The tuberoinfundibular pathway refers to a population of dopamine neurons in the arcuate nucleus (aka "infundibular nucleus") in the tuberal region of the hypothalamus that project to the pituitary median eminence (the "infundibular region"). It is one of the four major dopamine pathways in the brain. Dopamine released at this site regulates the secretion of prolactin from the anterior pituitary gland.
Some antipsychotic drugs block dopamine in the tuberoinfundibular pathway, which can cause an increase in blood prolactin levels (hyperprolactinemia). This can cause abnormal lactation (even in men), disruptions to the menstrual cycle in women, visual problems, headache and sexual dysfunction.
Other dopamine pathways
Other major dopamine pathways include:
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 10: Neural and Neuroendocrine Control of the Internal Milieu". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 249. ISBN 9780071481274.
Relationship of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The anterior pituitary, or adenohypophysis, receives rich blood flow from the capillaries of the portal hypophyseal system. This system delivers factors released by hypothalamic neurons into portal capillaries at the median eminence. The figure shows one such projection, from the tuberal (arcuate) nuclei via the tuberoinfundibular tract to the median eminence.