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School of Medicine




A case is made for the involvement of pituitary prostaglandins (PGs) in the regulation of thyrotropin (TSH) secretion by citing recent evidence that TSH release in vivo and in vitro is enhanced by treatment with exogenous PGs and is inhibited by drugs (e.g., indomethacin) that block PG synthesis. Pharmacological studies were then performed to test the hypothesis that hypothalamic PGs also affect TSH secretion indirectly via the appropriate hypothalamic hormones that regulate pituitary secretion. The inhibition of thyroidectomy-induced TSH secretion was used as an endpoint in choosing the best of several drugs purported to inhibit PG synthesis. The established effectiveness of indomethacin and aspirin were used for reference in testing the following drugs: naproxen, mefenamic acid, tranylcypromine, and phenelzine. Only naproxen was found to be effective, but since it was no more potent than indomethacin, the latter drug was used for subsequent work. Indomethacin was stereotaxically implanted into several hypothalamic regions known to regulate TSH secretion, and sequential plasma samples were analyzed for TSH by radioimmunoassay. Bilateral implants of indomethacin in the anterior hypothalamic area increased TSH secretion throughout the 72 hr period of study. Sham inplants at this site and indomethacin implants in other nearby sites were ineffective. These findings suggest that endogenous PGs play an inhibitory role in the hypothalamic regulation of pituitary secretion.

Source Citation

Wright, K. C., & Hedge, G. A. (1981). Pharmacological studies of the involvement of hypothalamic prostaglandins in the regulation of thyrotropin secretion. Environmental Health Perspectives, 38, 83–88.



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