Letter | Published:

Regional turnover and synthesis of catecholamines in rat hypothalamus

Naturevolume 256pages502503 (1975) | Download Citation



THE occurrence of catecholaminergic systems in the hypophysio-tropic area of the hypothalamus has led to numerous studies of the role of catecholamines in the control of pituitary function1–4. The lack of biochemical methods of sufficient sensitivity to estimate catecholamine concentrations and metabolism in small brain parts has, however, hampered progress in this field. It has been claimed on the basis of histochemical fluorescence studies, that predominantly dopamine is present in the median eminence of the rat (see ref. 3). Other reports, dealing with the fluorometric determination of catecholamine concentrations, have claimed that rat median eminence dopamine levels are low relative to the noradrenaline concentrations (see ref. 3). Using sensitive radiochemical catecholamine assays, both claims were disproved5,6. The considerable regional differences in catecholamine concentrations in hypothalamic nuclei observed by Palkovits et al.6 stress that great care should be taken to properly dissect the hypothalamus, a conclusion also indicated by Kavanagh and Weisz7.

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    Hökfelt, T., and Fuxe, K., in Brain-Endocrine Interaction, Median Eminence: Structure and Function, 181–223 (Karger, Basel, 1972).

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    de Wied, D., and de Jong, W., A. Rev. Pharmac., 14, 389–412 (1974).

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    Björklund, A., Falck, B., Nobin, A., and Steveni, U., in Neurosecretion—The Final Neuroendocrine Pathway (edit. by Knowles, F., and Vollrath, L.), 209–222 (Springer, Berlin, 1974).

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    Versteeg, D. H. G., and Wurtman, R. J., in Chemical Neurobiology (edit. by Gispen, W. H.), (ASP Biological and Medical, Elsevier Division, Amsterdam, in the press).

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    Cuello, A. C., Horn, A. S., Mackay, A. V. P., and Iversen, L. L., Nature, 243, 465–467 (1974).

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    Kavanagh, A., and Weisz, J., Neuroendocrinology, 13, 201–212 (1973/74).

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    Fuxe, K., Hökfelt, T., Jonsson, G., and Löfström, A., in Neurosecretion—The Final Neuroendocrine Pathway (edit. by Knowles, F., and Vollrath, L.), 269–276 (Springer, Berlin, 1974).

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  1. Rudolf Magnus Institute for Pharmacology, Medical Faculty, University of Utrecht, Vondellaan 6, Utrecht, The Netherlands

    •  & JAN M. VAN REE


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