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Thesis (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded



Insulin resistance, Serotonin, Pituitary-adrenal function tests


Controversy exists concerning the possible involvement of serotonin in the pituitary-adrenocortical response to stress. In the present research, a variety of physiological and pharmacological manipulations were used in male rats to study the role of this neurotransmitter in the adrenocortical response to insulin- induced hypoglycemia. First, the effect of insulin stress on hypothalamic 5-HT metabolism was examined, and an increased turnover was found as determined by an enhanced accumulation of 5-HT following monoamine oxidase inhibition. The corticos terone response to insulin was potentiated by prior administration of L-tryptophan, and blocked by pretreatment with valine, an amino acid that competes with tryptophan for transport across the blood-brain barrier. Treatment with the 5-HT receptor blocker methysergide, or serotonin depletion by intraventricular injection of 5 , 7-dihydroxy tryptamine significantly attenuated the insulin- induced rise in circulating corticosterone.