Dose-Response of Prolactin to Increasing Doses of the Dopamine Receptor Antagonist, Sulpiride, in Horses: Effect of Season in Mares and Stallions of Estradiol Pretreatment in Geldings

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Two experiments were performed to determine whether dopaminergic input to the adenohypophysis (1) differs across seasons in mares and stallions proportionally with changes in prolactin secretion and (2) is altered by estradiol administration in geldings. In experiment 1, prolactin responses to increasing doses of . l-sulpiride in eight mares and eight stallions in March, June, September, and December were used to estimate the theoretical dose equivalent to 50% of maximal response. Prolactin areas increased (. P < .001) with increasing doses of sulpiride and were greatest (. P < .05) in March for stallions, but in June for mares. Mean half-maximal dose, which was assumed to be proportional to the dopaminergic input to the pituitary, was lowest (. P < .05) in June and greatest in September. Experiment 2 used the same approach to determine whether the stimulatory effect of estradiol pretreatment on prolactin secretion was associated with an alteration of the half-maximal response. Geldings (n = 6/group) were administered 100 mg of estradiol cypionate in oil, or oil alone, on day 0 (October 3) and increasing doses of . l-sulpiride starting on day 6. Estradiol treatment increased (. P < .08) the prolactin response to . l-sulpiride at 0.41 μg/kg body weight and all higher doses (. P < .05); mean half-maximal dose did not differ (. P > .1) between groups. We conclude that dopaminergic input to the adenohypophysis of mares and stallions varies with season and that the stimulatory effect of estradiol on prolactin secretion is not associated with a decrease in dopaminergic input to the adenohypophysis. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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Journal of Equine Veterinary Science

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