Differences in the stress response of prolactin in young and aged female rats

Caroline Wiggins, Albert Ratner, Phyllis M. Wise

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The drawing of blood by orbital sinus puncture (OSP) under ether anesthesia is known to produce a marked increase in serum prolactin (PRL) levels in young cycling female rats. The effect of this stressful procedure on PRL release was compared in young and aged female rats. Nonstressed PRL levels were obtained from blood drawn by decapitation. Whereas OSP with a one-minute ether exposure induced a marked increase in PRL levels in young rats on all days of the estrus cycle, older cycling female rats on the day of diestrus -1 and aged rats exhibiting prolonged diestrus (PD) showed virtually no increase above nonstressed levels. However, increasing the ether exposure time to five minutes did produce a rise in PRL levels. Old cycling female rats on the day of estrus and aged rats exhibiting constant estrus (CE) did show a PRL increase comparable to that seen in young animals. Ovariectomy (OVX) completely abolished the stress response seen in aged CE rats. The response, though markedly decreased, was still present in young ovariectomized rats. These experiments show that the stress-induced rise in PRL promoted by OSP under ether anesthesia is markedly diminished in aged rats exhibiting a diestrus state. The attenuated response seen in these rats is believed due to factors characteristic of the diestrous state of aging.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1911-1917
    Number of pages7
    JournalLife Sciences
    Issue number16
    StatePublished - Apr 18 1983

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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