Female rats were treated with two intraventricular injections each of 350 µg 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and used for experiment 4 or 14 days later. The response to laparotomy, as assessed by subsequent in vitro corticosterone release, was unaffected by the drug, but that to the smaller stress of a skin cut was significantly reduced. Both fast and delayed feedback responses to corticosterone administration were still evident in 6-OHDA-treated animals. When determined 14 days after treatment, hypothalamic concentrations of epinephrine (E) and norepinephrine (NE) were reduced by 46 and 84%, respectively. There was no significant change in content of immunoreactive corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF-41). The acetylcholine-stimulated release of CRF bioactivity from control hypothalami incubated in vitro was significantly inhibited by E or NE, with E being at least 10 times more potent on a molar basis. This effect of NE was enhanced in hypothalami removed from 6-OHDA-treated rats, complete inhibition of acetylcholine-stimulated release of CRF being produced by 0.6 nMNE, as opposed to 6.0 nM for untreated controls. At the level of the anterior pituitary gland, tissue content of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) was unaffected by treatment, but that of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the same tissues was significantly increased. The corticotrophic response of fragments of the gland incubated or perifused in vitro to hypothalamic extract, CRF-41, arginine vasopressin or E was reduced. In contrast, the response of the tissue to gonadotro-pin-releasing hormone (GnRH) added in vitro was not significantly affected. There was no difference in release of corticosterone from adrenals glands removed from control and 6-OHDA-treated rats and incubated in vitro, either basally or in response to synthetic ACTH 1–24. Treatment with 6-OHDA had no significant effect on adrenal gland weight or the compensatory adrenal hypertrophy seen 4 days after unilateral adrenalectomy.

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