Thursday, November 12, 2009

Neuroendocrine Neurons

Neuroendocrine neurons are group of specialized neurons which secrete dopamine, which is both a neurotransmitter and neurohormone. Neuroendocrine neurons are found in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Their nerve endings release dopamine in the hypophysial portal blood. The dopamine is then carried in the bloodstream to the anterior lobe of the hypophysis (pituitary gland).

Neuroendocrine neurons are also called tuberoinfundibular dopamine neurons. In lactating females, the neuroendocrine neurons are inhibited by the stimulus of suckling. As dopamine inhibits prolactin secretion, there is increased secretion of prolactin when neuroendocrine neurons are inhibited.