Increases in the brain concentrations of tryptophan and in serotonin (5-HT) metabolism are commonly observed in animals under stress. Previous experiments indicated that the increase in brain tryptophan and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) observed in response to administration of endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) were largely prevented by pretreatment with N-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME), an inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS). Therefore we tested whether the increases in tryptophan and 5-HT metabolism observed following restraint and footsthock were similarly affected. Mice were injected with L-NAME (30 mg/kg) or saline and restrained for 40 min. Restraint caused increases in concentrations of tryptophan and the catabolites of dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and 5-HT in the medial prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus, and brain stem. The L-NAME pretreatment significantly attenuated, but did not prevent, the changes in tryptophan and catecholamine metabolism, with a very small effect on the increase in plasma corticosterone. When mice pretreated with L-NAME were subjected to 30 min footshock, the NOS inhibitor had no statistically significant effects on the increases in DA, NE and 5-HT metabolism, but tended to attenuate the increases in tryptophan. We interpret these results to indicate that NOS plays a relatively small role in the cerebral neurochemical responses to restraint and footshock, but the role in the restraint-induced changes was greater than that in the footshock-induced ones. The attenuation of the restraint-related effects on the catecholamines most probably reflects a contribution to the CNS responses from peripheral vascular changes which are likely to be limited by the inhibition of NOS.
Neurochemistry International – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 1998
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