The role of dopamine in methylene blue-mediated inhibition of estradiol benzoate-induced anterior pituitary hyperplasia in rats

Neurosci Lett. 2001 May 25;304(3):194-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(01)01752-9.


Recently, we demonstrated that methylene blue partially inhibited estradiol-benzoate-induced anterior pituitary hyperplasia in rats. Since central dopaminergic systems participate in the regulation of estrogen-induced anterior pituitary growth and tumor transformation, this study examined whether a 3-week treatment with methylene blue could affect anterior pituitary levels of dopamine (DA), dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and dopamine (D-2) receptors in male rats. Compared to controls, methylene blue significantly decreased anterior pituitary weight, increased basal anterior pituitary DA levels, and inhibited estradiol benzoate-induced decreases in anterior pituitary DA concentrations. Furthermore, we found that methylene blue alone decreased anterior pituitary D-2 receptor number. Methylene blue given in combination with estradiol benzoate partially inhibited estradiol benzoate-induced anterior pituitary growth and estradiol benzoate-induced increases in D-2 receptor number. Estradiol benzoate-treated rats had significantly lower anterior pituitary DOPA accumulation after intraperitoneal administration of 3,4-hydroxybenzyl-hydrazine dihydrochloride (NSD-1015), an irreversible inhibitor of L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase whereas methylene blue did not affect anterior pituitary DOPA accumulation when compared to controls. Methylene blue decreased anterior pituitary prolactin levels and inhibited increases in anterior pituitary prolactin after estradiol benzoate administration. The present results suggest that anterior pituitary DA may play an important role in estrogen-induced anterior pituitary hyperplasia and tumor formation and that antioxidant drugs such as methylene blue may attenuate estrogen-induced pituitary growth. This may occur via increases in anterior pituitary DA levels associated with down-regulation of anterior pituitary D-2 receptors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Hyperplasia
  • Male
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / drug effects*
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism
  • Reference Values


  • Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydrazines
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • estradiol 3-benzoate
  • Estradiol
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • 3-hydroxybenzylhydrazine
  • Methylene Blue
  • Dopamine