The effect of salt loading on POMC-derived peptide secretion, POMC mRNA levels, and POMC biosynthesis in the mouse pituitary gland was investigated. Plasma aMSH levels decreased to 56.9% of the control value after 2 days of salt loading. Concomitantly, POMC mRNA levels and POMC biosynthesis in the intermediate lobe decreased to 47.7% and 66.4% of the control value, respectively. After 4 days of salt loading, plasma αMSH levels, POMC mRNA, and POMC biosynthesis returned to control levels. ACTH secretion increased to 142.2% of the control value after 2 days of salt loading, but decreased to 73.4% of the control levels after 4 days. After 9 days, ACTH secretion was still low; however, by 12 days, plasma ACTH levels in salt-loaded mice were not significantly different from control levels. POMC mRNA levels in the anterior lobe increased to 205.0% of the control value after 2 days of salt loading, continued to be high after 4 days, but returned to control levels by 9 days. However, POMC biosynthesis was not altered under these conditions during the entire period of salt loading. Thus, POMC mRNA levels and biosynthesis were modulated differently in the intermediate and anterior lobes of the mouse pituitary gland during salt loading.
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