Effects of cholinergic stimulation on pituitary hormone release

Bonnie M. Davis, Gregory M. Brown, Myron Miller, Henry G. Friesen, Abba J. Kastin, Kenneth L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physostigmine was infused into human volunteers to assess the effect of central cholinergic stimulation on memory and on neuroendocrine function. Methscopolamine bromide, a peripheral anticholinergic agent, was given simultaneously. The lower dose of physostigmine (1.0 mg) produced no change in AVP, cortisol, melatonin, GH or LH in those subjects without unpleasant cholinergic side effects. Larger doses of physostigmine usually produced nausea, and were associated with marked elevations of AVP, cortisol and prolactin, but no change in GH, LH or melatonin. Thus, cholinergic agents easily induce a stress response, but the GH component of this response can be suppressed by peripheral cholinergic blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • cortisol
  • growth hormone
  • luteinizing hormone
  • melatonin
  • methscopolamine
  • physostigmine
  • prolactin
  • stress
  • vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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