on FSH, LH and PRL serum levels, in regularly cycling women and in patients with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea. AMPT administration was followed by a prompt increase in serum PRL in regularly cycling women, but not in women with hyperprolactinemia either due to a PRL-secreting pituitary microadenoma or 'idiopathic'. Gonadotropin serum levels did not show any significant variation after AMPT in both normal and hyperprolactinemic women. DA infusion after endogenous catecholamine synthesis inhibition by AMPT, induced an appreciable decline in PRL levels in both normal and hyperprolactinemic subjects. Although the net decrements were higher in the hyperprolactinemic group, the PRL fall was similar in the two groups when expressed as a percentage of preinfusion PRL concentrations. LH serum levels similarly fell during DA infusion in normal women and in hyperprolactinemic patients, while FSH concentrations did not show any significant change. EPI infusion after analogous AMPT pretreatment was followed by an evident decrease in serum PRL in both normal and hyperprolactinemic subjects. No significant changes in FSH and LH serum concentrations were observed during EPI administration. These data, while confirming the existence of a functional derangement in the neural inhibitory control of PRL secretion in hyperprolactinemia either due to a PRL-secreting pituitary microadenoma or so-called 'idiopathic', do not agree with the hypothesis that tubero-infundibular DA hyperactivity inhibits gonadotropin secretion in hyperprolactinemic patients. The inhibitory action of exogenously administered DA might represent rather a pharmacological effect than express a physiological inhibitory role of hypothalamic DA pathway on gonadotropin secretion in humans.