Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract— The effects of exposure to an antithyroid drug, methimazole, on brain tyrosine hydroxylase and tryptophan hydroxylase activity, as well as the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid have been investigated in maturing brain. Daily treatment of neonatal rats with methimazole for 30 days induced chemical thyroidectomy as evidenced by significant impairment of body and brain growth. The activities or brain tyrosine hydroxylase and tryptophan hydroxylase and the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine were markedly altered in a dose- and time-dependent manner in methimazole-treated rats. Conversely, the concentration of brain 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid was elevated (46%) by methimazole administration. Treatment with the antithyroid drug failed to exert any significant effect on the endogenous levels of brain tryptophan, as well as on the activity of the deaminating enzyme, monoamine oxidase. Administration of triiodothyronine (25 or 100 μg/100 g) to hypothyroid rats for 30 days did not produce any appreciable effect upon the neurochemical parameters related to either norepinephrine or 5-hydroxytryptamine mctabolism. However, increasing the dose of triiodothyronine to 250 μg/100 g significantly elevated the levels of norepinephrine and 5-hydroxytryplamine as well as the activities of the two synthesizing enzymes, tyrosine hydroxylase and tryptophan hydroxylase. Brain 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels were restored to normal values in thyroid hormone-deficient rats treated with this higher dose of triiodothyronine. Evidencc also was obtained to show that chemical thyroidectomy suppressed the spontancous locomotor activity in neonatal rats; the changes being apparent at 15 days of age. Our data support the view that thyroid hormone in neonatal life displays an important regulatory effect on the metabolism of norepinephrine, dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine. Since certain amines have been known to be implicated as the neurochemical substrates for behavioural arousal, it is conceivable that the observed hypoactivity in methimazolc-treated rats may, at least in part, be related to impaired maturation of norepinephrine and dopamine-synthesizing systems in brains of cretinous rats.
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