Endocrinology and Metabolism

Pituitary and adrenal hormone responses to naloxone in euhydrated and dehydrated dogs

C. E. Wade


To assess the role of endogenous opioids in the secretion of pituitary and adrenal hormones, we injected intravenously the antagonist naloxone (1 mg/kg) into six dogs, euhydrated or dehydrated. Plasma renin activity (PRA), osmolality, and concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, aldosterone, vasopressin, Na+, and K+ were measured. Dehydration elevated (P less than 0.05) PRA, vasopressin, osmolality, and Na+. Thirty minutes after injection of naloxone, osmolality, Na+, K+, hematocrit, and plasma protein were not altered. Naloxone-induced elevations of ACTH (25 +/- 10 and 22 +/- 4 pg/ml) and cortisol (4.8 +/- 1.0 and 5.1 +/- 1.0 micrograms/dl) were similar during euhydration and dehydration, respectively. The increase in aldosterone due to naloxone was greater after euhydration (7.7 +/- 3 ng/dl) than during dehydration (2.3 +/- 0.8 ng/dl). Naloxone increased vasopressin by (5.3 +/- 2.8 microU/ml) during dehydration but not during euhydration. Intravenous hypertonic saline infusions showed that naloxone potentiates the osmotic release of vasopressin. Our results indicated that dehydration did not alter the inhibitory role of opioids in regulation of ACTH and cortisol but suppressed the inhibition of aldosterone secretion. Our findings also showed that opioids inhibit secretion of vasopressin during dehydration by decreased responsiveness to osmotic stimulation.