Dopamine antagonist alters serum cortisol and prolactin secretion in lactating Holstein cows

J Dairy Sci. 2006 Jun;89(6):2051-5. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72272-X.


The role of dopamine in regulating glucocorticoid and prolactin secretion was investigated in lactating Holstein cows by characterizing serum cortisol and prolactin responses to fluphenazine, a dopamine receptor antagonist. Twelve anovulatory cows received an intravenous bolus injection of either saline (n = 6) or 0.3 mg of fluphenazine/kg of body weight (n = 6) in wk 2 postpartum. Blood samples were collected every 30 min for 4 h before and 4 h after saline or fluphenazine injection. Serum progesterone concentration was 0.13 +/- 0.1 ng/mL and did not differ between groups. No difference in serum cortisol concentrations was detected between groups before treatments. Fluphenazine increased serum cortisol concentrations within 30 min after fluphenazine administration (>30 ng/mL) and concentrations remained elevated throughout the sampling period. Cortisol remained unchanged in saline-treated cows (<10 ng/mL). Prolactin concentrations also increased after fluphenazine administration (103.1 +/- 3.1 ng/mL), but were unaffected by saline (18 +/- 3.1 ng/mL). Prolactin concentrations remained elevated throughout the sampling period in fluphenazine-treated cows. Our results indicated that a dopamine antagonist increased cortisol, suggesting that endogenous dopamine, at least in part, regulates cortisol and prolactin secretion. These effects are regulated through dopamine receptors in anovulatory lactating dairy cows during the early postpartum period.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fluphenazine / pharmacology
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Prolactin / blood*


  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Prolactin
  • Fluphenazine
  • Dopamine
  • Hydrocortisone