Hypothalamic and pituitary beta-endorphin (B-EP) concentrations are modified by ovariectomy and estrogen treatments, supporting a direct interaction between this peptidergic system and gonadal steroids. Because the use of progestins is becoming even more diffuse in clinical practice, we evaluated the effect of progesterone and of the synthetic progestins medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), norethisterone acetate (NET) and desogestrel on the concentration of B-EP in the medial-basal hypothalamus and the anterior and neurointermediate pituitary lobes in ovariectomized rats (OVX), treated or untreated with estradiol benzoate (EB). B-EP concentrations were significantly increased by desogestrel in the anterior lobe and by progesterone, desogestrel and medroxyprogesterone acetate in the neurointermediate lobe. Progesterone and progestins significantly reduced B-EP increase induced by estradiol benzoate in the anterior lobe. Estradiol benzoate treatment did not modify the effect of progesterone and desogestrel on B-EP in the neuro-intermediate pituitary lobe. Norethisterone acetate and progesterone increased B-EP concentrations in the medial-basal hypothalamus, while the other steroids were inactive. In contrast, in the hypothalamus all progestins attenuated the increase of B-EP induced by estradiol benzoate (p less than 0.01). These data indicate that progesterone and progestins modulate the hypothalamic and pituitary B-EP concentrations in concert with estrogens. The capacity of progestins to modify the hypothalamic contents of B-EP may represent one of the mechanisms of action of these steroids in influencing brain function.
Progesterone and progestins modulate beta-endorphin concentrations in the hypothalamus and in the pituitary of castrated female rats / A. R., Genazzani; F., Petraglia; M., Bergamaschi; Genazzani, Alessandro; Facchinetti, Fabio; Volpe, Annibale. - In: GYNECOLOGICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY. - ISSN 0951-3590. - STAMPA. - 1:(1987), pp. 61-69.