A dopamine-inhibited adenylate cyclase has been demonstrated in anterior pituitary gland of adult female rats, lactating and not lactating. This inhibitory effect was completely GTP dependent. In contrast, in the adenohypophysis of male rats, dopamine had no detectable effect on adenylate cyclase activity. In female rats the inhibition of the enzyme appears mediated by specific dopaminergic receptors: the effect of dopamine was mimicked by the dopaminergic agonists apomorphine and the ergot derivative CH 29-717, while norepinephrine was much less potent. On the other hand, the dopaminergic antagonists trifluoperazine and sulpiride competitively antagonized the dopamine inhibition of the adenylate cyclase. The possibility that the dopamine-inhibited enzyme is located in mammotrophs appears supported 1) by its observation in the female rat pituitary, which contains this type of cells in much larger proportion than the male gland (33-38% vs. <5%); 2) by the pharmacological similarity between the dopaminergic receptors mediating the adenylate cyclase inhibition (this work) and those regulating prolactin release (which have been characterized in previous studies). The well known inhibition of prolactin release brought about by dopamine could therefore be mediated, at least in part, by a decrease in the intracellular level of cAMP.
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