Apelin and its mRNA are expressed in several tissues, including the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei in the hypothalamus. Although apelin is reported to be involved in the regulation of fluid homeostasis, little is known about the postprandial dynamics of apelin in plasma and its regulatory effects on the anterior pituitary hormones of ruminants. Therefore, the aims of this study were to investigate the following: (1) changes in plasma apelin concentrations in response to food intake under conditions of hydration (free access to water) or dehydration (water restriction), and (2) the effects of intravenous administration of apelin on plasma concentrations of arginine-vasopressin (AVP), ACTH, GH, and insulin. In Experiment 1 with the use of goats, the postprandial plasma apelin concentration was significantly increased under the dehydration condition compared with the hydration condition, and this increase was accompanied by increased plasma concentrations of AVP and ACTH after 24 h of dehydration. In Experiment 2 with the use of sheep and hydration conditions, the intravenous administration of apelin ([Pyr 1]-apelin-13; 0.5 mg/head) caused a tendency to increase or caused a significant increase in plasma concentrations of AVP, ACTH, GH, insulin, and glucose. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that apelin is involved in the feeding process, and it regulates endocrine functions in the anterior pituitary gland via AVP in ruminant animals.
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