Glucocorticoids increase catecholamine synthesis and storage in PC12 pheochromocytoma cell cultures

J Neurochem. 1983 Feb;40(2):364-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1983.tb11291.x.


Glucocorticoids, cholera toxin, and high plating density all increase the activity of tyrosine 3-monooxygenase (TH) in cultured PC12 pheochromocytoma cells. Glucocorticoids increase enzyme activity in cells treated with cholera toxin and in cells grown at high plating density. Glucocorticoids also increase the content of stored catecholamines in the cells. In cells cultured under routine conditions, glucocorticoids primarily increase the stores of dopamine. The addition of ascorbate to the culture medium increases the storage of norepinephrine in both steroid-treated and untreated cells. Incubation of the cells in media containing 56 nM K+ causes the release of the same percentage of stored dopamine from steroid-treated as from untreated cells. Steroid-treated cells contain more dopamine than do untreated cells, and therefore, in response to high K+, the steroid-treated cells secrete more dopamine than do untreated cells. We conclude that the activity of tyrosine 3-monooxygenase in PC12 cells can be regulated by several distinct mechanisms; that glucocorticoids cause a coordinate increase in TH activity and in catecholamine storage; that steroids increase the storage of catecholamines in a releasable pool; and that the steroid-induced increase in catecholamine storage may result in increased secretion of catecholamines from steroid-treated cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cholera Toxin / pharmacology
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Pheochromocytoma / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Cholera Toxin
  • Dopamine
  • Corticosterone
  • Norepinephrine