In order to study the regulation of co-localized monoamine and peptide neurotransmitters in the medullary raphe nuclei (MRN), we determined whether inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) synthesis affected levels of preprotachykinin (PPT; the prohormone precursor of substance P) mRNA in the MRN. Adult rats received p-chlorophenylalanine (pCPA), an irreversible inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), via Alzet minipumps. TPH activity was inhibited by 70-80% for 3 weeks following pump implantation. During this period Northern mRNA analysis revealed that PPT mRNA levels in the MRN were increased 1.5-2-fold. The pCPA-induced increase was specific for PPT mRNA since no change was detected in mRNA coding for neuron-specific enolase (NSE; a constitutive neuronal protein) or 28 S ribosomal RNA. To determine whether fetal inhibition of 5-HT synthesis affected development of PPT mRNA in the MRN, pregnant rats were administered pCPA via Alzet minipump implanted on embryonic day 8. In pCPA-treated litters TPH activity was decreased by 60-70% from E16 to postnatal day 3 (P3), returning to control levels by P8. Northern mRNA analysis revealed that PPT mRNA levels increased 2.4-fold of control levels at P1. Infusion of pCPA for one week resulted in an earlier increase in PPT mRNA levels, suggesting that birth was not required to elicit the surge in PPT message. These results support the hypothesis that alterations in 5-HT metabolism have regulatory consequences for co-localized substance P formation in the MRN.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Messenger ribonucleic acid
- Raphe nuclei
- Tryptophan hydroxylase