Denervation of the Rat Posterior Pituitary Gland: Validation of a Stereotaxic Method

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A stereotaxic surgical method was developed for interrupting the nerve fibres running through the rat pituitary stalk to the posterior pituitary gland without obliterating the hypothalamo‐pituitary portal circulation. The pituitary stalk was compressed by the blunt tip of an L‐shaped rotating knife. Successful operations produced mild diabetes insipidus, disappearance of arginine vasopressin from the neural lobe, accumulation of arginine vasopressin and neurosecretory material in the pituitary stalk and no infarction in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. In female rats, the oestrous cycle was only temporarily disturbed. Plasma prolactin and corticosterone levels were high during the first 24 h after the stalk compression but returned to normal baseline levels from the second day after the operation. One week after the operation plasma adrenocorticotropin and prolactin levels were in the control range while plasma a‐melanocyte‐stimulating hormone was elevated. Denervation of the posterior pituitary gland may help in studying the neural control of intermediate lobe function and the role of the neural lobe in various endocrine conditions, and may serve as a model for lesions of the pituitary stalk and formation of ectopic neurohypophysis in the human.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993



  • adrenocorticotropin
  • arginine vasopressin
  • ectopic neurohypophysis
  • intermediate lobe
  • prolactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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