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Considerable attention has focused on regulation of central tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) activity and protein expression. At the time of these earlier studies, it was thought that there was a single central TPH isoform. However, with the recent identification of TPH2, it becomes important to distinguish between regulatory effects on the protein expression and activity of the two isoforms. We have generated a TPH2-specific polyclonal antiserum (TPH2-6361) to study regulation of TPH2 at the protein level and to examine the distribution of TPH2 expression in rodent and human brain. TPH2 immunoreactivity (IR) was detected throughout the raphe nuclei, in lateral hypothalamic nuclei and in the pineal body of rodent and human brain. In addition, a prominent TPH2-IR fiber network was found in the human median eminence. We recently reported that glucocorticoid treatment of C57/Bl6 mice for 4 days markedly decreased TPH2 messenger RNA levels in the raphe nuclei, whereas TPH1 mRNA was unaffected. The glucocorticoid-elicited inhibition of TPH2 gene expression was blocked by co-administration of the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone (RU-486). Using TPH2-6361, we have extended these findings to show a dose-dependent decrease in raphe TPH2 protein levels in response to 4 days of treatment with dexamethasone; this effect was blocked by co-administration of mifepristone. Moreover, the glucocorticoid-elicited inhibition of TPH2 was functionally significant: serotonin synthesis was significantly reduced in the frontal cortex of glucocorticoid-treated mice, an effect that was blocked by mifepristone co-administration. This study provides further evidence for the glucocorticoid regulation of serotonin biosynthesis via inhibition of TPH2 expression, and suggest that elevated glucocorticoid levels may be relevant to the etiology of psychiatric diseases, such as depression, where hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation has been documented.
Intraportal serotonin infusion enhances net hepatic glucose uptake (NHGU) during glucose infusion but blunts nonhepatic glucose uptake and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea at high doses. Whether the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) could enhance NHGU without gastrointestinal side effects during glucose infusion was examined in conscious 42-h-fasted dogs, using arteriovenous difference and tracer ([3-3H]glucose) techniques. Experiments consisted of equilibration (-120 to -30 min), basal (-30 to 0 min), and experimental (EXP; 0-270 min) periods. During EXP, somatostatin, fourfold basal intraportal insulin, basal intraportal glucagon, and peripheral glucose (to double the hepatic glucose load) were infused. In one group of dogs (HTP, n = 6), saline was infused intraportally from 0 to 90 min (P1), and 5-HTP was infused intraportally at 10, 20, and 40 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) from 90 to 150 (P2), 150 to 210 (P3), and 210 to 270 (P4) min, respectively. In the other group (SAL, n = 7), saline was infused intraportally from 0 to 270 min. NHGU in SAL was 14.8 +/- 1.9, 18.5 +/- 2.3, 16.3 +/- 1.4, and 19.7 +/- 1.6 micromol x kg(-1) x min(-1) in P1-P4, whereas NHGU in 5-HTP averaged 16.4 +/- 2.6, 18.5 +/- 1.4, 20.8 +/- 2.0, and 27.6 +/- 2.6 micromol x kg(-1) x min(-1) (P < 0.05 vs. SAL). Nonhepatic glucose uptake (micromol x kg(-1) x min(-1)) in SAL was 30.2 +/- 4.3, 36.8 +/- 5.8, 44.3 +/- 5.8, and 54.6 +/- 11.8 during P1-P4, respectively, whereas in HTP the corresponding values were 26.3 +/- 6.8, 44.9 +/- 10.1, 47.5 +/- 11.7, and 51.4 +/- 13.2 (not significant between groups). Intraportal 5-HTP enhances NHGU without significantly altering nonhepatic glucose uptake or causing gastrointestinal side effects, raising the possibility that a related agent might have a role in reducing postprandial hyperglycemia.
Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency is an inborn error of metabolism that leads to combined serotonin and catecholamine deficiency, first described by Hyland et al in 1990. The clinical features, biochemical findings, and treatment of the second family with this condition are reported. Our male patient presented with developmental delay, extreme hypotonia, oculogyric crises, and irritability. The diagnosis of this inborn error of biogenic amine metabolism was accomplished by determining low concentrations of homovanillic, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl-ethyleneglycol in cerebrospinal fluid with normal biopterin metabolism and increased L-dopa, in plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine. Greatly reduced activity of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase in plasma confirmed this diagnosis. Combined treatment with pyridoxine, tranylcypromine, and bromocriptine produced some clinical improvement.
OBJECTIVE - To determine whether L-5-hydroxytryptophan (L-5-HTP) associated with eosinophiliamyalgia syndrome (EMS) like illness contains impurities in a fashion similar to that described in L-tryptophan associated with EMS.
METHODS - Members of a family who became ill after exposure to L-5-HTP were evaluated at the National Institutes of Health. Data from patients with extended exposure to L-5-HTP were also examined. Samples of L-5-HTP were examined using high performance liquid chromatography.
RESULTS - One member of the family had EMS, and 2 others had eosinophilia. No patient in the other group reviewed developed the syndrome, although 2 patients developed eosinophilia. The L-5-HTP used by the family contained an impurity not present in samples from the other patient group. After replacement with L-5-HTP not containing this impurity, eosinophilia in 2 family members resolved.
CONCLUSION - Some L-5-HTP contains impurities that may be related to L-5-HTP associated EMS.
Advanced gastrointestinal endocrine tumors respond poorly to conventional chemotherapy. In this study we examined the effects of two agents that promote cellular differentiation, sodium butyrate and hexamethylene bisacetamide, on the in vitro growth and secretory responses of a human pancreatic carcinoid (BON) and human gastrinoma (PT-2 and PT-SM) cell lines that have been established in our laboratory. We found that both sodium butyrate and hexamethylene bisacetamide strongly inhibited growth of BON, PT-2, and PT-SM cells. With continuous exposure of BON cells to sodium butyrate (2 mmol/L), the doubling time was prolonged, from 60 hours in controls to 156 hours, and saturation density was reduced to 28% that of controls. Hexamethylene bisacetamide (4 mmol/L) reduced saturation density to 37% that of controls in BON cells and prolonged the doubling time, from 60 hours to 103 hours. Antiproliferative effects of similar magnitudes were observed in the gastrinoma cell lines. In contrast, differential effects were produced on amine biosynthesis in BON cells; sodium butyrate stimulated levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine in the cells, whereas hexamethylene bisacetamide caused a profound dose-dependent inhibition of amine biosynthesis. The significant antiproliferative activity of sodium butyrate and hexamethylene bisacetamide and the inhibitory effects of hexamethylene bisacetamide on amine biosynthesis warrant evaluation of these agents or analogues for treatment of metastatic carcinoid and gastrinoma.