Vasopressin from hypothalamic magnocellular neurons has opposite actions at the adenohypophysis and in the supraoptic nucleus on ACTH secretion

Carsten T Wotjak, Mike Ludwig, Karl Ebner, John A Russell, Nicolas Singewald, Rainer Landgraf, Mario Engelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Magnocellular vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic neurons of the hypothalamic supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular nuclei comprise the hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system, which is crucially involved in the regulation of body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. However, still controversial is to what extent the same system influences the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the adenohypophysis. Therefore, we selectively stimulated magnocellular neurons of the SON of conscious male Wistar rats via retrodialysis. As expected, dialysis of the SON with hypertonic medium increased both the release of vasopressin within the SON and the secretion of vasopressin and oxytocin into the systemic blood circulation. This activation of the hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system was accompanied by a fivefold increase in plasma ACTH concentration. This effect was observed only if the tip of the microdialysis probe was within the SON. Intravenous infusion of the vasopressin V1 receptor antagonist d(CH2)5Tyr(Me)AVP significantly attenuated the effects of local osmotic stimulation of the SON on ACTH secretion. In contrast, administration of the same antagonist directly into the SON significantly enhanced the osmotically stimulated secretion of ACTH and corticosterone, primarily by delaying the restoration of the hormone secretion to prestimulation levels. We conclude from these findings that vasopressin from the hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system participates in the regulation of the hormonal stress response in a counterbalanced manner at the level of the SON and the adenohypophysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-85
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Animals
  • Antidiuretic Hormone Receptor Antagonists
  • Arginine Vasopressin
  • Extracellular Space
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Neurons
  • Oxytocin
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Vasopressin
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Supraoptic Nucleus
  • Vasopressins
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


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