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Comparison of alpha-methylphenylalanine and p-chlorophenylalanine as inducers of chronic hyperphenylalaninaemia in developing rats.

By J A Delvalle, G Dienel and O Greengard


alpha-Methylphenylalanine is a very weak competitive inhibitor of rat liver phenylalanine hydroxylase in vitro but a potent suppressor in vivo. The loss of the hepatic activity (the renal one is unaffected) becomes maximal (70-75% decrease; cf. control) 18h after the administration (per 10g body wt.) of 24 mumol of alpha-methylphenylalanine with or without 52 mumol of phenylalanine. Chronic suppression of hepatic phenylalanine hydroxylase was obtained by injections of alpha-methylphenylalanine plus phenylalanine to suckling rats, and by their addition to the diet after weaning. A series of comparisons of the effects of this treatment, and one with p-chlorophenylalanine, was then carried out. In both cases there was a rise (1.3-2-fold) in phenylalanine-pyruvate amino-transferase activity (but no change in four other enzyme activities) in the liver; in brain there was a rise in phosphoserine phosphatase activity, but the total activity and subcellular distribution of nine enzymes revealed no other abnormalities in cerebral development. Striking increases in the concentration of plasma phenylalanine during 26 of the 31 experimental days (with a transient fall at 18-22 days) were maintained by treatment with both analogues plus phenylalanine. However, p-chlorophenylalanine-treated animals had a 30-60% mortality rate and 27-52% decrease in body weight. Developing rats treated with alpha-methylphenylalanine, showing no growth deficit or signs of toxicity (e.g. cataracts), appear to be a more suitable model for the human disease of phenylketonuria. Their phenylalanine concentrations exhibited at least 20-40-fold increase during 50% of each of the first 18 days of life, and 30-fold after weaning

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1978
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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