The synthesis and release of dopamine within tuberoinfundibular neurons were studied in rats treated with reserpine and/or pargyline. The effect of reserpine to elevate the serum concentration of prolactin was accompanied by a 70–80% reduction in the concentration of dopamine in pituitary stalk plasma. When rats were given pargyline (75 mg/kg) prior to the administration of reserpine (2.5 mg/kg), the reserpine-induced alterations in serum prolactin and stalk plasma dopamine concentrations were completely prevented. Pargyline treatment alone resulted in a significant elevation of the concentration of dopamine in pituitary stalk plasma and a reduction in the serum concentration of prolactin. The effects of reserpine and pargyline on the synthesis of dopamine in the median eminence were found to be the opposite of their effects on the release of dopamine. Dopamine synthesis (as estimated by the accumulation of dihydroxyphenylalanine after inhibition of decarboxylase activity) was increased after reserpine and decreased after pargyline administration. Thus, these data serve to illustrate the point that, under certain conditions, the release of dopamine from tuberoinfundibular neurons can be dissociated from its rate of synthesis. More importantly, it appears the release of dopamine from these neurons is dependent upon intact dopamine storage function and monoamine oxidase activity, in addition to continued catecholamine synthesis.

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