High concentrations of catecholamines in human hypothalamic-hypophysial blood

R. Paradisi, G. Frank, G. Grossi, S. Venturoli, E. Porcu, M. Capelli, E. Galassi, C. Flamigni

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While the hypothalamic-hypophysial portal system has been extensively studied in laboratory animals, equivalent studies have not been performed in humans. Here, we present and experimental procedure for collecting suprapituitary blood in man. To solve the question on the origin of such blood we investigated specific markers of hypothalamic secretory activity: the catecholamines (CAs). We found (a) norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), and epinephrine (E) concentrations from ~1.5 to 2.5, 3.5 to 4.5, and 6- to 10-fold higher, respectivelyn in suprapituitary than peripheral blood, (b) different NE/DA and NE/E ratios in favor of DA and E in suprapituitary blood, and (c), a complete (100%) group separation (suprapituitary vs. peripheral) when discriminant analysis included only DA and E. These data indicate that suprapituitary blood composition is different from that of the peripheral blood, and is particularly rich in CAs and claimed differences between DA and E release on one hand and NE release on the other in suprapituitary blood also are observed. We advance the hypothesis of a hypothalamic source of such amines draining via median eminence into portal vasculature, and name this blood 'hypothalamic-hypophysial blood'. Besides serving as 'classical' neurotransmitters, CAs may also have a direct neurohormonal role in the regulation of the human hypothalamic-hypphysial function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2079-2084
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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