Liver dysfunction was produced in rats by surgical portocaval anastomosis (PCA), and the time‐course of changes in brain tryptophan and 5‐HT metabolism studied in relation to plasma changes possibly influencing brain tryptophan concentration. Brain tryptophan and 5‐hydroxyindolylacetic acid (5‐HIAA) levels were increased greatly and maximally on the day after PCA and remained high. 5‐HT changes were less marked but had a similar time‐course. Plasma total tryptophan was little changed but plasma free tryptophan was raised. The latter change showed a similar time‐course to that of brain tryptophan but was not large enough to account completely for it. Sham operation was followed by significant but transient increases in plasma free tryptophan, brain tryptophan and 5‐HIAA but these were much smaller than after PCA. Brain tryptophan did not correlate with plasma total tryptophan either in control or PCA rats but it correlated significantly with plasma free tryptophan in both groups. However brain levels were much higher in PCA rats than in controls with similar plasma free tryptophan levels at all times from the first day after operation. The increase of brain tryptophan in anastomosed rats not accounted for by plasma free tryptophan was explained neither by insulin changes nor by an increase of the insulin/glucagon ratio nor by changes in plasma concentrations of those amino acids which compete with tryptophan for entry into brain. The results therefore indicate an unknown influence on brain tryptophan concentration in PCA rats. As tyrosine changes in brain and plasma after PCA were very similar to those of tryptophan this influence may not be specific to tryptophan. Results suggest that under the conditions used brain tryptophan concentrations of both PCA and control rats are more influenced by changes of plasma free tryptophan concentration than by changes of plasma concentrations of competing amino acids.
Journal of Neurochemistry – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1978
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