Comparison of effects of prolactin and growth hormone on adrenal 5alpha-reductase in hypophysectomized rats

Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1976 Apr;151(4):689-93. doi: 10.3181/00379727-151-39287.


Adrenal 5alpha-reductase activity was measured in female rats 0, 2, 5, and 6 days after hypophysectomy. Enzyme activity increased progressively exhibing a 35-fold elevation at 6 days. The effects of high (250 mug/100 g of body wt), intermediate (25 mug/100 g of body wt), and low (2.5 mug/100 of body wt) daily doses of bovine prolactin and bovine growth hormone were compared at 2 and 5 days posthypophysectomy. At 2 days, enzyme activity was partially inhibited by the high and intermediate doses of prolactin and not affected by growth hormone. At 5 days all doses of prolactin were inhibitory, whereas enzyme activity was suppressed only by the high dose of growth hormone. With a given dose of hormone, the amount of suppression of enzyme activity is greater at 5 days than at 2 days posthypophysectomy. In 5-day hypophysectomized rats the inhibitory effects of prolactin and growth hormone were additive. It is concluded that: (i) hormonal sensitivity and responsiveness of the adrenal reductase pathway increases with duration of pituitary ablation; (ii) the reductive pathway is more sensitive to the effects of prolactin than growth hormone; and (iii) the effects of growth hormone and prolactin on reductase activity are mediated via different mechanisms, as suggested by the additive effects of individual hormones.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Cortisone Reductase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Hypophysectomy
  • Prolactin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Prolactin
  • Growth Hormone
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Cortisone Reductase