Differential time course activation of the brain stem catecholaminergic groups following chronic adrenalectomy

Neuroendocrinology. 1992 Aug;56(2):125-32. doi: 10.1159/000126219.


The activity of the brain stem catecholaminergic (CA) cell groups of the ventrolateral (A1C1) and dorsomedial (A2C2) medulla that are known to contain primarily nonadrenergic neurones (A1 and A2) and a smaller proportion of adrenergic cells (C1 and C2) as well as the noradrenergic group locus ceruleus (LC) in the dorsal pons was determined at various times up to 16 days following surgical adrenalectomy. The activity of the CA cell groups was estimated by the rate of tyrosine hydroxylation in vivo that was assessed by measuring the 3.4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) accumulated 20 min following administration of DOPA decarboxylase inhibitor NSD 1015. In the medullary nuclei noradrenaline content was found around 40- up to 70-fold the adrenaline content. This result was taken as evidence that the noradrenergic cells are likely to provide the main contribution to the tyrosine hydroxylation rate that we measured. Endogenous DOPA content represented between 2 and 10% of the noradrenaline content. NSD 1015 induced an accumulation of DOPA that was linear for at least 20 min and reached at this time more than 10-fold the endogenous level. While no modification of the in vivo tyrosine hydroxylation rate was observed in the LC, a significant increase was found in both medullary groups following adrenalectomy. In the A1C1 group it was detected 8 days after surgery and was then maintained with a maximum that represented up to a 60% increase over the basal value. In the A2C2 group the activation was slightly delayed and less marked. Increase in ACTH level occurred much earlier: it was about 70% of the maximal level already 4 days following adrenalectomy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Animals
  • Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Catecholamines / physiology*
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / metabolism
  • Epinephrine / metabolism
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Hydroxylation
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Aromatic Amino Acid Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Catecholamines
  • Hydrazines
  • Tyrosine
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • 3-hydroxybenzylhydrazine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine