Hypophysiotropic role of RFamide-related peptide-3 in the inhibition of LH secretion in female rats.
OBJECTIVE To clarify the mechanism of the suppressive effect of 2-buten-4-olide (2-B4O), an endogenous feeding suppressant, on the pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH), by studying whether endogenous opioid peptides are involved in this suppressive effect. METHODS Using ovariectomized (ovx) rats, blood samples were taken every 6 min for 2 h after administration of 2-B4O or saline into the third cerebroventricle (3V) and sequential i.v. injection of naloxone (0. 5 mg/kg per h) or saline. Rats were divided into three experimental groups: group 1: 3V saline + i.v. saline (control); group 2: 3V 2-B4O + i.v. saline; group 3: 3V 2-B4O + i.v. naloxone. Serum LH concentrations were determined by double-antibody RIA. To determine whether 2-B4O affected the biosynthetic activity of the opioidergic neurons within the ovx rat arcuate nucleus, we measured the concentrations of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA, a precursor of beta-endorphin, in the rostral arcuate nucleus using non-radioactive in situ hybridization and a computerized image-analysis system. RESULTS 2-B4O significantly suppressed the pulse frequency of LH (group 2: 1.5+/-0.33 pulses/2 h, group 1: 2.43+/-0.2 pulses/2 h; P < 0.05), but naloxone blocked its suppressive effect and restored the pulse frequency (group 3: 3.29+/-0.36 pulses/2 h, group 2: 1.5+/-0.33 pulses/2 h: P < 0.01). There were no significant changes in the mean LH concentrations and amplitude. Furthermore, 2-B4O significantly stimulated the expression of POMC mRNA in the rostral arcuate nucleus. CONCLUSION These results suggest that 2-B4O may impair the pulsatile secretion of LH by activating the opioid pathway within the hypothalamus.