Postprint version. Published in Domestic Animal Endocrinology, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 1, 1990, pages 191-198.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Jeffrey D. Armstrong was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Endogenous opioid peptides mediate the effect of suckling on LH and PRL in the domestic pig. However, the role of opioids in modulating GH during lactation in swine is not known. Primiparous sows that had been immunized against GRF(1–29) conjugated to human serum albumin (GRF-HSA, n = 5) or HSA (n = 4) were used to determine changes in GH after naloxone. Treatments were imposed in all sows on day 21 of lactation when antibody titers were 9100 ± 1629. All sows received (i.v.) naloxone (0.25 mg/kg) or saline (0.0125 ml/kg) at 15 min intervals for 165 min. Active immunization against GRF-HSA during lactation decreased (P < 0.05) mean concentration (4.8 ± 0.2 vs 2.6 ± 0.1 ng/ml) and frequency (1.5 ± 0.3 vs 0.4 ± 0.2 peaks/4 hr). Concentrations of LH and PRL were similar in GRF-HSA and HSA immunized sows. Naloxone suppressed (P < 0.05) GH in all sows. In HSA sows, naloxone abolished episodic release of GH and decreased average, but not basal, concentrations of GH. In sows immunized against GRF-HSA, naloxone decreased (P < 0.05) average and basal GH but failed to decrease frequency of GH release. Naloxone failed to alter frequency of LH release. Concentrations of PRL decreased (P < 0.05) after naloxone in all sows. In conclusion, immunization against GRF-HSA blocked most of the effect of lactation on GH. Blocking opioid receptors with naloxone decreased GH and PRL in all sows. In contrast to previous findings naloxone had no effect on LH. Opioids alter concentrations of GH through a GRF dependent and GRF independent pathway.