The inhibition of tryptophan hydroxylase, not protein synthesis, reduces the brain trapping of alpha-methyl-L-tryptophan: an autoradiographic study

Neurochem Int. 2002 Jun;40(7):603-10. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0186(01)00132-2.


The effects of the tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) inhibitor p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA; 200mg/kg; 3 days), and of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide (CXM, 2mg/kg), on regional serotonin (5-HT) synthesis were studied using the alpha-[14C]methyl-L-tryptophan (alpha-[14C]MTrp) autoradiographic method. The objectives of these investigations were to evaluate the changes, if any, on 5-HT synthesis, as measured with alpha-MTrp method, following the inhibition of TPH by PCPA, or the inhibition of proteins synthesis by CXM. The rats were used in the tracer experiment approximately 24h after the last dose of PCPA was administered, and in the CXM experiments, they were used 30 min following a single injection of CXM. In both experiments, the control rats were injected with the same volume of saline (0.5 ml/kg; s.c.) and at the same times as the drug injections. The results demonstrate that trapping of alpha-MTrp, which is taken to be related to brain 5-HT synthesis, is drastically reduced (40-80%) following PCPA treatment. The inhibition of protein synthesis with CXM did not have a significant effect on the global brain trapping of alpha-MTrp and 5-HT synthesis. These findings suggest that the brain trapping of alpha-[14C]MTrp relates to brain 5-HT synthesis, but not to brain protein synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fenclonine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis
  • Tryptophan / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tryptophan / metabolism*
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • alpha-methyltryptophan
  • Serotonin
  • Tryptophan
  • Cycloheximide
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase
  • Fenclonine