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Liver and brain tryptophan metabolism following hydrocortisone administration to rats and gerbils.

By A R Green, T L Sourkes and S N Young


1 Liver tryptophan pyrrolase activity is low in the mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) and is not induced by hydrocortisone (5 mg/kg). In contrast, there is measurable activity in the rat liver and this is induced by hydrocortisone. In vivo measurements confirmed the absence of induction in gerbils but suggested that they were able to metabolize tryptophan. However no detectable pyrrolase activity was found in any other tissues either before or after hydrocortisone. 2 In agreement with previous observations hydrocortisone decreased rat brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) 6 h after administration. Brain tryptophan concentrations were also decreased at this time. In contrast, hydrocortisone did not alter gerbil brain 5-HT, 5-HIAA or trytophan. alpha-Methyltryptophan activated hepatic tryptophan pyrrolase and decreased brain 5-HT and 5-HIAA in both animals. 3 Results suggest that the decrease in rat brain 5-HT and 5-HIAA following hydrocortisone may be associated with the rise in liver tryptophan pyrrolase and that the brain amine changes are mediated through the decrease in brain tryptophan concentration

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