Mechanisms involved in the prolactin-releasing effect of benserazide

Eugenio A. Parati, Angela Penalva, G. Pietro Bondiolotti, Marco Parenti, Vittorio Locatelli, Giovanni B. Picotti, Daniela Cocchi, Eugenio E. Müller

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The mechanism(s) underlying the prolactin (PRL)-releasing effect of benserazide (Bz), a peripheral inhibitor of L-aromatic amino-acid decarboxylase, was investigated in the rat. In intact male and female rats, Bz was ineffective to increase significantly plasma PRL at 0.8 mg/kg i.p. but elicited an already maximal effect at 1.6 mg/kg. Bz added to in vitro incubated anterior pituitaries (APs) did not alter PRL secretion at the dose of 3.8 × 10-6 M but increased PRL release at 10-4 M. Bz, even at very high doses (up to 10-3 M), did not displace [3H]spiroperidol binding from AP membrane preparations. In rats having had mechanical ablation of the medio basal hypothalamus (MBH), Bz (15 mg/kg i.p.) induced no rise in plasma PRL and did not counteract the striking inhibitory effect of a dopamine (DA) infusion (5 μg/kg per min per 120 min). Administration of Bz (15 mg/kg i.p.) into intact male rats decreased significantly the DA concentrations in the median eminence (ME) but not in the residual hypothalamus and the AP. In the same rats 1-dopa (50 mg/kg i.p.) increased significantly the DA concentrations not only in the ME but also in the hypothalamus and the AP. Bz given concurrently with 1-dopa markedly reduced the rise in DA concentrations induced by 1-dopa in the ME, and greatly potentiated the increase in DA concentrations in the hypothalamus. These data indicate that the mechanism whereby a single administration of Bz increases PRL secretion in the rat is not consistent with the postulated DA receptor antagonist action of the drug, but instead implies inhibition of the decarboxylation of 1-dopa at dopaminergic nerve terminals of the ME.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 1984


  • Benserazide
  • Prolactin secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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