Neuromedin U suppresses prolactin secretion via dopamine neurons of the arcuate nucleus

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Jan 8;521(2):521-526. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2019.10.156. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Neuromedin U (NMU) has a precursor that contains one additional peptide consisting of 33 or 36 amino acid residues. Recently, we identified this second peptide from rat brain and designated it neuromedin U precursor-related peptide (NURP), showing it to stimulate prolactin release from the pituitary when injected via the intracerebroventricular (icv) route. Here, we examined whether NMU, like NURP, also stimulates prolactin release. Unlike NURP, icv injection of NMU significantly decreased the secretion of prolactin from the pituitary. This suppression of prolactin release by NMU was observed in hyper-prolactin states such as lactation, stress, pseudopregnancy, domperidone (dopamine antagonist) administration, and icv injection of NURP. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that icv injection of NMU induced cFos expression in dopaminergic neurons of the arcuate nucleus, but not the substantia nigra. Mice with double knockout of NMU and neuromedin S (NMS), the latter also binding to NMU receptors, showed a significant increase of the plasma prolactin level after domperidone treatment relative to wild-type mice. These results suggest that NMU and NURP may play important reciprocal roles in physiological prolactin secretion.

Keywords: Dopamine; Neuromedin S; Neuromedin U; Neuromedin U precursor-related peptide; Prolactin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / cytology*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neuropeptides / deficiency
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter


  • Neuropeptides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • neuromedin S
  • neuromedin U receptor
  • neuromedin U
  • Prolactin