The presence and activity of brain, pituitary and testicular beta-endorphin (beta-EP)-like material have been studied in the frog, Rana esculenta, using reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography, coupled with radioimmunoassay and immunocytochemistry. In-vivo and in-vitro treatments with naltrexone were carried out to assess the putative physiological activity of opioid peptides. beta-EP(1-31) and (1-27), together with their acetylated forms, have been identified in brain, pituitary and testis. In particular, beta-EP(1-31) concentrations peaked during July in the brain and pituitary, whilst in testes maximum concentrations were found in April and November. beta-EP immunoreactivity was present in the brain within the nucleus preopticus and nucleus infundibularis ventralis while positive fibres in the retrochiasmatic regions projected to the median eminence. In the testis, interstitial cells, canaliculi of the efferent system, spermatogonia and spermatocytes showed positive immunostaining for beta-EP. In intact animals, naltrexone treatment increased plasma and testicular androgen levels and this effect was confirmed in in-vitro incubations of minced testes. Naltrexone also induced a significant increase in germ cell degeneration. Our results indicated that an opioid system modulates the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis in the frog, Rana esculenta and, for the first time, we have shown that the testicular activity of a non-mammalian species may be regulated by opiates locally.
Opioids and testicular activity in the frog, Rana esculenta / Facchinetti, Fabio; A. R., Genazzani; M., Vallarino; M., Pestarino; A., Polzonetti Magni; O., Carnevali; G., Ciarcia; S., Fasano; M., D'Antonio; R., Pierantoni. - In: JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGY. - ISSN 0022-0795. - STAMPA. - 137:(1993), pp. 49-57.