Angiotensinase activity is asymmetrically distributed in the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the rat

Behav Brain Res. 2005 Jan 30;156(2):321-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2004.06.002.


There are important asymmetries in brain functions such as emotional processing and stress response in humans and animals. Knowledge of the bilateral distribution of brain neurotransmitters is important to appropriately understand its functions. Some peptides such as those included in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and cholecystokinin (CCK) are related to modulation of behavior and stress. However, although angiotensin AT1 and CCK type 2 receptors were found in adult rat brain, there are no studies of their bilateral distribution in stress-related areas. The function of angiotensin peptides is depending on the action of several aminopeptidases (AP) called angiotensinases, some of them being also involved in the metabolism of CCK. We have studied the bilateral distribution of soluble (SOL) and membrane-bound (MEM) alanyl- (AlaAP), cystinyl- (CysAP), glutamyl- (GluAP) and aspartyl- (AspAP) AP activities in stress-related areas such as amygdala, hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex of adult male rats in resting conditions. These enzymes are involved in the metabolism of angiotensins (AlaAP, CysAP, GluAP, AspAP) and CCK (GluAP, AspAP). In the amygdala, all the activities studied showed a right predominance with a significant difference ranging from 30% for SOL CysAP to 125% for SOL GluAP. In the hippocampus, there was a left predominance for SOL AlaAP, SOL and MEM CysAP and MEM AspAP activities (100, 80, 300 and 100% higher, respectively). In contrast, GluAP predominated remarkably in the right hippocampus (eight-fold for SOL and three-fold for MEM). In the prefrontal cortex, SOL and MEM CysAP and SOL AspAP predominated in the left hemisphere (40, 100 and 40% higher, respectively). These results demonstrated a heterogeneous bilateral pattern of angiotensinase activities in motivation and stress-related areas. This may reflect an uneven asymmetrical distribution of their endogenous substrates depending on the brain location and consequently, it would be also a reflect of the asymmetries in the functions they are involved in.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminopeptidases / metabolism
  • Amygdala / enzymology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / enzymology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • angiotensinase
  • Endopeptidases
  • Aminopeptidases