Stimulated vasopressin synthesis by a fetal hypothalamic factor

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Mar 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4181, pp. 1081-1082
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114335


The hypothalamo-neurohypophyseal complex (HNC) of the fetal guinea pig shows a dramatic increase in its content of vasopressin and neurophysin between the 40th and 55th days of gestation. The values for radioimmunoassayable hormone and binding protein are at day 40, 2 milliunits and less than 0.1 microgram; and at day 55, about 100 milliunits and 10 micrograms, respectively. Isotope incorporation experiments with organ cultures of the fetal HNC taken prior to the 35th day of gestation added additional confirmation of the inability of the hypothalamic neurosecretory cells to synthesize vasopressin or neurophysin at this time. However, by the 45th day, similar organ cultures show a vigorous incorporation of labeled amino acids into both hormone and binding protein. Furthermore, the HNC of the 45-day-old fetus apparently contains a factor that stimulates specifically the biosynthesis of vasopressin and neurophysin in HNC cultures from the adult guinea pig. This factor is not detectable in either cortex or liver of the 45-day-old fetus or in the fetal HNC taken prior to or after the period of exponential rise (40th to 55th days) of hormone and binding protein.