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Small assemblies of hypothalamic "parvocellular" neurons release their neuroendocrine signals at the median eminence (ME) to control long-lasting pituitary hormone rhythms essential for homeostasis. How such rapid hypothalamic neurotransmission leads to slowly evolving hormonal signals remains unknown. Here, we show that the temporal organization of dopamine (DA) release events in freely behaving animals relies on a set of characteristic features that are adapted to the dynamic dopaminergic control of pituitary prolactin secretion, a key reproductive hormone. First, locally generated DA release signals are organized over more than four orders of magnitude (0.001 Hz-10 Hz). Second, these DA events are finely tuned within and between frequency domains as building blocks that recur over days to weeks. Third, an integration time window is detected across the ME and consists of high-frequency DA discharges that are coordinated within the minutes range. Thus, a hierarchical combination of time-scaled neuroendocrine signals displays local-global integration to connect brain-pituitary rhythms and pace hormone secretion.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





2379 - 2382


Action Potentials/physiology Animals Biological Clocks/physiology Electrochemical Techniques Female Hypothalamus/*physiology Median Eminence/*physiology Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL Microelectrodes Pituitary Gland/*physiology Pituitary-Adrenal System/*physiology Prolactin/*metabolism Ultradian Rhythm/*physiology *dopamine *hypothalamus *neuronal networks *prolactin *rhythms