The concentration of immunoreactive beta-endorphin (IR-BE) in the anterior pituitary (AP) and the neurointermediate lobe of the pituitary (NIL) was elevated in old as compared to young male rats. Treatment of old male rats with the dopamine precursor, L-DOPA, did not affect the concentration of IR-BE in the AP and produced a significant reduction in the concentration of IR-BE in the NIL. By contrast, administration of the serotonergic neurotoxin, p-CPA, significantly diminished the concentration of IR-BE in the AP of old male rats, while the concentration of IR-BE in the NIL remained unchanged. Hypothalamic IR-BE was decreased in old male rats and was not influenced by administration of L-DOPA or p-CPA. Chromatographic analysis indicated that in the AP of old animals the amount of beta-endorphin relative to beta-lipotropin was increased and was diminished slightly by the treatments. Alterations in IR-BE in the NIL and hypothalamus were represented solely by beta-endorphin. These data suggest that in old male rats, a decrease in dopaminergic activity contributes to the increase in IR-BE levels in the NIL, and an increase in serotonergic function, at least in part, is responsible for the elevation in the level of IR-BE in the AP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology