Regulation of DOPA Decarboxylase Activity in Brain of Living Rat

Paul Cumming, Hiroto Kuwabara, Ariel Ase, Albert Gjedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: To test the hypothesis that l‐DOPA decarboxylase (DDC) is a regulated enzyme in the synthesis of dopamine (DA), we developed a model of the cerebral uptake and metabolism of [3H]DOPA. The unidirectional blood‐brain clearance of [3H]DOPA (KD1) was 0.049 ml g−1 min−1. The relative DDC activity (kD3) was 0.26 min−1 in striatum, 0.04 min−1 in hypothalamus, and 0.02 min−1 in hippocampus. In striatum, 3,4‐[3H]dihydroxyphenylacetic acid ([3H]DOPAC) was formed from [3H]DA with a rate constant of 0.013 min−1, [3H]homovanillic acid ([3H]HVA) was formed from [3H]DOPAC at a rate constant of 0.020 min−1, and [3H]HVA was eliminated from brain at a rate constant of 0.037 min−1. Together, these rate constants predicted the ratios of endogenous DOPAC and HVA to DA in rat striatum. Pargyline, an inhibitor of DA catabolism, substantially reduced the contrast between striatum and cortex, in comparison with the contrast seen in autoradiograms of control rats. At 30 min and at 4 h after pargyline, kD3 was reduced by 50% in striatum and olfactory tubercle but was unaffected in hypothalamus, indicating that DDC activity is reduced in specific brain regions after monoamine oxidase inhibition. Thus, DDC activity may be a regulated step in the synthesis of DA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1390
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995


  • Brain
  • Brain
  • DOPA decarboxylase
  • Dopamine
  • Kinetics
  • Metabolism
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibition
  • Pargyline
  • Radiotracer
  • Striatum
  • l‐3,4‐Dihydroxyphenylalanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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