Blunted Fenfluramine-Evoked Prolactin Secretion in Hypertensive Rats

Sean D. Stocker, Matthew F. Muldoon, Alan F. Sved

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12 Scopus citations


Plasma prolactin (PRL) levels after acute administration of fenfluramine (FEN) have been used as a probe of brain serotonin activity. FEN-evoked increases in PRL levels inversely correlate with arterial blood pressure (ABP) in humans (Muldoon et al. Hypertension. 1998;32:972-975), thereby suggesting that brain serotonin activity may be reduced in hypertension. The present study sought to determine whether the relation between FEN-evoked PRL levels and ABP was present in two rat models of hypertension. Experiments were performed in awake male rats that were instrumented with femoral arterial and venous catheters 2 days before experiments. FEN (3.0 mg/kg IV) significantly increased plasma PRL levels in both spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY); however, FEN-evoked PRL levels were significantly lower in SHR compared with WKY, though baseline levels were similar between strains. Similar results were obtained in rats with chronic hypertension produced by figure-8 renal wrap plus contralateral nephrectomy. In contrast, the increase in PRL levels evoked by the serotonin receptor agonist m-CPP or the dopamine receptor antagonist eticlopride did not differ between SHR and WKY, indicating that PRL secretion is not generally blunted in chronic hypertensive rats. Furthermore, FEN-evoked PRL levels were not attenuated in rats made acutely hypertensive by an infusion of the α-adrenergic agonist phenylephrine. Thus, the present findings are consistent with the human data and suggest that chronic hypertension is associated with a presynaptic alteration in brain serotonin function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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