Subcutaneous administration of behaviorally effective doses of arginine vasopressin change brain AVP content only in median eminence

Neuroendocrinology. 1986;42(3):260-6. doi: 10.1159/000124449.


The accumulation of [8-arginine]vasopressin (AVP) in brain areas inside the blood-brain barrier (thalamus-hypothalamus, amygdala with overlying temporal cortex, hippocampus and cerebral cortex) and outside the blood-brain barrier (median eminence of the hypothalamus and area postrema) was measured after subcutaneous injection of the hormone. The plasma concentrations of AVP peaked at 5 min after subcutaneous injection and declined in a biphasic manner over the next 115 min. The concentration of AVP in brain tissue samples peaked at 20 min after the subcutaneous injection of AVP; the decline of AVP in the areas protected by the blood-brain barrier followed the time course seen for plasma. The concentration of AVP in the brain areas not so protected also peaked at 20 min but these declined at rates that differed from other brain areas and plasma. The concentration of AVP in the plasma and in most brain areas depended on the dose administered, while those in the median eminence and in the area postrema did not. Water deprivation for 24 and 48 h significantly elevated both the plasma AVP concentration and the concentration of AVP in the hypothalamus and in the amygdala-temporal cortex samples. The increases in AVP after water deprivation are limited to these two regions and are quantitatively much lower than after peripheral administration. Furthermore, when the brains of anesthetized rats were perfused free of blood, there were no changes in regional brain AVP content after subcutaneous treatment with 5,000 ng/kg of AVP, except for the median eminence. These data suggest that circulating AVP does not enter the parenchyma of brain areas protected by the blood-brain barrier in sufficient quantities to be detected by our assay.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine Vasopressin / administration & dosage
  • Arginine Vasopressin / blood
  • Arginine Vasopressin / metabolism*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Median Eminence / metabolism
  • Perfusion
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Water Deprivation / physiology


  • Arginine Vasopressin