The affect of paraventricular nucleus (PVN) lesions on PRL secretory response to suckling was studied in adult female rats. Basal levels of PRL were similar in the control and lesioned groups. Substantial decreases in PRL levels occurred after separation of pups from their mothers in the control as well as lesioned animals. When mothers and pups were reunited, the circulating PRL concentrations of the control groups rose immediately from basal values of 50–100 μg/liter to reach peaks of 450–550 μg/liter. PVN lesions significantly decreased the suckling-induced rise of PRL levels. Furthermore, PVN lesions abolished the high amplitude, episodic pattern of PRL release in continuously lactating rats. These findings are consistent with the view that PVN neurons produce PRL releasing factor(s), which is (are) required for normal secretory patterns of PRL in lactating rats.
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