Adrenocorticotropic hormone may be transported directly from the pituitary to the brain

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  31 Oct 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4469, pp. 541-543
DOI: 10.1126/science.6252607


Experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that pituitary hormones may be delivered directly to the brain. Concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in the plasma were determined in blood samles obtained simultaneously from the carotid artery, the sagittal sinus, and the jugular vein of three awake sheep. Seizures were induced electrically to stimulate ACTH secretion, and at precise intervals thereafter several simultaneous comparisons were made in each animal. In many of the post-seizure comparisons, the ACTH plasma concentrations within the sagital sinus exceeded those within the carotid artery as well as those within the jugular vein, indicating that this hormone was released from the pituitary and carried directly through capillary beds of brain to the venous blood within the sagittal sinus. The experiment was repeated in one hypophysectomized sheep and, in this animal, ACTH concentration in the plasma was reduced, but that in the sagittal sinus still was elevated after the seizure, an indication that some ACTH (or ACTH-like material) was released from the brain itself.