Letter | Published:

Changes in Adrenal Enzymes synthesizing Catecholamines in Attack Behaviour evoked by Hypothalamic Stimulation in the Cat


IN the cat, electrical stimulation1,2 or selective lesions of the brain3 can evoke an affected display of anger, called sham rage3. This emotional display is often coupled with directed prey killing or attack behaviour2. Associated with this is a widespread activation of the sympathetic nervous system and a release of the catecholamines, noradrenaline and adrenaline, from the adrenal gland4,5. It was recently demonstrated that, when prolonged, increased neural release of adrenal catecholamines is associated with increased activity of tyrosine hydroxylase6,7, the enzyme of the rate-limiting step in catecholamine biosynthesis8. The increase in enzyme activity is presumably the result of production of new enzyme6,9. We have sought to determine whether the induction of attack behaviour in the cat by electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus, if sustained over several days, can lead to similar changes in adrenal tyrosine hydroxylase and also the adrenal enzyme phenylethenol amine-N-methyl transferase (PNMT) which converts norepinephrine to epinephrine.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Hess, W. R., The Functional Organization of the Diencephalon (Grune and Stratton, New York, 1957).

  2. 2

    Wasman, M., and Flynn, J. P., Arch. Neurol., 6, 220 (1962).

  3. 3

    Bard, P., Amer. J. Physiol., 84, 490 (1928).

  4. 4

    Reis, D. J., and Gunne, L. M., Science, 149, 450 (1965).

  5. 5

    Reis, D. J., Miura, M., Weinbren, M., and Gunne, L. M., Science, 156, 1768 (1967).

  6. 6

    Weiner, N., and Rabadjija, M., J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 164, 103 (1968).

  7. 7

    Mueller, R. A., Theonen, H., and Axelrod, J., J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 169, 74 (1969).

  8. 8

    Udenfriend, S., Zaltzman-Nirenberg, P., and Nagatsu, T., Biochem. Pharmacol., 14, 837 (1965).

  9. 9

    Mueller, R. A., Theonen, H., and Axelrod, J., Mol. Pharmacol., 5, 563 (1969).

  10. 10

    Nagatsu, T., Levitt, M., and Udenfriend, S., J. Biol. Chem., 239, 2910 (1964).

  11. 11

    Axelrod, J., J. Biol. Chem., 237, 1657 (1962).

  12. 12

    Kvetnansky, R., Gewirtz, G. P., Weise, V. K., and Kopin, I. J., Fed. Proc., 29, 277 (1970).

  13. 13

    Molinoff, P. B., Brimijoin, S., Weinshilboum, R., and Axelrod, J., Proc. US Nat. Acad. Sci. (in the press).

  14. 14

    Cannon, W. B., The Wisdom of the Body, second ed. (Norton, New York, 1939).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.