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Diurnal variation in the release of alpha-MSH from rat hypothalamus and pituitary
Release of alpha-MSH from rat hypothalamic slices was characterized with respect to ionic requirements and possible diurnal variations using a sensitive radioimmunoassay. Addition of 47 mM KCl to the superfusion medium resulted in a twofold increase in alpha-MSH functions as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator in the hypothalamus. Both spontaneous and potassium-induced alpha-MSH release compared to spontaneous release. Removal of calcium from the superfusion medium abolished the potassium-evoked release of alpha-MSH. This supports the concept that alpha-MSH release were related to diurnal variation. Marked release from the slices was observed at 10.10 h, corresponding to a peak in the alpha-MSH concentration in the hypothalamus  and to a lower levels of alpha-MSH in the blood. Contrarily, no significant release from the hypothalamus was obtained at 17.00 h when hypothalamic alpha-MSH content was low, but blood levels exhibited a peak. These findings suggest that there are differences in the regulation of the alpha-MSH from the pituitary and that in the hypothalamus.
Animals *Circadian Rhythm Hypothalamus/*secretion Male Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones/*secretion Pituitary Gland/*secretion Potassium/pharmacology Rats Rats, Inbred Strains
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