WE have previously reported that significant amounts of immunoreactive (ir)-Leu5-enkephalin were present in extracts of the neurointermediate lobe of the rat pituitary1. Negligible amounts of the pentapeptide were detected in the anterior lobe. In these assays, the concentration of Leu5-enkephalin in the neurointermediate lobe was higher than in the globus pallidus, the brain region reported to contain the densest enkephalinergic innervation2. The high content of (ir)-Leu-enkephalin in the neurointermediate lobe of the pituitary led us to further investigation of its distribution and possible function. We report here that (ir)-enkephalins in the pituitary are concentrated in nerve fibres projecting from the hypothalamus to the pars nervosa and that this pathway may be involved in the regulation of neurohypophysial neurosecretion.
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