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To examine the role of central mechanisms on the production and release of an ouabain-like factor, the effects of intracerebroventricular injections of 6-hydroxydopamine on the tissue content and on the plasma level of the ouabain-like factor were determined in rats.The vehicle (0.1% ascorbic acid in 0.9% saline) and 6− hydroxydopamine (250 μg/rat) were injected into the left lateral ventricle in ether-anaesthetized Wistar rats. Hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal and venous blood was sampled 24 h and 7 days later. The procedure was repeated using another rat group 7 days later. Characteristics of immunoreactive ouabain-like factor were determined by a combination of high-performance liquid chromatography and a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for ouabain. The level of the ouabain-like factor in these tissues and in plasma extracts measured by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was compared between the two groups receiving 6− hydroxydopamine and the vehicle.Twenty-four hours after the intracerebroventricular injections of 6-hydroxydopamine, the ouabain-like factor level in the pituitary, hypothalamus and plasma had decreased significantly, whereas the ouabain-like factor level in the adrenal had not changed. The content of noradrenaline in the hypothalamus was also decreased markedly 7 days later and the content of ouabain-like factor in the pituitary remained low. On liquid chromatography the elution pattern of the ouabain-like factor in plasma and in tissue extracts coincided with that of authentic ouabain.Intracerebroventricular treatments with 6− hydroxydopamine elicited decreases in ouabain-like factor contents in the pituitary, the hypothalamus and the plasma. These results suggest that the production and release of ouabain-like factor are closely associated with the brain, particularly the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, and that noradrenergic or dopaminergic neurons, or both, play a key role in this mechanism.