In homozygous (di/di) Brattleboro rats, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) synthesis and processing, and the release of its products, is by definition not under the control of hypothalamic arginine vasopressin (AVP) in contrast with normal rats or heterozygote (di/+) littermates. To explore the role of AVP on these parameters, we have compared homozygotes and heterozygotes in terms of POMC mRNA levels, pituitary content of iminunoreactive (ir)-ACTH, ir-)-endor-phin (f)-EP), a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a-MSH) and ir-N-acetvl-EP (NacEP), plasma levels of ir-ACTH and ir-p-EP, and RP-HPLC profiles of the various forms of ir-a-MSH and ir-NacEP. Homozygous rats had immeasurably low levels of hypothalamic ir-AVP, in contrast with their heterozygote littermates; hypothalamic ir-corticotropin releasing factor did not differ between strains. No difference between-strains was seen in levels of POMC mRNA; elevated levels of all pituitary peptides, except ir-ACTH, were found in di/di rats; plasma levels of both ir-ACTH and ir-P-EP were lower in di/di rats; pituitary ir-a-MSH RP-HPLC profiles were similar in both strains, but those for ir-NacEP showed a striking increase in Naca-EP in di/di rats. We interpret these data as evidence for decreased degradation/retarded release of POMC products from the di/di anterior pituitary, for increased processing of POMC products to shorter forms in both anterior pituitary and neuro-intermediate lobe, and thus for a role of AVP in the processing of POMC, as well as POMC synthesis and ACTH/p-EP release.
- Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone
- Arginine vasopressin